- Facebook is expanding Marketplace, its person-to-person shopping section, to include housing rentals from Apartment List, Zumper, agents and property managers, according to TechCrunch.
- Users looking for a listing can now filter the results via location, price, rental type, number of bedrooms and bathrooms and pet-friendliness.
- Marketplace previously let users post their own listings, but now, they can also add 360-degree photos for a more immersive view of the space.
Marketplace's expansion continues as Facebook attempts to grow its social network into a "one-stop shop" for everything a user could want, including buying movie tickets, ordering food, searching for cars and now, browsing a greater selection of home rentals. The goal for these partnerships and additional capabilities is likely to encourage users to stay on the site longer, allowing Facebook to collect more user data and, in turn, serve up better targeted ads. Creating a dedicated hub for e-commerce browsing and transactions also points to how Facebook is attempting to centralize and optimize its browsing experience in order to keep its 2 billion users happy and active online.
The various partnerships and professional listings are a switch from Facebook's original approach to Marketplace at its launch in October 2016, when it was purely a place where users could post items for sale with Facebook taking no part in payment, processing or shipping. Essentially, it was battling Craigslist with a similar model to reduce the amount of friction between seeing an ad and buying something online. With the new approach, Marketplace edges closer to being a more traditional online rental service.
A recent study from Open Influence found Facebook was the top social platform for last-click sales attribution with 48% of U.S. social media users stating they made their most recent purchase from Facebook, compared to 8.6% from Instagram, 4.5% from YouTube and 2.1% from Pinterest. That success was attributed in part to Marketplace, as the platform added 18 million product listings in the U.S. in May 2017 alone and reported a 77% surge in communications between buyers and sellers in the first half of the year.
Meanwhile, given that the ad load on its core News Feed is essentially maxed out, Facebook has been looking for new features that keep its users on the platform while also offering more ad space and potentially another revenue stream. Its new Watch video feature is one of those initiatives, and the continuing expansion of Marketplace offers up more space for sponsored posts, a hot topic ever since the social media giant said it was testing the removal of publisher's posts from News Feeds in six countries.