Nov 22, 2013

Craigslist now charging by the ad.. What does it mean to my dealership?

Craigslist (CL) has announced one of the more sweeping changes in their history. CL will start charging $5.00 per vehicle ad in their ‘Cars and Trucks by dealer’ category starting December 3rd. This is a change for ALL auto dealers and does not affect other categories like consumer auto sales, RVs, Power sports, etc.

Against conventional thought, our research tells us that Craigslist is not doing this to make money and is not a company driven by ROI. Instead, they strive to achieve ONLY a “perfect marketplace” where buyers and sellers can come together in a simple and efficient manner as a LOCAL community. By implementing this fundamental change, CL is simply cleansing this marketplace as they have done in several other categories in the past! This has proven to be only a positive in “Real Estate” and the “Human Resources” categories.

The first thing to keep in mind is that this change will not impact the number of visitors/buyers on CL, which is currently over 50 million shoppers. The number of ads posted before this change is 500 million. This number will change dramatically, dropping as much as 75%, because of the elimination of spammers and excessive posters. Another positive result of the pay-for-ad business model CL has initiated is that competitor flagging may be a thing of the past. This will allow the shopper to find ads more efficiently.  As non-aggressive dealers drop off, this change will increase the effectiveness of your dealerships’ vehicle ads as they will not be mixed in an over saturated market of duplicate and unprofessional ads. The dealer that stays in the game will see a 75% increase in the amount of leads, since most ineffective dealerships will drop out of the race due to the cost per ad.

As for the additional cost of posting ads, the ROI is expected to increase significantly.  So while in the short term it sounds painful, in the long run we will all be better off. The dealer who stays in the game will reap the benefits.

A Good posting company should be working with your Internet Management Team to re-evaluate your current account, and make suggestions on the number of ads, along with the cost per month that is recommended for your dealership.

The one thing we can all agree on is Craigslist is not going away and that it has become a virtual auto mall, where customers go to check used car prices and look for local used cars to purchase, typically within a 15-day period. This has now become an advertising site, and the rate is very affordable, considering the number of serious buyers that frequent the site daily. Dealers who stay with Autopilot’s marketing tools and continue to post will see an increase in traffic, since most dealers will be stubborn for a few months while they try to wrap their head around paying for a Craigslist post. We pay for all other forms of advertising and most do not return as many results.

Your current Craigslist Posting Vendor should reach out to your dealership and continue to offer a premier service which will now include budget monitoring in the same fashion as many other marketing sites like Google “Ad words”, eBay, Facebook, etc.  Therefore, you can feel confident that on December 3rd, the product will not only be more efficient, but will now also include the functionality of the payment processing of the Craigslist fees.  A savvy dealer should look into, where you can automatically post your inventory. Backpage is Craigslist largest and most successful competitor and, according to, is the 146th most visited website in the United States.


If you are looking for a Tool or Vendor to help you navigate this new change, please look to a Product caller Autopilot. Many dealers, who use this product, are very satisfied.


More on the Craigslist change can be found on the URL below:

More info about CL Posting:

  Keywords: Craigslist changes to pay per car post |$5 per ad on Craigslist|Craigslist now charges $5 per ad on December 3rd



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