What Your Dealership Ought To Know About The New Craigslist

Jun 20, 2016 | Sales and BDC

We know you’ve heard of Craigslist, but do you know about the changes Craigslist’s Auto section has undergone within the last 2 years? Sure, the site still makes our web designer cringe, but it’s attracting more used traffic than Autotrader and Cars.com combined. How? And more importantly, how can you sell more cars from it?

What You Ought To Know About The New Craigslist For Auto Dealers

Skeptics, Start Here

I know what you’re thinking, “Wait, I’ve tried Craigslist before, and it didn’t do anything for me.” Yes, we can all remember when the Craigslist Cars + Truck section was free, overcrowded and pretty much useless for selling cars.

But that was the past.

How Craigslist For Car Dealers Has Changed

Over the last 2 years, Craigslist Auto has undergone 3 major changes:

You’ve gotta pay to play

As of 2014 dealers must pay $5 per listing in order to post used inventory on Craigslist. This change has helped filter out spam postings and prevents duplicate listings from flooding the Search Results Pages, and means that your dealership’s Craigslist ads will have a much better chance of being viewed by shoppers. However, the pay-to-pay model has also made Craigslist more competitive between serious dealerships advertising in the same area.

Time is no longer on your side

Listings are no longer always ranked on a first come, first serve basis. When a user types in a keyword in Craigslist’s search box, an algorithm decides which vehicles are most relevant to the user’s search query—NOT how recent the post was posted.

It takes science to satisfy the new algorithm

Just like Facebook Advertising and Google, the algorithms used to detect which vehicles are most relevant to the consumer are complex.

Because of this, getting your inventory to the top of the Search Results Page takes attention to detail: everything from the amount of characters you write, how many photos you post, and how you lay out your listing matters.

Car Dealers Must Optimize Listings On CraigslistOptimized Craigslist Listings Are Shown At The Top Of The SRP

If you’re not testing, re-testing, and re-RE-testing your templates every 30 days, your listings won’t ever have a chance.

Why Craigslist Posting For Auto Dealers Shouldn’t Be Overlooked

Killer traffic

Craigslist attracts 52 million unique visitors each month. That’s 52 million people seeking to purchase a product or a service every 30 days on a totally homegrown, local website.

If those 52 million users feel comfortable buying a computer from a stranger, they are likely to feel just as comfortable buying a used car from a licensed, trusted dealership in their community.

Why? Simply put, because it is perceived by consumers as being local and holding true to a grassroots nature. People want to feel as though they’re not being swindled by a big-name company or manufacturer. “Homegrown” is more trustworthy.

Lower sales funnel shoppers

Like all Craigslist shoppers, vehicle shoppers on Craigslist are often much lower down the sales funnel. They’re not window shopping and they’re not there to do research: Craigslist car shoppers are looking to make a purchase.

They’re not window shopping and they’re not there to do research: Craigslist car shoppers are looking to make a purchase.”

A shopper lower in the sales funnel creates a shorter sales cycle. A Craigslist consumer typically will purchase a vehicle within 21 days, opposed to traditional leads which generally take 34 days to close.

In fact, dealers who are using Craigslist to sell their used inventory are closing consumers at a much higher average rate of 12%.

Where else is your dealership finding success generating 1st party leads that are ready to buy? Let us know!

Blog Author - Brooke Jensen

Written By Brooke Jensen
Brooke handles all of Dealers United’s digital marketing. In addition to her love for design and copy, Brooke also adores her two dog-like kittens, playing the electric violin, and walking barefoot around the office.


Who is Dealers United?

Dealers United is a game-changing automotive company dedicated to helping auto dealers improve their dealerships. We have helped over 6,500 dealers nationwide cut costs, save time, and sell more cars.

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