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UK, DE & US Hot Categories: August forecast

eBay-Partner-Network-Launches-Hot-Categories-forecast.jpg

UK, DE & US Hot Categories: August forecastWelcome to the August edition of eBay Partner Network’s Hot Categories forecast. In this post we outline our August predictions for the UK, DE and US regions. With this we aim to help you drive optimal levels of traffic by capitalising on trending categories. What’s Hot?

Use the below graphic to see What’s Hot this August:

UK Program

Suggestions: The summer holiday season is truly upon us with accommodation, camping & hiking, and canoeing & Kayaking sub-categories showing sustained high levels of activity this August. The Home & Garden category also continues to complement the summer sun with Garden & Patio furniture spiking for the entire month’s duration.

It’s also worth noting the “back to school” season begins end of August, with parents frantically restocking their stationery and school equipment supplies toward September.

DE Program

Suggestions: August is an ideal month for outdoor activities. This is why articles within the Home & Garden category are very popular for multiple weeks. This can be seen especially in the sub-categories such as Sauna & Swimming Pool as well as Ponds, Streams and Fountains. Water sports also seems to be very popular during this month. Therefore, it is advisable to increasingly advertise within the Lifestyle category. In particular, the sub-categories Boat Sports and Further Water Sports are forecast to benefit from the August sun.

US Program

Suggestions: “Half books” and “Textbooks” are forecast prolonged spikes over the whole of August. Note that from the 4th – 18th Kids’ Clothing, Shoes & Accessories also spike – it might be worth considering running complementing campaigns for this period provided it suits your target demographic.

Remember: If you are intending to publish content based on individual weeks, bear in mind timing. Make the most of these predictions by keeping on top of what’s hot and what’s not; trade out less active categories for other, more popular ones.

Make sure you check back next month for the latest forecasts!

How do we define a ‘Hot Category’?

Aside from showing a significant spike versus the rest of our marketplace, each category selected must be large enough to be considered relevant. Categories such as Fashion / Women’s Clothing or Electronics / Mobile & Smartphones, which show relatively little fluctuation, have been excluded from our selection.

So how does it work?

Each month we will post the categories we expect to spike on our blog. Using previous data trends* as the forecast model we are able keep you in-the-know with an easy, accessible visual aid. You’ll be able to anticipate what content to publish, which ads and offers to promote.

Just read our blog on a regular basis and then reactively adjust your performance strategy to align with the forecast. Simple as that! Multiple spiking categories can be found here.

Questions? Don’t hesitate to get in touch.

*All data has been aggregated at weekly level for every level 2 category across the following time frames:

  • UK program – Transaction data on UK site from 2013-01-01 to 2013-12-31
  • DE program – Transaction data on DE site from 2013-03-31 to 2014-04-11
  • US program – Transaction data on US site from 2013-03-31 to 2014-04-11

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DE and UK Pricing Adjustments in effect from today, 1st July

DE and UK Pricing Adjustments in effect from today, 1st JulyAs we announced in June, ePN is updating the rate cards for both the UK and German programmes, and these changes will take effect from today, Tuesday 1st July. The adjustments to the rate cards in these regions will affect all publishers who are active in these country-specific programs. Below, please find a reminder of how these updates may impact you. As the markets we operate in are constantly evolving, we are continuously looking for the best ways to enable you to optimize your performance and earnings. In order to align with this changing landscape, we are updating the rate cards. Since we implemented pricing changes in October 2013, our team at eBay Partner Network has continued to work closely with our publishers. We've listened to your feedback so we can understand how best how best to support your business growth while providing you with tips and best practice guidelines to help you optimise opportunities.

UK updates

Beginning today, Tuesday 1st July, for the UK program, we will move to a flat 75% revenue share for all verticals. In addition, for every new or reactivated buyer sent to eBay, you will receive a bonus of 100% of your earnings.

New UK rate card:

blog 1

Germany updates

Beginning today, Tuesday 1st July, for the German program, the commission will increase for most verticals, as detailed below. In addition, for every new or reactivated buyer sent to eBay, you will receive a bonus of 100% of your earnings.

New German rate card: 

blog 2

Don’t forget to use our Transaction Download Report to gain full visibility and insight into your earnings. Reports can be viewed across various time frames by campaign, tool, and programme or traffic type, enabling you to track key data and make improvements to your campaigns.

