The Future of Drone Footage in The Marketing World

Whether they are depicting a new perspective from the sky or being used to enhance a video, drones allow users to discover how evolving technology can aid in seeing and sharing a story.

Drones — also known as unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) have been flying around our skies for years now, but 2013 was the first year with a popular consumer drone, The Phantom. The Phantom was the first consumer drone with a camera attached to it which led to an entirely new sector in photography, videography, and marketing led by Chinese company Da-Jiang Innovations, or DJI. The Phantom kickstarted the consumer drone industry which is now valued in the billions.

The Current Role of Drone Footage

Drones are being used in many different marketing manners, with a heavy use in real estate, event videography, resort marketing, commercials, and much more. Each of these industries have been revolutionized by the drone, with different tactics being used on each.

Real Estate and Drones

Attempting to list any type of real estate in the online world we know without drone photography or videography is futile. There a few important things that drones can do that a normal camera cannot whenever dealing with real estate.

This photo by Dallas Air Photos shows the difference between an aerial shot and a regular photo. According to MLS statistics, the properties photographed by drones sold 68 percent faster.

This photo gives an all-encompassing aerial view of the house and shows exactly what it has to offer. It is clear how the larger picture would make it an easier sell by giving you a perspective of how close the house was to the river.

Videos are a great way to walk someone through a piece of property they are interested in renting or buying. Drone footage just adds to this by doing flyovers and quickly displaying the best features of a property.

Another important thing whenever considering residential real estate is that you can properly show the neighborhood in a video. It is easy to include a video of the street your kids might be walking to school to, or the nearyby amenities such as a pool or park in the neighborhood.

Virtual Drone Tour of Castle Farms

Aside from normal residential housing, mansions like the one above are best displayed with the use of a drone. It is the only way to show the viewer exactly how vast the property actually is.

The initial “awe” that came from the first few drone videos like the one above may have faded, but it is still the top tool when compared to the possible ways of displaying the exterior of your property.

Travel, Resort, and Hotel Drone Marketing

One of the best ways to market a resort is by showing all of the fun things you can do. This is often done in two different ways: up close and personal videos such as an underwater camera with someone scuba diving or other fun activities, or aerial videography encompassing multiple things to do all at once.

Drone footage allows resorts with lower budgets to create the same level of marketing content as the best resorts in the world. It adds the aerial footage which is otherwise impossible or very expensive to capture for the resorts.

With the growing number of amateur drone pilots, resorts have also seen an influx of aerial footage on social media being shared. This is generally free for the resorts but due to the high-quality drones that consumers are able to purchase, the social media content is top notch.

Drone footage being used to exemplify the wonders of Bora Bora

This Video is a perfect example of how resorts around the world are combining these two different methods, up close and aerial videography to create compelling content advertising what they have to offer.

Event/Festival Drone Marketing

Drone footage of large events is one of the newer uses in drone videography but adds such a powerful element to their marketing. In the past, photographers or videographers was in stands above crowds to get “the perfect shot” but these limit the photo to a much more linear result. Drones allow the pilot to go high enough to easily capture the entire event.

Another incredible quality that using a drone vs the old fashion way has is the mobility. When in the stand above the crowd, the photographer or videographer were limited to one position looking around at a max of 360 degrees. With the drone, you are able to capture every angle you are looking for.

Drone footage used in Coachella Music Festival video

Coachella and other music festivals are perfect events to showcase drone footage. Videographers are in control of displaying festivals like this as a fun and magical place, and with all of the different tools they are given in today’s time, it is very possible to do just that.

Using Drones in Commercials

Aerial views in commercials are not necessarily a new thing, companies have been renting helicopter teams for years to get similar footage. However, the mobility and price of creating a commercial with aerial footage have greatly moved in favor of the companies creating them. Drones give smaller companies the chance to build that compelling commercial that only brands with a high advertising budget could do years ago.

Drones have a very wide range in price. The amateur consumer drones range anywhere from $500 to $2000, anything above this is usually only used by professionals. A drone such as the Parrot BEBOP 2 costs $699 and is considered a beginner drone, with the DJI Mavic Pro($999) or Phantom 4 Pro($1499) being made for the top notch amateurs, and also mid-range professionals. As mentioned earlier, DJI holds the majority of the market, and for good reason. I currently own the DJI Mavic Pro and have enjoyed all of my flights while capturing incredible content (featured below).

Honda Pilot commercial filmed primarily with the RED Epic camera carried by Drone

This car commercial used a high-end commercial camera known as RED Epic($20,000-$50,000), which was attached to a stabilized drone. This drone gives pilots the ability to fly a high-end camera, giving them higher quality shots and the same mobility as a middle-tier drone.

Drones are just now finding their place in the marketing world of video and photography. They are constantly being used to try new and innovative ways of marketing and will continue to be used in this way for the time being. However, we can speculate on what the future of drones in the marketing world will look like.

What Will Happen in The Future of Drone Video and Photography?

To really understand how rapidly the drone industry is innovating, I want to point out that the current things drones are being used for (which I went over in the above section) have only really become popular and feasible in the past 5–10 years. The technology has been around to create drones for decades now, but there has never been a high enough demand to mass produce them which means that production costs have remained high, keeping them from the average consumer.

