Video killed the radio star but it’s driving customers engagement to record highs on Thehomepage.com.au

Thehomepage.com.au is reporting a jump in customer engagement since launching a new feature in July that positions video as the ‘hero’ in all listings — replacing still photography as the first thing a visitor sees.

These results were a surprise to Ben Stockdale, CEO.

What we weren’t expecting was the massive change that adding video would bring to the user engagement. We’ve seen our Average Session Duration climb to an average of 10.33 minutes, over a minute more than the market leader.

Since offering video, Thehomepage.com.au has displayed thousands of property videos supplied by agents via YouTube, Imageination, Visual Domain, Platinum HD and other video production houses.

Georgi Coward at Cunninghams Property in Balgowlah agrees.

Our videos have clearly sped up the buying process for us. They provide a great way to promote what lifestyle potential buyers might enjoy in the property and can quickly convey surrounding amenities and attractions.

The most watched videos on Thehomepage.com.au are two of the properties from ‘The Block’ TV series, 39 and 41 Cameron St, Richmond.

Ben also indicates:

Thehomepage.com.au is investing in new ways to use video to challenge the old ways of listing. New features will be progressively rolled out in 2011/2012.

Thehomepage.com.au was founded to challenge old business models by providing free standing listings, which now include video.
ABA Audited stats http://www.auditbureau.org.au/edata/masthead/show/thehomepage

Ben Stockdale, Cunninghams Property, Georgi Coward, Platinum HD, thehomepage.com.au, Visual Domain

SEO For Real Estate
Listing Leads
Agentpoint Real estate

About The Insider

Ryan has been involved in the real estate industry for a number of years. During this time he has operated web based real estate businesses along with provided consulting to the real estate software development industry. Ryan operates Agentpoint.com.au and is actively involved with the design and development of real estate systems, software and web sites in the United States, Australia and New Zealand.

26 Responses to Video killed the radio star but it’s driving customers engagement to record highs on Thehomepage.com.au

  1. Sandra Connors August 22, 2011 at 4:27 pm #

    I was so pleased when I read The Home Page was using video as the “hero”.
    One quick email to them and Ben was back to me in minutes letting me know the feed was all set up.
    I have a very, very happy vendor who feels like his listing has a premium position with it’s large image window and orange “video” tab which makes the listing stand out even more.
    Congratulations on a very simple, but effective change to the way Agents can list their properties.

  2. Vic August 22, 2011 at 5:18 pm #

    Well done Ben and team. Will be a big winner for you.

  3. Glenn Rogers August 22, 2011 at 5:35 pm #

    Yes well done now watch the majors copy.

  4. Matt August 22, 2011 at 11:04 pm #

    Ryan (and Glenn),

    Have you not noticed that Domain has been doing this for months, or do you simply not care to compare before posting yet another pro-Homepage advertorial?

    As with any listing of ours on Domain that has a video, the video player is embedded into the ‘hero’ shot position, with the video playable from the listing screen (no secondary window / gallery required). Our videos are also recognisable on the search pages, because they add the little play button into the thumbnail image.

    Credit where due gentlemen, The Homepage and REA are both behind Domain on this one.

  5. Sal Espro August 23, 2011 at 7:46 am #

    I guess that’s a “Sorry” to Domain, Glenn Rogers 🙂

  6. Ben Stockdale August 23, 2011 at 10:21 am #

    Hi Matt,

    Nowhere is it stated that we did it first. All credit goes to Domain for leading the pack in this area. Imitation is the highest form of flattery.

    I’d be interested to know more about what videos Domain accepts. Can you please confirm. It looks like YouTube videos are not shown. As you can see from the following links we’re displaying the video and Domain isn’t.

    We’ve found that the majority of the video we’re getting is from YouTube, so if Domain don’t accept it that’s a lot of video that’s only appearing on Thehomepage.com.au

    http://www.domain.com.au/Property/For-Sale/Apartment-Unit-Flat/QLD/Chermside/?adid=2009182854

    http://www.thehomepage.com.au/property/residential/chermside-4032-262878

  7. Glenn Rogers August 23, 2011 at 11:35 am #

    No I hadn’t looked, I dont look at the web site just get the alerts, thats all I need.
    No apology needed as you don’t know who I was referring to when I used the term “majors” 🙂

  8. PaulD August 23, 2011 at 12:46 pm #

    Matt,
    That may be the case where you use a Domain TV video, but it’s not where you have a virtual tour video. The Homepage has the video tab and video as the hero shot in the case of ANY video and Domain does NOT, so I’m thinking that there is no apology required, and that the Homepage is the first to do that in the case of ALL videos. It would be interesting to see what percentage of the videos on Domain are Domain TV. I’m guessing less than 1%

