April 16, 2024


Technology can't be beat

Zillow skit on Saturday Night Live goes viral as show pokes fun at house-browsing ‘fantasies’

Zillow Group didn’t have a Super Bowl ad, yet it may have come away from the weekend with the biggest marketing bump thanks to Saturday Night Live.

The Seattle real estate giant was the subject of a hilarious SNL sketch that poked fun at how home-browsing on Zillow is a replacement for sex, particularly for people in their late 30s.

“The pleasure you once got from sex now comes from looking at other people’s houses,” was one of several LOL-worthy lines.

The YouTube clip racked up more than 2 million views in one day. Zillow CEO Rich Barton chimed in on Sunday morning:

Others said they felt “seen” by the skit.

Zillow got in on the fun and tweeted at actor Dan Levy, who was part of the skit.

The New York Times in December also spotlighted Zillow as part a roundup of food, products, and other activities that people have turned to amid the pandemic. “No better way to channel your despair at having to stay home than by stalking someone else’s nicer home,” the Times quipped. It also highlighted “Zillow Surfing” in November. 

“Zillow surfing has become a primary form of escapism for those who want to flee not just their homes but the reality of 2020,” wrote Taylor Lorenz.

The pandemic is driving more traffic to Zillow’s mobile apps and websites, which reached a record 236 million average monthly unique users in the third quarter of 2020, up 21% year-over-year. Total visits reached 2.8 million, up 32% and another record.

Zillow is also riding a trend of increased home ownership driven in part by record-low mortgage rates. The housing market has bounced back after stalling when COVID-19 hit the U.S. in March. The shift to remote work is also giving people more flexibility for where they live.

In a November letter to shareholders, Barton said people are using Zillow more than ever as the home becomes the office, the gym, the classroom, and more amid the pandemic. He pointed to two tailwinds — an increased desire and ability to move, and more people using tech to find and buy their home — helping drive Zillow’s growth.