Ina Steiner EcommerceBytes Blog
News and insight focusing on ecommerce.
by Ina Steiner, Editor of EcommerceBytes.com
Wed Sept 29 2021 13:53:58

Buying Your Way to the Top of eBay Search Results

By: Ina Steiner

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Sellers have been buzzing about eBay's new cost-per-click ads where sellers can vie for top placement in search results. In explaining its Promoted Listings Advanced ads, eBay said, "It works by allowing you to target the keywords that matter to you, and you then bid for the number one slot in eBay search results."

But sellers are concerned about the impact of the program (see the companion post from Tuesday, "Some Blame Slow Sales on New eBay CPC Ads").

A seller who goes by the handle glasser wrote in a thread on the eBay discussion boards, "We should not be competing against each other on based on who pays for promotions or clicks. It should be based on how well we write titles and descriptions, price, customer service, etc. eBay was conceived as a level playing field. We shouldn't have to pay for a service - better search results - that we can get through competition."

When someone said eBay was only making available the number one slot to CPC advertisers, another replied, "So only the "winner" gets to pay for the clicks. That certainly is an odd model."

But since the top spot will feature the listing from the seller willing to pay the most for that spot, it means sellers get to buy their way to the top even if they don't have the most relevant listing. (Otherwise why would they pay to appear at the top?)

As ad revenue grows, it can become addictive to ecommerce platforms. CNBC noted last week that Amazon is adding more sponsored product ads to the top of search results - from a normal two to three to up to six ad listings in search results.

"In 2018, Amazon leapfrogged Microsoft to become the third-largest ad platform in the U.S., trailing only Google and Facebook," according to CNBC. eBay, which has promised growth through ad revenue, is clearly watching, and it's not a stretch to think eBay would also add more CPC ads to the top of search results, potentially pushing down more relevant listings.

eBay seller glasser said sellers marketing against each other on the same platform seemed like a fool's errand and said they would look into Facebook or Google before paying eBay's CPC model.

"Will eBay's pay per click come with targeting? or is just based on the most basic of keyword searches? If I sold auto parts, I would want to be sure that my listing was seen by someone who owned the type of car I had parts for. Not someone who did a more generic search."

The issue isn't new (see this 2019 post about buyer concerns) - but eBay's new cost-per-click Promoted Listings Advanced ads are raising the issue anew.

Comments (28) | Leave Comment | Permalink
Readers Comments

Perminate Link for Buying Your Way to the Top of eBay Search Results   Buying Your Way to the Top of eBay Search Results

This user has validated their user name. by: toolguy

Fri Oct 1 08:10:46 2021

Once upon a time I was: eBay Pays My Bills

Now I'm: Social Security Pays My Bills with a little help from eBay

I still find that eBay is the best place to sell and to buy.

My tools are selling OK and I'm having a good time finding Leatherman tools on eBay,

In 6 months my collection has grown from 1 tool to 16 tools and the "Leatherman Tool Users Group" on Facebook is the best.

Almost as good as this group. lol

Perminate Link for Buying Your Way to the Top of eBay Search Results   Buying Your Way to the Top of eBay Search Results

by: Geetar This user has validated their user name.

Fri Oct 1 08:45:14 2021

@I Must be Crazy

This is the new corporate way. Must make shareholders happy with ever increasing stock prices. So all resources go to that. Instead of stabilizing the company and putting it on track. So when the time comes when there's nothing left to bilk, shareholders and upper management jump ship. Shareholders buy stocks in other companies, and upper management goes to another company does the same thing and gets massive bonus' a la donahoe and wenig.

This is so unfortunate. This is destroying the US more than all the outsourcing ever did. I guess you could say this is the new corporate raiding, except it is being done to just about all companies that are traded.

Perminate Link for Buying Your Way to the Top of eBay Search Results   Buying Your Way to the Top of eBay Search Results

by: Geetar This user has validated their user name.

Fri Oct 1 08:45:55 2021

@I Must be Crazy

This is the new corporate way. Must make shareholders happy with ever increasing stock prices. So all resources go to that. Instead of stabilizing the company and putting it on track. So when the time comes when there's nothing left to bilk, shareholders and upper management jump ship. Shareholders buy stocks in other companies, and upper management goes to another company does the same thing and gets massive bonus' a la donahoe and wenig.

