Real estate search and marketing company Trulia today launched a self-service ad platform that allows real estate agents and other individuals to build ads targeted to a neighborhood, ZIP code or city area.

The Trulia Pro ad platform offers geographically focused ads for a flat fee that ranges from $29-$39 per month, and ads are rotated as consumers search for properties at the Trulia.com site.

Users can choose to display their customized ads — which can be used to highlight a particular property or individual profile, as examples — in up to 20 geographic areas at the site. By design, the system will proportionately increase the frequency of an ad’s appearance in the rotation if fewer than 20 areas are selected, Trulia reported.

Self-service ad platforms have taken off at real estate-related sites as companies seek to replicate the popularity of Google’s self-service AdWords platform.

Real estate search, marketing and valuation site Zillow.com earlier launched a self-service ad platform, called EZ Ads, that offer customized ZIP code-targeted ads at a cost of 1 cent per impression — an impression is a single display of that ad at the Web site. The minimum cost for a Zillow EZ Ads campaign is $10, which amounts to 1,000 impressions (displays) of an ad. Real estate online community site ActiveRain also offers a self-serve ad platform based on cost per impression.

Real estate agents who pay for Trulia Pro ads will get free enhanced listings at the site — all of the properties listed by participating agents will become "featured listings" at the site, meaning these properties will be displayed at the top of relevant search results and typically receive more views than standard property listings displayed at the site.

Pete Flint, Trulia CEO, said that the Trulia ad platform is intended to simplify the ad process so participants don’t need to understand "CPM" (cost per impression) and can get unlimited ad views per month for a fixed fee.

"We realize that most of the advertisers who want to be on our site are agents," Flint said, though the ads are open to any individuals, including home owners who may want to advertise their own homes for sale.

Trulia has typically catered to brokers in amassing millions of property listings for display at the site, though the ad system is not designed with brokers in mind, as the company has other advertising offerings for brokers.

The site is intended to offer "an order of magnitude better value" than some other advertising venues for agents, Flint said.

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