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eBay Promises Sellers Better Exposure Through Ads

eBay is opening up its new Promoted Listings ad program to more sellers and is offering free phone consultations to help sellers set up their first campaigns.

Who wouldn’t want greater exposure in search results, whether it’s a search engine like Google or an ecommerce platform? But whether marketplace sellers should have to pay for increased exposure on top of the fees they already pay to list their items has always been hotly debated among eBay sellers.

In year’s past, eBay has played with the model, with some sellers ponying up the money in order to boost sales. eBay announced the latest incarnation in May, and more invitations have been going out over the past 3 weeks or so.

“With promoted listings, your ads can appear in prominent locations on eBay, such as first-page search results,” eBay explains in the email invitations. “Pay only for direct sales. Pay only when your ad is clicked and the item is purchased. It’s easy. Choose your listings, set your rate, and ads are created automatically for you. You’re in control. Start, stop, or change your campaign at anytime.”

eBay is also offering invitees a free phone consultation to help them set up their first Promoted Listings ad campaign.

Here’s how the ad program works: You choose a rate for each listing that is a percentage between 1% and 20% of the item’s selling price that you’re willing to pay for the ad on top of the Final Value Fee, excluding shipping charges and sales tax.

When your item sells within 30 days of a click on your ad for that item’s listing, you’re charged a fee based on the ad rate you had set at the time the ad was clicked.

And here’s even greater detail about the program:

Promoted listings is currently available for multi-quantity, fixed price listings in select categories. Sellers may only promote up to 30% (or 1000, whichever is greater) of your multi-quantity fixed price listings in selected categories that are displayed in the promoted listings service. Each campaign can have up to 100 listings included.

Sellers discussed the program on the eBay boards. One seller said he had been a frequent user of eBay’s optional feature that let sellers pay an upfront fee to have their items “featured.” “I did it all the time for several choice items because it pulled traffic to all of other items and my sales were really excellent as a result. Then that went away.”

The seller called the new Promoted Listings ads a “convoluted version of that idea only in the form of a seriously jacked up final value fee.”

“At least they are only making you pay it if the item actually sells,” the seller wrote, ” I would probably be willing to give it a whirl on a few listings just to see if it provided the same results as the old Featured Listing option did. But, alas, I have not received that offer.”

Rob Streeter of commerce search-advertising firm HookLogic raised an interesting concern merchants might have about using the program. In response to our Twitter query asking users if they had tried the program, he tweeted, “I like the percent of sale cost model, but am concerned that data would be used for rate hikes based on margins.”

Be sure to share your experiences with eBay’s new ad program and let us know what you think of its effectiveness and costs.

Comment on the EcommerceBytes Blog.

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Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner is co-founder and Editor of EcommerceBytes and has been reporting on ecommerce since 1999. She's a widely cited authority on marketplace selling and is author of "Turn eBay Data Into Dollars" (McGraw-Hill 2006). Her blog was featured in the book, "Blogging Heroes" (Wiley 2008). Follow her on Twitter at @ecommercebytes and send news tips to ina@ecommercebytes.com. See disclosure at EcommerceBytes.com/disclosure/.