All Facebook efforts are aimed at making it more useful for users, even if it means moving onto other’s territory. On Thursday, the social networking giant announced an update to the Marketplace section allowing users to now search for housing rentals.
Making it easier to search housing rentals
Facebook Marketplace is a Craiglist-like platform that allows users to search for items for sale nearby. Though Facebook already allows users to post apartment listings via Marketplace, the new update adds several filters to help users search apartments based on price, area, location, number of bedrooms, rental type, and if the place is dog- or cat-friendly.
To get more listings on Facebook Marketplace, the company partnered with Apartment List and Zumper. Further, brokers, agents and property managers are also allowed to post rentals. To ensure that those searching get a better feel of the space, Facebook is allowing users to upload 360-degree photos, notes CNET.
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Facebook’s latest move is clearly part of its larger efforts to encourage users to spend more time on the platform. To make the platform more enticing, the company previously added features like travel-planning tools, send or request money, order food, and more. Earlier this week, the company added peer-to-peer payments via Messenger for two more countries (UK and France), saying it was one of the most requested features.
Growing popularity of Facebook Marketplace
Facebook came up with Marketplace last year, and lately has been making efforts to expand its reach. In October, the company allowed users to buy and sell used cars on the platform and chat with dealership representatives, such as Edmunds, Cars.com, Auction123, CDK Global, and SocialDealer. The company is also testing other features to add to Marketplace, like event tickets and job postings, notes CNN.
“Marketplace is a popular place for people to look for a home to rent,” Facebook said (via Engadget). “First with vehicles and now with housing rentals, we’re partnering with businesses to bring more ease and convenience for consumers.”
According to Facebook, the categories it is adding to the Marketplace is based on what users search for, and going forward, it will continue to “explore new opportunities to partner with businesses.” Since the start of the year, the search volume for the Marketplace tab has increased by 3 times globally, the company says.
In addition, the Marketplace helps the social networking giant compete with the likes of Craigslist and eBay. Also, the additions or updates to the Marketplace suggests how easily Facebook, with over 2 billion users, can walk into other’s territory. Forrester analyst, Sucharita Mulpuru, believes the social networking giant is poised well to take on Craigslist, but it will take some time, along with resources, according to CNN Tech.
“To make any marketplace really work well, content needs to be comprehensive, easily searchable, attractive and transactions need to go smoothly and exactly as expected,” the analyst said.
At 11:01 a.m. Eastern time, Facebook shares were down 0.46% at $178.73. Year to date, the stock is up almost 56%, while in the last three months, it is up almost 5%.