Irrational buyers decisions — photos and videos sell properties

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Buyer’s decisions in the real estate market are driven by photos and videos. This should not be a secret to most of us. The most famous example is Airbnb that began to grow after they introduced high-quality photos on their website. Founders of Airbnb literally were walking from one house to another and were offering photo shots for free. The result was immediate. Let me uncover the most crucial requirements for media content on a real estate website.

Hire a professional!

That’s the very first thing you should do. Hire a professional and establish long term business relations. Don’t try to shoot photos or videos by yourself. If you’ve never done it before very likely you will not be satisfied with a result. Bad photos are worse than no photos at all, as they will make your website and its content look unattractive and even unattractive.

Media content production requires years of experience. It’s not enough to have some basic skills in image editing, there are tons of nuances. In order to understand the value of media content, imagine a luxury villa with a huge pool that on photos looks like an abandoned barrack with a dirty puddle. Or a tiny flat in a suburb that’s presented as a bright apartment full of sunlight and equipped with a modern kitchen.

charming villa
“Charming villa” could look much better if the photo was edited
photo editing is a miracle
Photo editing is a miracle. The grass is green, the dawn in the sky is epic [BoxBrownie]

Along with experience, you will need equipment. Different cameras and lenses, tripods, video stabilization devices, and so on. The list is much longer. Of course, you can rent this stuff, but as it is professional equipment you need special skills to use it in a proper way.

just a portion of equipment
This is just a portion of media production company equipment

And the last but not the least point. You can’t do everything in your business by yourself, it is not scalable. If you can hire someone for a reasonable price — do it, and spend your time on things that can not be done by anyone except you.

Develop a consistency

Your customers expect all properties on your website to have the same set of photos. If a property misses pictures of any of its room it makes prospective buyers suspicious about the property. So, be consistent in what you show on the photos — always publish a couple of pictures for every room, expose all the impressive advantages of a property. And don’t forget to depict important details, even negative ones. Sell honestly or don’t sell what you don’t like — it’s your reputation.

Make sure that your media content looks like it all belongs to your website. Inconsistency in photos or videos styling can make your potential buyers thinking that you don’t have a media production department or a reliable partner in this field and thus will reduce credibility to your company. So, spend your time on research, find a seasoned media production company in your area and build long term relations with them.

all photos style look the same
The style of all photos look the same on this website, it looks trustworthy [NIKITIN]

Optimize for smartphones

Never forget that huge number of your leads will use their mobile devices and slower connection to browse your website. Page load time is crucially important to them. If your properties pictures are not adapted for displays of different devices and are not size-optimized then there is no reason in browsing your website at all — because everyone comes there to see the pictures. They will leave as there are plenty of other real estate websites with images that load fast.

Optimized photos must be presented to a user in the most convenient and responsive way. Make sure a gallery widget — the one that shows a high-resolution photo when a picture is clicked — is also responsive and adapts to display size. Unlike on desktop devices on mobile devices enlarged photos and video must stretch up to the edges of a display. Otherwise, details of an interior will not be recognizable. In case of video I would also encourage you to always use native HTML players, they are perfectly responsive out of the box.

observe photos from search results
Airbnb allows one to observe all photos of a property right from the search results page

SEO matters

When search engines crawl images on your website they scan HTML attributes that are normally hidden from visitor’s eyes. Text content in such attributes like alt (alternative presentation when the image can not be displayed) and title (the title of the image) when relevant to the rest of your website content will have a positive impact on SEO ranking and in fact, will ensure that your photos appear in the Images section of Google search results. Take these HTML properties seriously and don’t treat them as something optional.

There are a lot of other important SEO HTML attributes and tags, but I will specifically mention just two of them — <meta property="og:image" /> and <meta property="og:description" />. These two tags define an image and description that is shown when you share a link on messengers, or on twitter, or on facebook — almost anywhere. On your website make sure that the property details page has a primary photo of an offer in og:image and short description in og:description.

image and description tags
When you share a link to a page with an image tag and description tag most messengers, and social networks will pick them up automatically

Shoot an aerial video

If you’ve never done an aerial video filming for your real estate properties before then you should start immediately. It has become extremely popular and it’s no longer an innovation. It is a widespread mainstream approach that rises the status of a property and seriously improves conversions. Here are some stats:

  • Houses with aerial images are sold 68% faster and
  • 22% commercial videos will be done by drones by 2020.

Ask your media production partner if he does aerial photo/video shots. I bet he does. If not you will have no difficulties finding a production company in your region that have drones.

drones are no longer exotic
Drones are no longer exotic, but a powerful mainstream tool

authorSoftware engineer, founder of ottofeller.com

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