Prices for agent ad products on Zillow and Trulia will be aligned soon, Zillow Group CEO Spencer Rascoff told investors on a conference call about the progress of Zillow’s integration of Trulia this morning.
Zillow has also made changes to Trulia’s ad product to help address high agent advertiser turnover, Rascoff said. Now, Trulia’s ads work just like Zillow’s: One of the agents who show up in the agent contact form next to listings on the portal gets the lead by default. Previously on Trulia, all three or four agents who showed up next to a listing all automatically received the lead.
As Rascoff explained when Zillow closed its acquisition of Trulia in February and reiterated today, the ad products themselves won’t be integrated into one offering until the end of 2015.
Zillow Group is also working to unify other elements of the two portals including their agent advertiser databases, their agent profiles and reviews, their lead management software and their listing databases. “This is my No. 1 priority,” Rascoff said in a prepared statement.
In the rentals and mortgage categories, Zillow and Trulia have already been integrated, he shared.
Zillow Group, for example, now sells a unified set of ads to apartment buildings and mortgage advertisers. Also, the firm now powers the mortgage rate tables and purchase and refinance products on Trulia.
Zillow Group has also removed some display ad slots from Trulia to enhance consumer experience on the site, Rascoff said. In addition, he shared that the consumer marketing campaign ad dollars Zillow Group will spend trumpeting Trulia will be less than the $45 million Trulia spent on its effort in 2014.
Zillow Group has said it will spend more than the $75 million it spent last year on marketing. It’s already applying some of that to promoting the Zillow brand. It launched a new national TV ad in February.
No news on whether Trulia will get a national TV ad this year (like it had last year), but Rascoff said on the call that the firm will focus on growing Trulia’s organic traffic from email, search engine optimization, public relations and product innovation, he said.
The Zillow and Trulia brands have distinct marketing teams, Trulia spokesman Matt Flegal told Inman. Trulia’s team reports to Trulia President Paul Levine, who reports directly to Rascoff, he said.
Trulia recently launched its 2015 consumer marketing campaign featuring a series of four videos starring Max Greenfield, who plays one of the core characters on the Fox TV sitcom “New Girl.”
Trulia will draw consumer awareness to the videos using social media, Flegal said.
The first video in the series, “Turn the Heat Up,” is live on Trulia’s blog and YouTube now. The other three will come later this year.
The marketing effort, in part, is designed to bring awareness to Trulia’s new collaborative home search tool, “Trulia Boards,” according to Micky Onvural, Trulia’s vice president of brand marketing.
Where is Zillow Group headed?
Rascoff said that he sees a future in which a couple hundred thousand advertisers — which may represent more than one agent, as in a team — spend lots of money on Internet lead generation and recoup the bulk of real estate’s commissions. That’s how he sees the firm eventually growing its annual revenue from agents to $2 billion or $3 billion.
To put that revenue goal in perspective, Rascoff said Zillow Group anticipates bringing in approximately $690 million of revenue in 2015, which would include not just revenue from agents, but also from brokerages, franchisors, lenders, apartment buildings and others.
This was included in the same phone call wherein Rascoff shared that Zillow Group will not meet revenue and profit forecasts for 2015.