Ina Steiner EcommerceBytes Blog
News and insight focusing on ecommerce.
by Ina Steiner, Editor of EcommerceBytes.com
Tue Apr 20 2021 20:18:40

Some Sellers Report Dramatic Drop in eBay Ad Impressions

By: Ina Steiner

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A seller alerted us to a problem with eBay Promoted Listing Ads, and we found sellers discussing the issue on this thread on the eBay boards. A few shared screenshots of charts showing a sharp decline in impressions coming from their eBay ads. 

The original poster's graph showed traffic fell off a cliff in the first days of April and hadn't recovered by the time they started the thread on April 12.

A seller replied the same day (April 12) that they had seen a noticeable drop over the past 4-5 days. 

Both sellers saw a similar decline in sales.

Another seller published a graph on April 16th showing a drop in impressions that began around March 24th.

One seller blamed the problem on eBay's search engine, claiming it no longer searches listing descriptions:

"Views on all my promoted items have also plummeted since about April 8. The culprit: the eBay search engine is not working properly. While it still delivers results based on the title of a listing, it has stopped producing reliable results for description searches. This definitely affects how many people see your item and whether your item is displayed as a "related item" when people get their search results (which may in turn be why your Promoted Listings views have dropped)."

As a result of the problem they experienced with eBay's search, the seller said they had temporarily stopped listing new items. 

"I have also stopped buying items (because all of my bookmarks/saved searches are set to search title/description and are consequently useless until the system is repaired). Without the ability to search descriptions, I can't find the specific details that will lead me to the items I want; likewise, my customers have no access to the details in my own listings."

Another seller said they agreed that eBay's search engine was contributing to the problem. "I have been having trouble finding some items using eBay App, while I am able to find items on google that are being sold on eBay," they said.

On April 1, eBay stopped providing Promoted Listing credits to Top Rated sellers and those with Store subscriptions, and on April 13, eBay announced new features to allow sellers to automate their Promoted Listing Ads, but there's nothing to indicate those moves would have had a negative impact on ad performance.

Aside from a reader and the few sellers posting in the eBay thread, we found no other reports of problems, nor did eBay publish any advisories that we could find. Some of the sellers posting about the problem said eBay customer support had been unable to help them.



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Readers Comments

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by: lessthanthreerecords This user has validated their user name.

Tue Apr 20 22:53:21 2021

I don't use promoted listings, but I noticed a drop in sales this month.  To be honest, I didn't think much of it until I read this piece because Spring and Summer normally tend to be slower for me, so I figured it was just a seasonal change.  However, upon checking my sales chart, I notice a sharp drop on April 8 - a date mentioned in the article - and it has not recovered since.  In those 13 days, I only had one day with sales much above $100, which is unusual (even for this time of year), and also, about half of those days, I've had no sales at all.  I didn't know there was an issue with search (beyond the normal ongoing issues), so maybe that's the problem.  I don't think that's something that's even worth mentioning to eBay because all they will say is that sales aren't guaranteed.

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This user has validated their user name. by: Ric

Wed Apr 21 07:30:23 2021

The motto for the eBay tech staff: " Keep fixing things until they break..."

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by: Geetar This user has validated their user name.

Wed Apr 21 08:22:02 2021

Yes, my sales have dropped quite a bit too. Not good, last time this happened (2-3 yrs ago) it lasted about 4-5 months (sales dropped 45%), and then slowly came back over the next year. That was when I decided to sell on Reverb and Amazon. At least it helps in situations like this. I wont be in hock mode. I have a few 10-$12k orders due in a few weeks.

I usually keep a few items on the side and dont list them. These items usually disappear very quickly. I put them up for sale 3-4 days ago and hardly any sold. Usually would be about 50% sold by now. Other new items listed have few if any views.

So the new items I have will be listed elsewhere now, and when ebay picks up I will list them there. No sense in listing if my sales per day on an item is low or null. That just leads to dead items that go to the back of search or not included in search.

I have no idea what they're doing, and why, but this is not the first time. Thank God I'm a bit more prepared for it this time.

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This user has validated their user name. by: Rexford

Wed Apr 21 13:21:26 2021

Wasn't  April 1st the day that all of the additional free listings for store owners were granted ?  From 1000-10,000 for some stores.  Each store level had increases.

With the market flooded with new listings why would anyone not expect their sales to drop.

Ric's comment nailed it.  Keep "fixing" things eBay.

Don't put all of your eggs in one basket.  And if you haven't noticed, eBay's basket has an enormous hole it it that grows bigger by the month.

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by: I Must be Crazy This user has validated their user name.

Wed Apr 21 16:10:17 2021

They just can't get out of their own way.

My numbers have been screwy, but up from last month. Of course most of that is attributable to my listing different products. What I have noticed is the rate of sales on a per item basis has decreased dramatically. Goods that would sell within a week, now take 3-4. As for the sudden drops in activity, that is just eBay guardrail kicking in to keep sales levels in check. I am experiencing one right now. Sales have been strong for the last week; dropped by 70% yesterday, no sales today.

Traffic overall is falling. The idiots can change around their search parameters all they want. They cannot program around buyers not coming to the site. They cannot program around the velocity and sales limits that are built into Cassini. The merchandise isn't particularly interesting and the site is boring as well as clumsy to use. There needs to be a new platform. Everything else is just window dressing.

