How Zillow achieved a 161% increase in email open rates with Bird

How Zillow achieved a 161% increase in email open rates with Bird


Email API


Zillow improved its email open rates after implementing Bird's email solutions, which gave them the ability to scale up their email-sending operations with confidence.



Products used

Email API



Open rate improvement


Homes in database



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Zillow Group is a leading online real-estate marketplace that provides customers with an on-demand experience for selling, buying, renting, and financing homes. Operating as a popular website and mobile app, Zillow has become a trusted resource for millions of users across the United States, with over 110 million US homes in its database. 


As the largest and most trusted marketplace for real estate information and services, Zillow knows home ownership is a multifaceted and long-term process. While the company’s most active users are those searching for a new home, they find a lot of its success comes from nurturing long-term relationships to meet the needs of its users wherever they are in the buying cycle. 

Zillow was looking for a solution to support their needs; They wanted to scale up, have confidence that emails were landing in customer inboxes, and measure key metrics like open rates to monitor engagement.

The team needed help to address the following challenges:

  • Delivering emails reliably: Given how important email is to Zillow’s business, it was essential that time-sensitive messages are delivered to users’ inboxes when they matter. If these messages are delayed, they miss a key window of opportunity. 

  • Handling email surges: Zillow required a solution capable of handling sudden surges in their email volume anytime a burst occurs, particularly during time-sensitive events like weekend open houses and busy buying cycles.

  • Tracking key email metrics: the team needed to measure key metrics such as opens, clicks, and unsubscribes to gain a comprehensive view of customer behavior. 


In 2015, Zillow migrated to Bird and leveraged its Deliverability and Analytics solutions. Over time, Zillow has customized its use of the platform to improve email deliverability, monitor customer behavior, and scale out. They now send, on average, 200 million emails per month. 

Ensuring Timely Delivery and Reliability
It was crucial to Zillow that time-sensitive messages were delivered to users’ inboxes right when they mattered. For example, if a realtor was hosting an open house on a weekend, their users must receive emails about the event with enough time to attend. If those messages are delayed, even by a few hours, they quickly become useless to the recipients and the sender. Zillow chose Bird for its robust API and reliability, ensuring that time-critical messages, such as notifications for weekend open houses, reached users in a timely manner.

“Bird’s API and reliability have been solid. That’s allowed our team to focus on building the features that are differentiators for Zillow’s business.”

Justin Farris, Senior Product Manager for Growth

“Bird can handle surges in our email volume any time those bursts occur, such as when we need to deliver messages for the time-sensitive weekend open house and buying cycle.”

Justin Farris, Senior Product Manager for Growth


Enhancing Email Performance with Analytics

The Zillow team was leveraging email to deliver important notifications for their users—for example, new activity listings or activity on flagged homes. By leveraging Bird’s Signals, they are able to analyze user patterns, such as indications that someone has purchased a house or stopped looking for one. Doing so helps email deliverability metrics by reducing unread rates, deletes, and the number of messages reported as spam because Zillow can remove unengaged users from that segment. 

The team can also identify opportunities for re-engagement, such as when someone rents a home, and the lease expiration date approaches, strengthening the brand relationship. 

“Email is the easiest and fastest way to help our users in the moment. It’s part of our overall mission to empower users with the information and tools they need to be smarter about home buying.”

Tara Clark, Director of Email

Improved email deliverability
With the adoption of Bird, Zillow has a centralized platform that empowers anyone to track email deliverability and analytics effectively. This enhanced capability allows them to easily measure vital email metrics such as open rates, click rates, unsubscribes, spam flags, and more. This has helped them shape customer conversations more effectively. As a result, they increased email open rates by 161% within the first month of using Bird. 

“We connect email with downstream funnel metrics, which lets us get the whole picture,” says Tara Clark, Director of email. Tara notes that the company segments its audience based on actions and personas, including buyer, renter, and seller. 


Bird has provided Zillow with a reliable, high-performance infrastructure for delivering emails to users' inboxes. The team can now track essential email metrics, including open rates, click rates, unsubscribed, and more. By leveraging Bird’s Signals, Zillow can analyze how their email campaigns are performing and make smarter decisions. 

Zillow experienced a 161% increase in open rates within the first month of using Bird’s email solutions. This improvement helped them scale up their email sending, especially during busy times, knowing that Bird can handle the increased volume. 

Justin Farris, Senior Product Manager for Growth, highlighted the solid API and reliability of Bird, which allowed their team to concentrate on developing unique features that set Zillow apart in the real estate industry. Bird proved capable of managing surges in email volume, particularly during critical events like weekend open houses and buying cycles.

“It’s been a collaborative arrangement where we build a solution together—Bird provides the technical infrastructure on which Zillow layers value.”

Your new standard in Marketing, Payments & Sales. It's Bird

The right message -> to the right person -> at the right time.

Your new standard in Marketing, Payments & Sales. It's Bird

The right message -> to the right person -> at the right time.