Real estate search and marketing site Trulia today rolled out a mobile advertising platform designed to connect real estate professionals with likely homebuyers.

"The reason why we looked at mobile as the next place we were going to extend our offerings to real estate agents is because in our research we discovered that mobile is really a different moment in time for house hunters," Stephen Rossi, Trulia’s head of agent marketing, told Inman News.

It was obvious that consumers would use Trulia’s mobile applications while actively looking at homes and going to open houses, he said.

"(Mobile) search traffic was much higher on the weekends — 30 to 35 percent (of overall traffic) — and there’s moments in time on the weekends, like during open house hours on Sundays, where our mobile traffic even exceeds our online traffic."

Consumers using mobile devices are also 60 percent more likely to contact a real estate professional, Trulia said.

The Trulia Mobile Ads platform offers a banner ad placed along the top of a user’s mapped search results. The banner ad shows an agent’s name, phone number and photo. When users tap the banner, a full-screen ad appears with the agent’s name, brokerage, photo, a "Call Now" button, and an email lead form.

Screenshot of Trulia mobile ad 

The search location designated by the user determines which ad he or she sees. Trulia offers up to five advertising slots per ZIP code — meaning an agent will receive one-fifth of impressions when a user searches in a particular ZIP code. Agents can buy all five of the slots offered. Banner ads are not linked to listings, and lead forms to the listing agent will continue to appear at the bottom of listing pages.

The ads will appear on Trulia’s consumer-facing property search apps on Apple iPhones and Google Android smartphones as well as Trulia’s mobile website. Trulia may eventually implement the ads across its tablet apps for the Apple iPad and Amazon Kindle, but is focused on smartphones at the moment because agents value the calls they get from consumers, Rossi said.

"Consumers using mobile devices for their home search will continue to be a major area of growth and as a company we will continue to invest heavily in our mobile offerings," said Pete Flint, CEO and co-founder of Trulia, in a statement.

"We are committed to rolling out first of a kind, innovative products for agents and consumers to make the mobile home search experience amazing for everyone."

Currently, only agents who are also Trulia Pro or Trulia Local Ads customers may subscribe to Trulia Mobile Ads. The subscription cost varies by location and depends on the local real estate market as well as the demand for advertising in that market, Rossi said.

For example, "advertising in Beverly Hills is going to cost a lot more than in Detroit right now," he added.

This week, a small, Austin, Texas-based brokerage, the GoodLife Team, announced that it had stopped syndicating listings and canceled its advertising with Trulia, citing ads for competing agents appearing next to the brokerage’s premium listings.

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