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  • Writer's pictureSam Khuc

Why Facebook Ads Is Better Than Marketplace for Car Dealers

Updated: Aug 28, 2020

In recent months, the automotive industry has been buzzing about leveraging Facebook to help sell more cars. While Facebook Marketplace has been the center of attention, Facebook also offers another way to market your vehicles to potential shoppers: Facebook Ads. Often overlooked and overshadowed by Marketplace, Facebook Ads is actually the better approach to driving VIN specific leads from car shoppers directly into your CRM. Here are key differences between Facebook Marketplace and Facebook Ads for auto dealerships.


Facebook Marketplace is a classifieds section within the Facebook platform. Users will have to click on the Marketplace icon to be taken to Facebook Marketplace. There, they can browse or search for vehicles they are interested in, and matching results are shown within their set radius, similar to craigslist, CarGurus, or

Facebook Ads are sponsored native ads placed directly into Facebook’s newsfeed, as well as across Facebook’s network of properties, including Instagram and Messenger. Your vehicles will appear as a post in between photos of a user’s friends and posts from pages they follow, as well as other content native to Facebook and Instagram.

The advantage Facebook Ads has over Facebook Marketplace or third party listings sites in regards to placement, is your vehicles are not competing with other dealerships vehicles on the same screen. This means customers are only focused on the quality inventory your dealership offers, not how it compares in pricing to other dealerships with the same (but potentially lower quality) vehicle!

Lead Quality

Because the majority of Facebook Marketplace’s communication occurs over Facebook’s Messenger platform, a user can send an inquiry without submitting any information for your sales team to follow up on. Unless the user volunteers to submit their email address or phone number during the back and forth conversation, the only lead information your dealership will have is a Facebook chat user name.

The lead collection form for Facebook Ads is totally customizable. You can collect basic information like name, phone number, and email address, as well as extra info like trade in, down payment, and desired test drive time. If you are working with a Facebook Ads provider that has a Facebook to CRM integration, like Dealers United or ShapeShift Group, the lead can be instantly sent to your email inbox or CRM.

Cost and Effectiveness

While Facebook Marketplace is generally offered at a low cost (or even free), it is simply an inventory dump on a classifieds site. There is little optimization you or your vendor can do to optimize your listing and give your inventory an advantage over all the vehicles listed on Marketplace, aside from lowering your prices.

Facebook Ads is a full fledged Pay-per-click ad platform, similar to Google Adwords. While more budget is needed for an optimal Facebook Ads campaign (you can get a quote for your dealership here), the amount of optimization you can do on the Facebook Ads platform is almost endless. Choosing the right audience to target and inventory to focus on, as well as being able to A-B test ad copy, call to actions, and much more allows for your Campaign manager to hone in on the right strategy to properly advertise your dealership’s inventory in your market.


While both Facebook offerings essential to your dealership’s 2019 social media marketing strategy, Facebook Marketplace is the lower tier of the two, allowing you to list all your vehicles and generate a lot of “I’m interested” chats from higher funnel shoppers for a flat, low cost. If your dealership has more budget to spend on Facebook, then Facebook Ads would be the way to go, allowing you to drive quality traffic to your VDPs and generate full contact leads from customers who are lower down the sales funnel, and may be seeking to inquire about financing or scheduling a test drive.

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Apr 26, 2022

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