YouTube Is Not A Magic Elixir...And The Data Proves It

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**UPFRONT DISCLAIMER: I own a real estate video company - though I try to stay focused on empirical data in the posting below, I do have a financial stake in a different company focused on the same market


This morning we looked at every You Tube property video that was marked as "1 week ago".  This means that the real estate video had been posted between 7-13 days ago.  Within our own company, we consider the first two weeks critical as it is a reasonable timeframe to begin to see tangible results not only in terms of visitors but also in terms of visitor feedback and action (contacts, etc.)  We specifically excluded certain types of videos that were not strictly property video - interviews, drivethrus, seminars, promotional videos etc..  Although to be honest, the results would not have been much different.


We found the following empirical data:

Number of Property Videos Posted To YouTube During This Period: 235

Total Number of Views of All 235 Videos: 3775

Average Number of Video Views after being posted more than one week and less than two: 16 views

Mean Number of Video Views (50% with views above and 50% below) during same period:  8 views

The much lower mean number signifies that there are a few "watched more than others" videos propping up the average. These are hardly eye-popping bifurcation points - a video from greece with 125 views, toronto with 202, two from CA with 125 and 113 respectively, and then the clear winner from India with 360.  No other videos are even close to 100 views in their first 7-13 days of YouTube life. 

We've talked about YouTube before in terms of effectiveness (sales) but the numbers here are too paltry to even begin to consistently generate sales.  Note: You are easily able to reproduce the results by searching "real estate", sorting by most recent, and capturing data about the videos that are marked "1 week ago".  This data is fairly telling of how effective YouTube really is or, in this case, is not (and I am a strong proponent of real estate video of any form).  


We've previously discussed issues with YouTube. Our own fledgling 6 month old site in English and Spanish have completely different and much more positive numbers than the much better known YouTube site - if you haven't heard about us, each property video is narrated in English, Spanish, and Portuguese as part of our standard video package.  To compare with Youtube, each of our language videos for the same property gets at least an order of magnitude of YouTube's video views which means  that any single property video on our site across all 3 languages will get between 20 and 30 times the video views of the Youtube site within 2 weeks. Perhaps, it is a standards issue but we think that it is more likely people prefer LARGE video with crisper resolution and no buffering.  I would not be surprised if other dedicated real estate video portals also handily surpass YouTube's results.

This data supports what we have suspected anecdotally about YouTube for some time. We'll have better data in the coming weeks but it seems that YouTube only generates about 15,000 video videos per months for properties.  Our site had 60,000 real estate videos watched in March 2007 alone arguably making us one of one more trafficked real estate video around - all this without a single US property video.....yet. 

Guess where we are headed next? 

Tony      (daily blog:





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Keith Jeppson - Salt Lake City Real Estate
Everest Realty Group - Holladay, UT
Interesting information A. Grey. I've not gotten into video yet, but will certainly check your group as I lead into it.
May 06, 2007 01:07 PM #4
A. Grey - Bremerton, WA
Real Estate Video Mentor -

Rich:  I'm currently spending about 8 months per year travelling about in Latin America.  I prefer to come up to WA when the weather is nice  :)  I'll shoot you a mail when I am back in town. I'd also like to get a video interview with you  ;)

Keith: I'm always available for technical assistance or to answer questions. Thanks for stopping by

May 06, 2007 01:11 PM #5
Larry Bettag
Larry Bettag - Cherry Creek Mortgage - Saint Charles, IL
Regional Vice-President
Curious about video...this is informative...thanks
May 06, 2007 01:30 PM #6
A. Grey - Bremerton, WA
Real Estate Video Mentor -
Larry:  You are certainly welcome. 
May 06, 2007 01:38 PM #7
Eric Carlsen
The Scene Lab - New York, NY
Great post. YouTube is a video phenomenon but not the goldmine that some make it out to be for real estate professionals.  We do not put any of our content on YouTube, mostly because it does not fit into our target demographic - the luxury niche.

That being said, I wrote a post on this topic yesterday, and Fred Light made a valid point that videos loaded on YouTube and properly categorized and tagged will positively impact your search engine rankings, particularly on Google. I thought that was an interesting tidbit. While it doesn't necessarily apply for everyone, I thought it worth passing on.
May 06, 2007 01:58 PM #8
A. Grey - Bremerton, WA
Real Estate Video Mentor -

A million thank yous to whomever elevated this entry as a featured post.

I dont know how the "featured" post process works at all but I am humbled every day by the great folks that participate on this site. 

Thanks again.


