Another way to pay eBay: Adcommerce

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eBay UK has announced  the launch of its new Adcommerce product which allows sellers to buy text links at the bottom of eBay search results using a bidding system mirroring Google’s Adwords.

Clearly part of eBay’s aggressive attempts to monetize the eBay site through the increased use of advertising, sellers (including those with imperfect DSRs) can enjoy enhanced prominence in search and get traffic by buying text advertising.

How does it work? You choose a search term and category you want your ad to appear in, add descriptive text  and a picture. You then bid against other advertisers: high bids win. eBay information pages live here.

Traffic can be channelled to a Shop homepage, Feedback page, an item list (such as all your items) or your MyWorld page. One fairly disappointing aspect of the system is the inability to send your text ads to a specific Shop category or Shop search page. Equally, the adverts positioned at the bottom of page aren’t particularly prominent and are certainly less obvious than third-party ads displayed at the top of search results.

Also, as anyone who has had any experience monitoring and optimising a CPC campaign with Google will know, getting the most out of and getting best value from a system such as this can be both time-consuming and complicated. It also begs the question: if you’re going to invest in some search engine marketing, why do it on eBay? It’s only a small leap to take that money to Google and reach out to a bigger audience.

Has anyone tried using the new Adcommerce product? Any perspectives are most welcome. Will you be taking the plunge with Adcommerce?

83 Responses

  1. We are using it on

    We have just set it up, set a budget and let it run for now…

    Will try to analyze data later.


  2. Must confess I’ve failed to cash in all my £50 vouchers that eBay sent: I figured I’d let everyone else spend their money first, and I’ll bid when the field clears a little.

  3. No experience at this but would seem a tad churlish not to use the £50.

    16 impressions, ave posi 3.62, 0 clicks – still got £50 to spend.

    After rethink and some fiddling, including the picture which was absent
    Day 2
    5206 impressions, ave posi 3.67, 6 clicks – still got £49.94 to spend.

    I am (fairly) certain that I got 2 sales from 1 of those clicks.

    Am quite pleased with the impressions today!

    Will let run over without fiddling for Day 3 and then up the cpc. to 2p to get that ave posi up for Day 4.

  4. Emily,

    I think that you should get one, they do not all go out at same time. Give PS Support call if you don’t get one by Monday.

    Adcommerce T & C do not require you to be a business seller or to have good DSR. That makes it look like a grabber rather than a deal?

    A good parody on eBay PS board just now.

  5. I tried the American version of this a few months ago. I managed to spend about $4 over the period of a month. I didn’t notice any changes in my sales but I didn’t really have a good way to track its effectiveness either. If I reach lowered in search status or sell a high margin item in a saturated market I might try it again.

  6. I’m in the US and we used it over christmas. We got over 4 million impressions, and a few hundered clicks I think it was. It didn’t end up being much money but I also put a pretty low cutoff for clicks, like .03-.05 cents.

    As another user points out it’s hard to track how effective it is. While it reports lots of click stats (described by marketing acronyms annoyingly enough), it says nothing about conversion to sales.

    Putting something on ebay is an advertisement. That’s what ebay is. Adcommerce is kind of like saying “Turn to page 5 to see our ad about shoes!”

    One thing I would suggest is if you think there is a complimentary category that might have potential buyers you can put an ad there. Unlike listings, ads do not have to be relevant. So if you sold cool sprinkers you might put an add in the swimsuit category, especially kids swimsuits. Things where the buyer wouldn’t think to go there but might be intrigued by the suggestion.

  7. I tried the US version… not one click… maybe my choice of keywords was bad, I thought I’d make it a tough test. I spend heavily with Google AdWords, so I know how to do this.

    eBay puts these ads below all the others ads, which are below the listings… and unlike all the other ads, I can’t direct traffic off site – or even to a category in my store. Seems like the stats are useless.

    In other words… it seems like a typical eBay seller program: Grab as much money as possible from a seller and give as little as possible in return.

  8. If you all use your vouchers eBay will have won again, it’s just another method to extract more money from you.

    What are you going to do when your £50 runs out, but other sellers you compete with still have ad’s running? buy more? soon everyone will be using it, it’s all nice and fluffy now, but how much is a bid going to cost you in 3months time?

    You already pay to advertise on eBay, don’t be a puppet and pay them twice.

  9. whirlys spot on

    if i were looking for as bath on ebay. dont matter how much money whirly spent on ad commerce, and even if his advert was noticed
    I would check out at least one or two other sellers in the same game

  10. What eBay needs to do to be even more evil is do what Microsoft did with their Live search. Pay buyers to use it. So if you buy from someone using an Adcommerce ad you get a percentage of the FVF back.

