FB Marketplace vs Gumtree – Can Gumtree Compete?


I recently sold a few items from my house to make room for newer & smaller item replacements (due to moving to smaller house). As one does, the first place I went to load these items was Gumtree, and then for sh!ts and giggles also loaded it to Facebook Marketplace.

I honestly thought that I would just get spam from Facebook, but was pleasantly surprised by this whole process.

Selling on Gumtree vs Selling on Facebook Marketplace

Both are super easy to do. Both are free to list. And both rely on people browsing for your product to make contact with you, however on Facebook the items are more actively marketed to your network and appear on social feeds. Where as on Gumtree it requires people to visit the website to browse items.

Let’s Talk Stats.

I honestly did not expect to get anything good from FB Marketplace. I received at least five queries per item – the same day I put them live. To put it in context what the items where:

  1. Dining table and chairs – R3,500
  2. Large antique cupboard – R4,500

So they weren’t “cheap” items that one would expect to get a dozen queries on quickly.

Let’s compare the performance from both Gumtree & FB Marketplace for the Dining Table:

    1. Gumtree – 70 views
    2. Marketplace – 285 views
  2. Queries 
    1. Gumtree – Zero. Even though I can see that 2 people clicked on my phone number.
    2. Marketplace – Six.
  3. Offers 
    1. Gumtree – Zero.
    2. Marketplace – Two. I’d also like to add that neither of the offers tried to negotiate on price. I got full asking price.
  4. Days to Sale
    1. Marketplace – 2 days.

The dining table & chairs took only 2 days to sell, the cupboard took 5 – but it was quite a specialist piece although I also had good results: 187 views, 5 queries and 2 offers.

Can Gumtree compete with Facebook Marketplace?

These results are pretty staggering. Not in terms of performance, but the fact that nothing happened on Gumtree. Zero results. That is significant.

Gumtree used to be the defacto place to sell goods & find accommodation, despite OLX’s effort to own the phrase “sell it” (this ad just hilarious though). According to SimilarWeb, Gumtree still receives over 12 million visits a month – so what’s going on here?

Also as per SimilarWeb stats, Gumtree is getting most of its traffic from Search – organic & paid. Organically, it seems that brand searches are still quite high, although has taken a drop of about 3% MoM.  So the brand is still definitely on people’s minds when it comes to selling goods. Just looking at some of the categories on Gumtree, there are posts sometimes every ten minutes, hourly to daily depending on category. But for how long if they don’t perform? Or are they currently servicing a different demographic?

Facebook Marketplace has the benefit of being completely embedded within an environment that people are actively looking at every single day. If you post something on Marketplace, it is actively marketed to a couple of FB Sales Groups within your area as well as showing up in your friends feeds. You are also remarketed to on the app so the item (and related items) stay top of mind. Active marketing (albeit subtle) is still better than passive marketing – patiently waiting for traffic to arrive via Gumtree.

By the sheer volume of views from people in- or close to my location on Marketplace vs the views from Gumtree, the odds of things selling on FB are far higher.

Can Gumtree Stay Relevant?


  1. Integration. One of the ways that comes to mind for me is integrating with FB Marketplace to join forces so to speak. If Gumtree can feed into Marketplace you can list on Gumtree & FB Marketplace at the same time, so it could add value there and still retain its volume (of users).
  2. Security. FB does not disclose your location or your contact details, so you are roadblocked to using their messaging system to communicate with potential buyers – until you share your details with them. One of Gumtree’s USPs is “security” – that your details are not shared until that user either “clicks to view it” (if you added a phone number), or if you share it with them via message – but what if they could provide additional security or verification – a la Airbnb? Oh wait, FB Marketplace has already done something like this via “Reviews of this Seller”. On Gumtree you can only see “Other Active Ads by user” and not reviews for them. A more trusted environment could help.
  3. Remarketing. Gumtree used to remarket as well, but I have not seen a display Ad of theirs for a while. Even after I posted something to sell on their site. Maybe their Search team should relook their Remarketing settings.
  4. Rewards. Maybe? Rewarding active sellers with a “free boosted post” every so often, might assist.
  5. Referrals. They do actively partner on referral system mostly through Display with other sites. But based on their Top Referrers from SimilarWeb, it’s not great sites. I’d actively try and work with some good partners – do they do AdSense?

Are they Making Sales?

Gumtree has the user base, but are they actually selling anything? As a buyer you can delete your ad, and Gumtree does track whether it sold through them, or elsewhere (by means of survey type question). I’d be intrigued to know the results here.

The million dollar question is, how do they increase sales through their platform? (And of course this assumption is totally based on my one singular experience of selling two items.)

Whatever they do, they best do it fast, as if my numbers are one example of 12 million users, what happens when the other 12 million have the same result?

What do you think? Comment below or drop me a mail.

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