Thu. Mar 30th, 2023

Brad Sims is the owner of S&A Motorsports, a used auto dealership in Springfield. He sells between 10 to 15 vehicles a month, with the majority of his sales coming from listings he makes on Facebook Marketplace.
Sims said as a smaller, local dealership, he “hardly sells anything” off his lot to drive-by buyers. Marketplace allows dealers like Sims to connect with a wider range of potential customers, but a policy change is altering how both auto dealerships and real estate businesses can use the platform, which may impact business.
In December, Facebook parent company Meta announced that the company will no longer support vehicle and real estate listings on Facebook Marketplace from sellers using business accounts, starting Jan. 30. Listings made on personal Facebook accounts will remain available.
In lieu of traditional Marketplace listings, auto dealerships and real estate businesses will have to use marketing tools provided by Meta to create advertisement listings, if they wish to continue using the platform.
When Sims posts a vehicle listing to Marketplace, his personal Facebook account is listed under “Seller Information,” but the listing is made on “behalf” of S&A Motorsports. Vehicle listings made on behalf of a business indicate they are being sold by a dealership.
Not having the ability to post on behalf of his business concerns Sims.
“99.9% of my stuff is all on Facebook,” Sims said. “It (the policy change) is going to be terrible for me.”
By removing the ability of business pages to list on Marketplace, Meta is directing auto businesses to use its Dealer Marketing Hub, which provides in-house advertising tools.
On the buyer’s end, things won’t look much different if an auto business uses the marketing hub. When searching for vehicles on Marketplace, advertisements are populated among other listings. When users clicks on ads, which are categorized as a “Sponsored” posts, they will be taken to the associated websites.
Sims said he is not interested in advertising through Facebook, as he’s “boosted” posts in the past, which did “absolutely nothing” for him. Boosted posts are ads created from existing posts on a Facebook Page. Meta says “boosted” posts help businesses “get more messages, video views, leads or calls.”
Along with Marketplace, Sims also uses Carsforsale, an online marketplace for new and used vehicles. Sims said he pays $100 a month for his account, which is associated with his business’ website. On this platform, he can post an unlimited number of vehicles per month.
Nate Mathis, co-owner of Allegiant Automotive, another used auto dealership in Springfield, uses Marketplace but makes listings on his personal Facebook account. He said he’s not excited that Meta is monetizing a once-free service, but he understands why the company may be taking this step.
The main problem Mathis has witnessed on Marketplace is scams. He said he’s seen scammers post stock photos of vehicles, asking folks to put a deposit down to secure their purchase, when really they don’t have a vehicle for sale at all. Mathis said he has also seen auto dealerships make posts that list the required down payment, not the entire vehicle’s cost, which would appear cheaper.
Aside from scams, Mathis said it’s common for Facebook users to reach out on a vehicle listing, asking if its still available and then “ghost” the dealership when it comes to looking at or purchasing the vehicle.
“The amount of leads we’re getting, compared to how many we’re selling … it’s a bad percentage,” Mathis said.
Mathis said he hopes the policy change cuts down on the number of Marketplace scammers and increases the number of legitimate customer-dealership connections.
Local real estate agents are also concerned about the impact of Meta’s policy change.
Ashley Lamoureaux is the owner of Show Me Home Estate, a real estate development business. She is also a real estate agent through Cantrell Real Estate. She frequently uses Marketplace to post both rental properties and open houses through her Business Pages.
Through Show Me Home Estate, Lamoureaux owns four rental properties in Reeds Spring. She said she enjoys using Marketplace to list these properties because it allows her to conduct business from Springfield, where she lives.
Right now, Marketplace is the only platform Lamoureaux uses to share what rental properties she has available. Following the policy change, Lamoureaux said she may consider posting long-term rentals on Airbnb, marketing on Instagram or simply posting listings on Marketplace through her personal Facebook account.
Similar to the Dealer Marketing Hub, Meta offers the Top Providers Initiative for real estate businesses to advertise to potential buyers and renters. Lamoureaux said she doesn’t feel it’s “worth it” to invest in Facebook advertisements.
Not only is Lamoureaux concerned for her business, she is concerned about how folks in search of rental properties will source what’s available in the future.
“Just about everyone uses Facebook, so I don’t know of another good source for where they would begin to look … other than putting out signs saying, ‘Hey, we have a rental available,'” Lamoureaux said. “But normally people just drive by and don’t give it a second thought.”
The News-Leader reached out to Meta’s press team for clarification about the policy change but was unsuccessful in securing an interview.


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