Autoweb: End of Facebook Marketplace for Dealers?

Back in May, Facebook announced that they have discontinued the “distribution of inventory partner catalogue listings”, which, to you and me, means using your vehicle feed to list cars on Facebook Marketplace. This came into effect on 13 September 2021.

It seems car dealers were using Facebook Marketplace as a means of uploading their used stock and advertising to the masses with no associated costs. Facebook are a business just like everyone else, so this move is to deter car dealers from using the free platform and instead move to a paid solution.

What is Facebook Marketplace?

If you’ve never used Facebook Marketplace then this article might not mean much to you so far, but it’s definitely something to keep on your radar should you decide to move into the social arena to start marketing your stock.

Facebook Marketplace is essentially an online car boot sale, similar to the likes of Gumtree, where you can advertise your unwanted items to local people. In recent years, there have been a rise in private sellers listing their cars for sale on Facebook Marketplace which prompted car dealers to do the same.

This was a great way to advertise stock locally without the high advertising costs you’d expect with other aggregators.

What does this announcement mean to me?

While Facebook are not completely doing away with used car listings, what they are doing is stopping you uploading your used cars via a stock feed.

The alternative to the feed-based method is that you’ll need to upload each car manually, and of course remove it once it sells. Sound like a logistical nightmare? We completely agree. Thankfully, Autoweb Design have an alternative solution…

So, what options are available now?

Facebook has now removed the feed driven facility to send your stock to Facebook Marketplace, but this method is still available to those running paid Facebook ads, meaning you can still advertise to new or previous website visitors using the Facebook platform.

These are known as Automotive Inventory Ads and allow you to upload your stock feed as you did with Facebook Marketplace, but you will reach audiences that are relevant, based on their previous browsing history.

For example, you can create an audience based on visitors to your website and Facebook will retarget them with ads for similar cars they have already viewed.

Let’s say a visitor views a Black Ford Fiesta on your website at the beginning of the month. If your stock feed features any Ford Fiesta models, either in a different colour or with lower mileage, this user will be retargeted with ads for these relevant models.

This method means that the ads which are shown to the user are relevant to them, rather than advertising all stock which may not be of interest to most users. By targeting ads to each and every user, you are likely to see a higher conversion rate, as they are based on their previous browsing history.

Additionally, you can create lookalike audience – Facebook users who match, or are similar to, the profile of users based on your website visitors and/or Facebook page followers. This means that you can still advertise to prospective customers who have yet to visit your website, but your ads will be shown to people who closely resemble those who have already demonstrated an interest in your company.

Of course, you can still advertise to a more general list based on demographic and interest-based criteria using your inventory feed if you would prefer.

Whichever strategy you adopt (we’d suggest a combination of all three), your ads will be up-to-date, using your latest data to present your current stock.

Where do these ads show on Facebook?

When you launch a Facebook Inventory Ad campaign, you can run these ads in multiple ways across the Facebook platform, including on the users feed, Facebook stories, reels, search, articles and Facebook Marketplace.

These ads can show as much or as little information as you want, including pricing, product description and a catalogue of photos. These ads will view as a carousel style, so the user can simply click through the images and get the information they need from your ad.

You can even choose what happens next. The prospective client can be presented with a link to your website where they can obtain more info, or they can access more details about the car through an optimised experience on Facebook itself before they become a lead and their contact details arrive in your Facebook inbox.

If you are looking to remarket to your previous website visitors, or you are looking to add a social channel to your marketing campaigns, get in touch with Autoweb Design who would be happy to provide more information.