eBay is a brand that needs no introduction. A global ecommerce leader, eBay connects millions and buyers of sellers across more than 190 markets around the world. We sat down with Partnerships Lead Richard Lane to find out about eBay’s Performance Marketing Strategy, grappling with today’s digital challenges and plans for peak period 2021.
Tell me about eBay’s performance strategy in the EU & US.
We’ve got various vertical initiatives and that’s where we want to target specific audiences. At a given time of year, we might want to target Home and Garden, and at another have a particular fashion niche we’re focused on. We’ve also become more flexible in terms of how partners want to be paid, be it on CPC or CPA, allowing ourselves to form a hybrid approach between performance and strategic buys to help the exposure we can get. Our Performance Strategy is now very focused in terms of the users we go after. What has also developed is that we now work a lot with content partners, using providers like Skimlinks for example, to work with publishers and reach these specific audiences.
You use Multiple CSS Partners. Tell me about that.
We work across an array of different categories in retail. It isn’t just electronics or just fashion, so when you think about picking a Google CSS partner, we look at having different partners that are strong in particular niches. Over time we’ve got the lay of the land, so that when we have internal requests for activity, it isn’t just a one size fits all and we’re able to push activity. We also factor in different regions where partners are based and so for example if we talk to Finance on budget management and they say we’re underspending in Italy, we look at which partners are strong there and match up the right partner to that scenario. You see the value of the expertise reflected in the volume they can deliver. Ultimately it comes down the value of being able to pick and choose, rather than having a square peg for a round hole.
How important is incremental value in looking at performance of CSS partners?
We measure incrementality of every partner. The revenue each partner brings in has an incremental revenue KPI against it and we also have efficiency targets. So, we know that if the efficiency is really low, then we won’t put budget there in the next period. So, we look at the ROI on incremental spend and the fact that Connexity’s is strong puts you in a very strong position when planning spend with partners.
You’ve worked with Connexity for a while, why do still you work with Connexity today?
There’s a lot of history in our partnership and I think today the multi-region aspect to Connexity really helps. The fact we can say we need to push something in the UK, France or US and having that up our sleeves really helps the relationship and explains Connexity’s place as one of the key partners. You’re always in the conversation because you cover so much ground. It’s also a flexible, open and honest relationship too. We all have the same goals and Connexity understands that. I can call our Account Manager about anything, work out how we can make things better and it is productive. In fact because of that flexibility we’re able to work with Connexity on not only Google CSS and PLA but also on Bing Activity in the US, where we only have a small number of partners doing it.
What do the results of working with Connexity look like?
For the UK, Connexity is at the top end of efficiency ratings within the space, which is very positive especially since last November. Incrementality is increasing and things all look very positive. What has also been fantastic to see is that Connexity’s conversion rate has started to rocket in recent months and that means the revenue coming through goes up. For our measurements we’re very focused on efficiency figures, so let’s say for every pound that comes through we have a multiplier attached to it, so we can see the incremental value on it, if for example 50p was incremental, and we track that across all partners.
What does the future look like?
The past year has seen a real focus on communities and C2C. People have built businesses through eBay and have seen real success. We’re looking at how to better support that, especially with certain higher value verticals like relatively expensive sneakers from Air Jordans to Adidas Yeezys, through our eBay Authenticity Guaranteed Labels. If a product is over a certain price point, our systems flag it internally, they’re sent from seller to be verified, we label them as the genuine article and then it is boxed up and sent on to the buyer. More little touches like that are coming this year. From a performance perspective, there’s our Priority Listing project, where we want to find out whether this feed of certain listings will drive high conversions or volumes and we are testing that with Connexity at the moment. On top of that, internally, we’re looking at a new internal metric called quality visits, where we look at the visitors we receive, their propensity to buy, what audience they’re from and how much they spend. We then associate that figure against partners, so that when we run campaigns, then analytics can measure it and compare it to competitors. It means when we set up budget, we’re able to be strategic about spend on campaigns.