Trulia adds Spotlight ads and lowers…

…the overall price of their featured listings with a revamp of their ad platform.

Some details… What used to cost $50/month for 10 listings now costs $39/month for unlimited listings.   In addition, as part of Trulia Pro, agents can also add unlimited spotlight ads.  So far, so good…

However, similar to Joel, a move toward “unlimited” ads had me scratching my head a bit.  From a business point of view, the upside of the spotlight ads seem somewhat limited for both Trulia and the ad buyer… especially in that they don’t do much to reward creative or innovative ads.

One of the keys to success of Google’s AdWords program is that users are constantly tweaking their ads and adjusting (often increasing!) budgets for their ad campaigns. With the Spotlight ads, there’s very little incentive to tweak. Sure you might be able to tweak things to get a slightly higher click-through-rate, but at the end of the day, you won’t be able to increase the amount of money you spend on the service (remember I get “unlimited ads for $39/month”), so even if you figured out the “system”, most agents won’t be able to use that knowledge to substantially increase their exposure.

Nonetheless, especially while the system is new with lots of excess inventory, there’s probably a lot of low-hanging fruit to pick up for agents looking to find potential buyers…

3 responses

  1. Hi Dustin,
    Thanks for the write up.
    A couple of quick comments.
    1) The “tweaking” occurs on the location targeting and with in-house ad serving technology. We believe that optimizing location can substantially increase the impressions and clickthrough rate for advertisers. We’ll be adding more “tweaking” data and options in the future to help more expert advertisers make the most from the platform. This will be especially important as more subscribers join. We are also analyzing individual ad creative, performance and account activity to deliver a better consumer experience on the ads. The simplicity of the product hides the complexity of the ad server.

    2) Trulia Pro is the basic product just launched designed primarily for agents, with smaller budgets. The reason we launched it was that we were turning away smaller agents who wanted to advertise as we dont have a call center and it’s not very cost effective unless it is self service. If advertisers like what they see from Trulia Pro they can work with our direct sales team.

    Yep, lots of low hanging fruit here, as we just launched and it’s our intention to constantly add more value for our subscribers as we grow.

  2. Hi Dustin!

    The beauty of a flat monthly or annual fee for Trulia Pro is that it takes the guessing game out of the equation for agents. It’s not about paying your way to the top. It’s about search relevancy and simplicity. Place your ad in the geography where you do business. Since you can have up to 20 geographic locations to showcase your ad, mix and match the copy of your ad by changing the image, headline, descriptive text and link. Change the city and state, the zip code and the neighborhood. This will allow you to see which ad copy and geography works best for you.

    There is great incentive to tweak your ad. By seeing the impressions your ad gets for the various geography you selected, you can then determine where you should be focusing. If you’re an early adopter, you may want to experiment with a high level search like San Francisco, CA. This will give you the greatest number of impressions in the beginning as you will one of the first agents with a spotlight ad for that area. Then as more advertisers come on, you can get more granular with your geography.

    Overall, this is a learning process for all of us. Together, we’ll see how it goes and tweak as need be. There is no better time than now to get the best bang for your buck. Early adopters will get the most impressions.

    Hope this helps.

    Social Media Guru at Trulia

  3. Thank you both for joining in the conversation! You guys are obviously playing with new boundaries and keeping everyone else on their toes. Great work.

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