We appreciate your support and look forward to our continued partnership. If you have any questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to contact the customer services team or reach out to us on any of our social media channels:

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UK, DE & US Hot Categories: July

UK, DE & US Hot Categories JulyWelcome to the first edition of eBay Partner Network’s Hot Categories forecast. In this post we will outline our July predictions for the UK, DE and US regions*. With this we aim to help you drive optimal levels of traffic by capitalising on trending categories. What’s Hot?

Use the below graphic to see What’s Hot this July:

UK Program

Suggestions: As you can see many of the selected sub-categories spike for the duration of the month, offering publishers the chance to implement mid-term content strategies for their sites. The Home & Garden category offers an extensive range, providing the opportunity to combine complementing campaigns for optimal results.

DE Program

Suggestions: Due to the sunny weather, life in July mostly takes place outside, which is why the demand for outdoor and garden accessories increases. This can be seen,  for example, in the sub-categories Camping & Outdoor as well as in Sports and in Pavilions & Party tents within the Home & Garden category. According to our last year’s analysis those categories are expected to have a higher traffic for several weeks.

US Program

Suggestions: The summer weather is clearly opening up activity opportunities, with the lifestyle category forecasting a rise in concert tickets, golf, sports tickets and water sports sales. In line with this the Yard, Garden & Outdoor Living sub-category is also forecasted to benefit from the seasonal sun.

Remember: If you are intending to publish content based on individual weeks, bear in mind timing. Make the most of these predictions by keeping on top of what’s hot and what’s not; trade out less active categories for other, more popular ones.

Make sure you check back next month for the latest forecasts!

How do we define a ‘Hot Category’?

Aside from showing a significant spike versus the rest of our marketplace, each category selected must be large enough to be considered relevant. Categories such as Fashion / Women’s Clothing or Electronics / Mobile & Smartphones, which show relatively little fluctuation, have been excluded from our selection.

So how does it work?

Each month we will post the categories we expect to spike on our blog. Using previous data trends* as the forecast model we are able keep you in-the-know with an easy, accessible visual aid. You’ll be able to anticipate what content to publish, which ads and offers to promote.

Just read our blog on a regular basis and then reactively adjust your performance strategy to align with the forecast. Simple as that! Multiple spiking categories can be found here.

Questions? Don’t hesitate to get in touch.

*All data has been aggregated at weekly level for every level 2 category across the following time frames:

  • UK program– Transaction data on UK site from 2013-01-01 to 2013-12-31
  • DE program – Transaction data on DE site from 2013-03-31 to 2014-04-11
  • US program – Transaction data on US site from 2013-03-31 to 2014-04-11

 

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DE and UK pricing adjustment - FAQs

DE and UK pricing adjustment - FAQsAs previously announced, we are updating the rate cards for both the UK and German Programs, which will take effect from 1st July 2014. Below, we have included some Frequently Asked Questions that we hope will further clarify the pricing adjustment and answer any queries you may have on this. 1. Why are you updating the rate cards in UK and Germany?

At eBay Partner Network, we are constantly looking at the changing market landscape and aligning our approach with its dynamic needs, incorporating feedback from our publishers. This allows us to continue to support you by enabling you to optimize your earnings through better performance. The new rate card adjustments support this strategy.

2. Are you planning to update rate cards in other Programs?

ePN believes strongly in the importance of a region-specific approach that helps our publishers tailor to their local markets. The need for a rate card adjustment has only been identified in the UK and DE regions at this time.

3. What does this mean for the future of pen’s affiliate program, and will the category rates change over time?

As you may know, we implemented new pricing changes in October 2013, and since then the ePN team has continued to listen to your feedback, and worked to understand how we can best support your business growth. At the same time, we have kept you up to date with the latest tips and best practice guidelines to help optimize your earnings. The rate card adjustments in these regions will help us strengthen the UK and DE Programmes. We will continue to monitor our channels closely to ensure our rate card conditions support our publishers’ businesses.

4. How is this change different from the previous pricing model? What are the new components of eBay Partner Network pricing?

In October 2013, eBay Partner Network modified its pricing model, introducing Programme-specific rate cards and the new or reactivated buyer bonus. We also changed the length of our referral period.

In terms of these rate card changes, only the rate cards for UK and DE are being updated from 1st July 2014, as per the details listed in question five (How will this affect my earnings?).

5. How this will affect my earnings?

Overall, the pricing rates will vary by publisher and country. Beginning on 1st July 2014 for the UK Program, we will move to a 75% revenue share for all verticals. In addition, for every new or reactivated buyer sent to eBay, you will receive a bonus of 100% of your earnings.

