In a call with investors this week, Zillow Group (Z) CEO Spencer Rascoff called 2015 a “transition year” for the Zillow and Trulia, as the former rivals continue integrating their operations.
On Thursday, Zillow Group’s transition from two sites with two different operating structures into one unified operation took a big step forward, when the Zillow Group announced that Zillow Mortgages is now available on Trulia's mortgage vertical webpage.
According to Zillow, beginning April 16, lenders who advertise on Zillow are now able to reach an “even broader” audience, in the form of the millions of potential borrowers who visit Trulia.
Lenders will now be able to reach those potential borrowers through one Zillow Group marketing platform.
“Borrowers on Trulia now have the ability to anonymously shop for custom loan quotes, access more than 130,000 reviews of mortgage lenders, and easily connect with reputable local lenders at both national and regional banks,” the Zillow Group said in a release.
A quick search on Trulia now shows potential borrowers a list of lenders with advertised interest rates, as well as reviews of each lender – all “powered by Zillow Mortgages.”
The integration of the two sites’ operations has been a point of contention among investors and industry observers alike.
In the Tuesday morning call with investors, Rascoff said the company has made “great strides” in the eight weeks since the merger was completed, called 2015 a “transition year” and disclosed that the company expects 2015 revenue of $690 million, well below the market consensus of $753 million.
The lower revenue projection led Canaccord Genuity and Barclays to lower their targets for Zillow, citing concerns over the integration timeline.
But the addition of Zillow Mortgages to Trulia helps to move the timeline along.
"Since we closed the Trulia acquisition in February, we've moved incredibly quickly and made enormous progress in the integration of Trulia into Zillow Group," Rascoff said. "Just last month, we welcomed Trulia into the Zillow Rental Network, bringing new opportunities to our multifamily partners and landlords, and today we are giving our lender partners a new way grow their business."
The ability to sell lenders on cross-platform advertising between Zillow and Trulia should help as Zillow pushes to capture advertising dollars that currently escape the online giant.
Rascoff has spoken frequently of positioning Zillow to secure lenders’ and agents’ advertising budgets in the future.
“Advertisers follow audience,” Rascoff said earlier this week, adding that Zillow and Trulia eventually sharing an advertising program will help to increase the migration of advertising spend to online platforms.
“The lion’s share of advertising is going to whoever has the largest mobile audience,” Rascoff said.
And now that Zillow Mortgages are now available on both the desktop and mobile versions of Trulia, the merger is one step closer to the culmination of its master plan.
"Over the past seven years, we've worked hard to build a great mortgage shopping experience for borrowers, where they can shop for competitive rates and fees and quickly connect with highly rated and reviewed lenders," said Erin Lantz, vice president of mortgages for Zillow Group. "We're thrilled to extend this experience to borrowers on Trulia."