Are virtual tours effective? A roundup of 360 photo industry research
In the end, it’s the results that matter. Big investments and shiny new toys aren’t worth much if they don’t directly increase profits or at least lead to more business in some roundabout fashion. That’s why it’s always important to consult the best research available before setting off on a new venture.
Virtual tours present the potential for exciting new opportunities, but are they really effective at increasing your business? Essentially, you need to ask yourself two questions: Will this undertaking benefits my business and how? Based on the research, what can I accomplish? Let’s take a look.
Google has probably the most comprehensive set of stats and data regarding behavior online. While we research things on Google, Google researches us. According to a study on virtual tours by Google in 2018, virtual tours doubled interest in the location on display, whether they be vacation resorts or residential properties.
The results among 18–34-year-olds were particularly striking, showing that virtual tours increased the likelihood of a sale by 130%. What’s more, 67% of consumers consciously want to see more virtual tours from more businesses. Only 7% said they don’t. It seems that virtual tours not only passively increase business, consumers are also actively seeking them out.
More specifically in the world of buying and selling property, the National Association of Realtors(1) have produced some interesting figures in about virtual tours in their annual reports on the subject. Over 50% of adult internet users in the U.S. have taken a virtual tour; 54% won’t even look at a property anymore unless they can view virtual images, and 50% acknowledged that virtual tours contributed to their decisions.
This goes hand-in-hand with figures from Realtor.com, where a study found that listings with a virtual tour get 87% more views than those without. Meanwhile, Panomatics(2) has found that virtual tours keep people on a website 5 to 10 times longer than they would have otherwise. That’s a massive increase in attention and engagement.
Property Week(3) also looked into virtual tours and concluded that they reduced wasted viewings by 40%, meaning visitors are more likely to close a sale while navigating a given website thanks to virtual tours. Also, Planet Home’s ‘Trend Study’(4) found that 75% of potential customers and visitors consider a virtual tour to be a major factor in the decision-making process before making a purchase.
The stats have spoken and they tell a fairly convincing story of virtual tours that generate more interest and provide a useful service to consumers. So, how can you use virtual tours to your benefit?
(1)National Association of REALTORS®
(3)Property Week magazine
(4)Planet Home — ‘Trend Study’