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How Do EBay’s Promoted Listings Advanced Ads Work?

eBay Promoted Listings Advanced ads have come out of beta just in time for Holiday 2023. These cost-per-click ads give sellers and brands “priority access to placements across eBay” with targeting and budgeting options that make advertising on eBay more turnkey—and affordable—than you might think.

chart describing eBay ad revenue 2021-2025 with ad revenue increasing in 2023

Source: https://forecasts-na1.emarketer.com/5f8e4adc8b63e9055c1aa495/5f8e488ec3cda501d83018be

“The importance of advertising on eBay is heightened compared to platforms like Amazon due to the absence of shared listing pages. Unlike Amazon, where multiple sellers offering the same product share one page, eBay assigns individual pages to each seller. This makes effective advertising on eBay crucial for standing out amidst the expansive inventory and ensuring visibility.”

Stuart Clay

Stuart Clay, Director of Commerce Strategic Services at Tinuiti

What is Promoted Listings Advanced (PLA)?

eBay Promoted Listings Advanced campaigns enable Above Standard and Top Rated Sellers to have their listings appear at the top of the search results for a specific search keyword or phrase, as one of up to 4 sponsored listings. Three additional cross-platform premium placements are also available via keyword and budgeting controls.

If you are promoting the same listings through both Standard and Advanced campaigns, only one will appear within the same set of search results. It’s important to optimize your listings for Best Match to increase the likelihood of performing well in Advanced campaigns.

“Previously, ads from Advanced campaigns could appear across eBay sites where the correspondent listings were eligible for sale. However, the average cost-per-click rate was not advantageous and sales conversion rates were quite low. That is why Promoted Listings Advanced campaigns are now limited to the site where the items are listed, in order to improve performance.”eBay

PLA campaigns operate on a second-price auction pay-per-click model. Similar to Walmart’s advanced second-price auction, the winning bids for these placements are determined by multiple factors, including:

  • Listing quality
  • Keyword relevance
  • Your bid amount
  • Other sellers’ bids
  • A reserve price that eBay has determined to be the minimum amount a click is worth. This calculation considers an array of factors, including item quality, competition, seasonality, and marketplace thresholds

Sellers can create ad groups and categorize listings to easily manage campaigns based on shared attributes, audiences, and more. Campaigns are easy to set up, requiring a daily budget and keyword selection (for manual targeting) to get started.

If you win top-of-SERP placement for a given search, your account will be charged when a shopper clicks on your sponsored listing—even if they don’t make a purchase.

“With advanced campaign management options like targeting and budgeting controls, sellers have seen 50% more sales when using it to promote their items.”eBay

Promoted Listings Standard vs. Promoted Listings Advanced

PLS and PLA side by side graphic with high level information

Source: https://www.ebayads.com/ad-solutions/ad-formats/promoted-listings-advanced/

Promoted Listings Advanced ads operate on a CPC model, and serve at the top of ebay’s search listing results for relevant queries. Multiple sellers will bid for a given keyword and/or phrase, and the seller with the winning bid will pay for every click that results from that ad placement. Target keywords, negative keywords, and the ability to implement budgets at the ad group level give advertisers enhanced control over which searches their sponsored listings are returned for.

Promoted Listings Standard (PLS) ads operate on a cost-per-sale model, and can appear in multiple locations across eBay. PLS ads leverage available product data to target relevant customers. eBay has full targeting control—driven by this product data—so be sure to fully optimize your listing for the best results. This includes optimizing your title, ensuring your categorization is correct, and providing extensive, keyword-rich product details that help eBay understand what your product is and which searches it’s most relevant for.

When a shopper clicks on your PLS ad and then buys your product within 30 days, you’ll pay eBay a predetermined percentage of the sale price. Views without purchase can essentially be thought of as free, making PLS ads an efficient choice for increasing exposure with a modest budget, though you have very little control over placements.

How do Promoted Listings Advanced Ads Work?

PLA ads work by leveraging the targeting and budget controls you’ve implemented to secure top-of-search and premium slot placement for the keywords and keyword phrases that matter most in reaching your goals. Designed to increase product visibility in a crowded marketplace, your total campaign costs for PLA ads is influenced by your keyword bids, your closest competitors’ bids, and the number of clicks your Promoted Listings Advanced Ad receives. If the entirety of your set daily budget is not spent through by end-of-day, the balance does not rollover into the next day’s budget.

However, winning the auction doesn’t only come down to your bid—although that’s a big part of it. eBay also examines your listing quality, whether or not that keyword or phrase is relevant to the listing, and your daily budget. Your ad won’t show if you have a low quality listing targeting an irrelevant keyword.

