Major retailers and large multi-retailer marketplaces like eBay are continuing to see their marketing tactics fragment. The fragmentation is occurring not only across channels (search vs. display), but also across devices (desktop vs. mobile) and targeting approaches (third-party vs. first-party data). To battle this complexity, eBay Advertising is unifying its programs around shopper intent data, activated across channels and formats.
In a Spotlight presentation at the iMedia Commerce Summit in Nashville, Tennessee, Stephen Howard-Sarin, senior director of sales and marketing at eBay Advertising, discussed how the company is approaching search ads on its own site, advertising on the wider web, shopper data, and more.
Howard-Sarin noted that, according to eMarketer, nearly two-thirds of digital buyers begin the online shopping journey on marketplaces like eBay. With that in mind, he noted that eBay search ads -- particularly its Promoted Listings that put retailers' products into the fourth or fifth slots -- are an under-tapped resource. "Search algorithms don't always put your stuff in the best place," he noted. "Promoted Listings are about getting the visibility you need, and you don't pay if the buyer clicks the ad but doesn't buy your item within 30 days."
He recommended that retailers leverage such opportunities specifically for mid-tier inventory and those products that can't compete on price. "Your challenge is marketing share," he said. "That's what this product is intended for -- increasing share in a competitive category."
The wider web
Of course, Howard-Sarin said, people don't spend their whole lives on eBay. As such, the company is looking to help retailers expand their universe by offering ad distribution across the web. Retailers can take a product-based view or a shopper-targeted approach when it comes to these ads. "Our platform can help whether you're trying to put products in front of shoppers you know or find shoppers you don't have yet," Howard-Sarin said.
eBay's shopper-targeted ads are shown across the web via the eBay Audience Platform (EAP), which applies eBay's behavioral data to virtually any advertising format. As you might imagine, eBay knows a lot about its 162M buyers based on their log-in information and real-time shopping activity. Howard-Sarin noted that this first-party shopping data is not available through any data broker. "comScore data tells us that, shoppers are 2-4 times more engaged with eBay than with other top-shelf online retailers. That means we have more data," he said.
eBay enriches that information with third-party demographic data to create robust shopper profiles that can be leveraged by retailers to bring more value to their own CRM data. EAP offers opportunities for partners to marry their customer data with eBay's, so that eBay's advertising programs can reactivate latent customers, engage offline customers via mobile phone, upsell existing customers, build shop-a-like models for prospecting, or gain deeper insights on matched users.
Whether via search, broader display advertising, or a data integration, eBay Advertising represents a unique partner for retailers in that it doesn't actually sell products on its own. Howard-Sarin concluded, "eBay Advertising is different, because eBay is successful when our sellers are successful."