Creating Interactive and Risk-Free Content for Multifamily Websites
As discussed in RealWorld 2018 sessions
You see it everywhere—animated logos in Times Square, digital billboards at the mall, streaming ads on internet banners. Moving images are the advertiser’s medium of choice, and marketers from all industries have made plenty of headway. So when property managers rely on still footage in 3D floor plans and virtual tours to capture an audience on their multifamily websites, they may be losing to a generation that responds best to interactive, immersive advertising.
Cresta McDaniel, Content Services Manager for Storybooks and Interactive Sitemaps, spent hours uploading still photographs to websites until she realized there might be a better way to make properties more attractive and simpler to access.
“I noticed there was a video button and that sort of started to get me thinking—what else can we provide for clients on their websites that would be a little bit more dynamic?”
She found that average viewers like herself wanted to experience a property, not scroll through one. “I like instant gratifications,” said McDaniel. ”Let me see what this looks like, what’s available, and even what’s in the neighborhood—what’s around it.” While websites for weddings and conferences often get the glam treatment with eye-catching graphics and interactive videos, multifamily websites are still years behind. “The [interactive] format is probably used for photography if they’re doing weddings or conferences, but nothing for multifamily housing.”
Property managers are also failing to guard their assets so they don’t infringe on someone else’s ownership. “Our clients are facing lawsuit litigations,” said Erin Mitchell, Senior Product Manager for RealPage. “One of them in particular I think amounted to $10,000 per image per day of use. It’s slowly creeping in and getting worse and worse, so we’re trying to find new innovative ways to get ahead of it.”
But as more and more property managers are wondering, is jazzing up their brand with websites and sitemaps more engaging than the usual 3D floor plans and virtual tours? And furthermore, how do they keep their photographs, videos and digital assets from being sued?
“Storybook” and interactive sitemaps simplify lives
To fill the creative void in multifamily web browsing, McDaniel and her team developed “Storybook”, an instant-access experience that invites website visitors to tour a property with the click of a button. “With the Storybook, it’s simply just clicking a play button and then there.” Custom music plays as the storybook guides viewers through nearby parks, the gourmet kitchen, the outdoor balcony and the rest of the property as if the viewer were a fly on the wall. “We did it in such a way where it was a visual narrative of the client’s property in about 57 seconds,” she said. “One piece, one function, 57 seconds, because [with] people, you lose them at that length of time.”
Also about to release, new interactive sitemap technology allows prospects to see whether a unit is available or not without any hassle. “The interactive sitemap again is an instant gratification,” McDaniel said. “[If] I want that unit and I click on it, ‘Oh, darn, that’s not available.’ I hover over to the next one, pull it up, and it’ll take me to, ‘Available. Start your leasing process now.’”
Another new product is about to launch—one that protects digital assets from litigation issues. This product explains the risk behind each digital asset, saving property managers time and money. “[We] offer them a solution to say, ‘Hey, these images are really risky. We’d recommend that you get rid of them. Ditch them out of your portfolio. Replace them with something new.’” She added, “We can also offer service to help you replace that and get you in touch with creatives to help you replace that work.”