Promoted Listing Advanced Ads Rules and Requirements

  • Must have product in stock
  • Cannot be in the following categories: Wholesale & Job Lots, Cars, Motorcycles & Vehicles, Events Tickets, Property, E-Cigarettes, Vapes & Accessories, or Everything Else
  • Buy It Now listings only; Cannot be an auction, even if that auction has a “Buy It Now” option

To verify the eligibility of a listing, visit your Seller Hub or view your product’s listing. Item eligibility will be listed under the “Promotions” column.

How to Create a Promoted Listings Advanced Campaign

Promoted Listings Advanced campaigns can be created within the eBay Seller Hub from the Advertising dashboard.

  • Once logged into the eBay Seller Hub click the ‘Marketing’ tab
  • From here, navigate to your ‘Advertising’ dashboard
  • Click ‘Create new campaign’
  • Choose your campaign targeting type: Smart or Manual targeting
  • Input campaign details and launch your campaign

Here’s what you need to know to help fill out those details:

Choose a Campaign Type

ebay Promoted Listings Advanced takeaways screenshot

Source: https://mktg.ebay.com/select-campaign-type

eBay currently offers two targeting options: Smart Targeting and Manual Targeting. Smart Targeting campaigns are easier to set up and maintain, but require sellers to relinquish some control over which keywords their campaign targets. Smart Targeting campaigns also don’t allow for advertisers to set individual bids for each keyword.

Manual targeting allows sellers to maintain complete control over their targeting and bidding, and is the primary targeting type our teams employ at Tinuiti.

Set a Budget

eBay has set the minimum bid for PLA ads at 2 cents, with a minimum daily budget of $1 and maximum daily budget of $1M. Advertisers can set a Maximum CPC for Smart Targeting campaigns, and set individual keyword bids in Manual campaigns.

Set a start and end date for the campaign

You can schedule eBay PLA campaigns in advance and either set an end date, or select “continuous” for an ongoing campaign.

Select Keywords

eBay will provide you with keyword suggestions, but the keywords you’re targeting across Google Ads, Amazon and other marketplaces can provide a good starting point as well.

When you’re using a new keyword list, keep a close eye on performance. The audiences you’re reaching on eBay may not be the same audiences you reach through other online channels, and their search activity may be different as a result.

eBay PLA ads can use Exact Match, Broad Match or Phrase Match targeting, with the ability to add negative keywords. Once you choose a keyword and set a bid, your listing will automatically join eBay’s real-time auction.

Track performance

eBay provides several reports for advertisers to leverage, with all reports being pulled at the campaign level; aggregate performance across all campaigns isn’t available at this time. Visit the performance tab of your Seller Hub to see campaign data at a glance. PLA campaign reports can also be downloaded or scheduled from the Marketing and Reports tabs in Seller Hub.

Near-real time campaign metrics provide valuable data for refining your advertising strategy, with available reports including:

  • Listing Report: Provides a listing-level view of the performance of each listing in your campaign
  • Keyword Report: Provides a keyword-level view of the performance data for each keyword in your campaign
  • Search Query Report: An updated report of all the buyer search queries that led to clicks on your Advanced ads for each campaign, as well as the keywords related to those buyer queries

Once you have activated a campaign, you can access it again from the Advertising dashboard. Select “Promoted Listings Advanced” from the campaign type dropdown and scroll down to the campaign section of the page. From here you can edit, pause, or end your campaign and also download a CSV report.

Keep a close eye on your spend, particularly in the beginning while you’re learning the ins and outs of how eBay performs for your category. Changes in demand and competition can cause you to max out your budget early, or simply not bid high enough to reach your target audience.

Best Practices for eBay Promoted Listings Advanced Campaigns

Currently, a sponsored listing can only show up once per search, so it’s important to make a strong first impression. There might be 4 sponsored spots at the top of the search page, but a given listing can only take up one of those at a time.

Create a High Quality Product Page

eBay takes your listing’s quality into account when determining whether or not you win the auction. Ensure your listing is complete, uses the right selling format, and is listed in the correct category. Consider all the elements you’d take into account when optimizing your product detail pages anywhere—from your own website, to another marketplace like Amazon. Provide plenty of product data, an optimized title and description, and high-quality images to aid shoppers in making a confident purchase.

Test Promoted Listings Standard and Promoted Listings Advanced Together

Help ensure your products are visible in as many places as possible, while maintaining efficiency, by running PLS ads for some listings, and PLA ads for others. The best choice depends largely on the competition in that given category, your organic ranking for relevant searches, and the likelihood of securing a sale within a few views.