Ebay is like the slowest runner in a race. Still going, but getting slower and falling farther behind.  

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by: mjr55 This user has validated their user name.

Wed Apr 21 16:38:25 2021

There is no glitch. We had the same thing happen last August and several other sellers in our category experienced it on the same exact day. There should be a much longer thread somewhere on the Ebay boards from then.......like 10-20 pages long. I think they play around with the algorithms. It has nothing to do with the description not showing up with search as our PL views have not changed.

I see someone posted a graph on the thread in the original article above that their views dropped 75% or so....that seems more in line with what we experienced back in August. However, the original poster in that thread showed like 99% drop in threads. Could be a glitch.....could also be they were labeled a drop-shipper by an algorithm as that's the only other time I've seen drops like that.

EDIT: The OP in that thread has all of their items shipping from Pakistan. So, yeah, there's your issue.

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by: toastedmutt This user has validated their user name.

Wed Apr 21 18:06:31 2021

My sales are down 64% over last month. And I added new seasonal items to my store.

Crazy number of competing listings in most categories.  Looks like all of the Amazon sellers cross listed their entire inventories on eBay using the extra 10,000 - 50,000 free listings they were granted.

Promoted listing ads appear to be a waste of energy.  Too many sellers desperately promoting the same type of items hungry for sales.  But then eBay can still collect that extra percentage of the price + shipping + tax per sale for 30 days after the promo ends.

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by: christy s This user has validated their user name.

Thu Apr 22 03:38:59 2021

people are just going outside more... it's spring.. lol

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This user has validated their user name. by: The End

Thu Apr 22 06:27:19 2021

Make YOUR OWN WEBSITE and you don't have this problem.
My sales are perking right along  :o)
I am no longer dependent on "venues" aka Money Hoovers.
I've learned how to use them the way they used Us.
Takes a few weeks for the site to "burn in" or "seed".
DO IT !

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This user has validated their user name. by: Rexford

Thu Apr 22 08:21:08 2021

What The End said.

My site has been up for over a year and I am enjoying regular sales.  As I add more items sales increase.  No guard railing, no caps on what I can sell, no hand slaps,  no technical glitches, no metrics punishments, and no one telling me how to run my business.  

As far as my web site goes, the fun is back.   eBay used to be fun, but then came Whitman and Donahoe.  (More so Donahoe, but Whitman hand picked him as her successor.)

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by: xfilefan This user has validated their user name.

Thu Apr 22 09:21:40 2021

Perhaps related, perhaps not, but a couple of weeks ago for approximately 8-9 days, the search engine for some individuals (myself included) would not return results in the ''sold'' items if you used quotes in your search while doing research on prices.  For example, if you searched for ''1955 chevy'' you would find that no ''1955 chevy'' items had been sold in the last 90 days, but if you searched 1955 chevy (without quotes) it produced TONS of results, with plenty of unrelated items.

After I saw an unexpected decline in my sales, I contacted some of my regular customers who had been looking for specific items and they confirmed that this was the case for them as well.  Without the pricing information, they weren't making as many purchases.  

Since the timing was similar and the ''search engine'' (ahem) was involved, it might have been related.  I contacted eBay several times in several different ways and as expected...to quote John Wilkes Booth ''Useless...useless''.

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This user has validated their user name. by: CanBrit

Thu Apr 22 18:20:19 2021

Since I shut down my eBay store I've had a lot of customers finding me on Etsy. Works for me 😸😸

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by: Jester This user has validated their user name.

Fri Apr 23 09:46:35 2021

We have upped our game on eBay and our sales from last month alone was up 90% from last month and 45% over the same month last year. We also saw the decline on impressions stat and thought maybe that information was just wrong because of how much we increased our sales. We seldom use promoted listings after experimenting with it when it first came out but now use promoted listings not often but only randomly on certain new items. We are rethinking our strategies on eBay after being on the platform since 2004 and seeing our sales decline year after year. Even though we have tried this before the new surge has given us new hopes for the future.

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by: shoppingguru This user has validated their user name.

Fri Apr 23 15:05:45 2021

I spoke with a ebay CS agent yesterday. I asked if what I had heard re: search no longer including descriptions was correct.  He said he didn't think it was across the board. He then explained there was  / is a beta that removes description from search for some sellers.   Happy Days - geez Louise.

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by: beuler This user has validated their user name.

Sat Apr 24 15:40:31 2021

I seriously doubt its a mistake, it started right around the spring update. Ebays intentional tinkering and manipulation, your items are hidden.  .  

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This user has validated their user name. by: CanBrit

Sat Apr 24 16:52:09 2021

You can never comprehend what they are thinking except that they are not. Keep on buying those shares boys because eventually it will get o the point  where everyone knows you're not making anything. So you have  e a lot of cash because you sold off everything that was making money. Now will come the plethora or more moronic thinking on how to bring in cash and fast. We're heading into May. Their lack of ability to make revenue will continue to become more and more obvious.....well to anyone who has a brain. Their only "brilliant idea is to bring black Classifieds. There are so many options these days where you don't have to give them YOUR money. They are not getting a nickel of mine anymore.



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