Buying a car has never been easier with Facebook’s latest search filters for its Marketplace for vehicles. The New Mobile App Technology powered search filters enable users to find a ride with a specific type make, model, mileage, transmission, and more from both people and car dealerships like Edmunds, Cars.com, Auction123, CDK Global, and SocialDealer. The social site is also extremely transparent with the pricing against the industry standard Kelly’s Blue Book. As for communication of the deal, it boils down to simple Messenger bots which enable users to communicate with dealers in real-time instead of hassling with a contact form and sluggish response.
Search volume in Facebook’s friend-to-friend classifieds directory that launched a year ago has grown 3X globally since the start of 2017, with 18,000 listings being added in the US alone in May. There’s also been 77% growth in terms of unique conversations between buyers and sellers over the first half of 2017.
According to Facebook product manager Bowen Pan, “Autos are one of the most popular categories of Marketplace. Millions of people in the US alone are looking at used cars, motorbikes, and other vehicle listings every day.” The genesis of this Marketplace seeds from the rampant emergent behavior of app users creating buy-and-sell Facebook Groups, Facebook’s Marketplace team simply followed the usage trends to build the new vehicle features.
If you’re wondering how much Facebook gets from these Marketplace transactions- Nothing. However, a couple of months back it did start testing ads within Marketplace to promote certain products. The dealers are more than happy to pay for these ads as it augments their chances of getting a buyer for their car.
Marketplace transactions for the car are simply the first brick to Facebook’s masterplan. The social networking site also aspires to extend its platform to commerce by helping people score jobs, buy tickets through Ticketmaster and Eventbrite, discover daily deals through eBay, browse retail products from the Shop sections of Pages, and next, Facebook plans to dig its roots into real estate so users can find a house or apartment on the social platform.
While Craigslist and various vertical-specific sites exist as competitor services, Facebook, with its worldwide user base has an upper hand unlike other services- people don’t need to make a new account to access these marketplace services and can visit profiles and social graphs which establishes stronger trust.