Facebook Goes Virtual: What This Means for Real Estate

Blog Post by Sarah Malcolm, Chief Digital Strategist at The News Funnel

Connect with Sarah on LinkedIn, Twitter or Email

Anyone who's been keeping up with real estate technology trends knows that virtual reality and augmented reality are not the wave of the future. They are the wave of right now. What’s new is who’s providing VR technology. For real estate, what typically has been the domain of niche providers is moving into the content marketing realm. While YouTube has supported 360° video since 2015, that's not entirely unexpected for the video hosting platform. What is new is that social media giant Facebook recently announced its network will now support 360° video, the launch of Facebook Spaces app, and the Oculus Rift headset.

Facebook leadership has been promoting virtual reality as the future of social and the company’s work supports this belief. New features make it easier for Facebook users to watch 360° videos on the platform. The second generation of Facebook’s 360° cameras recently launched. Its VR headset, Oculus Rift, reached the market in 2016. The headset pairs with the recently unveiled Facebook Spaces app, where users interact in virtual worlds through the headset. Finally, Facebook’s new AR Studio allows the public to build customized augmented reality filters to add into photos and videos. If money speaks, Facebook’s investments into VR/AR are shouting the social network believes in the potential of VR/AR tech.

What does this mean for the real estate industry?

Right now, when a real estate professional creates a virtual reality space for a listing, that video is created with special capture equipment and often hosted on the provider's website or server. Depending on the virtual service used, the real estate agent has different options in terms of editing and sharing. The real estate agent controls privacy settings for that video. The service provider often creates an embeddable code for a real estate website or a special link that will direct the potential buyer to view the virtual tour.

Now imagine sharing instantly virtual reality and augmented reality tours across your social networks. There will be no need for someone to click on a link to a website only to click again for the virtual tour. Considering Facebook’s autoplay for videos. The engagement and viewership reach has the potential for serious WOW factor.

Imagine what it would be like to boost a virtual tour on Facebook. Right now Facebook is still testing advertising using 360° video, meaning it's highly likely in the near future that creating paid advertising campaigns on social networks will exist for 360° or virtual reality video.

As interest grows in VR, virtual headsets sales are growing exponentially. While right now it's foreign to think of the average consumer owning a personal virtual headset, just remember two decades ago it was unusual for someone to own a personal computer. Soon buyers could view your customized social campaign VR tours before contacting you about the property.

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