Ina Steiner EcommerceBytes Blog
News and insight focusing on ecommerce.
by Ina Steiner, Editor of EcommerceBytes.com
Wed July 24 2013 07:52:23

Amazon Lets Merchants Advertise, Should eBay?

By: Ina Steiner

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A reader sent me this Forbes article about ecommerce site Wayfair, which places ads for nearby home decor stores and charges the local brick-and-mortars for the lead. The article explains:

"Despite its e-commerce prowess, 99% of Wayfair's web visitors don't buy anything. In fact, most visit with no intention of buying anything. The problem: when shopping for big-ticket items like patio furniture or sofas, consumers often start by researching items online before purchasing at a store. The industry jargon for this behavior is 'webrooming.' (Yes, it's more or less the opposite of 'showrooming.')"

Wayfair tells Forbes there's no cannibalization of sales by sending shoppers to local stores through its ad program. "It's reasonable to assume that customers intending to buy from Wayfair might be swayed to visit a nearby brick-and-mortar instead," Forbes wrote, but Wayfair said that doesn't happen.

The eBay seller who sent me the article wrote, "Given that eBay is naturally closed mouthed about their advertising programs, is it possible that the experience of Wayfair correlates to the eBay advertising concept of ad placement on eBay sellers web pages?"

"If so, it might give eBay sellers an inkling as to why eBay is so aggressive with regard to placing outside ads on seller listings, search pages etc. - pocket change adds up."

At one time, eBay allowed its own sellers to advertise on the site (on search results pages, but never on listing pages), and it was quite popular with powersellers who were willing to spend the money for extra exposure to their listings. One big advantage to the program from sellers point of view: the ads didn't send shoppers off the eBay site.

eBay never explained why it stopped the program in 2011. But you'll find plenty of ads on eBay these days, including ads for competitive products on other sites, even on sellers' View Item pages, which I've documented in Newsflash articles thanks to readers' sharp eyes.

Amazon, on the other hand, has several ad programs for merchants, one for driving shoppers to the merchants' own stores off of the Amazon website, and the other that drives shoppers to their Amazon.com products (Amazon Sponsored Products), keeping shoppers on the site. One critical advantage Amazon has is its uncanny ability to know what shoppers want. The technology and data used to power its product recommendations feature are likely in play with its ad programs, knowing which ad to serve up to which shopper on which page.

What do you think of marketplace's advertising programs as a seller - and as a shopper? And would you consider advertising your product listings or your online store on eBay, Amazon, or other marketplaces?




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Readers Comments

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This user has validated their user name. by: Ric

Wed Jul 24 09:07:58 2013

As a buyer, I hate ads inserted into search results and/or listing pages, and NEVER click on any advertisement or link.

I only browse eBay with Firefox and eliminate as many ads as possible using the browser addons AdBlock and No Script.

Given that I am paying for a store, I would not buy additional advertising to promote items as I feel I should be receiving proper exposure from my trading partner.

Given eBay's lack of corporate honesty, integrity and transparency, I would never do business with them on a Pay Per Click basis. If I can not trust what management says publicly, then I certainly can not trust them to accurately track click through statistics.

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This user has validated their user name. by: elpereles
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Wed Jul 24 11:31:31 2013

Agree. I navigate in eBay using Firefox with Adblock. The ads can be confusing.

I believe if a seller pay any insertion fee in eBay or any site. It isn't fair flood their listing with external ads. Now if you use free promos (like me) I don't care. I believe is fair in that case.

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by: JustTheFacts This user has validated their user name.

Wed Jul 24 11:40:50 2013

I have NEVER trusted ''pay per click'' from ANYONE.  Then when I read several years ago how companies were having their own employees click on the ads to run up the bills it confirmed what I knew was going on.

I also read how google was suspected of doing this to run up the price of the ad bidding rates.

CHEATING or STEALING is really the right thing to call it, is too easy and tempting for any company offering ''pay per click''.  It is like stealing candy from a baby.

Then when you look at the reputation of the companies that offer it, how could anyone with a few brain cells even think they are not doing it.

