The Power of Online Videos in Your Apartment Marketing

4 minute read

Video can be a marketer’s most powerful tool but using it effectively can be tricky.

Video is one of the most powerful online rental housing marketing tools at the industry’s disposal today. In fact, according to a survey from Bitable, about 82% of all online traffic is related to video, which is 15 times higher than it was in 2017. Using it effectively, however, can be the tricky part.

Social apps like Instagram, TikTok, YouTube and Snapchat are blurring the lines between entertainment and social media. And that probably explains the 3.7 hours a day we spend on our mobile devices, according to App Annie. The blurring lines are also resulting in more competition for your residents’ time.

YouTube vs. Reels and TikTok

YouTube has long been the king of online video content. The platform reports more than 2 billion active users who upload more than 500 hours of video every minute. However, there’s some new competitors in the clubhouse who are taking an increasingly large piece of the video pie — TikTok and Instagram/Facebook Reels.

Quite strategically, Facebook and Instagram have been restructuring their newsfeed algorithms to favor their own video content. For example, a Reel uploaded directly to Facebook carries more weight in the newsfeed than a link shared via YouTube. Also, only Facebook videos enjoy the benefit of autoplay.

Furthermore, Facebook has a “view counter” to videos posted on company pages. By Facebook leveraging its massive user base (2.9 billion monthly active users), it’s no wonder they’ve been able to capture a significant piece of the online video market.

Now, what does this mean for multifamily marketers? The current social media environment actually creates several opportunities for marketers.

Following is a closer examination of some examples in apartment marketing.

Video Marketing for Real Estate

Where are these opportunities? In a nutshell, Facebook and YouTube each support different types of video messaging, which work well in tandem.

First, consider the difference between the two platforms. At its core, Facebook is a social network (which has integrated video hosting), whereas YouTube is a video-hosting platform (which has integrated characteristics of a social network). This changes the nature of the content. Which brings us to Rule No. 1…

Rule No. 1 — Cater to the Platform

On Facebook, videos are meant to be timely, ephemeral and quickly digested; in contrast, YouTube videos are more permanent, topically specialized and geared toward search-engine reach.

Think about how people use each platform. Users go to YouTube to consume videos, whereas Facebook videos must be quickly digested in a scrolling newsfeed. Thus, YouTube is for your “meat and potatoes'' — things like apartment tours.

Facebook videos and Instagram Reels should focus less on “informing” and more on “grabbing attention.” These videos and Reels have to be compelling. Ideas for content? String together 30 seconds worth of photography for a “quick tour” of your property, then send your viewers to YouTube for the full-length version.

Another idea? Create a short how-to video (e.g., “DIY picture frame”) to engage with current residents. Remember to include your most powerful visuals at the beginning of the video to grab attention.

Rule No. 2 — Don’t Ignore Titles

A common mistake is spending time on your video content and then ignoring your titles or captions. You may have created the best video content in the world, but without an intriguing title, no one’s going to click. Likewise, if you don’t have a compelling caption and relevant hashtags, your content is not likely to engage your viewers beyond just one video view. Video titles and social media messages should be:

  • Interesting
  • Descriptive
  • Convey value (i.e., what’s the viewer going to learn from watching?)

Facebook titles should highlight brevity. For example, “Industrial chic meets the best views in Dallas. Watch our 60-second tour of One Dallas Center.”

YouTube messaging, on the other hand, should cater toward multifamily search engine optimization (SEO). It’s often wise to have the apartment location (e.g., Uptown Dallas) in the title, description and tags. That way, people searching the internet for apartments in “Uptown Dallas” will be more likely to stumble across your five-minute video tour.

Leveraging Videos to Maximize Results

As the rivalry heats up between social platforms, multifamily marketers have an opportunity to leverage both types of video to maximize results. As you create video content, remember both rules: (1) keep the platform in mind, and (2) put some elbow grease into your title!

Ashley Tyndall is Chief Relationship Officer for Criterion.B.