"I ain't missing you at all" : eBay's traffic stable without Google ads

No primary category set

Advertising Age report that eBay’s high profile pulling of their paid Google ads last week has had little effect on their traffic. Figures from Hitwise reveal that:

  • For the week 5th to 12th June, eBay traffic rose from 1.59% to 1.67% of US internet visits. This can probably be attributed to the publicity associated with Live!, as well as perhaps with the Google story itself.
  • On 7th June, Google drove 10.6% of eBay’s traffic. On 12th June, that fell to 9.86% – a 7% reduction.
  • On 7th June, eBay accounted for 1.12% of traffic *from* Google; by 12th June, that had fallen to 1.03% – an 8% reduction.

This is obviously not yet the disaster that many sellers – including, I admit, myself – were predicting, though few definite conclusions can be drawn from just a week’s worth of figures. Bill Tancer, general manager for global research at Hitwise, commented that “It seems like a lot of the paid traffic may actually be in the tail of the query stream. It may still be significant to eBay, but in the end, it isn’t the majority of their traffic.”

Particularly interesting is that around a quarter of eBay’s traffic from Google is simple navigation: people searching for “ebay” or “www.ebay.com”. The assumption, then, is that natural search results are holding up eBay’s traffic from Google. Is this right? I tried a little experiment.

  • Searching for “beads”: one appearance by eBay.com, at position 50.
  • Searching for “PS2”: there is an advert for eBay.fr in the paid search results on the right: presumably I’m getting this because I’m on a French ISP. eBay Australia and eBay India show up at positions 41 and 50 respectively.
  • Searching for “cheap CDs”: quite a few eBay results here, the first at position 16… beneath Amazon, 101cd, CD-wow, and others. Oh dear.

There’s nothing scientific here, the search terms were just the first three that popped into my head – but we seemed to have gone a long way from the old search results, where every other link seemed to be to eBay. Could these results really sustain eBay’s traffic? It doesn’t seem likely.

The question now is what eBay are going to do to drive traffic instead of spending millions on Google ads. Is the rash of ads all over UK newspapers at the moment really enough? Or perhaps the time really is right for a merger with Yahoo!

AdAge link shamelessly stolen from Randy‘s sidebar.

2 Responses

  1. Sue, that’s what the links are there for :-).

    BTW, another non-scientific analysis. I spoke with a very large media seller yesterday who for the first time ever sold more items on Amazon in one day then on his eBay id. and he actually has 5 times fewer items on Amazon.

    Maybe the lack of eBay ads is giving preferential placement to Amazon ads. Any other sellers experiencing the same thing?

  2. Looking at the traffic stats for Auctioning4u’s eBay shop the other I was struck that over 95% of traffic to listing originated from the eBay search. Perhaps Google paid traffic does not actually account for that much in the way of traffic to eBay listings


Stella Artois takes advertising to gaming

Stella Artois takes advertising to gaming


Pinterest Presents Global Ads Summit


News snippets could disappear from Google Australia


OnBuy TV advert just launched across main ITV Channels

PR25610_EBAY_COVID Q2_264x338_THE TIMES_MA1.indd

eBay Individually brilliant Stronger as one campaign to highlight small businesses

ChannelX Guide...

Featured in this article from the ChannelX Guide – companies that can help you grow and manage your business.

Register for Newsletter

Receive 5 newsletters per week

Gain access to all research

Be notified of upcoming events and webinars