On September 13th, 2021, Facebook changed one of its policies that dealt a blow to car dealerships. Before the policy change, Auto dealers had previously automatically added their inventory onto the Facebook Marketplace. However, now Facebook’s policy banned vehicle listings that originate from the catalog feeds of their partners. This means that the homepage, the category pages, and even the Marketplace search results would no longer display them.
What Prompted Facebook to Make This Policy Change?
The Facebook Marketplace hosts many potential sellers as well as buyers. Facebook saw it necessary to boost the quality of engagement and user experience on Marketplace. Their goal was also to collect more 1st party data from car buyers. In addition, they wanted to increase the Facebook Marketplace share of the car dealership market.
- The most immediate result was a sharp reduction in the vehicle inventory available on the Marketplace.
- Auto dealerships are now required to create, post, and maintain their vehicle listings manually.
For auto dealerships, creating catalogs of their own is challenging because it requires technical expertise and labor intensive. This will also make generating leads from the Facebook platform an expensive avenue.
- Removing the automated listings means that there is no more space for private sellers. The Facebook Marketplace’s original goal of offering a platform for private car sellers may still be achieved.
How Have the Auto Dealers Responded?
- They create manual listings through their business pages
The Facebook business pages of auto dealerships have a ‘Vehicles Tab’ section. They can add all their vehicle inventory in this section by listing it manually. It will come in handy for the dealerships of used vehicles that want to list them.
- Auto dealerships run their sponsored Automotive Inventory Ads
These ads can pull inventory images, descriptions, and prices as displayed on a car dealership’s inventory catalog. It also creates targeted ads for vehicle buyers.
This policy change by Facebook is a double-edged sword. Though sharing vehicle inventory is harder, it offers an opportunity for ‘savvy’ car dealers to maintain a significant presence by using the options of Automotive Inventory Ads and creating good manual listings.
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