eBay remains one of the top online marketplaces for selling new and used goods, with more than 100 million visits to its website each month and 135 million users worldwide. What’s unique about eBay is that sellers can create listings with a fixed price or start an auction.
eBay is the third-most downloaded shopping app in the U.S., after Walmart and Amazon.
While eBay is best known as a destination for used items — vintage furniture, clothing, books and collector’s items — the most expensive item ever sold on eBay was a superyacht, which cost $168 million and included a helicopter garage and swimming pool.
As with many popular ecommerce platforms, sellers on eBay often struggle to stand out and get eyes on their product listings. Advertising on eBay boosts the visibility of product listings and vastly increases the chance of conversions. eBay offers a range of ad formats and lets sellers target specific keywords, categories and geographic locations.
eBay made changes to its fee structure in 2022, raising ad fees from 1% to 2%. The new fee calculation is based on the item’s total sale price, including taxes, shipping and other applicable fees.
That said, there are still many advantages to advertising on eBay. Here’s a guide to how that works and how to determine if it will benefit your business.
Best Times to Use eBay Advertising
If you’re a new seller struggling to get views and conversions on your product listings, advertising will increase product discoverability and generate sales. Advertising is also useful for promoting an underperforming product, even if you already have a steady stream of customers.
Are your listings getting pushed down?
eBay advertising can improve product visibility to potential buyers by placing sponsored listings at the top of search results and category pages, which can lead to higher click-through rates and sales.
The ecommerce platform also offers promotional tools to make new listings more desirable such as free shipping offers, coupons and discounts, promotional badges, eBay deals and more. Advertising can be more effective than SEO in boosting product visibility.
Are you selling widely available products?
With at least 1.7 billion active listings on eBay at any given time, product differentiation is critical to landing a sale, especially if you sell widely available goods. By targeting specific audiences using geographic location, category and keywords, your listing will be seen by potential buyers with purchase intent.
eBay sellers can also use ad formats like Sponsored Brand to feature multiple products in one ad and build brand identity. Another way to differentiate products is by using unique and compelling ad headlines and descriptions that communicate the item’s value proposition.
Are your prices within ±5% of your competitors?
On global marketplaces like eBay, it’s not unusual to find virtually identical product listings. Consequently, customers often make purchase decisions based on marginal price differences.
Let’s say you sell video games on eBay at $60 per game. If your competitor’s prices range from $57-$63 per game, you have a low possibility of landing a sale with many sellers offering a similar price. If you don’t want to compete on price, eBay advertising can help boost your listings.
Do you have plenty of positive customer feedback?
Top-rated sellers with a certain number of sales and positive customer reviews generally see a better return on investment from advertising. This is because poor reviews or a lack of sales can dissuade potential buyers after they click on your ad.
eBay rates sellers according to three categories: Top-Rated, Above Standard and Below Standard.
To reach the top level, you’ll need to have:
An eBay account that’s been active for at least 90 days.
At least 100 transactions and $1,000 in sales with U.S. buyers over the last 12 months.
Proven compliance with eBay’s selling practices policy.
Are you selling seasonal items?
Advertising seasonal items such as Halloween costumes or winter coats lets you capitalize on increased demand during peak season. It also helps clear out inventory. Plan to advertise ahead of peak seasons so your ads can reach potential buyers in time for them to make a purchase.
Do you have great products, but no one is buying?
You sell unique, high-quality products relevant to shoppers, but they’re still not moving. If you don’t identify with any of the above scenarios and are still struggling to get traffic and sales, eBay advertising may be the boost you need.
Main Types of Advertising on eBay
eBay offers a range of ad formats for different purposes and budgets. Each ad type appears in different places on the eBay marketplace and has its own fee structure. Choose the right ad format for your business needs and preferred ad spend.
Promoted listings appear at the top of eBay search results and category pages, increasing the chances of a sale. eBay claims that promoted listings boost visibility by up to 36%. Sellers only pay for the ad when a buyer clicks on the promoted listing and buys the item within 30 days.