New UK rate card:

UK Pricing

Beginning on 1st July 2014 for the German Programme, the commission will increase for most verticals, as detailed below. In addition, for every new or reactivated buyer sent to eBay, you will receive a bonus of 100% of your earnings.

New German rate card:

DE Pricing

6. Will the pricing adjustment affect all publishers?

As stated above, we are only updating the rate card for UK and DE Programmes. The adjustments to the rate cards in these regions will affect all publishers that are active in these countries. Specific details can be found in the UK and DE rate cards.

7. Which Networks or Advertisers are affected by the pricing adjustment (e.g., eBay Commerce Network, Half.com, StubHub)?

The pricing adjustment applies to eBay UK and DE Programmes only. This excludes Half.com, Stub Hub, eBay Enterprise Affiliate Network and eBay Commerce Network.

8. Where can I get more information about the changes?

The latest information will be included on this blog, so keep updated here!

9. Where do I find my earnings information?

You can find your earnings in the ePN portal on the Dashboard and Reports tabs,and transaction-level earnings in the Transaction Download Report.

10. Are cookies still based on a 24 hour referral period?

For a “Buy It Now” item, you will be compensated if a user makes a purchase within 24 hours. For “Bid” items where a bid (not necessarily the Winning Bid) is placed within 24 hours of the initial click, you are credited for winning auctions for 10 days, which is the maximum length that an auction can last.

11. Did you update the revenue share per meta category accordingly to this price adjustment?

Yes, you can find the revshare per the main meta categories for the different programmes by clicking here.

eBay Partner Network Launches Hot Categories forecast

eBay Partner Network Launches Hot Categories forecastKeeping content fresh and relevant is tough. That is why eBay Partner Network is launching its Hot Categories insights. We are pleased to announce that from June onwards we will be providing our publishers with a monthly forecast of categories that will be high in demand across the UK, DE and US marketplaces. Based on previous peaks and troughs in sales traffic, we will share a month-by-month model with you, predicting what categories we believe are going to help you grow your business. How do we define a ‘Hot Category’?

Aside from showing a significant spike versus the rest of our marketplace, each category selected must be large enough to be considered relevant. Categories such as Fashion / Women’s Clothing or Electronics / Mobile & Smartphones, which show relatively little fluctuation, have been excluded from our selection.

So how does it work?

Each month we will post the categories we expect to spike on our blog. Using previous datatrends* as the forecast model we are able keep you in-the-know with an easy, accessible visual aid. You’ll be able to anticipate what content to publish, and which ads and offers to promote.

Just read our blog on a regular basis and then adjust your performance strategy to align with the forecast.

Multiple Spikes

Certain categories spike on multiple weeks. Not only does this give you the opportunity to capitalise again and again, you could even design entire campaigns based on this knowledge. The following graphic outlines which categories are forecast to experience multiple spikes across the year and when*. With this information in your tool kit you can host semi-dedicated campaigns for extended periods, safe in the knowledge that your visitors want to see them.

UK, US, DE

Please note that this shows only the categories that spike on multiple occasions. You’ll need to check in each month to keep up-to-date with the full monthly breakdown of individual spikes.

Make sure you don’t miss the first edition of our Hot Categories forecast on the 25th of June.

Questions? Don’t hesitate to get in touch.

*All data has been aggregated at weekly level for every level 2 category across the following time frames:

  • UK program – Transaction data on UK site from 2013-01-01 to 2013-12-31
  • DE program – Transaction data on DE site from 2013-03-31 to 2014-04-11
  • US program – Transaction data on US site from 2013-03-31 to 2014-04-11

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eBay Category change

ebay Category-ChangesFrom the 17th of June, eBay will release category, item specifics and catalogue updates, with the goal of increasing item visibility, eliminating redundancies and improving the overall shopping experience on eBay. The following updates will be made within the categories listed below, most of which involve adding, combining and renaming meta-categories. (Click on the name of each programme to visualize the relative changes).

If you’re using Category IDs in your Custom Banners, RSS feeds, Link Generator, widgets or other configurations that use a Category ID, you’ll want to make sure that your category numbers align with these latest changes.