  9. Matt August 23, 2011 at 3:10 pm #

    Ha – good save Glenn, although most would argue that Domain certainly falls into the “major” category! 🙂

    PaulD – By “Domain TV” are you referring to videos produced by Domain’s preferred video production services?

    http://www.domain.com.au/Search/buy/Property/Types/House/State/NSW/Area/Eastern-Suburbs/Region/Sydney-Region/Suburb/Bellevue-Hill/?bedrooms=%3e5&from=3500000&to=4000000&searchterm=Bellevue+Hill&displmap=0

    Please click onto the first listing. I’m fairly confident that this video by IMAGEination (non-Domain) proves my earlier comment to be 100% accurate.

    As i correctly said earlier, “Domain has been doing this for months”. I don’t think you can group VT’s in with Video, they are a completely different offering, and the article we are commenting on only refers to Video.

  10. Glenn Rogers August 23, 2011 at 4:09 pm #

    Thats the first time I’ve seen that, I suggest the agents do away with the flashy first bit it’s useless and annoying.

  11. Matt August 23, 2011 at 5:03 pm #

    ^ Agreed!

  12. PaulD August 23, 2011 at 5:05 pm #

    Matt,
    The very example you used, also has the same video in as a Virtual Tour.
    My point is, that if you put the video in as a virtual tour it does not appear on the website with the arrow to commence playing the video. You will notice that it calls the virtual tour a video, as shown by the following.
    http://www.domain.com.au/Property/For-Sale/House/NSW/Bellevue-Hill/?adid=2009157621 so is this 100% ?

  13. Matt August 23, 2011 at 10:05 pm #

    PaulD

    I can’t speak as to what’s gone on in that example, I’d only be guessing. I don’t use VT’s whatsoever, so have never asked Domain about their policy or administration.

    What I do know is that when my office puts our Video URL’s into Domain’s Video URL field (ours are not produced by Domain) it generates a play button in both the search pages, and the hero shot of the property page.

    I think we’ve gone off topic a bit. My original and only point – that was (start bold italics) purely (end bold italics) about video – still stands.

    Domain beat the other portals to the punch in displaying video as a hero shot, with a play button icon. It’s a stone cold fact. They did. The post is about video, not tours.

    It should also be noted that a virtual tour isn’t a video (you referred to a “virtual tour video”) – if it was, it would be called a video. It’s a different product altogether.
    It seems that whilst The Homepage are second to the post to use the play button to showcase listings with videos (hats off to them for beating REA to it) they are the first portal to blur the lines of what constitutes the use of a play button.
    IMO play buttons should be reserved for videos only, but that’s another post altogether.

    Cheers,
    Matt

  14. Glenn Batten August 23, 2011 at 11:34 pm #

    Matt.

    My understanding is that a Virtual Tour comes in two types. A Panoramic Tour which is constructed from still images or a Video Tour which is taken using a video camera. The term “virtual” just means to simulate walking physically through the property.

    A Video Tour is always output as a video file but a Panoramic Tour can be rendered as a video file but a Panoramic Tour can also be one single image file rotated inside a viewer which can be done in Javascript, Flash or other technology.

    Of course there is a third type that also goes by the term video tour but is not shot on a video camera either. It is again still camera images that are rendered in a slideshow format where each image is animated using panning and ease-in or ease-out motion control techniques to infer movement. This technique especially when combined with some real stock video can be very effective.

    Each is just a different method of a Virtual Tour.

    The Video Tour field on most portals will take any link whether it be to a specific video file or to a html page that displays any type of Virtual Tour it does not really matter..

    What the HomePage seems to have done is auto detect video links and it auto embeds it into the hero position. It auto detects a video whether it links to a video file such as avi, mov or others or to flash video players like Youtube, PlatinumHD etc.

    This operates similar to how Facebook and other sites detect video. Enter an address of a video into facebook and it automatically adds the video with a play button into your feed. You friends can watch the video embeded into their wall.

    I believe that this automation of the process from a standard xml feed that they receive is unique to them, at least for now. But the article was not about doing anything first or before anybody else. That was not even mentioned was it?

  15. Matt August 24, 2011 at 12:31 am #

    Evening Glenn B,

    No, you’re right, there was no mention of a ‘first’ in the article, my initial comment came after Glenn R’s “Yes well done now watch the majors copy” comment was posted, to which Glenn later replied.