To create a promoted listing, select the item you want to promote, set a budget and bid for the ad and choose targeting options such as keywords, categories and geographic location.
Display ads are banner ads that appear on the eBay homepage, search results, product pages and category pages. Sellers can choose from various ad formats, including image and video ads.
Unlike promoted listings and sponsored product ads, display ads are typically priced on a cost-per-thousands-impressions (CPM) basis, which means you pay for every 1,000 impressions, regardless of whether someone clicks the ad.
While you can still use targeting options, display ads give you less control since the ad will be shown to all site visitors and not just those searching for a specific keyword.
Classified ads appear in a separate section of the website. Only certain product categories allow this ad format, such as ‘Business and Industrial’ or ‘Websites and Businesses for Sale.’ When buyers see your listing, they can contact you and arrange to complete the transaction outside eBay.
Classified ads are an ideal way to promote rare or hard-to-find items. Ads are priced on a flat fee basis — $9.95 for a 30-day listing — regardless of the number of views or clicks it receives.
eBay advertising for large brands.
Brands with big marketing budgets also use eBay’s branding solutions to optimize their listings. It looks different from promoted listings because it’s more in-depth and customized.
eBay has a few featured case studies for large brand advertisements so you can get a feel for what this high-cost service entails.
eBay offers promotional tools you can use in your advertisements to make individual listings more enticing, such as offering discounts.
Offer discounts for bulk purchases, limited-time offers, buy-one-get-one-free or bundle deals can entice buyers to make a purchase. Sellers can also offer a gift with purchase, such as a free accessory or bonus item.
Free shipping has become an industry standard in ecommerce — 66% of consumers expect free shipping on all online orders — and may be the deciding factor when a prospective shopper is weighing a purchase between you or your competitor.
Codeless coupons are automatically applied to the buyer’s purchase without having to enter a code to redeem it. You can set targeting options for the coupon, such as the item category, specific items, minimum order value and the maximum number of redemptions for the coupon.
If you’re trying to move inventory for a specific product category, or you have a product line that trends seasonally, you can mark down the entire product category.
BigCommerce integrates with over 150 marketplaces, social channels and search engines so you can sell more everywhere.
Types of Products to Promote with eBay Advertising
Certain types of products benefit the most from advertising on eBay.
Here are some examples:
High-demand products: Electronics, fashion items and collectibles have a high conversion rate.
Seasonal products: Items associated with seasons or holidays can be promoted ahead of peak times to capitalize on increased demand.
Unique products: Vintage items or rare collectibles can be promoted to a specific audience using eBay’s targeting options.
Popular brands: Goods from trusted brands tend to generate better conversions.
Bundle deals: Ads are a great way to sell multiple products as a bundle, which you can’t do with a regular product listing.
How Much Do eBay Promoted Listings Cost?
The cost of a promoted listing depends on several factors including the product type, the competition and your chosen targeting options.
The main cost component is the bid sellers set, or the maximum amount they’re willing to pay per click (PPC). Higher bids increase the chances of the ad being shown to potential buyers.
The second pricing component is a “quality score” which considers the ad’s relevance and performance, as well as the relevance of the associated landing page, to determine the final cost of the ad.
Sellers can set a daily budget for their promoted listing. Once the cap is reached, eBay will stop displaying the ad until the next day. On average, promoted listings run from a few cents to a few dollars per click. They are based on a percentage of the final sale price, anywhere from 1-20%.
To be eligible for promoted listings on eBay, sellers must meet certain requirements:
Sellers must have an active eBay account in good standing.
The promoted items must comply with eBay's listing policies and guidelines.
Seller must be located in a country where promoted listings are available.
Seller must have a history of successfully completing sales on eBay.
Seller must have a feedback rating of at least 10 and a minimum of 98% positive feedback.
Sellers must have a valid payment method, such as a credit card or PayPal account.
Sellers must comply with eBay's policies and regulations.