The reason Amazon knows what you want is because they place COOKIES on your computer and follow you around so it is not hard for them to figure out what you are looking for.  It is not rocket science it is TRACKING.

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This user has validated their user name. by: thehosst
Web Site

Wed Jul 24 12:23:59 2013

We tried Amazon, we have no good conversion rates, we guess is because so many competitors using amazon to research, so many clicks with no conversions. Because of analytics, we were able to see that most were competitors. Also, there is no way to select the country you are targeting, in our case, we only sale to USA customers, but we get a lot of people from other countries we do not ship to. The only feature I like is that you can see the products are getting clicks and delist them if they are out of stock.  

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This user has validated their user name. by: Tula

Wed Jul 24 13:30:29 2013

Amazon is good at ad targeting because they have loads of data to mine for sales information. Yes, they also use cookies, but they have the advantage of so much sales data that they can see what kind if items are popular rather easily. They, at least, know how to use that data to help sellers sell. I wish eBay would do that. They don't seem to understand that when we sell items, it makes them more money. Why they insist on hindering our sales, I'll never know.  

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This user has validated their user name. by: Anonymous Annie

Wed Jul 24 17:33:49 2013

I've had exceedingly good results with Amazon's PPC advertising! :-D

My initial budget was very timid and reserved, but when the results started coming in, I increased the budget... and the sales increased too.

Basically, I'm now paying Amazon the same amount that I would have been paying in eBay fees... BUT GETTING MUCH BETTER RESULTS and a bigger return on my investment. (And hassle-free PITA-free to boot!)

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This user has validated their user name. by: ebaydeserter

Wed Jul 24 19:17:09 2013

Speaking of eBay advertising on our listings; I stumbled across this eBay site the other day and was stunned by what information eBay is aggressively pushing/selling about eBay Sellers and Buyers to get advertisers on eBay.
If this site is already known, I apologize for posting about it.
See:    cc.ebay.com    (seems to be only for desktops as it is all jumbled on my mobile android).

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This user has validated their user name. by: Rexford

Thu Jul 25 07:30:55 2013

It is a shame that eBay have become so dependent on 3rd party advertising. If I were buying on eBay, I'd quickly leave.  I like to focus on what I am looking for and I don't want to see Flo from Progressive or the pink girl from T-Mobile shoved in my face.

Like Annie, if I WERE going to buy 3rd party ad space or clicks I'd clearly buy it from Amazon.  It appears to me that eBay Marketplaces is a ghost town.  

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by: Digmen1 This user has validated their user name.
Web Site

Thu Jul 25 15:23:19 2013

Yes why are auction sites ebay, Bonanza, ebid.net etc all using ads to get extra revenue?

Why can't they just run their bisinesses properly and live on their fvf's etc.

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by: comet This user has validated their user name.

Thu Jul 25 21:33:09 2013

I too use Adblocker and other ad block software---and I STILL end up seeing some ads on ebay!  

And NO I do NOT click on them!

First off I am NOT going to sponsor this unethical--in my book--behavior on the part of ebay.  To tell ME that my items that I am doing all the WORK to find;  list;  photo; store; answer questions on and finally pack and ship---to DEVALUE all of MY work--is a mark of the complete and utter DISRESPECT ebay has for their CUSTOMERS--ie the SELLERS.

Why any site would choose to do this---and risk alienating the sellers AND buyers alike--is beyond me.  When I have spoken to bother fellow sellers locally or on line and the buyers that I have gotten to chat with tell me that they ALL deplore this.

But--someone presumably MUST be clicking on them----or they wouldn't be "profitable" to sell now would they?  

Soooooo----If YOU are not clicking on them and I am not clicking on them and my FRIENDS are not clicking on them and my buyers are NOT clicking on them--well then--who IS clicking on them????

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by: AnneM This user has validated their user name.
Web Site

Wed Aug 14 11:53:33 2013

We use Google adwords, who place our ads on their "search partners" such as Amazon on eBay.  

Unfortuately, the traffic from eBay tends not to convert to sales and sellers could well find that it is extra effort for no return.



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