This is so unfortunate. This is destroying the US more than all the outsourcing ever did. I guess you could say this is the new corporate raiding, except it is being done to just about all companies that are traded.

Perminate Link for Buying Your Way to the Top of eBay Search Results   Buying Your Way to the Top of eBay Search Results

by: Actual Seller This user has validated their user name.

Fri Oct 1 14:17:00 2021

CPC would be BETTER if OTHERS knew how to advertise.

Paying say Promoted Standard 3% on a $100 item is $3 fees.
But buying a .20 cent click on a high conversion item saves me money. Lots.

I was first in CPC and it was working until OTHERS got in and OVERBID me with IRRELEVANT listings.

Now my searches show stuff from THE DAMN UK which is NOT RELATED because they DO NOT know how to target exact match keywords and they fall VICTIM to eBay's default "broad term match" which makes them pay for IRRELEVANT clicks.

If everyone knew how to manage CPC and they made sure their items only showed up for the right search terms, we would all save money doing this and increase sales.

But since people are running wild with broad term matches, the top result is extremely irrelevant on most searches.
BUT, this is also good because those who PAY for TOP SPOT in my niche are never going to be what the buyer was looking for so the next "Best Match" which is free will be me, Mister Relevant and I am getting the sale, not the guy who paid to be in the wrong place.

The overbidders are blocking the competition from being number one.

Perminate Link for Buying Your Way to the Top of eBay Search Results   Buying Your Way to the Top of eBay Search Results

This user has validated their user name. by: DZT

Sat Oct 2 01:08:03 2021

Once again eBay gets caught trying to dangle a carrot in front of the rabbit.

Perminate Link for Buying Your Way to the Top of eBay Search Results   Buying Your Way to the Top of eBay Search Results

This user has validated their user name. by: Working It

Thu Oct 7 11:53:01 2021

I sell job-specific tools similar to the ones that @Tool sells. Nope, you can't find any of them at a hardware store (good for us). It's not a "small" niche, and there are many buyers are on eBay for these items.

My biggest concern with PPC is that you choose a keyword to target. Should the seller be selling curtain rings and target the keyword "ring" (not wanting to target people searching for curtains) curtain rings will come up for the customer who might be looking for a 14K sapphire ring.

eBay search already returns so many irrelevant results (Amazon, too), imagine how much more frustrated the customer will be when PPC is up and running full-bore!! I'm not playing that game.

Perminate Link for Buying Your Way to the Top of eBay Search Results   Buying Your Way to the Top of eBay Search Results

by: comeonnow This user has validated their user name.

Tue Oct 12 08:52:18 2021

This completely explains ebay's new category system......try to shop by category....no good anymore. They are funneling people into manual searches....but when that is done....ebay "default" searches for you.....aka....paid promotions. DOH!  

Perminate Link for Buying Your Way to the Top of eBay Search Results   Buying Your Way to the Top of eBay Search Results

by: comeonnow This user has validated their user name.

Tue Oct 12 09:41:47 2021

I just love it when ebay learns to make it more difficult for sellers and buyers at the same time......''It works by allowing you to target the keywords that matter to you, and you then bid for the number one slot in eBay search results.'' But....wait.....it most certainly has not been more convenient for me....the buyer.....Im getting items that I most certainly did not search for.....OH>>>>>but its in the new very very specific collectible ''plate'' category.......I used to be able to look up Haviland, but now type it in.....yes, there are Haviland.....but lots of other non Haviland ''plates''.....OH>>>>>I see how this absolutely works for ebay and not the buyer or seller......they have intentionally muddied the waters so they can bring us ''sponsored listings''.

I love it when one nice big community is pitted against itself in the name of profit too. Ebay has figured out how, not only to pit the sellers against each other, but now the buyer is being pimped out in the name of ''youve been sponsored''. Instead of ebay doing its job....it will pit everybody against everybody......as if the playing field isnt constantly shifting in eBaynia.






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