You can view details including the new category IDs by clicking on the relevant programmes:

AUBEFRBENLCA , CAFRDEESFRIEITUKUS, RU, NL, PL

DE and UK Pricing Adjustments

DE and UK Pricing AdjustmentAs the markets we operate in are constantly evolving, we are continuously looking for the best ways to enable you to optimize your performance and earnings. In order to align with this changing landscape, we are updating the rate cards for both the UK and German program, which will take effect on 1st July 2014. The adjustments to the rate cards in these regions will affect all publishers who are active in these country-specific programs. Since we implemented pricing changes in October 2013, our team at eBay Partner Network has continued to work closely with our publishers. We’ve listened to your feedback as we establish how we can best support your business growth while providing you with tips and best practice guidelines to help you optimize opportunities.

Beginning on 1st July for the UK program, we will move to a 75% revenue share for all verticals. In addition, for every new or reactivated buyer sent to eBay, you will receive a bonus of 100% of your earnings.

New UK rate card:

table-uk1

NEW OR REACTIVATED BUYER BONUS 1x OF BASELINE EARNINGS

Beginning on 1st July for the German program, the commission will increase for most verticals, as detailed below. In addition, for every new or reactivated buyer sent to eBay, you will receive a bonus of 100% of your earnings.

New German rate card: 

table-uk2

NEW OR REACTIVATED BUYER BONUS 1x OF BASELINE EARNINGS

Don’t forget to use our Transaction Download Report to gain full visibility and insight into your earnings. Reports can be viewed across various time frames by campaign, tool, program or traffic type, enabling you to track key data and make improvements to your campaigns.

We appreciate your support and look forward to our continued partnership. Please let us know if you have any questions.

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Transaction Download Report

Hand drawing a game strategyWith this blog post we want to pick up the entry posted on 25th of October regarding the Transaction Download Report (TDR) and give you some additional tips to analyse your statistics. This blog post will show you how to analyse various elements of the transaction report including the use of the unique transaction-IDs and how to set up automatic downloads with the help of the API. With the Transaction Download Report, eBay Partner Network provides you with a large report to analyse your generated transactions. You can download the report under: Reports > Download Reports (https://publisher.ebaypartnernetwork.com/PublisherReportsTx)

Make sure you select the option “download all events”

1

Please add 30 days after the date range you want to analyse that possible adaptations at the transactions can be passed to account.  When selecting the date range of your report, please consider the possible limits of the date range and you may have to split your reports in multiple time segments.

Data-matching and analysis

3

  • Choose the event date
  • Choose the event-type Winning Bid Revenue (WBR). This will show you all the events which generated sales, returns and commission adjustment
  • With the help of the campaign ID you can choose the campaign/s you wish to optimise
  • With the help of the category-list you can split the traffic by category
  • Further options to split the traffic
  •  User-frequency (1 represents the new or reactivated buyer)o   Traffic-type (to see if the traffic comes from a desktop or a mobile device)o   Keyword-search (i. E. iPhone)

Furthermore the transaction download report gives you the opportunity to track the custom-ID – if you are using it in your tracking link – and optimise with the help of this information.

Unique Transaction-ID

The unique transaction-ID helps you to keep a better overview by accumulating possible adjustments of the earnings (i.e. changes of the seller-fees, return or unpaid items)

For Example, if a transaction occurs on the 1st of February it will appear with a deviant posting date and an ID in your transaction report. If in any case there is an adjustment a few days later, a new entry is posted with the specific unique ID allowing you to easily accumulate the amounts. Data Matching:  Dashboard vs TDR

When comparing earnings and WBR from your dashboard to the TDR, you need to adjust the timing view as noted in the grid below for the amounts to properly match:

TD one pager

API

You can download all reports with the help of the API automatically but this function is mainly used for the transaction report. More information about how to set up the download-API (Can be found here) Respectively you can change the data in the following call:

Text Format:

https://publisher.ebaypartnernetwork.com/PublisherReportsTx?pt=2&start_date=M/D/YYYY&end_date=M/D/YYYY&user_name=user@emailaddress.com&user_password =Password&advIdProgIdCombo=&tx_fmt=1&submit_tx=Download

Text Formatted File w/ Headers:

https://publisher.ebaypartnernetwork.com/PublisherReportsTx?pt=2&start_date=M/D/YYYY&end_date=M/D/YYYY&user_name=user@emailaddress.com&user_password =Password&advIdProgIdCombo=&tx_fmt=3&submit_tx=Download

Excel Format:

https://publisher.ebaypartnernetwork.com/PublisherReportsTx?pt=2&start_date=M/D/YYYY&end_date=M/D/YYYY&user_name=user@emailaddress.com&user_password =Password&advIdProgIdCombo=&tx_fmt=2&submit_tx=Download

