Trulia Extends Realtor Ads To Mobile

by , May 3, 2012, 8:00 AM
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With more people using smartphones while shopping for homes, Trulia is launching a mobile ad platform to help real estate agents reach in-market home buyers on their devices.

Trulia Mobile Ads will allow agents to buy display advertising within a particular Zip code -- even on an exclusive basis -- to generate leads through a click-to-call feature within ads. The ads will appear in Trulia’s iPhone and Android apps as well as its mobile site.

The company says its mobile traffic has increased 250% in the last year, with about one-third of its overall online traffic coming from the mobile side. On weekends, when people are most likely to be out house-hunting, mobile traffic sometimes even surpasses desktop visits.

In addition, Trulia has found that people using mobile phones to search for homes are 60% more likely to contact a real estate agent.

Now the company is capitalizing on those trends with its new ad offering.

“Because this consumer audience is at that stage where they’re out looking at homes, visiting listings, going to open houses, and driving through neighborhoods, it made sense to offer advertising to real estate agents who want to reach those consumers in the moment,” said Stephen Rossi, director of business services marketing at Trulia.

The new mobile ad system essentially extends Trulia’s existing Local Ads product to phones. Agents are able to buy up to five blocks of impressions for a given ZIP code, with each block equal to 20% of the available impressions on map search results pages for that location. That would potentially allow an agent to buy up all the impressions for a ZIP code for up to a year.

The ad units themselves take the form of drop-down banners that include an agent’s photo, name and number. Unless the agent had bought all the advertising for that ZIP code, the image and information for competing agents might also appear in that banner.

The ads automatically minimize after five seconds. If someone clicks on the ad, however, it expands to full-screen, with the agent’s contact details and brokerage along with a “Call Now” button and lead form. Ads will appear after a certain number of touches on the map view, but are frequency-capped per each mobile session.

Ad pricing will vary by location depending on factors such as demand for homes or property valuations in a given area. Rossi added that mobile ad slots are being offered on a first-come, first-serve basis, but that the platform would only be open to agents already advertising on Trulia for the first few weeks before being opened up more widely.

He also noted that the mobile ad service doesn’t involve any bidding process. “We’ve thought about an auction process, but what we do as a service to our (real estate agent) customers is give them the opportunity to lock in rates for a certain period of time, and when we do adjust rates, we do it based on demand in the marketplace,” he said.

Mobile ads will not initially be available for Trulia on tablets, but the company plans to add that capability. Trulia currently offers apps for the iPad and Amazon’s Kindle Fire.

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