Marketing in the third dimension

Earlier this year, I wrote that 3D might just yet become the next frontier for real estate marketing online.

I think my exact words were: “Holy. Shit. The experience of buying a home is going to change.

I also tempered my enthusiasm in that post a bit, saying it might be a few years before we saw real results from the adoption of 3D tech.

I may have been too cautious.

Recently, we completed a project with our client Sotheby’s International Realty to integrate 3D tours into their listing detail pages.


We designed a new media gallery that combines property photos, video and 3D tours that earned them these kudos from Inman News:

Listing portals are known for introducing innovative features to the online property-search experience before their old-guard peers.

But Sotheby’s International Realty has bucked the trend.

The real estate franchisor beat the likes of Zillow and to hosting immersive 3-D home tours on its listing pages, appearing to join Redfin as the only other big-name property search site operator to support the experience.

Perhaps more exciting is news that in the weeks since the feature launched, SIR has already had two direct sales of properties right off their website as a result of these 3D tours.

Think about that for a moment. We’re talking multi-million-dollar homes (word has it they were north of $20M each) purchased sight-unseen simply because the buyers could tour the homes from afar.

Change indeed.

We have been working with several big brokers who get this. Companies like Pacific Sotheby’s International in San Diego and Better Homes and Gardens Rand Realty in New York have each made big investments in 3D tours for every one of their luxury listings. We’re working on their websites right now to highlight this content.

As an aside, Matterport has become the de facto gold standard for these property tours. I have to give the company credit for executing their vision in this space. Very few vendors can claim the brand equity that Matterport has created and this is a testament not only to their product, which is excellent, but to their persistence and professionalism of their team. I can’t think of a single industry event in the last couple of years in which I haven’t bumped into someone from Matterport.

I think the lesson here that every broker can take from the SIR experience, is that taking the time, energy and resources to create a truly differentiated experience online for your listings can bring significant rewards.

Industry consultant WAV Group has been banging this drum for a while. Lead with your inventory. But I’d go a step further.

Put your inventory on a pedestal. Your listings are better than the competition’s. Now prove it.

The web, particularly with advances like Matterport, still presents so much opportunity to merchandize and highlight homes in ways that are meaningful and actionable to buyers and also make sellers extremely happy.

The tech is here. Let’s use it.