eBay CEO Devin Wenig envisions having an algorithm decide where to place Promoted Listing ads on its site to help eBay monetize pixels on every screen.
He made the remarks on Tuesday’s earning call with analysts, where he revealed eBay expected total Marketplaces advertising to top $600 million for the year, of which Promoted Listings were expected to contribute $180 million.
“In Q3, we began expanding Promoted Listing placements, and we’ve seen positive results across the board. We now have over 400,000 sellers promoting over 160 million listings, leading to revenue growth of 120%. We have further aggressive expansion plans for this service, and we believe that our total advertising portfolio has the potential to contribute $1 billion in annual revenue in the next few years.”
One analyst appeared underwhelmed with the Promoted Listings adoption rate, noting eBay had millions of sellers and over a billion listings – “What can you do to drive higher adoption from incremental sellers and at this point, do you feel like you have any inventory constraints against growing this at a much faster rate,” the analyst asked.
That is, in essence, the opportunity, Wenig replied. He pointed to the triple-digit growth in Promoted Listings and said he expected that to continue next year with opportunities on both the source and the demand side. eBay sees more sellers adopting Promoted Listings as eBay also open up its site to more placements and more opportunities, he said.
For example, consumer sellers can now pay to promote their listings, “and business sellers are getting more chances in different parts of our product flows to promote at their option.”
While eBay has created fixed placements for Promoted Listings on search, merchandising, and on View Item pages (listings), eBay is ultimately moving toward having an algorithm decide the placement.
“There won’t be fixed positions. There’ll ultimately be a unified way that we can monetize pixels on every screen. And there may be some flows where there doesn’t make sense to have any Promoted Listings because of cannibalization, and there may be other flows where they may all be promoted because that’s the highest way that we can monetize on behalf of not only ourselves but on behalf of our sellers.”
Wenig sees the program as still being in the early stages and said eBay was going to be very careful about the impact of Promoted Listing ads on the buyer experience. “We don’t think a good buyer experience is to have every pixel on every page promoted. We’ve done a lot of good work simplifying and clarifying relevance and personalization. We don’t want Promoted Listings to undermine it, but we don’t think that it will.”
“And,” he said, “we think we have so much runway for buyers and sellers on this that it will be, as we said in the prepared remarks, advertising and payments are two big new businesses on top of the existing eBay business.”
eBay explains Promoted Listings to sellers on this page.