Real estate web site last month launched Zillow Home Direct Ads, a set of tools that will help advertisers identify and connect online with homeowners who are most likely contemplating a home-related purchase (such as moving or remodeling).

The backbone of the tool was created from Zillow's data: the web pages of more than 70 million homes that are visited by homeowners. Zillow Home Direct Ads is designed to help advertisers target ads to these homeowners by individual address, value of their home, psychographic cluster (such as urban families with children) or if they are planning to move.

The Home Direct Ads offering consists of four products: Home and Geographic Targeting (enables advertisers to target their online ads to visitors of a specific home's page on Zillow, similar to an offline direct mail campaign. Advertisers can target specific addresses, streets or ZIP codes.); Zestimate Value Targeting (by learning the Zestimate values of individual homes, advertisers can show their ads to specific home value sectors, by individual home or neighborhood); Move Predictor (Using data on homes for sale and traffic activity on a home's page views, Zillow can predict if a household is moving. This can enable appropriate service providers--such as financial institutions, cable providers and home improvement stores--to reach out to homeowners before they make any move-related purchasing decisions), and Psychographic Clusters (Advertisers can choose to target households that are comprised of any of the 65 psychographic clusters identified by the U.S. census data.)

While Zillow created Home Direct Ads for large advertisers, the company also offers Zillow EZ Ads for local and individual advertisers who want to create and buy ads to display in specific ZIP codes.

Regardless of their size, advertisers are always looking for new ways in which to reach their targeted audience. It's an enormous challenge for advertisers to understand the behaviors and motives of their potential customers in order for them to approach prospects with the right offer at the right time.

Zillow's new suite of tools provides this intelligence that advertisers truly need. If Zillow can deliver on the promise expected by its Home Direct Ads program and advertisers achieve ROI rather quickly, interest in this service will grow just as rapidly. Other online players should keep a sharp eye on this one as they assess the viability of their own online ad sales programs.