Advanced Filtering: eBay All:

https://publisher.ebaypartnernetwork.com/PublisherReportsTx?pt=2&start_date=M/D/YYYY&end_date=M/D/YYYY&user_name=user@emailaddress.com&user_password =Password&advIdProgIdCombo=1|&tx_fmt=2&submit_tx=Download

Half.com:

https://publisher.ebaypartnernetwork.com/PublisherReportsTx?pt=2&start_date=M/D/YYYY&end_date=M/D/YYYY&user_name=user@emailaddress.com&user_password =Password&advIdProgIdCombo=2|17&tx_fmt=2&submit_tx=Download

The eBay (product-) API (Application for the eBay developer program necessary, see API-documentation) offers you the opportunity to set up an API-call for each transaction. Using the API can help extract more information that normally is not included in the transaction download report. I. E. you can read out shipping costs or details from the article description.

June Summer Promotion: Focus on Mobile

ebayMobile Here at ePN we like nothing more than recognising our publisher’s hard work and contributions to the programme. That is why for the whole of June (1st – 30th) we are launching a summer promotion scheme that offers publishers active in the UK program the chance to earn percentage bonuses based on their earnings.

But wait, that’s not all!

We’re offering partners the chance to earn even more depending on which channel your earnings come from. Mobile has seen rapid growth of late and we want to make sure that you are not missing out on its huge potential. That is why we are offering even larger percentage bonuses to earnings stemming from mobile (as opposed to ‘classic earnings’).

So how does it work?

It’s very simple; your bonus will be calculated by comparing this June’s earnings to April 2014. Use the following tables to see the individual bonus brackets.

Mobile/Tablet:
Increase earnings 10% - Bonus of 15% on all mobile earnings
Increase earnings 20% - Bonus of 25% on all mobile earnings
Increase earnings 30% - Bonus of 35% on all mobile earnings
Increase earnings 40% - Bonus of 45% on all mobile earnings

 

Classic/Desktop:
Increase earnings 10% - Bonus of 10% on all classic earnings
Increase earnings 20% - Bonus of 20% on all classic earnings
Increase earnings 30% - Bonus of 30% on all classic earnings

 

So there you have it! Need some tips on boosting those mobile conversions? Make sure you haven’t missed our recent Focus on Mobile and Boost Email Conversions with Mobile blogs! If you’re after even more tips and tricks, why not start a discussion on our LinkedIn? We’d love to help so get in touch!

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ePN partner R.O.EYE wins Performance Marketing Award!

ePN partner R.O.EYE wins Performance Marketing Award! We are thrilled to congratulate ePN marketing partner, R.O.EYE, for their outstanding achievement in winning the award for Best Agency last week at the PerformanceIN Performance Marketing Awards 2014!

Taking place at the Grosvenor House Hotel, London, one of the biggest nights in the performance marketing industry saw hundreds of senior industry figures attending in hope of collecting one of the 25 prestigious Performance Marketing Awards on offer.

ePN marketing partner, R.O.EYE, was one of the evening’s  very deserving winners, coming away with the coveted Best Agency Award.

Managing Director of R.O.EYE, Gavin Male, had this to say:

“Winning a PerformanceIN Performance Marketing Award is one of the highest industry honours a specialist performance marketing company like ours is ever likely to receive.” “The competition is so fierce from a range of specialist and network agencies and to be recognised in this way is of great testament to the hard work and dedication of the team at R.O.EYE as well as our excellent clients who encourage us to push the boundaries in their performance marketing channels.”

ePN would just like to applaud R.O.EYE’s achievement - there’s never been a more deserving candidate! We want to thank them all for their hard work with eBay Partner Network and look forward to “pushing more boundaries” in our performance marketing efforts!

ePN TV: Introducing Olivier Ropars, Senior Director, Global Internet Marketing

Olivier565In our latest episode of ePN TV, we’d like to introduce you to Olivier Ropars, Senior Director, Global Internet Marketing, eBay. Olivier joined the team earlier this year, having previously led eBay’s mobile efforts for the European markets. In this video, Brian Marcus, Director, Global eBay Partner Network, chats with Olivier about his new role at eBay. Olivier discusses his focus on optimizing the customer journey to eBay through key paid channels including affiliate marketing, display advertising, business development and paid search.

Brian asks Olivier to share what he sees as the biggest opportunity for eBay right now. Olivier is interested in the continued integration of online and offline buying and selling, and is excited about collaborations between eBay and brick and mortar retail stores. Examples he touches on include the ability to purchase an item online and pick it up at a store as well as using mobile apps to get product information online while in a shop.

