eBay mobile ads coming back

Two years after deciding they needed improvement, eBay mobile ads are coming back for tablets and smartphones, the e-commerce consumer-to-consumer giant announced. It plans to introduce the advertising app during the second half of 2014.

As one of the biggest marketplaces in the Internet with over 149 million active users who spent almost $75 billion last year, eBay says it is virtually unique in possessing first-party data, and has a profound insight into what users are interested in.

eBay wrote:

“By partnering with eBay, you’ll have access to over 60 predefined audience segments, all powered by our real commerce data. If your ideal audience isn’t one of our predefined segments, no problem! We can create a custom segment for you or uncover your ideal audience via eBay’s Audience Discovery tool. Whatever segment you’re interested in, our data and media solutions will help you reach them – both on and off eBay.”

Tailoring & targeting customers

Being able to understand how shoppers behave across channels and knowing how to target them appropriately is the advertiser’s major challenge today. eBay says it is one of the very few ad-targeting platforms that can help cleints overcome this challenge.

ebay mobile adverts plan
How will Google react to eBay’s move into the mobile ad market?

eBay users spend about 150 minutes on its app each month. This is three times longer than any other rival, the company’s head of display advertising in North America, Stephen Howard-Sarin, claims.

Mr. Howard-Sarin says his company can tailor its advertising because eBay users have a single, universal login for all types of devices. In other words, the company can target and track across laptops, smartphones and tablets using first-party data.

eBay wrote “This data is incredibly powerful and is only accessible to brands advertising with eBay. Our ability to map real people throughout their entire shopping journey is invaluable. This is what makes our media solutions so unique, and goes way beyond traditional third–party data solutions.”

The Government Employees Insurance Company (GEICO), the auto-insurance firm that belongs to Berkshire Hathaway, will be one of the first companies to advertise using eBay’s mobile ad network.

According to eMarketer, just in the US total mobile ad spending for 2014 is forecast to reach more than $17 billion, an 83% increase on last year.

New revenue or new headache for eBay?

The mobile advertising business is more profitable than retail – margins are much greater.

However, mightn’t eBay’s millions of viewers be put off, i.e. will the ads drive shoppers away from eBay to other retail sites?

eBay mobile ads

eBay says it has unique advantages over its rivals.

eBay has an advertising deal with Triad Retail Media. Exactly how the two companies split the ad revenues has not been disclosed.

Mr. Howard-Sarin says he is not worried about losing customers, who he describes as loyal.

Mr. Howard-Sarin said the new ads will not be your standard rectangular display ones. Rather, they will “mesh into the grid of products displayed in the app’s feed of product listings. They will be capable of playing video or leading shoppers to download the advertiser’s app,” he explained in an interview with Re/code.