Yahoo Revamps Real Estate, Offers New Ad Unit to Prudential

In a race to compete with other portals and the likes of Google, Yahoo’s new real estate section revamp continues its efforts to integrate information and features for improved user experiences and more relevant ads. The site has connected its mapping feature to real estate listings and made tools like mortgage calculators available in local real estate-related search results. In addition, Prudential Real Estate is set to launch a campaign in the next few days using a new ad unit created especially for the newly-updated section.

Though the Prudential ads will be served to all users visiting the Real Estate area, the new ad unit is intended for local real estate advertisers like real estate agents to target based on geography and other factors, according to Michael Yang, senior director of business development at Yahoo Search and Marketplace. The new ad will be featured below local-area maps on community-specific pages, and targeted based on user searches as well as information gathered through user registrations. Prudential is set to run the spots for “much of the rest of the year,” noted Yang.

“We’re focused on providing a local experience tailored to wherever [users] personalize searches,” he explained.

Other firms currently targeting ads to the site’s real estate section include Quicken Loans, LendingTree and Lower My Bills.

User searches based on localities and real estate-related terms, such as “Oakland homes for sale,” will lead to results pages offering the ability to refine searches based on price and other parameters. Firms including Bankrate.com will provide mortgage and interest rate calculators that will also appear directly in search results as prompted by relevant searches. Search results will also list up-to-date regional mortgage rates.

Along with maps that mark real estate listing locations, Yahoo will marry consumer-generated reviews and ratings of neighborhood establishments from Yahoo Local with community profiles provided by Sperling’s Best Places.

To complement the community focus, real estate estimate site Zillow is providing median home prices of particular locales. This additional data is a second installment from Zillow, which has been providing property value estimates and comparisons to Yahoo since July, according to Zillow spokesperson Amanda Hoffman. Through the Yahoo relationship, added Hoffman, “We want to get our data in front of as many people as possible, hoping they will eventually click back to Zillow and click on our ads, because that’s how we make money.”

Yahoo is also promoting the real estate section offline through Prudential home sale yard signs. According to Yang, “several thousand properties in the U.S.” have lawn signs featuring Yahoo branding and a searchable code that’s specific to each property. A search for the code on Yahoo, brings up a page featuring property details and photos.

“We’re offering this as part of a strategic relationship with Prudential,” commented Yang.

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