Welcome Home: How Zillow’s Marketing Strategy Sets the Standard for Real Estate Brands’ CSR Content Marketing

If you’re looking to reach the millennial market, using messaging that conveys your company’s values or social responsibility will be the most effective method, according to a recent Ace Metrix study. And real estate marketers should take note, because according to the National Association of Realtors, this demographic now represents the largest homebuying population in America—with their slightly older counterparts, the Gen Xers, coming in a close second.

So to reach this socially conscious group—which has notoriously leaned more in favour of renting than buying for a multitude of reasons—marketers in the real estate field need to not only sell these consumers on why buying a home is worthwhile, but also exhibit that their company is one which goes beyond basic corporate social responsibility (CSR).

Zillow’s marketing strategy does just that. Through efforts like its long-form video campaigns that show real people embarking on the home buying process and its docu-series on housing issues and social causes, the online real estate giant has been able to reach the millennial market through this socially-driven brand storytelling.

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Zillow’s Marketing Strategy Nails Corporate Social Responsibility

According to Racquel Russell, Zillow Group’s vice president of government relations and public affairs, the decision for Zillow’s marketing strategy to take a social impact direction came after tons of feedback from employees at all levels of the company.

“It was driven a lot by our employees wanting us, the company, to get more engaged in the community,” she explained. And the company listened, launching stellar CSR marketing examples like The Home Project, which concentrates on the complex problem of housing insecurity.

Since getting off the ground two years ago, this campaign has spawned multiple initiatives. From an alliance with cities’ nonprofits to employee-led volunteer projects and deep, original economic research, the philanthropic powerhouse effort has allowed Zillow to leverage corporate social responsibility for a marketing advantage with a tough to impress demographic.

One of the most impressive things about CSR marketing examples like this is the informative content that Zillow created especially for its millennial audience. From explaining how student loan debt can affect one’s home buying prospects to how much a dollar will get you in popular housing markets, these easy-to-understand graphics are a great resource for millennials looking to buy a home. And the best part is that the brand offers them completely free on its content hub.

Efforts like this instil trust between Zillow and customers. Since millennials already have little to no faith in marketers—84 per cent of them don’t trust traditional advertising, according to Forbes—providing resources like this could make all the difference in them considering your real estate company when it comes time to purchase a home.

Reaching New Audiences Through Episodic Content

Another prime CSR marketing example was when Zillow teamed up with media company Attn: on its “Finding Home in America” campaign. This original docu-series, which covers housing issues and social causes such as LGBT discrimination and poverty, is the kind of brand activism that socially conscious millennials expect from major companies.

The series uses live-action footage, interviews, and original animation to explore the varying challenges that lead to housing insecurity. Each week, episodes are released on Zillow’s Facebook and Instagram accounts.


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