Video is the lynchpin of a successful commercial real estate marketing strategy. As per studies, more than 80% of businesses are now using video as a marketing tool (up from 63% in 2019) and mobile video consumption is steadily rising 100% year over year.

Despite this, a recent survey found that only 50% of CRE marketers are using videos or 3D tours of their properties.

Right now especially, video is a must. As a visual storytelling medium, commercial real estate professionals can directly engage with prospects in the easiest way possible. Quick, bite-sized videos can be easily shared on social media and consumed from any type of device.

We asked 4 leading video production companies; Kilograph, Arqui300 and RiseMedia and Cicada Design to share their most critical advice for planning to shoot your property, but first let’s review the main reasons why you should consider investing in video to market your commercial properties.

Why you should use video in commercial real estate marketing

  • You’re Taping Into a Larger Market – HubSpot estimates that 78% of people watch videos online every week and nearly 60% would prefer to watch than read. Video is what your prospects want to consume.
  • You Can Leverage Social Media – Social media is a huge component of a successful commercial real estate video marketing campaign. All major channels have video tools and it’s easier than ever to leverage them to increase your reach.
  • You Provide an Immersive Experience – Commercial real estate video, drone videos, and 3D tours go beyond anything you can do with text and photography to show a property in great detail.

340 Madison film by Arqui300 for RXR

It’s that last point in particular that really makes video a powerful platform for the commercial real estate industry. 

Effective video marketing can impact every element of your business. Listing videos are important and will play a role in your CRE marketing, but there are several other type of videos that can support those marketing efforts, including:

  • Drone Videos – Drone use has become ubiquitous in real estate. The low cost of drone technology, the availability of professional drone videography services, and the impact that an overhead view of your commercial property has make this a must.
  • Property Tours – Property tour videos are short 30 seconds to two-minute videos emphasizing key building amenities, with simple narration and overlay highlighting key elements of the property.
  • Digital Renditions – For new developments and properties under construction, digitally rendered property videos can help with the sales process before the property opens. These videos follow the same formula as property tours, but with digital renditions of what the space will look like when completed.
  • Property Commercials – A step beyond property tours, commercials are similar to TV ads, complete with succinct, value-driven narrative, and call to action. These are generally slightly shorter than property tours and rely on B-roll footage and voiceover to tell the story of the property.

What’s your advice to clients looking to use video to market a property?

Create curiosity

“Don’t try to say everything about the property in one short video. Be single-minded and create curiosity so that your target audience will reach out to you to find out more.

Look at creating a narrative that communicates synergy between your property brand and the surrounding neighborhood. Creativity works; people are much more likely to watch a video multiple times and share it when they are entertained.”

Jason Kinsella & John Michael Wilyat, Kilograph

Catalyst Film by Kilograph for Harvest Properties

Make video a part of your marketing strategy

“Promoting a property is definitely not only an effort that starts and end with a video, always explore a full marketing strategy with your agency.

The less is more approach always apply and specially in a society that often only reads the capital letters.
Explore competition so you just don’t copycat. Be cinematic rather than institutional, Be visual rather than detailed, Be Unique!”

Nuno Mesquita, Tiago Pinto, Arqui300

Consider your audience

“Make sure you are appealing to the right audience. The way a property film is structured determines its suitability to each type of prospective buyer. If you are marketing trendy, small office to rent for small businesses, the chances are that your property is one of hundreds that could be the right fit for your target buyer. In this instance, you need your property film to be fast and punchy for it to stand out from the crowd.

You want to quickly convey all key messages before your prospective buyer scrolls past. If you are marketing a larger, high-value property, then you want the film to reflect this with a longer edit length and more shots per area. In this instance, it is about providing more rather than less, as your prospective buyer will probably be looking at fewer options overall and will likely be keen to see more of the properties intricacies.”

Mark Lunt, RiseMedia

Lakeview Village by Cicada Design Inc. for Lakeview Community Partners

Consider video format

“When evaluating a video production consider how the assets you are recording can be reused and repackaged for different platforms and messages. Often a larger production can be recut for shorter social posts. If this is your intent you should be mindful of the formatting options for those platforms as the image aspect will affect the way you frame your subject. Feature content for your website and email campaigns tend to be longer but rarely more than a minute and half where social content is more commonly 15-30 seconds. Select aspects of the property can be celebrated individually as social posts.”

Spencer Rand, Cicada Design

Consider video promotion

“Consider where the property film is going. Before filming, you want to have a clear plan as to where the property film will live. Alongside the usual property portals and estate agent websites, you want to consider other platforms to promote your property. Are you marketing on Youtube pre-roll? Is the film going to live on Instagram?

Each platform favours different aspect ratios and edit lengths, so you want to brief the videography team on this beforehand to ensure the footage is optimised for your platform of choice.”

Mark Lunt, RiseMedia

Think outside the box

“Don’t be afraid to think outside the box. Fly-through films are the staple of property video marketing, they show the property itself but you could be missing out if you don’t consider other options such as lifestyle and local area films. A lifestyle film is typically more expensive to produce but uses models and actors to represent the lifestyle your property can provide.