  11. to my mind this adcommerce thing like the added insurance you get harrased about in electrical stores,
    you have already paid ebay a listing fee, and possibly even add ons

    so then you pay them even more to receive a service. that in effect you have already paid for

  12. The only way I can see it as being of any use is for advertising a range/brand rather than a specific product.

    Possibly another “Norwegian Blue”.

  13. Like you Sue, I’ll spend mine later and see what happens purely from a reasearch point of view.

    I’m not sure I’m happy with the hole idea of ‘adwords for ebay’ another cost I won’t be adding to my monthly bill.

  14. forget the vouchers, put them out of your mind, its not 50 squid of free advertising.

    if it looks like its working ebay will give it a big tick, someone a bonus and stick it at the top of the page so you can all go bidding against yourself.

  15. I’d like to know when I’m paying for a title search keyword link that the adcommerce console tells me is being directed to
    why is the actual link live on my ad being directed to
    and WTF should I pay for clicks for that?

    I mean to say I’m seriously hacked off and ready to start swearing is an understatement. 👿

  16. #26 They could have got some idiot like me to test it before they launched it. I wouldn’t mind finding out it was a heap of shite if they told me it wasn’t tested. No wonder it still has a crappy “beta” tag on the adcommerce site 😀

  17. Trying it out, it can be used as a means of getting international visibility, UK listings on which accept paper payments and putting your listings in categories where they might otherwise be pulled for miscategorization..

  18. #18 So there’s no way to analyse clicks-to-conversions?

    That’s absolutely ridiculous, and ( as if we needed it) just more proof that eBay is merely money-grabbing with this latest attempt to gouge yet more money from sellers.

  19. #36 So if you followed the rules you could only put ad’s on the pages you already have items on…It gets better 😆

    I would rather lend Sir Fred a tenner.

  20. Not sure if anyone has had the problem of adding a link directly to a dept. within a shop. If you have you can edit the link for each keyword and send a link to a specific dept (at the moment this doesn’t seem to work at the top level).

  21. #39 Well I think I will let everyone else pay to find out if it works first, although how they go about finding out is another matter….

    Would anyone here pay Google for adwords if you had no access to the conversion data?

  22. I think Whrly would have relevant categories in Health & Beauty > Bath & Body.
    I’m trying out a country and western music cassette with 2 cowboy hat categories on, amongst others.

  23. I never got no voucher.

    I have had this live for a couple of days and I am getting a small number of clicks… I thought I’d jump onto to set up ROI tracking and I couldnt find it…. I emailed support and guess what – THERE IS NO ROI tracking!!!

    This means it is impossible to determine what your ROI is and how many sales it got you! I had a fiddle and thought I would try Google Analytics on it … but this isn’t possible either.

    This is exceptionally poor….like a step back into 1994

    “I know half my Ad budget is wasted, but I don’t know which half”

  24. #41 Sure I get that ,but, you can’t track a click as no data is available.

    #42 I can understand peeps using the freebie, times are hard for many sellers, I just hope they don’t get bled dry, the people most desperate are the ones most likely to keep on buying bids after the freebie runs out.

    Imho If you can’t track you may aswell stick a blank cheque in the post.

  25. I agree. I wont be carrying on with this unless I can compute incremental sales.

    Also – tell me if I am mad but if the customer goes to the “next page” button wouldn’t you be BETTER off being lower down?

  26. Could this work for finding out it the ads are bringing you sales?

    Would be for a featured shop using the Bidding Buying Activity by Original Entry Pages report in Omniture. The original entry page would be a custom shop page, not used anywhere else, from which buyers would then look at your listings. Whatever shows in the Omniture report for that page, if it does, would be a sale from the ads.

  27. I started a campaign on using keywords. Scotland and Scottish were ok. Scotch became Inactive (Terms Violation)

  28. Sue, looks that there’s some vetting going on. In my Omniture report for referring domains for today there’s one for, 3 times. A username and password is required to log in.

  29. Just tried an ad to a single item with the price in – no £ sign. $ & € are there.

  30. #56 Keithf, that is all part of the *Buyer Experience* eBay believes buyers spend more if they are made to feel cosmopolitan.

  31. I’ve been putting some ads on eBay Germany but I wasn’t able to find them. I was looking in the wrong place, they’re not at the botton of the screen, they’re at the top of the screen, before all the listings including featured first!!!

  32. I set up an AD on the German site this morning.

    After a couple of hours it started to show in searches. 2/3 hours after that, and with nearly 700 impressions but no clicks, it stopped appearing on the German site.

    It is still shown as live in my Dashboard but is definitely not appearing on the site and the impressions are stuck. No emails received re any problems.

    Anybody got any ideas as to what has happened please?

  33. I sent an email to AdCommerce support but no reply as yet.

    Looking at the AdCommerce chat board I expect a non-specific cut and paste reply.

