Everything You Need to Know About eBay’s Promoted Listings

In today’s world, selling on a marketplace is one of the surest ways to reach the growing number of shoppers who are moving their purchasing habits online. With over 182 million active users and counting, eBay is the third largest marketplace in terms of US market share and recently saw a 29% boost in GMV in the second quarter of this year. So, it’s no wonder that merchants include selling on eBay as a key part of their eCommerce strategy. But how do sellers get their products to stand out among the competition? Ebay offers an advertising program, called Promoted Listings, that gives sellers an opportunity to get a leg up on competitors. In this post, we’ll go over the key elements of eBay’s advertising program.

What are Promoted Listings?

Promoted Listings are product listing ads that appear throughout the shopper journey on eBay, including in search results, listing pages, and other placements. Using the Promoted Listings program is an easy way for sellers to get their products in front of more shoppers—according to a 2018 eBay study, item page views increased by an average of 36% after activating Promoted Listings.

While sellers have limited control over the finer points of a Promoted Listings campaign, like bidding on keywords and targeting, Promoted Listings are notable because sellers are only charged when a click on an ad results in a sale. Many advertising programs on other marketplaces will charge per click or per impression.

Where and when do Promoted Listings ads appear?

Promoted Listings appear in placements throughout the eBay site including, but not limited to, search results and listing pages.

In search results, Promoted Listings product ads will appear intermingled with the organic listings and can be identified by the word “sponsored” at the top of the listing. For any given search query, eBay’s algorithm determines whether your product’s organic listing or your promoted listing will appear higher in the search results. Ebay makes this determination based on a number of factors, including the quality of your listing, the ad rate, and the product’s search relevancy. Ebay will not show both a sponsored listing and an organic listing for the same product in the results of a search.

Promoted Listings ads also appear on a listing page. After you click on a listing from any search result, you’ll be taken to the product’s listing page where you’ll see all the usual product information at the top of the page, such as images, description, prices, and shipping details. As you scroll down the page, you’ll see product listing ads that are related to the item you’re viewing, under sections labeled “Similar sponsored items,” and “Sponsored items from this seller.”

Which sellers and listings are eligible for Promoted Listings?

Promoted Listings is currently available to Above Standard and Top Rated eBay sellers with recent sales activity. Sellers can promote fixed price listings for most categories except Vehicles, Real Estate, Travel, and Everything Else categories. Auction and Auction Buy It Now listings are not eligible at this time. When you create a Promoted Listings campaign, only listings that are eligible for the service will appear in your selection view.

You can see which of your products are eligible for Promoted Listings from your Seller Hub, on the Marketing tab or directly from the Listings page. Filter your listings to see which products are eligible or already being promoted. The Promoted Listings column will also show you if a product is eligible to be promoted.

How do eBay’s Promoted Listings campaigns work?

Promoted Listings charge on a cost-per-sale basis. If a shopper clicks a listing tagged as sponsored and buys it within 30 days, the sale is attributed to Promoted Listings and the seller pays an ad fee. Unlike many sponsored listings programs on other marketplaces, Promoted Listings do not charge per click or impression.

Sellers can access their Promoted Listings dashboard under the “marketing” tab of their Seller Hub. Here sellers will be able to see metrics for their Promoted Listings campaigns, including impressions, clicks, number sold, sales amount, ad fees, CTR, sales conversion rate, and the average sold ad rate. Sellers can also click “Create new campaign” to set up new campaigns, or edit existing campaigns by scrolling down below the dashboard.

When creating a campaign, sellers determine their own ad rates. The ad rate is calculated as a percentage of the sale price (excluding shipping and taxes). For example, if you sell a $30 product through a Promoted Listings ad, and your ad rate was 5%, you would pay $1.50 for the ad. Setting ad rates as a percentage of sale price allows sellers to calculate their profit margins in advance.

How do I set up a Promoted Listings campaign? 

To learn how to set up a Promoted Listings campaign, check out “Getting Started” on eBay’s Promoted Listings page.

How are fees for Promoted Listings deducted?

Sellers will see the Promoted Listings fees on their eBay invoice. If an item is returned, canceled, or not paid, the seller will receive a Promoted Listings credit that reimburses them for the ad fee on their next invoice.

Please note in the event that you change your ad rates, eBay states, “We measure the 30 days sales attribution window from the first click received and charge based on the ad rate in effect at the time of the first click.”

What are the benefits of using eBay Promoted Listings?

In addition to helping you increase your listing page views, Promoted Listings only charge you when your ad results in a sale. By setting the ad rate as a percentage of the sale price, sellers determine how much they can afford to spend on advertising without gambling.

There is also a “halo” effect. If a user finds your sponsored listing, they are more likely to look at your other products as well. This organic exposure can lead to more sales for listings that are not sponsored. You’ll only be charged an ad fee for a click on a sponsored listing that results in a sale.

Using Promoted Listings allows your products to appear in places that organic listings cannot appear, like the “Similar sponsored items” section of a product page. Once you opt an item into a Promoted Listings campaign, it is eligible for all ad placement real estate.

By using Promoted Listings, Reebok was able to double its sales while only paying 6% in ad fees. Many sellers have found success using Promoted Listings, and approximately 35% of all US eBay sellers use Promoted Listings. 

Depending on your vertical, you may choose to use Promoted Listings all year, or get a boost during the holiday season and other peak sales times. It’s also important to allow eBay to accumulate enough data to optimize its targeting and suggested ad rates. For example, school supplies sellers would probably benefit most from starting a Promoted Listings campaign several weeks before the peak selling season. With the holiday season fast approaching, sellers may want to begin using Promoted Listings before the fall begins.

If you’re interested in selling your products on eBay, reach out and see how Feedonomics can help your business with product listing and order management!

Find out why over 30% of the top 1,000 Internet Retailers choose Feedonomics.

Brian Roizen is the Cofounder and Chief Architect of Feedonomics, a full-service feed optimization platform that optimizes product data for hundreds of channels. He has been featured on numerous podcasts and eCommerce webinars, and regularly contributes to Search Engine Land and other industry-leading blogs. Brian graduated summa cum laude from UCLA with both a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in Mechanical Engineering.