Zillow airs first iBuyer ads, touts name recognition

The trio of new ads play up the behemoth online portal's name recognition and the ease of getting a cash offer

Online real estate giant Zillow has begun airing its first-ever iBuyer TV ads, which lean heavily into the company’s widespread name recognition and play up the program’s ease of use.

Two of the ads, which tout Zillow’s ever-expanding Offers program, argue that getting a quick cash offer on a home is easier than cooking unicorn pancakes or fashioning a beard out of soap suds. They conclude by inviting viewers to answer a few questions and get “a free, no-obligation offer from a name you know and trust.”

The line is a significant one in light of the increasingly competitive iBuyer landscape because it shows how Zillow — which, as a portal, dominates the consumer side of the real estate industry — hopes to use its unmatched brand awareness to beat rivals.

A third ad (seen up top) forgoes the “name you know” line, but like the others, it touts the simplicity of using the program, telling viewers that “when Zillow buys your home, life gets a little less stressful.”

The ads follow comments from newly reinstalled Zillow CEO Rich Barton, who in February painted the Offers program as a relatively niche product.

“We know a lot of people won’t do Zillow Offers, but we still want everybody to get to that better place,” Barton said during the company’s most recent earnings call.

A Zillow spokesperson told Inman that the ads began airing Monday in Atlanta and Denver. In a statement, Zillow also explained that the ads are the first of their kind for the Offers program and come after the company has “been overwhelmed with the demand from homeowners across the country.”

“We receive one seller request every five minutes — that’s about $100 million in demand value per day,” the statement adds. “In three to five years, we expect to be purchasing as much as 5,000 homes per month, generating $20 billion in revenue.”

Offers first launched last year in Phoenix. It has since expanded or is in the process of expanding to a dozen other cities. The most recent expansion was announced in January when Zillow said it would begin buying and selling homes in Miami, Minneapolis, Nashville, Orlando and Portland later this year.

That rapid growth puts the company into increasing competition with other big iBuyers such as Opendoor or Offerpad — names Zillow presumably believes most consumers don’t yet “know and trust.”

However, who will eventually win the battle for iBuying dominance remains to be seen, and Tuesday, blogger Greg Robertson of Vendor Alley suggested Zillow could actually end up acquiring Opendoor.

The idea, he explained, is that Zillow is better at acquiring leads while Opendoor excels at selling houses, making them potentially a good match.

But either way, Opendoor — currently the dominant fully dedicated iBuyer — is going to have to address the threat Zillow poses somehow.

“Make no mistake, Opendoor is going to have to do something,” Robertson wrote. “Because the Zillow guys are freaking ruthless. They have learned, when you have your foot on someone’s neck, you snap it.”

Email Jim Dalrymple II