Facebook’s parent company, Meta, has recently made some changes that will affect car sales on its Facebook Marketplace platform. According to a recent support page, beginning at the end of January 2023, dealers will no longer be able to post vehicle listings on Marketplace via their Business pages.
The company reports it is “simply changing how to distribute inventory,” but the decision could have also been influenced by Business pages increasingly posting the same car in different locations for incorrectly low prices. In addition, analysts surmise the decision, which also impacts real estate businesses, was made due to Facebook’s desire for sellers to purchase Marketplace ads instead.
Facebook said in its announcement that auto dealers will be able to “continue reaching vehicle and home buyers or home renters on Facebook in other ways.” Individuals selling their vehicles will still be able to post listings from their own personal pages for free, and the company noted dealers will not lose any of their “ability to reach [an] audience via ads.”
In 2019, so-called Automotive inventory ads (AIA) were unveiled, which Facebook said “expanded dealerships’ reach beyond the people who had already visited their website or app, and let dealerships get in front of even more prospective car shoppers based on their visits to other auto and dealer-related Pages, websites and apps.” The goals of AIA were to “get efficient campaign performance,” “reach in-market consumers during their shopping journey,” and “offer a frictionless shopping experience” for customers.
The recent decision came as a surprise to some, as Facebook also previously invested in partnerships with automotive-related companies like Cars.com, Edmunds, and CDK Global for inventory sharing and advertising purposes.
Reactions to the latest update have been mixed, with some users feeling satisfied that false ads may be reduced and others worrying that spam listings will instead increase. These include listings from fake profiles, which Facebook Marketplace generally has trouble detecting and removing.
The main complaint about the current Facebook Marketplace auto sales process is the classic “click bait” $1 ads, which often entice Marketplace users to visit listings that end up being spam or a scam. There has also been much dissatisfaction regarding automotive listings that solely show the required down payment and not the actual price of the cars. While Facebook always assures users it is working to protect the website from such false advertisements and hopes the upcoming change will remedy them to some extent, it is unknown if the move will end up actually reducing these instead of having the opposite effect.
Facebook marketplace said it will be deleting any active listings from Facebook Business pages starting on January 30, 2023. Dealers must download their listings before then to avoid losing them, as their Business pages will also no longer feature the “Vehicles” and “Manage Inventory” tabs.
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