Buy a car through Facebook, and the social network could earn a special place in your heart. So Facebook is creating a dedicated section of Marketplace for vehicles.
You'll now be able to use new search filters 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. You can check pricing against the industry standard Kelly's Blue Book. And you can use Messenger bots to communicate with dealers in real-time instead of filling out a contact form and waiting to hear back.
Search volume in Facebook's peer-to-peer 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 unique conversations between buyers and sellers over the first half of this year.
"Autos are one of the most popular categories of Marketplace" says Facebook product manager Bowen Pan. "Millions of people in the US alone are looking at used cars, motorbikes, and other vehicle listings every day" he tells me. So just as Marketplace grew out of the rampant emergent behavior of people creating buy-and-sell Facebook Groups, the Marketplace team followed usage trends to build the new vehicle features.
Facebook doesn't take a cut of any Marketplace transactions. But a few months back it started testing ads within Marketplace to promote certain products. You can imagine that dealerships would happily pay for ads if they could land them a car buyer.
Marketplace's spotlight on cars is just part of Facebook's ambitious plans for the commerce platform. It's also working on helping people land 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 tackle real estate so you can find a house or apartment.
While Craigslist and various vertical specific sites have been around forever, Facebook is butting in by combining the fact that people don't need to set up a new account, already visit the app daily, and have visibility into people's profiles and social graphs can boost trust.
- This article originally appeared on TechCrunch.