April 26, 2011

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zillow.com: What Makes A Good Listing?


Online US real estate marketplace zillow.com has published a blog post revealing the qualities of the best-performing ads, and lowest performing ads, on its website.

Sara Bonert, Director of Broker Relations at zillow.com, writes:

“zillow.com makes money by selling ads on the site. But, to be a successful media company, we need to make sure our customers are realising success with their ads.”

The number one finding was that listing ads work better than agent head shot ads, in terms of generating good click through rates.

Other observations from the Top 50 performing ads on Zillow included:

  • 100% were ads for listings
  • 45 of 50 ads were an exterior home shot, 3 were interior, 2 were aerials
  • 42 of the ads mentioned a specific area (neighborhood, city or addres)
  • 8 central messages revolved around Short Sale, Foreclosure or price reduction
  • 2 were Open House ads
  • 0 photos were renderings (illustrations), all were actual photos
  • 0 ads promoted a specific person, business or brand
  • 22 of the ads had a specific price visible
  • 7 had a phone number visible
  • 50 had photos that were taken on a sunny day

And observations from the Bottom 20 performing ads on Zillow included:

  • 18 of the ads promoted an agent/broker/brand
  • 1 did not have a photo (and no clicks)
  • 1 had some type of call-to-action on the ad

One comment posted by Al Lorenz in response to the blog, agreed with the findings, saying:

“We’ve found the same thing, by testing various ads, that advertising specific strengths, with pictures, of our client’s properties is much more productive than advertising the brokerage or brand. Our clients like it much more also!”

Read propertyadguru.com’s Top 10 Tips for Making Your Listings Stand Out.


Related posts:

  1. zillow.com: Photos Make a Dramatic Difference
  2. zillow.com Widget Keeps Visitors Informed
  3. zillow.com Offers New WordPress Plugin
  4. Big Changes at zillow.com
  5. zillow.com Updates Local Market Explorer
  6. How to Work Social Listing Options
  7. What Makes a Good Property Ad
  8. Listing Checklist: Don’t Leave These Out
  9. New Premium Ads and Listing Tips at trulia.com
  10. zillow.com’s Local Info Now Easier to Use


  1. Sara Bonert says:

    Thanks for helping get this message out. Yes, the top ads were definitely of listings. But it seems actually that the MORE information you give out on the ad, the bettter the click thru. Opposite of what people have been doing in print for so many years - leaving out a key piece of info to generate the call. Now it seems if you don’t tell the viewer key things things like specific location and price- you just get overlooked. Interesting shift.
    I would like to see more agents make the ads be more time sensitive to really increase the effectiveness. Ie- open house this weekend, just listed this week, just price reduced, etc.

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