EBay Preps For Mobile Commerce Push With Launch Of Promoted Listings

AlexLindeEBay rolled out the beta version of Promoted Listings on Tuesday, a self-serve cost-per-sale ad product, to select eBay Stores merchants.

Promoted Listings, which will be widely available in June, appear in desktop and mobile searches and are optimized based on past searches or purchase propensities. They loosely mimic Google’s Shopping Ads (formerly known as Product Listing Ads).

“A lot of our sellers needed a lever they could pull on our platform and didn’t want to grow their business by discounting price,” said Alex Linde, eBay’s VP of advertising and monetization. “They wanted visibility, which inspired Promoted Listings.”

Promoted Listings will initially be available in select categories through eBay’s self-serve tool. Although it won’t initially sell these formats through third-party APIs, eBay is definitely considering the programmatic implications, Linde said.

The ad rate reflects the percentage – which eBay did not disclose – of the advertised item’s final sales price. Linde said eBay opted for a cost-per-sale model because it offers more transparency into sales and proven ROI.

“We have 300 million shopping hours of data per month, which we can use for our own internal organic needs like personalizing results and content, as well as for merchants and paid promotions for both sellers and buyers,” Linde said. “The success of our media business today, while we’re primarily running display, is successful because of our powerful shopping data.”

Now eBay hopes to apply that data to more native ad units, mobile compatibility being a big driver.

“The banner ads we run today are OK, but they’re not truly native, and we needed something that works for mobile as well,” Linde said.

EBay expects approximately $30 billion in revenue will be transacted through smartphones and tablets this year. Embedding Promoted Listings within the user’s natural search flow fits eBay’s strategy to develop more mobile-first formats designed to fit its native commerce experience, Linde added.

As such, eBay will roll out more “commerce advertising” products designed to enable merchants and advertisers to connect actions throughout the purchase funnel.

“We want to match the right product to the right query to the right bid and get all the way down to sale,” said Linde. “RJ Pittman, our chief product officer, is reinventing the consumer side of our shopper experience to make it much more browsable and shoppable by considering how brand advertising and seller promotions fit in there.”

Ahead of its split with PayPal, which will trade independently on the NASDAQ in the second half of the year, eBay Marketplaces seems to be rethinking its global ad strategy. In the past, it operated more regionally, but for the first time, according to Linde, its North American, European and Asia-Pacific counterparts will function as more of a cohesive group.

“We realized that if we gave it some real focus from a global products point of view, we could do something bigger than today,” Linde said. “Up until now, we didn’t really have great global coordination. Our media business is great and it’s not going anywhere, but we want to bring more opportunities to brands that are integrated in the native experience in addition to display.”

 

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