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Should You Buy Trulia Local Ads?

April 30 2012

Trulia Local Ads refer to the faceplates that show up around the Trulia website in a zip code when consumers are looking at homes. There are a number of templates to choose from, or you can upload your own.

If there is availability in the zip code you want, you will find that you will pay about $31 per 1,000 impressions for your advertising. This is premium pricing for advertising, but in theory you are advertising to a target rich environment – a place loaded with buyers and sellers looking for home, and to some extent, a REALTOR®.

lund realtor photos

I am not a big fan of advertising that contains an agent photo. Indeed, despite the beliefs of real estate coaches and gurus, lead generation on advertising that contains agent photos has lower response rates than advertising without the agent photo.

The Numbers

Trulia does not publish analytics on response rates for Trulia Local Ads, but they have the data. I guess the only way that you can measure success would be to try it. Here are estimates from Victor Lund, analyst with the consulting firm, WAV Group.

For $31, your ad will be displayed about 1,000 times. Each display is called an impression. In online advertising, this method of pricing is called cost per thousand, or CPM.

Normal lead generation rates on online advertising is .0015% - or 1.5 lead leads per thousand impressions.

So, you would expect that if you invest $310 per month on Trulia (about the cost of a print ad), you would reach an audience of 10,000 impressions, which generates around 15 highly targeted leads.

At this point, any forecasting about the value of investing in online advertising becomes the providence of the advertiser. The timeliness and quality of responding to leads vary by agent so significantly that it is impossible to estimate conversion rates. Moreover, average home sale prices in Phoenix of $150,000 vs. average home sales in California of $350,000 makes a difference in calculating the return on investment relative to agent commission.

The Intangible

If you are a great listing agent, you use your marketing plan as a sales tool. Remember, your current sellers are probably looking at these sites. Your advertising reinforces that you are proactively marketing their property. Moreover, potential customers who may be in your sales pipeline are looking at these sites. By reinforcing your sales presentation with a strong presence online, you reinforce the validity of your marketing plan to customers. In parlance, you do what you say and say what you do.

Help Others

Many online advertising companies work hard to manage what they call attrition. If an online advertising company were producing deals for advertising agents, they would be sold out. An agent making money by advertising on Trulia or any other online website would never give up their spot if it is turning out deals every month. Trulia is not sold out, so presumably purchasing advertising on the site is not a categorical "no brainer." Again, advertising ROI is a component of the agent's ability combined with Trulia's ability to put customers in front of the agent. It is hard to say who is failing when there is attrition – Trulia or the agent.

If you are an agent who has purchased this product, let other agents know if it is a good investment. Be sure to be honest about how hard you "worked the leads," too.