Local area films work to profile the local area and showcase the travel connections, local amenities, and open spaces on your properties doorstep. These factors are often as important to a buyer as the quality and size of the property itself.”

Mark Lunt, RiseMedia

What property features are the most attractive to capture?

Adjacent Amenities: Location, Location, Location.

“If the property is located within or in proximity to a reputable neighborhood or iconic district this can serve as an excellent foundation for an attractive lifestyle narrative.”

John Michael Wilyat, Kilograph

Arena Tower Film by Kilograph for Aquila Commercial & Capella Commercial

Exterior, The Primary Workspaces, Communal Spaces and Boardrooms

“The video should focus on the property’s best aspects and leave the viewer wanting to see more. At Spaces, we typically focus on the exterior of the property, the primary workspaces, communal/break-out spaces and boardrooms. These tend to be the most impressive areas of the property. Other likely candidates are window views, garden space, and if they are impressive, the bathroom/shower facilities. As a general rule, you want to choose scenes with depth to them, shooting a room with enough space to have something in the foreground allows you to create a sense of being ‘in’ the property.”

Mark Lunt, RiseMedia

Onsite Amenities

“Feature the most unique and desirable aspects of the property’s amenity package to reinforce the value proposition. This can range from rooftop gardens to private parking, or even virtual amenities such as a digital concierge or a branded smartphone application, anything that generates meaningful value for your tenants.”

John Michael Wilyat, Kilograph

150 Fifth Avenue by Arqui300 for L&L Holding

Outdoor Spaces and Circulation

“Access to fresh air and natural light is becoming an exceedingly valuable feature to showcase as we all adapt to the “New Normal” in our lives and workplace environments.”

John Michael Wilyat, Kilograph

Add motion graphics

“Buildings in themselves are not inherently very engaging as a video subject. To create a more dynamic presentation motion graphics can dramatically elevate the video to capture the imagination and add a layer of magic, technical detail or visual direction to video. Most productions will incorporate a lower-third and some animated line work however, there is a wide range of story-telling techniques that can be applied to differentiate your video from this baseline.”

Spencer Rand, Cicada Design

What should clients consider when commissioning a video shoot?

“Pre-production is the key to success. The video’s production should be built on a foundation made up of three components: a creative brief, script, and casting document.

Develop a Creative Brief: At a minimum, this should highlight one simple message that captures your property’s value proposition, an explanation of the target audience, and any mandatory information critical to your project’s success.

Develop a Script: The script will describe the onscreen actions, locations, characters, and even wardrobe choices. This allows you to approve all of these critical elements and remain efficient in your communication and use of budget.

Develop a Casting Document: Prioritize your casting effort and lifestyle photography around showcasing specific user-groups. The talent represented in your custom shoot or stock photography should be a reflection of your target audience, whether that is the depiction of their occupations, cultural values, or ethnic diversity. Getting this right will go a long way toward constructing a more authentic narrative around your project.”

John Michael Wilyat, Kilograph

“When commissioning a video it is important to clarify the video budget in proportion to the opportunity. For a small lease a short live recording will do for larger vacancies demonstrating test-fits visually adding drone footage and shots of the amenities become more justifiable.”

Spencer Rand, Cicada Design

The Hudson | Vauxhall by RiseMedia for Woodvalley

“Make sure your property is presentable. Hiring an interior designer is an excellent way to make sure your property stands out from the crowd for both video and photography. If you don’t have the budget for this, simply making sure surfaces are clear and everything has been tidied is a great start for an excellent property film. We also recommend de-cluttering furniture. Make sure any furniture that makes the interior of your property look smaller has been removed before the shoot. Using furniture that is slightly lifted off the floor helps rooms look and feel more spacious.

Make sure all lights are working! Lighting is key in film making, and whilst the video team should be bringing their own lights for each scene, it’s important to give them plenty to work with in terms of the interior lights themselves. In film making terms, these lights are called practical lights. Nothing ruins a shot like one of the overhead lamps not working.

Fully brief the video team on the properties USP’s. An experienced property videographer will have a good idea of what’s important to film or not, but it is important to make sure they know the less obvious selling points of the property. For example, perhaps the property features original features that are rare to come by, or there are amazing nighttime lights outside. Make sure the video team knows exactly what you think are the properties’ best aspects in advance, so they can plan the best way to capture them.”

Mark Lunt, RiseMedia

Edmonton Ice District by Cicada Design Inc. for One PropertiesKatz Group

“Audio production can be as simple as a music track setting the cadence of the edit to full soundscape with little sound cues drawing your attention to finer details. As the quality of the visual content reaches higher benchmarks the audio should also.”

Spencer Rand, Cicada Design

Leveraging Commercial Real Estate Video Marketing for Your Properties

Implemented effectively, video marketing can have a substantial impact on your CRE business. Costs are lower than ever, resources and equipment are commercially available and provide professional-quality visuals, and prospects are much more receptive to video than traditional text and photography. The combination of drone footage, 3D camera footage, and traditional B-roll allows you to create comprehensive video representations of your properties in a time when remote viewing is vital.

Whether you hire a professional production company or leverage retail drones and cameras to produce video content in-house, the immediate impact of video marketing for your commercial properties will be substantial.