Many real estate agents use Facebook advertising to drum up low-cost leads. Zillow Group has taken heed. Now it’s bundling Facebook ads into a larger product for some agent advertisers. The company has also announced plans to roll out a new listing leads product for agents later this year.

  • Zillow Group is offering a way for advertisers to reach Zillow and Trulia users on Facebook.

Many real estate agents use Facebook advertising to drum up low-cost leads.

Zillow Group has taken heed. Now it’s bundling Facebook ads into a larger product for some agent advertisers. The real estate giant has also announced plans to roll out a new listing leads product for agents later this year.

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Promotional image of Zillow’s agent Facebook ad product

‘Premier Agent Direct’ pushing ads to Facebook News Feeds

Agents who sign up for “Premier Agent Direct” can push ads into the News Feeds of Facebook users who have visited Trulia or Zillow.

They can choose to feature a listing — which Zillow Group says could be a powerful tool in listing presentations — or “automatically highlight new listings or recently sold homes.”

The ads include both Zillow or Trulia and agent branding and link to custom agent or property pages on Zillow or Trulia.

“Through this new publishing platform, we have created a way to significantly increase the agent’s reach to consumers who are in a transaction mindset,” Zillow Group Chief Business Officer Greg Schwartz said in a statement.

“… we know these people are using Zillow and Trulia, and now there’s a new opportunity to connect with them on Facebook.”

Greg Schwartz and Jerry Canning, Director of Industry at Facebook launching Premier Agent Direct at the Premier Agent Forum.

Greg Schwartz and Jerry Canning, director of industry at Facebook, launching Premier Agent Direct at the Premier Agent Forum.

Schwartz and Jerry Canning, Facebook’s director of industry, announced the product today at the Zillow Premier Agent Forum.

Zillow Group worked with Facebook for months to hone the ads, Schwartz told Inman.

It found that co-branding the ads with Zillow Group brands and agents, rather than featuring the agents alone, boosted their engagement, offering consumers “an opportunity to connect with a brand they already use,” he said.

Agents who buy Premier Agent Direct — which includes ads on Zillow and Trulia, not just Facebook — can expect to spend about $1,000 a month, though pricing will vary by market, Schwartz said.

The Zillow Group exec wouldn’t say if it’s buying Facebook ad inventory at below-market rates, but he claimed that “if you look at downstream leads … we’ll see a gain in efficiency on a broad basis” compared to a typical geographically targeted Facebook ad.

“This wasn’t just: we’re buying ads and we’re reselling them,” he said. “We’ve been developing this partnership for a year with [Facebook].”

Premier Agent Direct is the first of “many, many, many ad products” that Zillow Group will roll out in partnership with Facebook, he said.

How are agents using Facebook now — and how might they use it?

A 2015 Inman survey found that agents were underinvesting in Facebook ads.

Leads from Facebook were the only type of online lead other than leads from search engine ads to earn more ratings of “great,” “good” and “mediocre” collectively than ratings of “poor.”

But at the time, respondents were twice as likely to get leads from listing portals as they were to get them from Facebook or search engines.

The cost of leads from Facebook depends partly on how well you target the ads on the social media site. It may be possible to generate cheaper Facebook leads by using Facebook’s targeting tool, rather than Zillow.

But by bundling together Zillow, Trulia and Facebook ads, Zillow Group takes the work off agents’ hands.

It’s also a clever way for the real estate giant to piggyback on the momentum of an alternative marketing channel, rather than only compete with it.

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Promotional image of Zillow’s agent Facebook ad product

The ‘Seller Boost’ ads

Zillow Group has also unveiled another ad product that’s designed to help agents snag seller leads on Zillow and Trulia.

“Seller Boost” ads will appear on off-market property pages and in the “owner dashboards” of Zillow users. Homeowners can claim owner dashboards to edit facts about their property and increase its exposure on the listing portal.

Seller Boost will be available “to a limited group of Premier Agents before the end of the year,” Zillow Group said.

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Promotional image of Zillow’s Seller Boost ad product

Zillow Group’s agent Facebook ads and Seller Boost both “seamlessly integrate” with the company’s mobile app for agents, Premier Agent App, Zillow Group said.

Email Teke Wiggin.

Editor’s note: This story has been updated. 

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