It’s no secret that the internet age has brought about significant changes to the way we advertise property. An already very saturated industry has become even more competitive and making a listing stand out from the crowd can be a real challenge.
Research done by the National Association of Realtors shows that 90% of consumers now start their real estate journey on the internet. Before the internet, the only way you could source property was via classified ads, a drive around the suburb you’re looking to buy in, or a chat with an agent. This world seems unimaginable now.
Agents would write their own copy, take their own photos and basically control the access of all information. It’s difficult to gauge whether the increased exposure has affected property demand, as there are so many other factors to consider (population increases, interest rates, the banks’ willingness to lend etc). At the very least, it would’ve helped encourage investor culture, and indeed some buyers are willing to make a purchase without having even physically inspected a property.
Increased demand and competition has seen property marketing evolve from completely agent-driven to a meticulous art form – especially in Sydney, which is often seen as the creative epicentre for cutting edge real estate advertising. Skyline Creative’s head photographer, Andrew Patterson, attributes this to the boutique brand perception of some of the key players, as well as our city’s obsession with property. “In Europe, marketing at our level is not really done,” he says. “In the UK, a little bit, but nothing like it is here.”
Digital photography and retouching have made many things possible that would’ve seemed like fantasy just two decades ago. “In the late 90s, there were still agents with cameras taking all their own photos”, Andrew says.
Along with the gear, experience and eye that comes with hiring a professional photography, there is also the myriad of style options. “Dusk photography wasn’t really a thing until about five years ago,” Andrew explains. “The other big change was creating wide, open shots – making a room look huge. Previously there was no concept of where everything should be in a room to maximise a space. None whatsoever.”
Another crucial post-2000 development is the advent of online video. A key platform for helping buyers envisage themselves in a property before actually stepping foot in it, it’s safe to say that video is still on the rise, with more and more agents exploring the medium every year.
An engaging real estate video is expected to be no different to an effective TV advertisement in terms of aesthetic and production value, with one key difference being that the budget and turnaround time are usually significantly less. The goal is for a web audience to gain greater insight into a property and area’s best features, while at the same time developing an emotional connection with the home and acting on it.
Interactivity is an immensely powerful marketing concept and cannot be underestimated when it comes to property. Social media provides an ideal environment for connecting with buyers, but it’s important to remember that simply pushing listings is not the way to maximise impact. Instead, intersperse your advertising material with diverse, interesting content on a range of subjects that your readers might find value in. A little humour never hurt either.
Virtual tours, 3D floorplans and other “virtual reality” applications that put the audience in the picture look set to play a big role in property marketing’s ongoing evolution over the coming years. An article at The Real Estate Conversation examines this further – http://www.therealestateconversation.com.au/news/2015/09/03/how-virtual-reality-will-change-property-marketing/1441281600
All of these key developments have come about post-internet, whether it’s video, online advertisements, social media or digital photography. In a marketing landscape that’s shifted so significantly in recent times, one can’t help but wonder, how will things be done differently 20 years from now?