Facebook stopped allowing dealers to automatically push inventory to the marketplace on September 13th, 2021. what should you do now?
HERE'S WHAT WE KNOW
Here’s what we know: on September 13th, 2021, Facebook stopped allowing the automatic syndication of retail inventory to the Facebook Marketplace. There is a lot of speculation, some good and some bad, about why they made this change, but the point is that it impacts the entire dealer body.
Previously, marketing partners were allowed to automatically push inventory to Facebook Marketplace using a Catalog and inventory feed (aka bulk upload of inventory). This option is going away in favor of requiring dealers to adopt the new Inventory Tab and Automotive Inventory Ads (AIA).
That doesn’t mean dealers can’t get their inventory directly into the Marketplace, it just means that someone has to manually create listings for each vehicle. This may make sense for some specialty inventory, but obviously it’s not a scalable solution for any medium to large size dealership – whether you’re trying to do it in house or your marketing partner is offering to do it as a service.
DEALERS THAT WERE PUSHING INVENTORY TO FACEBOOK MARKETPLACE PROBABLY HAVE OUT-OF-DATE INVENTORY ON THEIR INVENTORY TAB
There are a couple of things to immediately look out for. Many marketing partners are trying to capitalize on the disruption and fear within the dealer body by selling services to manually create Facebook Marketplace listings for each vehicle. There’s really no way to justify the cost and effort for this, especially with better options available.
Additionally, any dealer that was previously using a partner will likely have their inventory show up in the new inventory tab – but unless they have set up a live feed the inventory will not have been updated and you may be left with out-of-date listings in the inventory tab. That hurts customer engagement and brand equity.
HERE'S WHAT YOU SHOULD DO
All of that said, Facebook is and will continue to be a highly valuable and effective source for leads and web traffic assuming you use Facebook the way Facebook wants you to. What Facebook wants to you to do, and what your marketing agency partners should be talking about, is syndicating inventory to your Facebook Page’s Inventory Tab – and running inventory ads that show up across Facebook, including in the Marketplace.
If your marketing partner isn’t talking about that, then here are a few things you can be doing on your own – or challenging them to figure out for you.
Maintain Live Inventory Tab
First and foremost, make sure your inventory is live and up-to-date on the Facebook Inventory Tab. Facebook wants customers searching and discovering vehicles on Facebook, so if yours aren’t there then you will lose potential leads and customers. You can do this manually, but that’d be a terrible waste of time. Instead, setup a live inventory feed between Facebook and your inventory management system.
Run Automotive Inventory Ads (AIA)
Especially easy once you have your Inventory Tab setup correctly, Automotive Inventory Ads lets you beautifully advertise new and used inventory across Facebook, including the News Feed, Facebook Sidebar, Instagram, and even directly in the Facebook Marketplace.
Don’t Forget about Google!
We’re talking a lot about Facebook but what most dealers don’t know is that you can now syndicate your inventory into Google My Business (GMB) and connect listings to automated Google Search Ads.
The result is that when someone searches for your dealership, they can see your inventory without having to click through to your website – allowing you to capture more potential customers. Conversely, Google Ads will show your inventory to someone searching for a specific make/model, allowing you to capture leads and customers that may not have discovered you otherwise.
LOOKING FOR A LITTLE HELP?
We have spent a lot of time reviewing Facebook’s documentation and working directly with Facebook’s Automotive Marketing liaison to make sure we are providing the best advice and direction to our dealers. Through this, we have automated much of the work required to meet Facebook’s new infrastructure, including Facebook and Google Inventory Syndication.
But that’s not all, we’ve also automated digital advertising for Facebook and Google, taking advantage of detailed consumer targeting and remarketing and allocating advertising dollars to inventory most in need of attention and exposure and not to the vehicles you know will sell on their own.
If you’re not syndicating your inventory to Facebook and Google now, you need to start. If you’re not running inventory ads on Facebook and Google, you need to start. If you don’t know how or where to start, we’re here to help.