The majority of eBay purchases come from the first search results page. This means to actually capture market share and grow your sales you likely have to advertise to get your products in front of shoppers and give them the opportunity to buy from you. 

But you don’t want to waste time and money advertising without a solid strategy. To give you a leg up, I’m sharing five tips based on my experience managing eBay ads. 

Optimize Your eBay Listings

Optimize your eBay listings to make them stand out. You need to do this on any marketplace but eBay presents particular challenges for optimizing listings.

Because of eBay’s history as a venue for resellers and used goods, many listings on eBay are incomplete and look amateurish. You can make your products stand out and look professional by taking the time to completely fill them out. 

Depending on your category, you may have a lot of possible item specifics to complete such as model, size, or color. Make sure you fill in all of these so your listing looks great and your potential customers have all the information they need to make a purchase.

Completely filling out item specifics doesn’t just make your listings look better to customers, eBay can also do a better job of matching your listings with searches when they have more of the specifics, getting your products in front of shoppers as they narrow their search.

I find that conversion rates go up when listings are completed thoroughly and accurately.

Below is an example of the ‘item specifics’ for the category ‘Clothing, Shoes & Accessories > Men > Men’s Shoes > Athletic Shoes’

Item specifics page on ebay
Item specifics page on ebay
Item specifics page on ebay

Defend Your Product Against Resellers

As I mentioned above, resellers have a strong foothold on eBay. If you’re not the only seller of your product on the platform, it can be very difficult to compete against sellers offering a lower price. 

Take steps to defend your brand and maintain the sales volume you need. The first step is to watch the pricing on the product and ensure that you keep your pricing competitive. Shoppers who can find the same product at a lower price are likely to choose the lower price, so don’t ruin your chances by setting prices too high. 

You can also clarify to shoppers that you are the brand and that they, therefore, have the opportunity to buy directly from a brand they trust with a brand badge. eBay hasn’t automated a process for brand identification. You’ll have to specifically ask eBay to give you this badge. 

As an example, on the search results page for “school backpack” the result shown below is marked as “Direct from Adidas” meaning that it’s being sold by the brand, not a reseller.

Adidas Backpack search result

Get Great Ratings and Reviews

One thing that’s true across marketplaces, whether you sell on Amazon, Walmart, or eBay, is that shoppers are persuaded to buy when they see lots of positive ratings and reviews, and conversely will decide not to buy if they see mostly poor ratings and reviews. 

If you’re seeing lots of impressions and clicks but a low sales conversion rate, the cause could be incomplete listings or high pricing, as I discussed above. But that type of performance could also be caused by a lack of ratings and reviews. 

You can set the stage for shoppers to leave positive ratings and reviews by delivering a stellar experience from beginning to end. Outside of offering quality products, you should make the product page clear about the details of the products so the customer experiences no unwelcome surprises when the package arrives. You’ll also want to have the ability to fulfill orders quickly and be ready with stellar customer service if needed. 

You do have the option to report certain types of problem reviews (e.g. abusive language). And you can submit a limited number of feedback revision requests, like if you’ve resolved a problem that a customer complained about. But it’s always better to do what you can to prevent those complaints in the first place.

Use Both Promoted Listings and Promoted Listings Advanced

Plan to use every ad type available to you for the best chances of success on the platform. Now that eBay has rolled out Promoted Listings Advanced alongside Promoted Listings, I recommend making use of both these ad types. 

With Promoted Listings, you’ll get the best overall coverage. These ads are bid on using a cost-per-sale (CPS) basis, making Promoted Listings low risk. The ad unit also gets you access to multiple placements including on search results and product listings pages. 

Pair that with Promoted Listings Advanced which gives you more control and scale. On a cost-per-click (CPC) basis the risk is higher and it only gets you one placement, but the reward is also bigger because the placement is always top of search. 

I won’t be surprised if eBay continues to develop new ad units, and I’ll be on the front lines testing them all as they become available. 

Test Keywords and Monitor Closely

Promoted Listings don’t allow you to select keywords, but Promoted Listings Advanced does. With this capability comes complexity in campaign management. I find it’s important to keep a close eye on the performance of keywords to maximize the power of these campaigns. 

Keywords can come from a variety of sources. eBay has a keyword recommendation tool. I like to take advantage of these recommendations, but also do my own analysis and remove keywords they’ve recommended that don’t turn out to produce the results I’m looking for. 

Likewise, I port keywords over from other platforms with more historical data, leveraging the keywords with the best performance on those other sites. But again, I suggest you watch the metrics that matter to you and make frequent campaign adjustments to keep them running optimally.  

Final Thoughts

Implementing these five tips will go a long way toward helping your brand to gain traction and grow with advertising on eBay: 

  1. Take the time to thoroughly complete your listings
  2. Differentiate your listings from resellers offering your product
  3. Cultivate positive ratings and reviews for the best conversion rates
  4. Simultaneously run all ad types to get each of their benefits 
  5. Keep a close watch on keyword performance as adjust as needed

eBay’s ad programs are rapidly growing and changing. I keep in close communication with the teams at eBay and will update tactics as they release new features and capabilities. It’s an exciting time to be advertising on eBay.