Image via Matterport
While traditional forms of marketing real estate fizzle out, a new era of digital marketing has dawned. Thanks to the global connectivity of the internet, people no longer have to turn to traditional media to market a home or condo or any other form of real estate. Gone are the days where consumers lack transparency into a market that once used to confuse and perplex everyday average individuals looking to buy or sell a home.
No. Today, consumers are savvy. As the internet has evolved, so has our unfettered access to information across the spectrum. In turn, the real estate market, which has been one of the most lucrative and profitable lines of business since the dawn of time, has seen an explosive growth of agents and owners vying for the buyer's attention through any form of digital marketing means.
Yet, like every other highly-saturated field, it's no longer simple to gain the customer's awareness. They've learned to weed out the nuisances and cancel the noise as they search for the perfect home on the web. With fierce competition in the marketplace, potential home buyers are armed with all the data they could possibly need, forcing real estate agents to compete and set themselves apart more fortuitously than before.
The truth? It's difficult to market a home on the internet. It's become excruciatingly painful to set yourself apart from the fray. With the biggest players in the market aggregating themselves through sites like Zillow, Trulia and others, most have come to realize that real estate marketing is an extremely complex field that requires weaving together a number of online marketing disciplines such as blogging, social media and search engine optimization, just to name a few.
While much of this has little to do with the everyday consumer, real estate agents are constantly searching for ways they can gain an edge in digital real estate marketing. To that effect, I pondered the question for a while about the future of real estate marketing. I wondered what realtors and owners were doing to set themselves apart in such a convoluted and competitive online space.
In a recent article where I covered virtual reality's impact on three different industries, one of those industries that I covered was real estate. The key player in that industry? Matterport. By far, this is one of the most innovative and impressive companies that I have come across and I wanted to dive in further to learn more about the product behind the company.
If you've never heard of Matterport, then prepare to be impressed. Their camera captures a 3D-dollhouse rendering of any space that can be toured and viewed, not only in virtual reality, but across any device. When real estate agents and home owners are looking for an edge in marketing their homes, condos, offices, yachts and anything else for that matter, they turn to Matterport.
I'm not often this impressed by a company's product or services. I've not been paid to endorse them and have no deals whatsoever in place. Yet, as a digital marketing sleuth and someone who is acutely vested in the real estate industry, I am always looking for the next best thing, so to speak.
In a brief conversation with Bill Brown, CEO of the company, he informed me that "Matterport’s mission is to give people the freedom to experience any place at any time... establishing 3D and VR models as a primary medium for experiencing, sharing, and re-imagining the world."
So to ensure that I sated my ongoing lust for information about the company's product, I reached out. The otherwise-expensive camera that the company provides is at the center of its technology. With its previous iteration hovering around the $5,000 mark (recently reduced to $3,600), some would consider this a significant investment. So, I wanted to give a test drive on my own. I wanted to see what all this hype was about.
Matterport came through. I reached out and was connected with Sibyl Chen and Chris Hoang, who graciously shipped me a loaner camera to put the tech to firsthand use. The goal? I wanted to see just how difficult it was to capture a space in 3D. I wanted to know if this really was the cutting edge tech that lived up to all the hype. If you've never seen a Matterport scan or 'flown through' a Matterport home, then you can see a variety of examples in their gallery, here.
Chen informs me that Matterport has captured over 400,000 spaces in over 70 countries. This includes not only traditional real estate in the form of homes and condos, but also commercial real estate, hotels, retail shops, restaurants and even historical museums and other landmarks around the world. In total, these spaces have received over 100,000,000 million views. Here are some of the most interesting things that have been done with these spaces:
- Real estate transactions (on homes with prices points as high as $8million)
- Vacation rental bookings all over the world
- Venue booking for corporate events, wedding, etc
- Education of telemarketing staff on features in different hotels they “support”
- Communications with facilities staff to to support maintenance needs
- Construction documentation for commercial buildings
- As built capture of major commercial buildings
- Journalistic and immersive storytelling of culturally or historically significant real world locations (e.g. Iraq bomb site, Rosa Parks Bus, Martin Luther King church)
- Interactive walk throughs of TV sets (e.g. Seinfeld set)