May 06, 2007 02:00 PM #9
A. Grey - Bremerton, WA
Real Estate Video Mentor -


I read your points on your post and totally see why it would not work for doesnt work for us either for many of the same points :)  That said, Fred is *the* king of real estate video so his point of view is definitely worthy of consideration.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts.



May 06, 2007 02:05 PM #10
Ana Connell
G & C Properties - Burbank, CA
Burbank Real Estate Agent
Great post, thanks for the info, very valuable.
May 06, 2007 02:31 PM #11
Marlene Bridges
Village Real Estate Services, Inc. - Laguna Hills, CA
Laguna Homes|Laguna Condos|Laguna Real Estate
A. - You are both knowledgeable and articulate.  I appreciate you sharing your expertise, you tube analysis and opinions. There is so much to learn. Each day I read and learn there is so much I don't know! 
May 06, 2007 04:06 PM #12
Abraham Chaffin
Sand Shell Realty - Cambria, CA
Cambria Real Estate
I personally use you tube as a storage device for clients who want to upload their videos to a public domain and then to use the embed feature to put videos other places (website / blog / mls). Is there a better site to do this with?   
May 06, 2007 04:16 PM #13
Horace V Bryan
Mr. Grey, there is inst one small point that you may be missing. Perception is capable of killing or curing. A takeoff on the phrase "BELIEF kills and belief cures."  JUST INCASE my point did not register, good perception Bullds on itself, BAD perception feeds on itself.  In other words more, products have failed because they were underrated than because they were overrated, especially if the 'product moves to live up to it "overratedness".
May 06, 2007 05:57 PM #14
Daniel Gates
Insure Consulting - Palm Bay, FL
Nice job on the number crunching.  Good luck getting off the ground in the US.
May 06, 2007 05:57 PM #15
Chris Lengquist
Ad Astra Realty - Olathe, KS
Kansas City Real Estate Investing
I'm a numbers guy, too.  Thanks for breaking it down.  I just haven't moved into the video arena yet.  More articles on the subject would be appreciated.
May 06, 2007 06:09 PM #16
A. Grey - Bremerton, WA
Real Estate Video Mentor -

Ana: Thank you

Marlene: Eery day is an opportunity to learn for me as well

Abraham:  we'll expect to have the same capability, convert, and embed capability within the next week or two

Horace:  excellent advice.  Thanks for stopping by.

Daniel:  Thanks...stay tuned for our US plans

May 06, 2007 06:11 PM #17
A. Grey - Bremerton, WA
Real Estate Video Mentor -

Chris:  More are forthcoming.  There is a subscribe button at the top of the page and to the right  :)


May 06, 2007 06:12 PM #18
Fred Light
| Nashua Video Tours - Nashua, NH
Real Estate Video Tours for MA and NH

The KING?  You've GOT to be kidding!  LOL  I'm still trying to figure out what the hell I'm doing...  :)

I'm primarily a web designer, so my main focus is getting eyeballs to the clients' website.  Since a number of these video sites (not YouTube, but most others) DO get indexed in Google where customers DO search, and since it's FREE to upload - I figure you've got absolutely nothing to lose. 

Additionally, as a listing tool, it's pretty impressive to tell your customer that their home will be on the first page or two of Google in a few days! And my experience is that happens about 90% of the time, depending on how competitive the search terms are.

However, once every Tom, Dick and Harry that takes a bunch of still photographs, applies the "Ken Burn's Effect", throw in some copyrighted music and then calls it a video figures out how to convert them and upload them to these sites, my guess is the effectiveness will be gone. Fortunately, most of those slide shows (aka 'videos') are flash and most people won't be able to figure out how to convert them!

May 06, 2007 07:21 PM #19
A. Grey - Bremerton, WA
Real Estate Video Mentor -

Fred:  Thanks for your comments.  Hey, the Ken burns effect worked for Ken Burns!  My favorite copyrighted music story involved a video with "Stairway To Heaven" at max volume and the property owner insisting that it stay.  Take care


May 06, 2007 07:40 PM #20
Jacqulyn Richey
Prominent Realty Group - Las Vegas, NV
Las Vegas Real Estate
Very interesting data. How did consumers react to embedded video on your site? -Charles
May 06, 2007 09:33 PM #21
Toya Condelee
Exit Realty Results - Carson, CA

It's free, so why not?

I go with the video king's suggestion about putting it up there helping to increase google ranking.

Nothing wrong with that. 

May 07, 2007 06:57 PM #22
Dee Copeland
Copeland Group Realty - Austin, TX
Principal Broker
I'm with you and like it when someone researches before employing a new strategy. Thanks for this post.
May 11, 2007 11:35 PM #23
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A. Grey

Real Estate Video Mentor -

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