We recently launched our YouTube channel, allowing our users to search for Apartments.com listings directly on YouTube. Apartment hunters can search by city, state, zip code, rent range, number of bedrooms or bathrooms, or even by entering a point of interest or famous landmark. To help understand more about the importance of online video, we spoke with Patrick Grandinetti, Head of Real Estate at Google. In this Q&A, Patrick provides important information related to why video is so important to online advertising, general trends and how property managers can use and promote videos.
1. Why is video so important to online advertising?
Online video is one of the fastest growing mediums in history and a key driver of online advertising growth. Just think about it … everyone loves watching movies and videos! According to ComScore, online video ad spending is projected to reach $5B by 2014, roughly double this year’s spend. It makes sense that marketers are flocking to video when you consider the opportunity:
- Video is persuasive. It offers viewers the power of sight, sound and motion. And when you watch video across multiple screens, brand recall skyrockets (+24% in a recent study across four screens).
- Video is personal. When people like videos, they share them. Six hundred YouTube videos are shared every minute on Twitter, and 300 years of YouTube videos are viewed on Facebook each day! Stop and think about that for a minute!
- Video is precise. YouTube provides the targeting power to reach your desired audience, in a variety of formats, across the globe.
2. Can you give me an idea of how many people are watching videos on, and uploading videos to, YouTube?
YouTube reaches 150 million monthly viewers in the US and 800 million globally. There are four billion video views per day on YouTube globally and roughly 72 hours of video content is uploaded to YouTube every minute around the world! That’s the equivalent of 26 full-length feature films uploaded every minute!
3. Are you seeing upward trends in video views on mobile devices?
Absolutely! Roughly 18 million people watch YouTube on their mobile devices every month, or roughly nine times the largest newspaper’s circulation. In fact, 20% of YouTube views come from mobile devices. As smartphones continue to proliferate, YouTube mobile usage will continue to grow. According to eMarketer, US mobile ad spending is projected to quadruple in the next four years.
4. With all that content, how would you suggest property managers or renters keep videos that pertain to them?
It’s simple, when you find a channel of interest, subscribe to it. As a subscriber, you will get notifications when new videos are posted. If you have a channel, categorize your videos so visitors can easily find what they are looking for. Coldwell Banker, Sotheby’s International Realty and RE/MAX have all done a great job of utilizing and organizing videos on their YouTube channels.
5. Why do you think property managers should enrich their apartment listings with video?
If a picture can tell a thousand words, just think what a video can do! Choosing a new apartment is an important decision and renters want to envision themselves in the property. Providing visually rich information through video will help an apartment building stand out from the crowd and generate more leads.
Our latest research highlights some of the reasons real estate seekers turn to YouTube, from finding information about a specific community (86%), taking a tour of available properties (70%), getting tips on watching customer testimonials (30%) and understanding specific apartment features (38%).
6. How can a property manager share their video listing with a potential renter?
A YouTube channel serves as a central hub to house video listings and make them easily accessible to potential renters. Once videos are on YouTube, property managers can embed them on property websites, share links to the channel in email communications and post to social sites like Google+. Adding social gadgets to your channel facilitates sharing across social networks, enabling you to reach a broader universe.
7. As a property manager, how would I be able to know how many users have viewed my listing?
YouTube tracks the number of individual video views as well as the total number of views for all your videos. Individual views are included under each video and total video views, channel views and channel subscribers are included in the profile section of each channel.
8. What if a property manager has multiple video listings? Is there an easy way to track how many video views there have been by property and views by management company?
YouTube Analytics (formerly YouTube Insights) is a great free tool for anyone who has a YouTube channel. It reports in depth information such as demographics, geographic information and engagement metrics about the audience watching your videos. For example, you can see which markets are garnering the most views to adjust your marketing efforts accordingly. You literally could spend hours on that tool!
9. What are some of the most common questions you hear?
Some of the most common questions from we encounter from newbie YouTubers are:
Question: What makes a video go viral, and how do I make mine as popular as “Chocolate Rain?”
Answer: Honestly, there is no secret formula to this. Each video that’s gone viral is unique in its own right, and that’s part of what makes it a success. While we can’t guarantee a video’s success rate, some good guidelines are to: make the video engaging to consumers (i.e. make it relevant); grab and maintain the user’s attention from the beginning; try to make the video unique, something that’s not commonly found on YouTube. A recent video that’s gotten 7M+ views on YouTube is titled Shucking Corn – go figure!
Question: How do I accrue video views?
Answer: There are many ways to accrue video views and it all starts with promoting your video. You can do this through some of your existing social networks (e.g. Google+, Facebook, Twitter) or existing collateral (on brochures, in print or radio ads, on television, etc.). You can also put the link to your video channel on your business cards! While this is all free publicity for your videos, you can also use paid-programs such as Google AdWords to generate interest in your videos through promoted results (similar to Google search results) – but on YouTube.
Question: What is the importance of video views and does it affect results in Organic Search on YouTube?
Answer: Video views are important in that it helps with the perceived relevance of your video. Videos with larger numbers of views mean more folks have watched it, and perhaps like and agree with the content. A view is a view, so each unique view is a good thing! Video views, however, do not affect organic (SEO) search results. Our recommendation here, beyond promoting it as mentioned above, is to make sure you are tagging your video appropriately with the correct keywords relative to your video and its content.
Question: What is recommended length of a YouTube video?
Answer: The average length of videos watched on YouTube is 3.9 minutes. We always recommend content videos that are snackable, meaning easy to watch in less than five minutes. Specific advertisements should not be longer than 30 seconds – with the first 15 seconds being the most important.
Question: What type of content should be included in a video?
Answer: This really depends on the purpose of the video. You should always make your videos relevant to what your customers are actually interested in and ensure there’s a call to action if you want them to specifically follow-through with an action (example.g. visit our website at www.mywebsite.com.)
Question: Do property tours done with a handheld camera work or do I need something highly produced?
Answer: This is one of the questions we get most frequently. YouTube was built on a foundation of users uploading videos they recorded and produced themselves. The biggest misconception is that in order to be successful, people or companies have to spend a lot of money on production. That’s just not the case. Did you watch the Shucking Corn video mentioned above with over 7M views?
Question: What type of metrics will help me determine success of my videos and channels?
Answer: Stats like views, number of shares, number of folks favoriting a video, and even the number of comments, all factor into the overall engagement of a video. YouTube analytics, which is a free tool to anyone who uploads a video, can provide a treasure trove of information. The definition of success is really what you want it to be. Look at other videos in your category see how their engagement levels compare to yours and set some benchmarks. You can then go from there!
10. Where do you see the future of video advertising online heading?
Growing! This year we launched YouTube Original Channels and Hollywood and Madison Avenue continue to develop more content for the Web. The days of over-the-air-only TV are changing quickly as video is now mobile, customizable and relevant to the viewer.
Thank you to Patrick Grandinetti for providing this valuable information! Follow Google’s Real Estate team on Twitter at @GoogleRE.