Coldwell Banker showing infotainment videos

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With the ongoing national attention on the sometimes booming, sometimes falling housing market, imagining a dream home has become a regular game for American consumers.

Real estate agency Coldwell Banker has found tapping into consumers' home-shopping fantasies with videos is a good way to acquire new customers. The brokerage firm sees video as a way to provide consumers with entertaining content on housing.

"There is a race going on online, looking to catch consumers who are looking to buy or sell a home," said Charlie Young, senior vice president of marketing at Coldwell Banker. "We use videos to attract shoppers in the dreaming phase to give them some infotainment."

Since the company began using video on its Web site a year ago, it has reported more than 300,000 unique streams. The top three videos viewed include "Finding your dream home," "Finding an agent" and "Buying your first home." The average time spent viewing is between three and four minutes.

While there are no metrics available that directly link sales to videos played, Young said that video plays a key role in the overall shopping experience.

"The way consumers operate in real estate up front is a process of looking," Young said. "We see video as a cornerstone to this process."

Coldwell Banker works with video production company Turn Here to create short films about local neighborhoods, and the company works with the HDTV network to help create educational vignettes on buying and selling homes. The videos are hosted by broadband video services firm The FeedRoom. Content from TV commercials is either used as is or reformatted for the Web to keep the brand message consistent across media. In addition, the network of 120,000 sales associates is able to post videos on individual listings.

The real estate agency uses paid search and banner ads to draw consumers to its site at www.coldwellbanker.com. To promote the video content, the agency has calls to action on pages throughout its site, including the home page.

Despite the cool down in the housing market and the increase in foreclosures, traffic to the real estate agent's Web site has seen a 15 percent growth since last year.

"We've seen that even though transactions in the market have slowed down, interest is still there, as demonstrated by traffic to our Web site and user engagement," Young said.

In addition to video content, Coldwell Banker has plans to let sellers create their own content and post it on its site.

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