Where Do Promoted Listings Appear on eBay?
eBay uses several factors to determine where and how often an ad is displayed, such as:
The ad’s relevancy to the search term
The seller’s past performance
The ad rate the seller has set for the item (the higher the ad rate, the greater the possibility of ad placement).
Promoted listings appear throughout various sections of eBay’s website, including the following:
Top of the search results.
Promoted listings appear at the top of search results when the competition for that keyword is high (meaning many items relevant to the query are participating in promoted listings and the ad rates are high).
Throughout the search results.
Promoted listings will appear in search results based on the targeting options you set, including keywords, categories and item specifics. For example, if a seller targets a promoted listing with the keywords "phone case" under the category "Electronics," the listing will appear at the top of search results for those keywords and in that category.
Additionally, if the seller specifies item specifics such as "iPhone 12" and "blue," the listing will appear at the top of search results for those keywords.
Next to your non-promoted listings.
Promoted listings will still appear next to your regular listings, so if someone visits your commerce page, they can see the item there.
Advertising on eBay
Advertising on eBay is a relatively simple process that can be done directly from Seller Hub, a central dashboard for managing sales on eBay. To run eBay ads, you must have at least one item for sale and your account must be in good standing, otherwise, your ad campaign will be rejected.
Visit your promoted listings dashboard inside the Seller Hub.
Sign in to your eBay account and go to the “Sell” menu. This will take you to the Seller Hub.
Click “Create a new campaign.”
Click on the "Promote" tab and select "Create a new campaign."
Select listings individually or in bulk.
Select the items you want to promote by clicking on the "Add items" button. You can select multiple items at once.
Apply an ad rate.
Set your campaign budget and choose targeting options for keywords, categories and item specifics. Choose the duration of your campaign and select the start and end dates.
Name your campaign and launch.
Review and submit your campaign. Once your campaign is created, you can track your campaign performance and make adjustments as necessary. Advertisers can set a daily budget and will be charged only for the clicks they receive. eBay analytics shows many clicks your listing received and the cost-per-click.
How to Run Successful Promoted Listing
While advertising on eBay is generally beneficial, provided you follow best practices regarding keywords and audience targeting, there are several ways to improve the effectiveness of a promoted listing.
Set a competitive bid amount relative to other products in your category, but avoid going too high and eroding your profits. When setting up your Promoted Listings campaigns, eBay will provide you with key information such as suggested ad rates and total cost.
eBay follows a bidding system for Promoted Listings. The cost is calculated dynamically based on a second-price auction — meaning the amount you pay per click will be somewhere between your bid and that of the second-highest bidder.
Use well-researched product titles.
Product titles containing relevant keywords increase the chances of your promoted listing being displayed.
Research the titles of similar products offered by competitors and see what terms they’re using. Keep the title concise and descriptive, while frontloading the top keywords as much as possible.
Finally, A/B-test different titles to see which engenders the most clicks and conversions.
Offer free shipping.
Free shipping has become the gold standard in ecommerce and can improve the ROI of your promoted listing.
Optimize your listings for eBay.
Here are some additional tips for creating high-performing promoted listings on eBay:
Ensure your title and description contain relevant keywords people might use to search for your product.
Use clear, high-resolution images that show your product from multiple angles.
Research the prices of similar products and price your product competitively.
Use the item specifics feature to provide detailed information about your product, such as size, color and brand.
Choose the most appropriate category for your product and use subcategories to increase visibility.
Aim for three to five keywords in the title of your eBay product listing, but avoid keyword stuffing.
Keywords should accurately describe the product and reflect the search terms potential buyers are likely to use. Include keywords in the product description, but make sure it reads naturally.
Finally, don’t forget to add keywords to the item specifics section of your listing, where you provide detailed product information such as size, color and brand.
Include lots of photos.
Product images influence not only how many people will click on your listing, but whether or not they’ll convert. Research indicates that 75% of shoppers rely on product photos when deciding on a potential purchase.
