Facebook or paid platforms for selling horses, which one is better?

The lure of advertising your horse for sale on Facebook is compelling, largely because it’s free and familiar. But, is Facebook better than paid platforms for advertising your horse?

Typically a “free” version of a product or service is inferior to a paid version, yet more horses are advertised on Facebook than paid platforms, therefore is that rule incorrect when applied to advertising horses for sale? And if so, are paid platforms going to be displaced by free advertising on Facebook? My assumption is no. I think that both routes to advertise your horse for sale come with their own sets of pros and cons, but long term, platforms that are built for buying and selling horses will trump the social media giant.

Here you will find a couple of points to consider when deciding how to advertise your horse. If you are about to sell your horse, here are seven tips to help create the advert of your horse for sale.

Facebook will remove your horse for sale post if caught out

A large barrier to Facebook displacing paid platforms is the ban of live animal sales on its platform unless you are a bricks and mortar business or website. Facebook started to enforce this policy back in early 2019 (from memory).

The big almighty benefit of Facebook is reach

Irrespective of breaching Facebook policies, the reach your post has advertising your horse in search of a new home is huge. Some equestrian groups boast thousands of members and for sale posts generate high engagement. Measured by the number of likes, shares, and comments (video views when applicable), high engagement is what tells Facebook what posts are hot. Facebook responds by increasing visibility of the hot post to a wider number of people in the group, creating more likes, shares, and comments.

Engagement is great, but conversions are better

Engagement with your post advertising your horse for sale feels great. That positive feeling is artificial and created intentionally to encourage you to spend more time interacting with the social media platform you are on. If you’re interested in this subject, watch the Social Dilemma on Netflix, it will blow your mind! Anyway, engagement with your post doesn’t necessarily equate to a conversion which in this example is the sale of your horse. Posting an advert with a beautiful looking horse or your horse jumping higher than the wings over a fence will get high engagement. But that is because they are great photos not solely because someone wants to buy your horse. How many people who engage with your post on Facebook are looking to buy a horse? And how many have liked your post because your horse is pretty?

That is why intent to buy a horse is important

Paid platforms might not give you the dopamine rush that a well received for sale post on Facebook provides, but intent to buy your horse is anecdotally higher. Potential buyers enquiring from your advert on a paid platform have taken the time to visit the platform, searched through for sale ads looking for a horse and decided to contact you. The potential buyers on that app or site are there for one purpose, to buy a horse.

Higher intent to purchase a horse leads to a higher conversion rate

Your conversion rate on a paid platform is higher because you have advertised your horse for sale to a smaller audience but secured a sale despite lower reach. My friend advertised her ex-racehorse on Whickr and received a handful of enquiries versus three hundred enquiries on Facebook. When she told me this my immediate emotion was panic. Luckily she also mentioned that her horse found a super home through Whickr, not Facebook. It doesn’t always work out like that but it is a nice example of quality over quantity winning the day.

If advertising your horse on a paid platform means accomplishing the task in less time…

What you’re really paying for with paid platforms is time

Using my friend as an example, three hundred enquiries on Facebook is a lot! As you can’t mention the price on your post, at minimum you are responding to three hundred enquiries to simply tell the potential buyers how much your horse is advertised for sale. Then there is the handling of your post, with enquiries in the comments section, random people friend requesting you – do you accept them to potentially sell a horse, or ignore? Message requests which are super annoying as they don’t show in your standard Messenger inbox, and potential buyers asking you to “PM” them. Whatever way you look at it, advertising your horse on Facebook does take more time to manage than adverts on paid platforms.

But Facebook is free

And this is why most people do use Facebook. Who knows, maybe the right buyer is browsing Facebook at the right time to stumble across your for sale ad and enquire about your horse. At worst, you post an advert and ignore any requests for further information, at best, you sell your horse to the first person who enquires. Perhaps a better option, and this is what some yards do, is advertise your horse on Facebook first and then advertise on paid platforms a couple of days afterwards if you haven’t had much success going down the free route.

To wrap up

If you are prepared to put the time and effort into advertising on Facebook, and don’t mind breaking the rules, perhaps the free route is right for you. Alternatively, if your time is worth more than the cost of an advert on a paid platform, or don’t want the headache of using Facebook to advertise your horse, paid platforms are probably a better option. Which route is better, Facebook or paid platforms? I don’t think the answer is that simple; both have their pros and cons, and some people will only use one or the other, some a blended approach, and some people, neither!

Do you prefer using Facebook or paid platforms? Leave your answer in the comments section!