Do Ad Blockers hide eBay Promoted Listings?

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Are eBay Promoted Listings hidden from view by Ad Blockers? Some have seen eBay Promoted Listings hidden and that’s important now that eBay are moving to a world where eBay will only show a Promoted Listing or an Organic Listing but not both. This means if you are a heavy user of eBay Promoted Listings, that those using certain ad blocking solutions won’t see your listings at all.

eBay are playing a game of foxing Ad Blockers by making eBay Promoted Listings appear as close as possible to organic listings on the site. Ad Blockers generally aim to remove intrusive adverts and their primary aim is to stop pop ups, pop unders and ads opening in new windows. They also often remove adverts on the page, and that’s where eBay Promoted Listings can get caught. eBay say that they’ve made eBay Promoted Listings to be non-intrusive and that most Ad Blockers won’t hide this type of content from view.

It may depend on which Ad Blocker you use and the settings you choose, and eBay data suggests that less than 2% of traffic to eBay will have eBay Promoted Listings hidden.

“I am the Head of Seller Experience for eBay, and I appreciate your video and everyone’s comments. I would like to provide some feedback – Ad blockers generally are intended to block intrusive ads (like pop-ups) that disrupt the user experience. We have designed our Promoted Listings ads to align natively with our site experience, and most ad blockers do not block that sort of non-intrusive content. However, there are a host of ad blockers on the market, and each maintains its own user settings and policies distinguishing between intrusive ads and acceptable native content. Currently, our data suggests that promoted listings are being blocked for less than 2% of traffic. Like other marketplaces and social networks, we are constantly evaluating our user experience and our advertising programs, including the impact of ad blocker software on the content we make available.”
– Harry Temkin, Head of Seller Experience for eBay, commenting on YouTube

Some sellers are already questioning whether they should stop using eBay Promoted Listings bearing in mind that if their promoted listing is featured in search results and their organic listing is the one chosen to be hidden, none of their listings will be seen by users with Ad Blockers. However, if eBay’s data of just 2% is correct then the 98% of users who either don’t use Ad Blockers or who use Ad Blockers which don’t hide eBay Promoted Listings would suggest business as usual would be the correct course of action.

Around 36% of desktop users, 23% of mobile users and 13% of Tablet users in Europe have Ad Blockers according to data from globalwebindex.

5 Responses

  1. “It may depend on which Ad Blocker you use and the settings you choose…”

    This is one of the most frequently overlooked components to this issue many of the YT personalities seem to have overlooked.

    “Currently, our data suggests that promoted listings are being blocked for less than 2% of traffic.” -Harry Temkin

    Temkin’s 2% remark is less than revealing in this context (though it may be technically correct).

    CONSIDER:

    – eBay often boasts of its 500 petabyte data footprint

    – eBay’s listing photos included in 1.3 billion listings certainly comprise a significant portion of eBay’s image-heavy data footprint (for example, on our browser this Tamebay page’s HTML is less than 5% of the size of the images on the page)

    – In Q2 eBay said ~ 940 thousand sellers used eBay’s promoted listings (resulting in revenue of $89 million USD).

    – Although eBay of course is pushing PL hard (“lots of runway…”), PL still only represents ~4% of marketplace revenue.

    Point being, it may be technically correct that ad-blockers *are* indeed “being blocked for less than 2% of traffic”, but the more transparent and relevant insight for eBay and Temkin to share would be what percentage of PL listings (the ones showing “SPONSORED”) are being suppressed by ad-blockers in buyer search results?

    It’s unfortunate eBay opted for this bizarre ‘fix’ displaying strictly an either/or between the promoted and organic listing in search, when we’d have much preferred eBay simply introduced some distance between promoted and organic listings (as is much more common practice), as we repeatedly urged eBay to do:

    “Recommendation: Ensure a minimum spacing between a paid promoted listing and the original [organic] listing in search results.”

    LASTLY:

    Although eBay has ‘addressed’ the duplicate promoted/organic listings in typical eBay style, sadly there has been no plan announced to rectify eBay’s lack of notifying sellers of applicable PL fees when buyers submit offers.

  2. My adblocker is blocking promoted listings.

    One of the reasons i chose this one, was because ebay (and others) bribed the makers of the most popular ad-blocker to let their ads through.

    what i find interesting, is knowing a little about how ad blockers work…
    ad blockers don’t really know what an advert is. they usually figure it out by checking where your browser goes to look for things. if it goes to google adwords and comes back with a picture, then that picture is probably an advert and gets blocked.
    They can’t do much about internally-served ads, such as the border round the tamebay homepage (there is a simple trick to get rid of that too, but i’ll keep that to myself), because to an ad-blocker, it looks exactly like a normal part of this website should, it belongs there. it didn’t come from Google, it came from Tamebay.
    … the point being, either ebay has made sponsored listings so unlike organic listings that an ad-blocker spots it as an ad automatically, or someone has specifically targeted ebay sponsored listings to block.

  3. Yes, we’ve seen this.

    Since Ebay stopped displaying both the promoted and the unpromoted listings, we’ve seen sales drop sharply.

    Had a pointless conversation with Ebay CS, who were adamant that this wasn’t the case.

    We ended all of our promoted listing campaigns at the weekend to evaluate whether sales recovered. And they did.

    But the bummer here is that we can’t win in the long term. Promote and see your results top the searches for some buyers, but disappear completely from others. Don’t promote and you won’t top the searches, but at least your listings will notionally be visible to everyone.

    It’s yet another horrible mess created during Wenig’s tenure.

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