September 19, 2019

The Emotional Value of Video vs. 3D

For most, buying a house is an emotional experience.  Sure, there are bottom lines, necessities, and make-it-or-break-it features, but once all of the boxes are checked, it is emotional appeal that sets one listing, one home, apart from the others.  As you approach your video marketing, then, it is essential that you tell a story that will appeal to the emotions of your audience.

A few years ago, we started hearing a lot about 3D technology for marketing.  While there has certainly been progress in this arena, and even in the real estate market, there are a few things to think about when considering 3D as a marketing tool, especially if you are planning to do video or 3D, not both.  For example:

-What is your inventory?
-How versatile do you want your content to be?

-What is the story you want to tell?

-What do you want your audience to experience?

Before we answer those questions, let’s take a quick look at some pros and cons of video and 3D so you can decide for yourself if jumping into the 3D game is the right move for you.




-First and foremost, relatability.  With video, your product will look just as it would at an actual walkthrough.  

-Practicality:  Video is typically quicker to  produce, and depending on the project, often much more affordable.

-Emotional.  With video, you can tell a story via a medium that people are used to.  Think of watching a movie, and how body language and so much more adds to the emotion of the experience.

- Human scale. Video allows you to use a person in a shot to give perspective on size.  This is especially useful in property tours to allow viewers to picture themselves within a home.


-Pretty much anything is possible.  For products and/or services that are abstract, this is a great choice.  For an as-of-yet unbuilt home, for instance, this could be very useful.

-Future editing and use.  Because of the sheer number of images/layers used, you have a lot to go back to for future projects.


-Not everything is possible.  One thing we see in 3D, for instance, is that views can be created that can’t be done in video.  For instance, the roof can be lifted, giving the viewer access to the interior layout of the home from above. 

-Editing limitations.  Once the filming is complete, you can only draw from what you already have. 

-Less visually valuable in demonstrating future uses of space (virtual staging).



-Time and Money.  3D video takes a long time to create, and there are some serious costs included, such as a special camera.  

-Practicality.  Does what 3D gives you translate to a good story for your viewer?  Will it enrich their home-buying experience?

-Proprietary formats. Video is a standard web format and medium at this point. Google sees it on your site, social platforms know what to do with it, etc. Video is not unlike photos on the web and 3D just is not compatible across search and social platforms.   

Having considered the pros and cons above, let’s look at the questions that preceded them.

-What is your inventory?

If you are marketing properties that haven’t yet been built, there is a pretty strong argument for 3D being the route to take.  You can create renderings of the property, insert furnishings, and give the viewer a simulated experience. If, however, the properties you are marketing already exist, the emotional power of video is what you want (we admit full and complete bias here).  Yes, you are trying to sell a house (or apartment, condo, etc.), but what you are really selling is an experience. Can you convey to your audience what it will feel like to live in this space? With real furnishings, music, narration, and natural movements that could legitimately be experienced everyday, your viewer will come away not only knowing what the property looks like, but feeling what it would be like to be inside.  That is the key. If you can play to that feeling, you have a better chance of getting the viewer to actually visit the property.

-How versatile do you want your content to be?

With 3D, you are marketing one property, one experience, and often you are butting up against fees that limit the amount of content you can host.  With video, however, you can include evergreen content from other, pre-existing videos. So, it really just depends on what you are going for here.  If the surrounding neighborhood/town doesn’t matter, 3D could be a viable option. However, many potential buyers will want to see more than just the inside of the house they might eventually call home.  Being able to see where the house sits in regards to the community, what activities are at your doorstep, and what things look like from above (drone footage) are all ways to entice your potential clients.  Think of all the things that can be experienced in the area around the house, and include these things. This helps your viewer make more of an emotional connection to the property.

-What is the story you want to tell?

When video first arrived in the real estate space, it was more than enough to take potential buyers on a tour of the inside and outside of the home.  That took an agent’s game to a completely different level. However, that’s no longer the case. What viewers really want to know is what it will be like, what it will feel like, to live in a given place.  For instance, including what to expect during the drive up to the house, or giving perspective of the surrounding streets can be very effective. Also, showing people engaged in everyday activities gives an emotional connection to the place.  Think of all of the things that you do in a day, and how that creates your story. Consider including these things in your videos.  

-What do you want your audience to experience?

This is really the ultimate experience.  Going the 3D route can be very effective if you want your prospective clients to experience, for example, a building that hasn’t yet been built.  Video certainly can’t do that. Further, 3D still has a bit of a futuristic edge to it, so if that is your angle, it makes a lot of sense. However, if you are looking to make an emotional connection for your clients, to show them what a day in the life of this property might be like, we suggest video as the way to go.  It is natural and seamless when produced well, and your choices of actors (or lack thereof), styles of shots, and music can go a really long way to leave your viewer curious enough to schedule an in-person showing. The beautiful thing in that case is that they will already know what questions they have and what areas they want to learn more about.  

At the end of the day, both video and 3D have their upsides and their limitations.  Unfortunately, there aren’t a lot of statistics out there comparing the two. What we know is this:  video in the real estate world, from marketing listings to creating agent bios to creating stories that tell the philosophy and mission of a company, is here to stay.

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