The Zillow Group didn’t have a Super Bowl ad, but thanks to Saturday Night Live, it may have seen the weekend of its greatest marketing weakness.
The Seattle real estate giant was the subject of a hilarious SNL sketch that made fun of how home browsing on Zillow is a substitute for sex, especially for people in their late 30s.
“The joy you once had in sex now comes from looking at other people’s homes,” was one of several LOL-worthy lines.
The YouTube clip received more than 2 million views in one day. Rich Barton, CEO of Zillow, intervened on Sunday morning:
Waiting. Have we mis-marketed @zillow all these years ??? #SNL https://t.co/sPpx4S5ohq
– Rich Barton (@Rich_Barton) February 7, 2021
Others said they felt “seen” by the sketch.
Oh my god, this ZILLOW SNL SKIT is too real. I can’t handle it
– Sara Mauskopf (@sm) February 7, 2021
We may be a divided country, but I think most of us can at least agree that the Zillow sketch on SNL tonight got way too close to home …
– joy we chose !! WEAR A MASK !! Reid ????) (@JoyAnnReid) February 7, 2021
Zillow joined in and tweeted about actor Dan Levy who was part of the sketch.
hey @danjlevy see you at home ????
– Zillow (@zillow) February 7, 2021
The New York Times in December also highlighted Zillow as part of a summary of fFood, products, and other activities that people have turned to amid the pandemic. “There is no better way to channel your desperation about staying home than to watch someone else’s nicer home,” the Times quipped. In November, “Zillow Surfing” was also highlighted.
“Zillow surfing has become a primary form of escapism for those looking to escape not only their homes but the realities of 2020,” wrote Taylor Lorenz.
The pandemic is driving more traffic on Zillow’s mobile apps and websites, which hit a record 236 million average monthly unique users in the third quarter of 2020, up 21% year over year. The total number of visits reached 2.8 million, an increase of 32% and another record.
Zillow is also seeing a trend towards more home ownership, partly due to record-low mortgage rates. The real estate market has bounced back from the stalemate when COVID-19 hit the US in March. The move to remote work also gives people more flexibility in where they live.
In a November letter to shareholders, Barton said people are using Zillow more than ever when the home becomes the office, gym, classroom, and more amid the pandemic. He pointed to two tailwinds – increased desire and the ability to move around, and more people using technology to find and buy their home – to fuel Zillow’s growth.