It’s been just over a month now since Facebook ventured into the world of online classified advertising in the form of Facebook Marketplace. Seen as a direct challenge to the likes of Gumtree, eBay & Craigslist, Marketplace allows Facebook users to buy and sell between each other anything from skirts to speakers, phones to fivers and just about anything you can think of in between.
One month in, who has benefited from Marketplace’s entry into the online-market marketplace?
Are you the type of person who crams your trolley full of unnecessary items at the supermarket? Then Marketplace is ideal for you! But instead of chucking in some chewing gum at the checkout, Marketplace allows you to purchase items of far greater value on a whim.
Bowen Pan, Marketplace’s product manager, has said that “the vast majority of people just like to browse. They don’t have a specific item in mind. They are just…scrolling through the feed and seeing if there’s anything that might interest them… you might not know the items you want, but you’re open to seeing them.”
One scroll through my local area on Marketplace threw up a lot of cars, a lot of iPhones & a lot of dresses, 3 things I am sorely missing in my life.
Much like Facebook’s current advertising system, Marketplace uses “Facebook’s algorithms to try and predict what [products] users might be interested in, based on the pages you like on Facebook.”
Like a bunch of gaming pages? It’s likely you’ll be shown a pre-owned XBOX. Fan of Boohoo & ASOS? It’s likely you’ll get flogged some second hand garms.
Whilst Marketplace at the this time remains strictly a peer to peer selling service, it would be unlike Facebook not to try and grow the platform into a marketing tool. Allowing businesses to promote and sell their products directly to their customer base would be an enticing prospect for any company.
A key criticism levelled at the new platform is that it has been flooded by opportunist offenders looking to lug their stolen goods in the form of ‘guns, drugs and baby hedgehogs’.
Facebook have since apologised for these teething problems stating that “we encountered a technical issue that prevented our reviewing system from identifying…certain posts with content that violated our policies.”
However after all has been said and done the main winner from Marketplace’s introduction is not the consumer, the advertiser, or indeed the criminal it is, of course, Facebook itself!
Marketplace follows a long line of innovations (Facebook Live, Instant Articles, Facebook Messenger) designed to lure you to Facebook and keep you there. If you can shop, chat, read & watch on one application…why would you ever leave?