Given that access to videos is only a click away for anyone with a smart device, it’s surprising that the property sector here has been so slow to embrace the power of digital imagery. Static photos can show the basics, but the founders of Galway-based start-up, ShowHouz, believe a video takes things to a whole new level.
Anna and Andrew Downes are the creative minds behind the ShowHouz video marketing platform and its aim is to provide estate agents, property management companies and those involved in holiday rentals with the tools to create high quality video content easily and cost-effectively. “It can be intimidating for someone who’s never made a video to feel confident that they can produce something that’s going to represent their brand well, engage audiences and impress clients,” Anna Downes explains. “ShowHouz helps them to do exactly this without the need for expensive equipment as the software works with a regular android or iOS smartphone. ShowHouz automates the settings on the video camera and guides the user through the process.”
Voiceover, music and captions can be added to the video as can branding. The final result is a short video that can be used on social media and a full-length video which can be sent to prospective buyers/renters or shared on listing sites.
Anna Downes has a background in communications and marketing and has been integrating video into marketing campaigns since 2012. Husband Andrew is a photographer and videographer and the couple set up their first business, Xposure, in 2014, to offer photography, video and digital marketing services to corporate and media clients across Ireland.
“While creating content for our clients, we realised that there was an increasing need for companies to produce regularly updated video content and that they needed an easy way to do so without having to outsource to a production company,” says Downes. This led to the establishment of the video marketing platform, ShowWorx, in 2016, and ShowHouz is the platform’s first product. “Video marketing in the real-estate sector is growing at an enormous rate, particularly in countries like the US and Australia, with video advertising spend in the US predicted to grow to $6.5 billion by 2021.”
Investment in the business to date has been in the order of €95,000 with support coming from Enterprise Ireland and the NDRC which recently launched its first accelerator outside Dublin at the Porterhouse innovation hub in Galway city. The revenue model is an annual subscription scaled by organisation size and access is via the company’s website.
Downes says that while there are numerous free filming and editing apps available, they don’t guide users through the process to ensure the quality of the footage looks and feels professional. “Someone can shoot, edit and publish a property video with ShowHouz in under an hour. This means the content gets online and engages viewers immediately. We also host all the video content so it’s not being shared via YouTube for example where other advertising can distract the viewer. In addition, video analytics are shared with the estate agent in real time helping them to quickly adapt and enhance their marketing tactics. Video tours won’t replace the experience of walking around a property, but it’s a far better ‘first viewing’ and will help people to shortlist their preferences and waste less time viewing unsuitable properties.”
ShowHouz went live in Ireland last month (September) and will be launched in the UK later this month (October), but the company is already getting interest from the US and the plan is to go international. “We have just signed our first customer, the Dublin agency Owen Reilly which is known for being innovative, and while our first product has been tailored specifically for the property sector, we see huge potential for our software in other verticals,” Downes says.