While researching my article about the best real estate advertising, I started to ponder the question about two well-known real estate listing platforms and which one is better; Zillow or Trulia?
I can break it to you in just two sentences: For marketing purposes Zillow is slightly better, but you have to take into consideration that both have merged into one platform.
The end user, who uses them preferably for research purposes may still find differences in terms of interface design and different types of property data illustration.
Let’s dig a bit deeper and find out how both make money now.
How Do Zillow and Trulia Make Money
Zillow is what is called a typical two-sided online platform based on A2A (agency-to agency), B2C (agency-to-customer) and P2P (peer-to-peer).
It features a large listing for home renting, buying, leasing, inquiring and renovating.
About 157 million average monthly users visit the website per month according to their annual report from 2018.
On the one hand individual sellers can list their homes and on the other hand homebuyers can search properties for free.
The main income comes from selling advertising to real estate pros, such as real estate agencies, brokers and realtors who want to sell properties and from property managers or landlords looking for tenants.
It is called the Premier Agent and Broker program.
Prices for advertising depend on market demand by location and competition. As a realtor or broker you can pay them per lead or per 1000 impression (per 1000 ad views, also called CPM).
If you are a property manager looking for tenants it’s slightly different. Here you pay them per click, per lease, or also per lead.
Additionally, they sell advertising space (display advertising) to real estate related businesses, such as mortgage brokers, lenders, and more.
The cost per 1000 impressions CPM on Zillow could be over $100 (source).
And if you pay per lead the costs are in the ballpark of between $20 and $60.
Trulia was bought by Zillow in mid-February of 2015. So much for being different.
It is like Zillow, a two-sided platform and generates most of its revenue from subscription products and advertising.
In terms of fees it took me some time to find some information about them. It’s not like on other websites, where you may be used to find a menu item on top where it says ‘pricing’.
From what I could find out, their focus is now rather on rental listings that you can promote, and the monthly fee is $29 according to their website.
Since Trulia was acquired by Zillow, further advertising is managed through the Premier Agents features of Zillow.
On Zillow’s website it reads as follows:
‘Advertisers previously using Trulia Local Ads and Trulia Mobile Ads will now be converted to Zillow Premier Agents and appear across both sites and mobile apps; agents can no longer purchase Trulia Local Ads or Trulia Mobile Ads.’
How Are Zillow Features Different From Trulia Features
If you are the end user who uses Zillow and Trulia just for property research purposes, you will find differences with regards to functionality, design and property data representations.
In both you can research properties for sale and for rent and get a nice map view displayed where you can zoom in.
After you enter a specific area where you are looking for properties, on Zillow the property map is displayed on the left side and the particular homes on the right and on Trulia this is vice versa (map on the right and further property information on the left).
If you search a particular listing and then drill further down you will realize that the information is nearly identical.
Why is that?
The reason is that the property data seems to come from the same Multiple Listing Service (MLS) or other sources.
Not long ago, Trulia had also a special tool, called heat maps.
It was a map view of a certain area where you could view different areas colored in green, orange, or red.
Red indicating that this was an area where most property transactions at higher home value prices took place.
For some undisclosed reason they got rid of this feature.
It’s unfortunate since I know that it was a helpful tool especially for real estate investors to identify areas of high demand where properties would move fast.
The home search sites use the same listings database, so from a consumer standpoint the main difference is how they are presented graphically.
Zillow vs. Trulia Statistics
Let’s take a look at Zillow and Trulia from a marketing perspective and compare some statistics so you can get a better basis on which we might find out which one is better at least for real estate marketing.
- There are 110 million properties listed on Zillow (source)
- The website receives 208,500,000 visitors per month and has an average visit duration of 07:17 minutes (source)
- Per month 420 million homes are viewed
- Costs per lead are between $20 and $60
- The lead to closing ratio is between 3.5 and 4 percent (source)
- According to Trulia’s main website there are more than one million properties for sale listed. Since both are merged we can assume that it probably has the same amount of properties listed than Zillow
- Trulia receives 54.44 million visitors per month and has an average visit duration of 05:15 minutes (source)
- No information was available regarding how many homes are viewed per month
- Costs per lead are $29
- No direct information regarding the lead to closing ratio could be found, but since they are basically the same platform, and have a lower visit duration than Zillow we can assume that it is a bit lower than the 3.5 to 4 percent of Zillow
Here I have an illustration for you, so you have this comparison at a glance:
So, which one is better? Zillow or Trulia?
If you want to use the platforms as a real estate professional for marketing purposes, I would tend to say that Zillow is a bit better.
Because the lead to closing rate is likely better than for Trulia.
Additionally it gets more monthly traffic and has a longer visitor duration.
If you are only using the platforms to find property to rent or buy, it is a thing of personal preference which platform you might have used already me, are more used to, and how you prefer property data displayed.
On both platforms, the property information itself is the same. The only difference is the way that it is presented.