As online retail overtakes brick-and-mortar shopping, e-commerce giant
eBay’s attitude toward advertising is changing.
The company recently announced that it is cracking down on product ads that
link to third-party sites, and is launching an in-house ad sales process in
eBay’s ad sales team will aim to help brands create ads to drive sales on
The changes are also meant to appeal to big brands that are looking for new
ways to drive sales through digital advertising, as e-commerce eats up more
of traditional retail sales.
In the coming months, eBay plans to release a product page with sponsored
ad units that link to brand-specific pages. New offerings in native, search
and sponsored placements will be integrated with tools to analyze the
consumers' path to purchase and the brand's market share. eBay attracts
about 167 million monthly registered members and about 200 million hours of
unique shopping monthly.
The data collected across the eBay marketplace allows brands to analyze
consumer behavior and search and buying histories to determine how close
the buyer is to making a purchase decision.
Bridget Davies, vice president and general manager for eBay Advertising
North America, told reporters:
eBay always knew that we had massive scale, but [advertising] wasn’t our
core focus. But it’s actually not an adjacent business; it’s a tool kit for
brands and requires investing into it.
The move is a departure from the company’s past attitude toward digital
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“For years, eBay’s advertising business was something of an afterthought
compared to its core commerce operation — so much so that eBay had another
company selling ads on its behalf,” Recode reported.
Many view eBay’s move to bring advertising in house as a direct response to
Amazon’s efforts in the same space. The company reported $313 million in
marketing services revenue in Q4 2016, which is a 4 percent year-over-year
What does the change mean for marketing pros?
It shows that eBay is serious about helping brand managers drive sales on
the site. It also marks an evolution for eBay from online auction house,
which only comprises 13 percent of its sales now, to a broader online
marketplace for brands.
It also highlights how online shopping is growing, which underlines the
necessity to use digital marketing tactics in organizations’ product
Marketers would do well to keep abreast of current restrictions on online
shopping sites where they sell their products, so that they can more
effectively boost their bottom line—but not get their efforts booted for
breaking the rules.