Every time I think about eBay and mobile, I remember Black Friday (News - Alert) as couple years ago when the company ran a promotional deal with bliss spa, in which it offered a day of full-on spa pampering to a group of users, while also offering up mobile devices from which the users could do holiday shopping. The promotion worked quite well. Then, mobile shopping started to swell to its current levels. eBay (News - Alert) isn't resting on its laurels however, and brought out the new beta version of its Promoted Listings offering recently to help drive mobile commerce.
Promoted Listings, set to be widely available in June, is an advertising tool that's available on a self-serve basis, and is charged per sale. Compared to Google (News - Alert)'s Shopping Ad system, eBay's Promoted Listings will appear in both desktop and mobile searches, optimized based on past searches or past purchases, depending on which is more relevant.
Alex Linde, who serves as eBay's vice president for ads and monetization, noted that sellers were wanting a means by which sellers could easily promote products, without having to resort to price cutting to draw attention. Visibility, therefore, became the order of the day, and being seen in the midst of all of eBay's listings can be tough as it is. Promoted Listings, therefore, became the perfect tool to get sellers extra visibility without having to resort to being the low-cost provider.
The rates weren't disclosed, but reflect what was described as “the percentage of the advertised item's final sales price.” With an increasing amount of business going mobile, having a presence on the mobile front made its share of sense, and Promoted Listings—which are expected to be part of the natural flow of searching—should help bolster both the desktop and the mobile experience. Linde further noted that eBay's “...media business is great and it's not going anywhere,” but followed up by noting “...we want to bring more opportunities to brands that are integrated in the native experience in addition to display.”
All of this comes at an interesting time for eBay, as its former PayPal division is set to be traded independently on the NASDAQ exchange in the next few months. Some have noted that, in the past, eBay Marketplace operations were more regional affairs, but with PayPal (News - Alert) spinning off, it may well have been time to modify its strategy with a focus on global instead. This strategy, meanwhile, should work well on several fronts; we know that Google has already put a particular premium on the mobile experience—leading to what some termed “mobilegeddon”—so to see eBay make a similar move isn't unexpected.
A more global focus, a new advertising product, and a way to make selling a product more likely to hit - These things are simple improvements that eBay really should be making. After all, a better mobile experience worked at bliss spa; there's no reason it can't work with Promoted Listings
Edited by Stefania Viscusi
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