    I get what you’re saying about the three types falling under the one naming convention, but it’s a broad brush stroke, and a stretch IMO. Any Virtual Tour I’ve engaged with has required the viewer to drive the mouse around the stitched imagery, and is a ‘lean forward’ medium, requiring constant interaction. A slideshow, even with voice-over and music is still just that, a slideshow.

    I get disappointed when I click a play button and don’t see a ‘video’ video. It’s fleeting emotion, and I manage to get through my day, so no need for concern.

    Curious about the line in the article “..Thehomepage.com.au has displayed thousands of property videos” – I’d be surprised if there were a thousand property videos between their market share, let alone “thousands” plural.

    And that’s a wrap, I’ve got golf – er, a meeting in the morning.

  16. Vic August 24, 2011 at 8:08 am #

    Ryan, I am assuming that with thehomepage philosophy of FREE to list, that the video function is also free. Do you know whether this is the case and whether the same applies to Domain’s video function- or are these paid upgrades for both?

  17. Ben Stockdale August 24, 2011 at 9:35 am #

    Hi all,

    Matt – We have indeed had thousands of property video’s, 2130 to be exact, to date. We also keep on identifying new video suppliers to the number keeps on growing.

    Vic – Yes video play is FREE, no paid upgrades for that function as we’re just displaying the data better. If an agent wanted to upgrade we do pass the video into the individual property websites for just $99pa.

    Cheers
    Ben

  18. DJ Racer August 24, 2011 at 11:47 am #

    Well done Ben. It is refreshing to see your posts on this site. You seem to be very level headed, congratulations with the site.

    P.S. A little birdie told me that you are the bloke on the left (the three dudes wearing spectacles) in the video that appears on the front page of your site, is that right?

    Cheers,
    DJ

  19. Ben Stockdale August 24, 2011 at 12:08 pm #

    Hi DJ Racer,

    Thanks. We’re loving the positive reaction we’re getting from the real estate community and adjusting things as quickly as we can based on the feedback we get.

    I can neither confirm nor deny my secret identity ;0)

    Cheers

    Ben

  20. Sal Espro August 24, 2011 at 5:24 pm #

    Hi Ben, can you provide an example of a current listing with an independent URL, please? (What’s the usage of these upgrades been like?)

  21. Ryan O'Grady August 25, 2011 at 7:34 am #

    Matt, perhaps Domain should add me to their press release recipients the same way Thehomepage does.

    Vic, Thehoempage don’t charge and I’m not 100% certain but I think Domain do not charge as well. Features like this really enhance a user’s experience so although portals would love to charge for this, its in their interest to deploy it for all videos they have.

  22. Ben Stockdale August 25, 2011 at 4:13 pm #

    Hi Sal,

    Here is an example of a listing that’s been automated into an individual website http://23chapelstreetfitzroy.com/ It has inherited the video.

    Agents are loving them because there’s nothing to do. Nothing to upload or update. Some of the offices have made it a default part of their marketing and we automatically process their entire stocklist as it comes in.

    Cheers

    Ben

  23. Vic August 25, 2011 at 5:06 pm #

    Great stuff Ben- Love the owner doing her own video. So the agent defaults his entire stock irrespective of whether they have video and if it has video your system picks it up. Looking good.

  24. Shane Dale August 25, 2011 at 5:27 pm #

    Sorry guys – myhome.com.au was first in 2008 – with a similar idea but with virtual tour interactive floorplans and frankly i feel domain copied the idea – check it out still going strong – even though i dont run myhome anymore you can see what we were doing.

    http://www.myhome.com.au/search/?suburbs=ARMIDALE-2350

    I applaud thehomepage for doing this type of thing – it makes it a better site – would also love to see the myhome sliding thumbnails also included in your multi medi friendly listview ( we can happily provide the code for you) Buyers love it and its common to see a range of 300-1200% increase in hits to these properties if the listing is highlighted – I have over 10 years of stats, its a fact – I presume similar numbers accrue from highlighted video listings too..

    My opinion is that a video doesn’t compare favourably in usefulness to a buyer or cost to an interactive floorplan. If budget is no problem – video is fine and can be amazing. But even a less glamourous property is worthy of a surroundplan. yes I know – I run http://www.surroundplan.com.au because I believe in the product, ps yes it works on iphones too.

    If you were a buyer wouldnt you find a surroundplan handy?

  25. Glenn Rogers August 25, 2011 at 5:45 pm #

    Thats great Ben and owned by Alice in Wonderland too, should go for a bundle.

    No seriously thats a good video and great presentation.

  26. Vic August 27, 2011 at 11:36 am #

    A little off subject here but related. Do any agents use the QR code to connect to a video of the property- and if so how effective a tool for leads is it?

Leave a Reply