    I am thinking that my Ad may have been reported by someone paying for featured first and a tad peeeeeed off to see my Ad appear above!

  34. PS My impressions to date are over 42,000, total ‘spent’ less than 20p.

    Just 16 clicks, most at 1p. My bids are now 2p and am definitely appearing in a higher posi. My German impressions while they lated were average 1.38.

    This may never get beyond the beta.

    I wonder how the earning power compares with (outside) sponsored links?

  35. Further thought:

    The click through rate must almost be on a par with that for a phishing email !!

  36. exactly
    its not free!
    time is the most expensive thing available, and this ad commerce thingy wastes it

  37. our first few thousand ebay listings made us a lot of money we know because it went in our bank and we spent it
    you cant bank clicks you can only guess at their value

  38. I have had a reply from AdCommerce support!
    Some of the reply is enlightening (the bit about the ‘experiments’ on different sites), some is standard claptrap.

    Dear JD,

    Thanks for your email.

    I noticed that some of your keywords’ average position is 0. This means
    that these keywords are not displaying. Only the first five bidders are
    displayed. An average position of 1 means your ad has been showing up in
    the leftmost spot (in the case of left-to-right display), or in the
    topmost spot (in the case of top-to-bottom display). Just try to keep
    your position between 1-5.

    I suggest that you try different daily budgets, and cost per clicks. You
    can see how your keywords are working in certain days by using the
    filter.You have to experiment which are the best options.The reports are
    updated every 4 hours.

    Please keep in mind that ads are targeted differently for different
    users, so you may not be able to see your ads while they show for other
    users. On AdCommerce ads are displayed in a different way than
    on or on All user can see the ads but only 4 times.

    I hope this is helpful. If you need any more information please get in

    Kind regards,

    eBay AdCommerce Support

  39. well I have had my adverts pulled already – for using CAPITAL LETTERS – wtf – here is the email:


    We wanted to inform you that after review we have decided to deactivate one
    or more ads in your AdCommerce account due to non-compliance with one or
    more of the following ad creation guidelines:
    1. Repetition of words, symbols and punctuation is not allowed. For instance
    “Great deals starting at $10!” is allowed, but “!!!! Great deals $$$ !!!!”
    is not allowed.

    2. Capitalization should be limited to the first letter of a word. For instance
    “Free Shipping Offered!” is allowed, but “FREE SHIPPING OFFERED!”
    is not allowed.
    This means that your ad will no longer be displayed. For your reference, these
    ads are marked as “Inactive (Terms Violation)” in your AdGroup Dashboard.

    Thank you for your help in making AdCommerce a better and more relevant
    place to shop.


    The AdCommerce Team

    all i can say is – account closed as far as I am concerned – spent a couple of hours on the adverts – waste of time – they should put clearly on the create advert page ‘do not use CAPITAL letters’ or something! – i see there are plenty of other ads with capitals – so its either an ebay bot or some sad individual actually reporting my advert!

    i will keep my money and spend it on a couple more listings instead!

  40. #77 I have read the guide and the example in the guide uses ‘US’ as an ok word. Presumably all abbreviations can be upper case?

    Back to my German AD, after the poor initial reply from AdCommerce Support, I have been monitoring impressions more closely. My Ad is definitely being made live only for a very few hours each morning. The impression numbers do not increase after mid morning.

    A further email to AdC. Support got a totally crass reply telling me that some of my keywords had zero impressions (well I knew that) so I should change them, that I should up my CPC (with an average posi of 1.45 I know that I do not need to), that my Ad was definitely being shown and I could rely on their data (irony – I am using their data to prove that my Ad is not being shown). Fact is I have data every hour or so they only have daily data.

    Spoke to PS Support who admitted limited knowledge and they would not give me a phone number or get someone to phone me. The suggestion was that I provide my detailed data and ask for a ‘personal’ reply from AdC Support.

    Do they really want my money?

    Anybody got any similar data or suggestions?

  41. Capitalization should be limited to the first letter of a word. For instance
    “Free Shipping Offered!” is allowed, but “FREE SHIPPING OFFERED!”
    is not allowed.

    I guess that means “Best deals on eBay!” can’t be used since it has a “B” in the middle of a word? I’d never say that (I’d either be lying or losing money) but I do see that all the time in auctions.

  42. And FWIW…

    Someone on the PSB has spoken to Support and been told that conversion data will be made available at some point. It isn’t available now because this product is newly launched. It’s not newly launched in the US – do they have conversion data there? Errr, no.

    Piss-up, brewery 🙁

  43. I asked Mark Lewis this afternoon about the lack of conversion data: he didn’t have an answer for me but referred me to a colleague who’s leading a session tomorrow…. Anyone taking bets on a straight answer?



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