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Seller Offers Tips on Advertising with eBay CPC Ads

Seller Offers Tips on Advertising with eBay CPC Ads

Jeffry Radspinner runs an eBay Store called Venture Surplus selling military surplus. He’s been selling on eBay for 11 years and has been operating Venture Surplus on eBay for about 7 years.

Radspinner appeared on an “eBay for Business” podcast last week to talk about his experience using eBay Promoted Listings Advanced Beta. It’s a new type of advertising on eBay where sellers pay for clicks regardless of whether the shopper actually buys an item.

The program isn’t for every seller, he said. It’s not a good fit for sellers of one-of-a-kind items. “It’s better for things that you have several of or a whole lot of, and you can just keep restocking it because then you’ve got a campaign that’s just gonna run forever and you do the work one time done,” he said. “Whereas (with a) single listing, you’re gonna do all that work and you’re gonna have to do all that work again for your next listing.”

Radspinner said when planning a campaign, he picks out up to 10 items to advertise. “I usually like them to be very similar items. Cause I don’t want to go in there and say, this campaign is gonna cover pants, jackets and backpacks because it’s a little too broad and I wanna be able to go back and measure the effectiveness of that campaign. So usually I’ll pick very similar items or items that are just in different conditions,” he said.

Some tips: don’t automatically use the keywords or budget eBay suggests, and do a lot of testing.

For example, when he was planning a campaign for cold-weather gloves, eBay was suggesting a lot of broad keywords to bid on. If “gloves” get 28,000 monthly searches, he doesn’t want to pay for 28,000 people to see ads that aren’t relevant to all of them.

He usually scrolls through all of the suggested keywords and selects the ones he thinks are most relevant. “Then I’ll go in and add some customized keywords – things that I would search if I was looking for this, which doesn’t necessarily mean that anyone else is gonna search, but I just like them to be in there. Plus, I can collect the data on them and see if they are relevant.”

He also uses “negative keywords” – words where he doesn’t want his listings to show up. For example, leather gloves: Radspinner doesn’t want to pay for clicks from shoppers looking for leather gloves, since it’s too broad a term for the type of military gloves he sells.

After he selects the keywords, he sets his bid – for example, 10 cents or 20 cents per-click.

Once the campaign is running, he can download all of the keywords and see what kind of hits they are getting. “I love seeing what people are searching to find our products.”

He tests new campaigns with small budgets to get data that helps him finetune his ads. He explained that when he places a bid on a keyword, such as up to 20 cents per click with a budget of $2/day. But that doesn’t necessarily mean he will pay 20 cents for a click. “If nobody else is bidding for that same keyword, then you’re probably gonna have your listing show up for 2 cents for a click. Which is just crazy cheap. Imagine getting a hundred clicks for 2 cents and out of those hundred clicks, three people buy that’s that’s really, really good deal.”

After running the campaign for a week or two, he finds he has good information – “And I didn’t have to break the bank to get that data.”

Radspinner may have gotten up and running easier than some other eBay sellers – he had run ads on Google so had experience running cost-per-click ad campaigns.

Prior to the phased rollout of the eBay Promoted Listings Advanced Beta program in 2021, he ran ads through regular eBay Promoted Listings, where sellers only pay if an ad results in a sale.

With six employees and an eBay Store with about 500 parent SKUs listed on eBay (not counting variations and sizes), however, Radspinner clearly thinks of himself as a good candidate for eBay’s CPC ads.

You can find the full transcript of the interview on this page of the eBay website, where the podcast recording is also available.

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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). She is a member of the Online News Association (Sep 2005 - present) and Investigative Reporters and Editors (Mar 2006 - present). Follow her on Twitter at @ecommercebytes and send news tips to ina@ecommercebytes.com. See disclosure at EcommerceBytes.com/disclosure/.

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