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eBay Ads: Big data advertising for B2C and B2B

Categories: PPC

We look at what eBay Ads brings to the retail game, how much it costs and why advertisers might want to spare some ad budget for this new platform.

As the retail advertising battle heats up, a fight between the likes of Google and Amazon is driving new opportunities. This is good news for advertisers as it increases competition, forces the big names to innovate and keeps prices down as they tussle for market share.

eBay is the latest eCommerce giant to enter the retail advertising race and it brings some ad innovations worth being excited about.

What is eBay Ads?

eBay Ads is a display network integrated into the eCommerce platform that gives advertisers extensive control over where their ads show. Until recently, eBay only offered an ad solution for eBay store owners, meaning advertisers not selling on the platform had very little control over where their ads would appear.

Example eBay ad

Sure, you could run ads on Google’s Display Network and specify eBay as a placement but this wouldn’t give you any real control over who sees your ads.

Now, eBay has built its own native advertising solution that brings ad formats designed for the platform, targeting options to deliver your ads to the most relevant audiences and real user data to power your campaigns. Instead of blindly targeting eBay shoppers with third-party display ads, you can now engage them with data-driven, informed messages while ensuring your ads are seen by the right people.

According to data from UKOM and comScore, eBay reaches 66% of the entire UK population and 61% penetration of mobile users across the nation. This puts the eCommerce giant within the top eight online platforms in the country and eBay Ads provides a much-needed advertising platform for brands to engage this user base with greater control.

eBay has 66& reach of UK population online and 61% of UK mobile population

Why should advertisers care about eBay Ads?

Given the size of eBay as an eCommerce platform, this is an audience retail advertisers need to pay attention to. In recent years, we’ve learned how effective Google Shopping and Amazon Advertising campaigns are compared to regular text ads, thanks to tapping into stronger consumer intent and the same thing applies to eBay Ads.

People who visit eBay are in one of two modes: window shopping or buying mode – and it’s often the latter.

Which means these users are already primed to buy and delivering the right message to the right audience yields powerful results. Prior to eBay Ads, you could target users on the website and mobile app through the Google Display Network but this didn’t give you a great deal of control over where your ads show or who sees them.

With eBay Ads, you gain the control you need to get your message seen by the people most likely to buy from you.

Ad from AO.com showing when you type in smart TV

By advertising on eBay’s native platform, you can access and use all of its data to target relevant audiences across the entire customer journey by using a range of contextual and audience targeting methods. You can target users based on the keywords they type in, the products they’re interested in and a range of demographic options, including age, gender location and more.

Crucially, thanks to eBay users’ account IDs, you can apply these targeting options without relying on cookies or other intrusive data capturing methods. You also don’t need to worry about GDPR because users have already opted in or out with eBay and it’s the eCommerce company’s responsibility as the data handler to manage consent.

Something else that makes eBay Ads unique from other retail advertising networks is that it provides a direct channel for B2B brands to target sellers. eBay is a crucial business channel for millions of major brands and smaller retailers who need to maximise exposure, sales and deliverability. B2B brands can target these sellers through eBay Ads and promote products or services to help them make the most of their online sales.

Summary of the reasons to advertise on eBay Ads:

  • 66% penetration in the UK alone
  • Brits spend more time on eBay than Amazon
  • 74% of eBay searches go on to make a purchase
  • Native ad formats designed to convert eBay users
  • Access to eBay’s user data
  • Advanced targeting options give you full control over where your ads appear
  • Cheaper than advertising on Google or Amazon
  • B2B brands can target eBay sellers to promote their products and services

Related article: We chat to eBay’s Amanda Benachour about the power of eBay Ads

Leveraging eBay data

The secret weapon in eBay Ads’ platform is the immense user data it houses, allowing it to deliver ads to the most relevant audiences. For example, the platform can pinpoint users who simply have to have the latest smartphone and even the moment they sell their current handset to finance the next upgrade.

How eBay uses data to deliver highly targeted ads

The platform also understands how the cycle through life stages influences buying decisions, such as the change in purchase behaviour before and after moving home.

Of course, eBay also has access to individual account data, allowing it to learn the buying habits interests and behaviours of individual users, too. This data is fed into its AI and machine learning algorithms to create personalised homepages, make the most relevant product recommendations and deliver the most accurate targeting options for advertisers.

