EcommerceBytes-NewsFlash, Number 3040 - April 10, 2013     1 of 5

eBay to Share Shopping Data with Retargeting Advertisers

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You know those ads that follow you around on the Web that keep showing you the same ad for a website you visited last week? That's called retargeting in the online advertising world, and eBay is jumping on the retargeting bandwagon by helping advertisers to serve up the ads more effectively, according to AdWeek.

AdWeek was reporting on Stephen Howard-Sarin's talk at AdExchanger's Programmatic I/O conference on Monday where he spoke on a panel called "Ecommerce & Targeting the Shopper" along with Forrester analyst Joanna O'Connell and executives from One Kings Lane, Facebook and HP.

Retargeting has evolved from simply displaying an ad to the same person wherever they go to using data to more intelligently target potential customers. As one company called Chango explains it, it uses "a new way that captures an individual's value and makes it actionable to deliver significant returns," and presented a graphic to show the evolution of site retargeting. The chart shows the evolution from standard site retargeting to programmatic site retargeting, which "embeds logic and rules to change creative and media buying rules accordingly."

That's where eBay comes in. As AdWeek wrote, "Retailers possess a crazy amount of really valuable data for advertisers - e.g., what products someone has bought or have browsed through and may one day buy, potentially sooner if they're shown an ad for that item."

AdWeek said eBay has used its proprietary user data to promote merchants' products to users who have previously bought or shown interest in a related item on eBay, and this year, it is "commercializing that capability for the benefit of other marketers who want to reach shoppers."

Over the past 5 years, eBay has become increasingly aggressive in filling its pages with ads for other services, but the head of eBay Marketplaces Devin Wenig told analysts recently, "We're on this great march around improving the user experience, and I don't want to compromise that with advertising."

Rather, eBay is using its advertising resources to help retailers and brands reach shoppers in a number of ways. It participates in the hot area of programmatic trading with the "Commerce Trading Desk." This month, eBay rebranded its's ad network to the eBay Commerce Network, which takes the product feeds merchants send to and displays them across its network, including Google-rival Bing Shopping and TheFind.

eBay has insight into what works in advertising and what doesn't work for some of the largest retail sites thanks to GSI Commerce. And while many people don't realize it, eBay has its own ad agencies, True Action and Silverlign, divisions of GSI Commerce that offer "innovative multi-channel online and offline digital product and service solutions to leading brands."

When you put it all together, eBay has perspective on advertising from all angles, and now it is moving more aggressively to monetize its data and knowledge by helping brands and retailers reach shoppers.

eBay faces competitive pressure from Amazon, Google and Facebook to use data to help advertisers target shoppers. Wednesday's Wall Street Journal reported that Facebook is using new ways to cull personal information from outside the social network and match it with data submitted by its billion-plus users in order to win over advertisers.

Edited on 4/10/13 for clarity.

About the author:

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). Follow her on Twitter at @ecommercebytes and send news tips to

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