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There’s always something to howl about

Zillow.com upgrades its advertising arsenal, allowing you to target-market the Joneses you want to keep up with

I’ve been saying this for a long time: Buyers are temporarily interested in listings. Owners are always interested in their homes. Zillow.com wants buyers, hence the move to accept listings feeds. But what they really want are owners, people who will come back to the site again and again, potentially to be sold new stuff every time they come back.

Remember 13 months ago when Zillow opened up and let sellers create Do-It-Yourself Zestimates, detailing all the unZestimated changes they had made to the home?

Today all that data gets put to use. Zillow has a brand new advertising program called Home Direct Ads that will use every bit of the data it has collected to target market ads to particular buyers, to vendors like movers or remodeling contractors — even to visitors to specific homes in the Zillow database.

From the company’s press release:

Leading real estate Web site Zillow.com today announced the launch of Zillow® Home Direct Ads, a new set of patent-pending tools that enables advertisers to identify and connect online with homeowners who are on the verge of making major home-related purchases such as moving or updating the home they currently own.

The sophisticated toolset capitalizes on Zillow’s most compelling asset: data-rich, individual Web pages for more than 70 million U.S. homes that attract regular visits by the homeowners themselves. Zillow Home Direct Ads helps advertisers target ads to these homeowners by individual address, by value of their home, by psychographic cluster such as urban families with children, or even by whether they are planning to move. This type of intent and address-specific targeting has never before been available for advertisers online.

“What we’re offering advertisers is pin point accuracy on the purchasing intentions of homeowners, including the ability to forecast that they are highly likely to move or remodel well before they start the process,” said Greg Schwartz, Zillow vice president of ad sales. “Our advertisers can target ads down to the specific address or home value, or learn other facts about the neighborhood and locality that will allow them to tailor ads directly to this audience. As a result, advertisers are more successful, and the ads that Zillow users see on the site are immensely more meaningful and interesting to them.”

Here’s the interesting news: This can’t be all the news. A week or two ago David Gibbons promised us a new software release. We had a dribble about feeds last week, so that might be in the offing at last. Todd Carpenter is writing today about the long-promised new feature for lenders. It could be we’re on the verge of quite a few Zillow announcements.

The news, in my opinion, is always this: By building its data around the property and not an ephemeral listing-for-sale, Zillow is creating a thousand-points-of-stickiness. Wanna see listings? You’ll have a lot of choices, including Zillow.com. Want to find out where your irrational desire for stainless steel countertops won’t be an over-improvement for the neighborhood? You have one place to go — so why not go there for everything?

Who else is even thinking this deeply?

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  • 4 comments

    4 Comments so far

    1. Brian Wilson October 30th, 2007 1:50 pm

      This is big news, Greg. “Pin point accuracy,” indeed. What will the new release(s) be? I’m staying tuned.

      Brian Wilson, Zolve.com

    2. Greg Swann October 30th, 2007 1:55 pm

      Here’s what I want: If you land on a SFR built 1941 or earlier in 85007 or 85003, I want you to see my ad. This I can’t have — at least not yet. But: If we needle him, perhaps David Gibbons will show up and carefully not tell us what else we have to expect from Zillow in the coming days and weeks.

    3. David G from Zillow.com October 30th, 2007 3:00 pm

      Always glad to promptly and carefully tell you nothing about what’s coming up in the next few weeks. :-) Trust me, no-one wants to talk about our new stuff more than I do but it’s going to be a while longer before our next release.

    4. Thomas Johnson October 31st, 2007 7:20 am

      Greg, Snap pics of every SFR home built before 1941, and you will get photo credit (sort of an ad) for each. I am in the process of developing a data list in my zestifarm of something like homes in my zestifarm where the owners have equity that might be used for a future purchase up, down or sideways. This is the list that gets photographed for Zillow. Zestifarm!

      Now if they could just get the data on newer neighborhoods posted quicker. I think that is a Google Earth issue. I had to put a listing in a field.