There are three main audience types you can target on eBay Ads:

  1. In-Market Shoppers: eBay shoppers actively searching for products or services.
  2. Lifestyle Audiences: Shopper persona and audience types with similar habits, interests and passions.
  3. eBay Sellers: Millions of sellers who use eBay to run their business and empower their growth.

So, eBay Ads isn’t only a platform for promoting retail products that you’re already selling on the market place. The platform also provides a B2B marketing opportunity for businesses that want to target eBay sellers with products and services to help them grow their business.

How much does eBay Ads cost?

As things stand, eBay Ads is the most cost-effective retail advertising platform. Most of eBay Ads’ ad formats operate on a CPM basis, meaning you’re charged for every 1,000 impressions, and you can expect to pay around £5.00 per CPM on the platform.

With a CTR of just 3%, that would work out at 30 clicks costing less than 17 pence each.

In the case of Promoted Listings, you only pay when customers buy your products so you’re always generating a positive ROI from these campaigns.

What do eBay Ads look like?

Currently, there are three ad formats in eBay Ads that allow you to connect with buyers across the consumer journey.

Promoted Listings

Promoted listings are paid product listings that show on results pages and similar product recommendations.

Promoted listing ad on eBay

According to eBay, Promoted Listings increase visibility by up to 36% and the best part is you only pay for the ad when your product sells. This makes Promoted Listings one of the most cost-effective ad formats in retail advertising and you don’t have to worry about paying for clicks that don’t convert.

Top of Search Display

Top of Search Display ads appear at the top of results pages and you pay for these based on impressions (CPM).

Top of search display ad on eBay

Your ads show at the top of results pages for relevant searches and users who click through are taken to a product feed featuring all of your related items. So when a user types in something like “hoover” into eBay, you can direct them to your own line of products.

Native Display

Native Display ads aim to give you coverage across the entire consumer journey by placing ads at the top of the eBay homepage and other key locations, including the inbox of potential customers via targeted shopper emails.

Native display ad on eBay

Instead of waiting for users to start searching on eBay, Native Display campaigns allow you to inspire new purchase intent as soon as users land on the website.

Native display ad on eBay on the homepage

Through eBay’s shopper emails, you can also inspire purchase ideas without users even visiting the website.

eBay ad showing on someone's mobile before they've even visited the eBay site

How much opportunity is there on eBay Ads?

People in the UK have a strong connection with eBay. In fact, Brits spend more time on eBay than they do on Amazon and they visit it more often than some of the most popular social networks, including Twitter.

With 32+ million active users in the UK alone, the online marketplace connects you with the majority of online shoppers in the country.

We also have specific sales figures for the key categories on eBay:

  • Baby: 840,000+
  • Books, comics & magazines: 810,000+
  • Business, office & industrial: 2 million+
  • Cameras & photography: 400,000+
  • Cars, motorcycles & vehicles: 52,000+
  • Clothes, shoes & accessories: 8.5 million+
  • Computers, tablets & networking: 1.4 million+
  • DVDs, film & TV: 540,000+
  • Garden & patio: 2.4 million+
  • Health & beauty: ~3 million
  • Holiday & travel: 100,000+
  • Home, furniture & DIY: 5.2 million+
  • Jewellery & watches: 1.7 million+
  • Mobile phones & communications: 3.7 million+
  • Music: 500,000+
  • Pet supplies: 620,000+
  • Sound & vision: 930,000+
  • Sporting goods: 4.4 million+
  • Toys & games: 1.3 million+
  • Vehicle parts & accessories: 3.6 million+
  • Video games & consoles: 1.2 million+

With the coronavirus outbreak encouraging people to shop more online, these figures have likely increased since they were first published.

Time to invest in eBay Ads?

eBay Ads is a no brainer if you’re already selling on the marketplace and want to maximise sales. It could also make eBay a more tempting prospect for retailers looking for a new digital channel to sell their products, particularly with the ongoing shift towards online purchases.

However, the platform also provides a new opportunity for businesses selling directly to retailers. For the first time, B2B brands can target the millions of existing eBay sellers with products and services to help them manage and grow their online business – anything from invoicing software and label printers to insurance and marketing services.

With a combination of big data, powerful targeting options and affordable ad prices, eBay Ads has a lot to offer B2C and B2B brands alike.

Here to help

As an official eBay Ad Manager Partner, we are perfectly placed to manage all of your eBay advertising campaigns. Find out more about our eBay advertising services or contact us on 02392 830281 or info@vertical-leap.uk.

James is Head of PPC at Vertical Leap.

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