|Sun Sept 15 2013 14:55:13|
eBay's Campaign to Drive New Buyers to the Site
By: Ina Steiner
eBay is using a number of ways to increase its active member base after promising Wall Street it would double it to 200 million by 2015, but it's not relying on Google to help it accomplish that ambitious task.
In the past, eBay used paid search and was able to take advantage of Google's free Product Search. But Google did away with that free program and replaced it with paid Product Listing Ads (PLA), and earlier this year, eBay published data questioning the effectiveness of the ad programs of its rival Google and other ad platforms.
eBay is not aggressively bidding on Google Product Listing Ads (PLA) ad units, according to a recent report from Susquehanna. The company said Google drives 12% of eBay's traffic, which could potentially be at risk as traditional retailers bid more aggressively in the PLA market.
So how is eBay working to boost its number of customers?
eBay's number one strategy is by opening geographic markets beyond the U.S. and in western markets and by increasing cross-border trade. But while having a greater number of Brazilian, Russian Indian and Chinese users may be good for eBay's bottom line, it's not as impactful to the typical small seller in North America, Europe and Australia, for example - and could even provide more competition than shoppers.
Another way is by improving SEO, such as revamping Reviews & Guides feature, getting eBay buyers and sellers to write content that will be found by people who are searching on Google, Bing and other search engines. (See last Monday's blog post, Will User Generated Content Bring Shoppers to eBay?)
Yet another way is through its affiliate program in which it pays website publishers for driving traffic to its site. eBay is revamping the eBay Partner Network program pricing structure, including moving to category-based pricing.
For example, in North America, eBay will provide a 65% revenue share for sales in the fashion category, compared to 60% in collectibles and 50% for media sales. That means publishers have more of an incentive to push traffic to clothes, shoes and accessories than to books or DVDs. (More details about the new price structure to come in tomorrow's Newsflash article.)
Affiliates are happy eBay is moving away from the Quality Click Pricing in which it had very little insight into how they were being compensated compared to a CPA model. And publishers will receive a bonus of 200% for driving transactions from new and reactivated buyers (defined as users who have not purchased in the last 12 months) to eBay.
However, affiliates were not happy to learn they will no longer get credit for driving shoppers who take more than 24 hours to bid or buy an item.
In fact, some affiliates said they would have to rethink their participation in the program. "If I refer someone to eBay and they don't bid within 24 hours but bid 7 days later, I will not get paid. So what is my incentive for sending my readers to eBay," asked one ePN member.
eBay's affiliate program is more important than ever now that Google has done away free exposure in search results and as eBay seemingly reduces its paid search campaigns.
How do you think eBay should drive traffic to the site? Are new and " reactivated" buyers really more valuable than current active users? And do you think eBay should place a higher value on certain categories than on others? Let us know in the comments!