Use high-resolution images that accurately represent the product and enable people to envision what they’re buying. Include various product shots, including multiple angles, lifestyle shots, close-up shots and a photo of the product in use.
Process orders quickly.
The faster your process orders, the sooner your customers receive their purchases. According to Statista, 44% of U.S. consumers expect two-day shipping.
Using eBay SEO to Optimize Your Advertising Campaigns
Using SEO best practices ensures eBay’s algorithm indexes your ads in search results and category pages based on your specified keywords. It can also increase the likelihood your ads will be displayed on search engines. This requires understanding the buyer’s search intent and what keywords your competitors are using.
Find the right keywords for eBay advertising.
The first step is to research the competition. Scour listings for similar products on eBay and note the keywords in titles and descriptions. Next, use a keyword research tool to identify keywords relevant to your product with high search volume.
Another often-overlooked resource is customer reviews: notice the keywords customers use to describe your product.
For example, while you might describe your product as a “high-performance laptop” your customers might search for “best laptops for work.”
Use long-tail keywords. These are more specific, less competitive and may drive more targeted traffic to your listing.
Use multiple keywords per listing.
Once you have identified the best keywords for your product, optimize your listing titles and descriptions to include these keywords. Test different keyword combinations in your listing and use your promoted listings d to track the performance of your listing.
See what your competitors are doing.
Analyze competitors’ listings to see which keywords they are using and what keywords they rank for.
Best Practices to Discover Better Results
SEO isn’t a one-and-done deal. To keep your listings relevant and indexable, you’ll need to monitor the performance of your listings and make adjustments.
Perform keyword research weekly or monthly.
Many SEO experts recommend undertaking keyword research regularly — the frequency depends on the nature of your business and the competitiveness of the market. If you sell products subject to changing trends or you have a large inventory and add new products periodically, frequent keyword research ensures your listings are optimized for the latest trends and search terms.
Conversely, if you sell niche products that don't change much over time, you won’t need to update your keywords as often.
Adjust product description length.
A well-written, detailed product description includes the following information:
A clear and concise headline summarizing the product's main features
A detailed description of what the product is for, how to use it and what pain points it will solve (if applicable).
Key product specifications including the item’s condition, brand, size, color and other details.
A call-to-action (CTA) encouraging the customer to buy the product.
The best product descriptions answer all the questions a potential customer may have, leaving no doubt in their minds whether this product is right for them.
Raise the price to offer free shipping.
Free shipping can be a major enticement for cost-conscious buyers. However, you may need to raise your prices slightly to cover shipping costs. This way, customers won’t face unexpected fees at checkout.
Change the featured image.
If your listing doesn’t generate many clicks, choose a more enticing featured image that’s high-resolution and shows the product in its best light.
Use eBay Analytics Data to Improve Your Advertising Campaign
Tracking ad performance and adjusting bids, keywords, product descriptions and other factors accordingly is key to achieving the maximum ROI from advertising.
Each time an ad appears in search results, it counts as one impression. Impressions measure the reach and visibility of a banner ad or sponsored listing. The more impressions an ad receives, the more likely it is to be seen by potential buyers, which increases the chances of a sale.
Clicks are registered each time someone clicks on your ad and views the corresponding landing page. This metric helps identify which listings are most popular and which keywords drive the most traffic.
This metric refers to sales directly attributed to an ad — or, in other words, the ad’s conversion rate. The goal of any advertising campaign is to maximize sales.
Plans for Every Stage of Growth
Explore BigCommerce plans and pricing.
The Final Word
Advertising on eBay is a great way to improve the visibility of your product listings, particularly if you’re a new seller, offer seasonal products or are struggling to sell slow-moving inventory.
eBay provides a range of ad formats, from sponsored listings to banner ads and more, designed to suit different budgets and advertising needs. Finally, eBay analytics enable sellers to track ad performance and run A/B tests.
The ROI of advertising on eBay depends on your business needs, budget and adherence to SEO best practices, so it’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with the ins and outs of eBay ads before running your first campaign.