“Leveraging both types of ads can enhance visibility, yet it’s crucial to recognize the potential competition between them. Because of that, a strategic approach is necessary, taking into account factors such as your category and associated conversion rate. If your products belong to a high-browsing category with significant views before conversion, Product Listing Standard (PLS) ads may be a more efficient option. On the other hand, Product Listing Advanced (PLA) could be a stronger choice if you are targeting key strategic terms and aiming to grow your category share”

Stuart Clay, Director of Commerce Strategic Services at Tinuiti

Check Your Organic Listings Consistently

Only your organic listing or your paid listing will show in the search results for a given query. If your listing is already near the top of the page for the most relevant searches, you may want to save your promotional dollars for the most important, likely-to-convert keywords for listings that aren’t as organically strong. While landing in first place is valuable, depending on the cost/competition for a given keyword, you may not want to pay to appear at the very top of the SERP if you’re in reduced positioning.

Check your organic positions first, or work to improve your organic position by adding more information to your listing to better align with a searcher’s query. If you can’t appear on the first page despite your best effort, a Promoted Listings campaign is your next best step.

Additionally, paying for Promoted Listings can help you establish a positive sales history, which improves your chance of ranking higher in eBay’s algorithm.

Give eBay Time to Collect Data

While these ads can be great to promote products during the competitive holiday season or to capitalize on a trend, they work better when eBay has enough time to optimize their targeting and provide consistent ad rates. Additionally, it’s helpful to give yourself a few weeks to work out any unexpected challenges with setting up and optimizing your campaigns.

eBay Advertising – Key Considerations

We sat down with Stuart Clay, Director of Commerce Strategic Services at Tinuiti, to learn more about how advertising on eBay compares to advertising on platforms like Amazon, Google and Meta.

Stuart Clay

Q: Every platform has its unique attributes, but how different is eBay from universally popular platforms like Walmart and Target in terms of the competitors you’ll find there?

Clay: The competitive landscape on eBay compared to other retail media networks is very different if you’re a brand. On platforms like Walmart or Target, brands typically compete against other brands for shelf space. However, on eBay, the competition for a brand is more often against third-party sellers than a competing brand. This unique aspect of eBay’s marketplace means that brands often find themselves competing against individual sellers or small businesses who may be reselling an assortment of products rather than against large, established brands in their space.

Q. Is there such a thing as audience targeting on eBay, or will it always provide sponsored results very specific to what someone searched based on the nature of the site?

Clay: PLA and similar tools in retail media networks are generally search-focused, primarily involving keyword and product targeting under the sponsored search category. This contrasts with sponsored display advertising, where the focus shifts to audience-based targeting. While current and foreseeable PLA efforts on eBay are expected to remain keyword-oriented, eBay offers Display advertising options, however the bulk of Display options are managed directly by the eBay team. These display options allow for more specific audience targeting, such as the ability to target specific demographics or buyer profiles.

Q. What is our recommended minimum monthly spend for eBay Product Listings Advanced campaigns?

Clay: As with any marketplace, there will be a lot of variables to consider in determining what it will take for a seller or brand to reach their goals. That said, in partnership with eBay, we recently wrapped up a PLA Pilot focused on driving engagement with the ad unit and have found that $2,500/month seems to be a good standard minimum—anything less and you may not have enough roadway to refine your strategy which will greatly limit scale.

Conclusion

When eBay was launched nearly thirty years ago, it was a truly revolutionary advance in ecommerce. eBay has made it as far as they have—becoming the 4th largest marketplace by share of retail ecomm sales—by continually adapting to changing conditions, providing shoppers, sellers, and brands with the tools they need to help them continue their evolution.

Today, eBay has grown into a sophisticated and trusted user-friendly platform with real opportunities for brand building. As shared by eMarketer, eBay’s Q2 2023 ad revenue climbed 35% YoY, bolstered by ad type innovation and improved measurement.

With PLA ads officially out of beta, eBay is continuing their ad type expansion with the beta launch of Offsite Ads. They’re also taking action to build on consumer trust through the recent acquisition of Certilogo, an AI verification platform, in addition to their Certified by Brand and Authenticity Guarantee.

We don’t have a Buy It Now button at Tinuiti, but you can Visit our Commerce Service Page and contact us today to learn more about how launching and optimizing eBay ads can help you see greater success on the platform!

This originally appeared on the Tinuiti Blog and is available here for further discovery.
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