The popularization of social media and the influx of videos on the internet have made people crazy about drones. This has given companies like DJI the ability to ramp up their economies of scale and mass produce their drones at a lower cost and constantly innovate. This innovation has brought more spotlight to the drone industry which has also increased these effects.

It seems that every few months there are updates or new companies in the drone world. As of April 2017, Apple even decided to sell a selfie drone in their stores around the world. This drone, the Hover Camera Passport has exactly what it takes to become a mainstream technology product. It is small, portable, useful, and $499 which is not too expensive for the drone market. It is strictly meant for selfies, but it shows the possibilities of drone footage in the marketing world.

Last year included some of the biggest technological advancements and also the legalization of commercial drone use by the FAA. This legalization is the first drone regulation the United States has passed in congress. We can expect to see more of this in the future as the industry grows.

Thanks to this legislation, hobbyists can now register their drone for only $5 and are allowed to fly and post their videos or pictures online as long as there is no commercial intent. Commercial pilots must earn their remote pilot certification, but are then allowed to charge clients for aerial photography and video work. These changes have made 2016 known as the turning point for drone technology.

With drones being such a new and hot technology, do you think these companies will be able to keep this growth and innovation going?

To answer this question, we first need to understand the video industry and what makes it special. Video is the fastest growing content on the internet!

There are so many benefits when using video compared to plain text or photos on the internet. Here are some facts showing why it is so important:

  1. When used in email, video increases click through rate 200–300% in marketing campaigns.
  2. 90 percent of buyers say that product videos are helpful in their decision process
  3. real estate listings accompanied by a video receive 403 percent more inquiries than those that aren’t, and only 9% of real estate brokers include video

After realizing the power of online video marketing, marketers know that they have to utilize the newest technologies to make their videos the most effective. Drones are one of these new methods to make sure their videos are capturing and informative.

Whether the drone is being used to film an event, commercial, promotional video, sport, or anything else, it adds value to a video if properly implemented. What I didn’t realize whenever I first started using drones is that drones are not meant to replace existing marketing technologies, they are meant to complement them to create higher quality and more engaging content by changing the visual perspective through a sequence. Because of this, drone use will continue to rise and become a norm in the industry.

My Creative Work with Drones

I have came to these conclusions through my own research and my own opinion. Due to this, I wanted to talk in person with someone in the industry and hear their opinions. I met with Dr. Chris Greer, founder of @upabovegeorgia, which is an Instagram account filled with drone photos taken around Georgia.

Chris has a Ph.D. in Instructional Technology and has been teaching future teachers at North Georgia how to use technology with their students. He also teaches multimedia courses to graduate students, including topics such as: digital photography, video editing, podcasting, web development, and other related content.

I wanted his opinion on the future of drones in the marketing world, and he had some interesting thoughts. One being that as full manual cameras become accessible to the average consumer on a drone, which currently only very expensive drones have, the quality of content will greatly increase. This is because the average pilot that knows about photography will be able to adjust settings to find the highest quality images. This is one thing that will help lower the bar of a professional drone vs. a consumer drone.

Chris also mentioned that as these drones become more powerful, the smaller drones such as the Mavic Pro will be able to carry larger cameras, which would entail a larger sensor. This larger sensor in combo with a fully manual camera would truly bridge that gap between amateur and professional. It would make it harder to see the difference in the footage filmed by a professional or consumer drone.

Since my investment into a drone, I have been trying to fly and capture many different things, with a heavy interest in either landscape or marketing. Some of the work that I have produced can be seen below.

Real estate aerial photo taken with DJI Mavic Pro (one of my first photos)

Due to aerial photos being such a useful tool for real estate brokers, it is one of the first niches of the industry I want to branch into. My goal is to partner with real estate firms, and help them in their marketing future.

One Minute Social Media video made for Relay For Life (3/21/17) — my first drone video

Relay For Life has always been important to me, and this year I experienced it with an entire new perspective. Event videography can lead to capturing some incredible things, and with future experience I hope to become an expert in this field.

The last 3 photos I am displaying help show my work and areas that I think could be used to market with a drone. The heart of campus would be perfect for a drone video, and I think this still showed some of that perspective.

MLC and the stadium 4/10/17

Downtown Athens hardly needs marketing due to being such an incredible town, but after creating this image, I realized that it really displayed downtown’s beauty. This type of image can be used in creating content for any city around the world.

Downtown Athens, Georgia Sunset 4/18/17)

This is one of the pictures I am most proud of, and I think that images like this can help bring people to the location it was taken. This gives an image like this power on social media for marketing, even if people do not realize it. Companies can produce beautiful content which will influence their followers to visit an area(which could be a business), just to help see the same views.

Mount Yonah Sunset 4/22/17

I am improving each week, and I hope to be producing professional level content used for marketing within the next month. There is a huge market opportunity using drones as a video tool, and I think we should want to be a part of it.

So yes, I am optimistic that the drone industry will continue down this path of rapid growth and innovation that it is currently on.

There are too many reasons not to use drone footage with your work, which is why it will continue to grow. You provide a more memorable and captivating experience for the viewer, and the majority of the industry have yet to implement drones in their work, giving the early adopters a chance to lead the industry in the future.




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