How to best use eBay Promoted Listings

No primary category set

When you list on eBay you are reliant on eBay’s Best Match algorithm to place your listings in search results. eBay Promoted Listings are a way to buy visibility and increase your sales, but how does it work and when should you use them?

Best Match, although sellers often complain about it, tends to work for buyers and it’s in eBay’s interests for it to do so as they get fees when a seller gets a sale. Generally if you’re looking to make a purchase you’ll find a suitable product in the first 10 or so search results although this is generally true for consumer goods – for products such as antiques and art where a purchase relies more on visual browsing then Best Match isn’t always as relevant.

What eBay Promoted Listings can do is promote your products in prominent positions and it’s a low risk proposition as you choose the percentage of the selling price you’ll pay for the promotion and you’ll only pay if your product sells within 30 days of the buyer clicking on your sponsored ad.

Available in the UK, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, the US, Canada (English and French sites) and Australia, sellers can choose to pay between 1% and 20% of the sale price.

eBay Promoted Listings Positions

There are two main places where promoted listings are displayed on eBay – mixed in with eBay search results and on the listing page:

Search Results Page

You’ll generally spot eBay Promoted Listings tagged as ‘Sponsored’ in the fourth or fifth position in eBay search results.
eBay Promoted Listings in Search Results

Product Listing Page

If eBay show “People who viewed this item also viewed…” on a product listing page then this is where eBay Promoted Listings will appear.
eBay Promoted Listings on Product Page

What percentage should you choose?

There are two ways to approach eBay Promoted Listings – start low or start high.

When eBay Promoted Listings were first introduced selecting a 1% fee for the service paid dividends as there was little competition. Today with more competition, it’s still a good tactic and only raise the percentage of the sale price to promote your listing if you’re not getting sales.

The alternative is to start with the maximum percentage you can afford and then start reducing the percentage to increase your margins until you find the point at which sales start to tail off.

Your chosen ad rate plays a major part in deciding when and where your ads are visible so it’s worth investing more for items which have a high level of competition. eBay have a table revealing maximum and average ad rates on a category by category basis (historical data collected from eBay UK up to and including 22nd November 2017).

Why would you pay eBay even more money?

You already pay eBay a final value fee on every sale, so when does it make sense to pay even more for a sale?

When launching a new product on eBay where there’s a lot of competition, promoted listings can help kick start sales until your product naturally rises to the top of Best Match search results due to the listing’s recent sales history. The same tactic can be used for a listing which previously saw good sales but they have tailed off recently.

You should also consider using Promoted Listings for specific seasonal product sets. Christmas, Valentines, Mothering Sunday, Fathers’ Day and Easter all all occasions that you might wish to promote products suitable for gifts. Sporting events such as Wimbledon always encourage people to try a new sport. With the Winter Olympics currently taking place in South Korea, now would be a great time to experiment with eBay Promoted Listings if you sell snow sports related products.

It’s worth remembering that sellers who subscribe to an eBay Featured or Anchor store will have a monthly voucher to spend on listing enhancements – this can also be used for eBay Promoted Listings enabling you to set a budget and experiment for free.


eBay have full reporting on Promoted Listings with detailed campaign data to enable you to optimise your selling strategies. You’ll get data broken down by impressions, clicks, sales and spending. Fees for using the service appear on your dashboard as well as on the invoice for each item sold.

It’s worth noting that you’ll only pay the eBay Promoted Listings Fee if a buyer finds your item from an ad. If they discover your listing in natural search results or from your eBay shop or other marketing activity then you won’t pay the ad rate – just the normal final value fee.

Get started with eBay Promoted Listings

If you’re ready to get started then you can create your first eBay Promoted Listings campaign here. For more information, watch the video below:

12 Responses

  1. Lets all pay eBay for a game of leapfrog & end up exactly where we were in the first place but with 10 grand less in our pockets. Great for eBay but not for sellers.

  2. Its all well and good to get people paying for promoting and getting higher exposure for their goods but yet again is the road to the little seller and business being blocked form using. The big boys make such huge profits they can offer large sums and of course still find it millions of pounds cheaper than their TV adverts. The whole eBay platform should be level pay your fees and take you chance just offering good service, feedback and pricing to differentiate between you and another seller.
    If the big boys want greater exposure set up a special business section and make them pay much higher rates. Instead of them just using eBay instead of the TV. Sales for smaller businesses are plummeting on eBay in the UK and more metrics used and promotions offered do not help them at all.
    When will eBay realise that one day they will have just huge businesses on their site and be standing opposite Amazon as a competitor and then the big shops will all just drop back to their own online stores leaving them totally stuffed.
    I hope the shareholders will then see what was staring them in the face for years. They got where they are with the little people and have done nothing but bleed them dry while pandering to the larger companies.

  3. The below statement featured in this article does not included us sellers in the UK! I have been onto Ebay customer service who confirmed this benefit is only for sellers in the USA!!!
    “It’s worth remembering that sellers who subscribe to an eBay Featured or Anchor store will have a monthly voucher to spend on listing enhancements – this can also be used for eBay Promoted Listings enabling you to set a budget and experiment for free.
    As per usual us UK sellers are discriminated against.
    Harder and harder to make a living, I used to average 50 sales a day, lucky if I get 10 now selling the same goods and in fact selling a lot more products than i was when having 50 sales a day

  4. A word of caution on Promoted Listings, our experience is that if you leave it on for too long ie several months it can have a negative impact on sales. My guess is that the eBay algorithm looks at the increased views vs sales and if sales isn’t increasing dramatically your normal (non promoted) exposure slides down the rankings fast. It took us several months after switching off promoted listings for our sales to bounce back

  5. @Scintilla FJ What would be the purpose of Promoted listings if it doesn’t actually result in a promotion? eBay want to make money. You dont make sense.

  6. Promoted listings on eBay is an awful feature. No options for customization and little impact when you give away a huge percentage

    We trialed it and quickly realized it was a total waste of time.

    They need to improve their game with this one.

  7. The biggest snag with Promoted Listings doesn’t get a mention usually.

    It’s this :-

    From a customer’s viewpoint, are you happy to be seeing items at the top of your searches that are ONLY there because they are promoted?

    Are these going to be the best items for you, at the best price, from the best seller and with fastest delivery?

    Or are you only seeing them because the seller has paid extra to get into your eyeline. Remember that the customer sees that it’s a promoted listing, because Ebay tells them.

    Maybe if your items aren’t distinctive enough to attract buyers, you actually need to find something else to sell, rather than pour extra fees into trying to shift stuff that everybody else has got.

  8. Anyone else noticed that the promotion bar on listings has once again been hidden at the bottom of the listing? Seems odd that eBay take this approach as customers love a promotion and you would think that it would drive more sales?


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