We also learn that Olivier recently got into the “bad habit” of collecting LEGO minifigures on eBay with his children. As Olivier and his family relocated from London to Seattle for his new role, he promised his children one minifigure a day to ease the transition process. He says now the whole family is hooked, and we’re interested to see how long they keep it going!

[iframe src="//player.vimeo.com/video/92968354" width="565" height="318" webkitallowfullscreen mozallowfullscreen allowfullscreen></iframe]

 

Thanks for watching ePN TV! Please let us know if you have any questions or suggestions in the comments below.

Bi-weekly news and views: Clicks and Conversions

Bi-weekly-news-and-viewsIn this edition of the ePN’s bi-weekly news and views we look at the latest click through rate (CTR) and conversion statistics for the UK, commenting on how these can vary on almost a daily basis and also by region. With the rapid expansion of mobile ad investment it comes as no surprise that UK CTR currently sits at 2.3%, 15% higher than the EMEA average of 2.0% according to Econsultancy. While this is great news for UK programme, don’t be too quick to write off the continent. There are fantastic opportunities to expand into the EU market, especially in Germany where CTR has reached a whopping 2.8%!

However, the click-through is only one (albeit crucial) step of the way toward the final conversion. A recent study from big data company, Quibit, has found that despite having generally higher spending habits, residents of the UK capital are far less likely to make the final conversion. With rates sitting at 2.07%, notably lower than the 2.32% average for the rest of the UK, London e-traffic is not only less likely to convert, but is also less likely to go via “search” means (27% vs. 30% respectively); not the best news for London affiliates.

So what can affiliates do to combat our less liberal Londoners? The IAB recently have disclosed their specifications and style guide for their Rising Star ad format that, according to PointRoll, have seen 70% higher click through rates than standard placements. Key take outs include dimensions, video load sizes and methods, CPU usage limits and more. While we’re not saying to use their guide like for like, they touch on some key and often overlooked features of successful ad-placement.

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[INFOGRAPHIC] The Mobile Marketing Takeover

Over the last few weeks you've seen us talk a lot about mobile on this blog. Many of you have asked us“why now?” Our answer is, simply, “if not now, then when?” Mobile usage is projected to overtake desktop usage by the end of the year. Last year alone eBay did $22 billion in mobile commerce volume. To help get a 360 degree view of the opportunities in mobile, the good folks over at Surge Media have put together a very useful infographic. surge-mobile-marketing-infographic

Bi-Weekly news and views: Mobile

Bi-weekly-news-and-viewsIn this edition of ePN’s bi-weekly news and views we look at the latest developments in the mobile e-commerce, commenting on the latest mobile web usage and ad-spend statistics. According to RetailMeNot, m-commerce fuelled £10.7 billion of Europe’s online sales last year, almost 10% of the £111.2 billion total. It then comes as no surprise that this year’s forecast expects it to hit £19.8 billion. Our own Head of Online Partnerships, Christian Erhard, commented how “affiliates will profit from mobile’s rapid development”, adding that “a good affiliate strategy requires an optimal fit for ads within their environment”.

Currently the UK is leading in Europe in terms of smartphone activity/maturity. Mobile internet usage accounted for roughly 25% of all web activity in 2013 with mobile spending accounting for 9% of online spending. This year, this UK figure is set to hit 11% as desktop spending continues to decline. Mobile ad-spend continues to reflect these trends, forecast to grow up to six times faster than desktop internet according to ZenithOptimedia’s latest expenditure forecast. In fact it is set to grow “by an average of 50% a year between 2013 and 2016”, establishing itself as the main driver of global ad-spend growth.

In short, 2014 promises to be a fruitful year for mobile e-commerce. So with that in mind, here are a few best practices to help you make the most of it:

  • Not yet mobile? Start by developing a mobile version of your website. Make it as user/mobile friendly as possible!
  • Create a separate Campaign ID for your mobile website to make tracking easier
  • Use the “Traffic Type” reporting filter to see your mobile activity, and optimize accordingly
  • Keep up to date with the latest mobile developments from eBay

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Bi-Weekly news and views: Seasonal spending

Bi-weekly-news-and-viewsIn this week’s bi-weekly update from ePN we look at how this year’s seasonal trends are already making headway, the latest report on the mobile-ad market, and a topical interest piece on Italy. A recent report from eBay Advertising identified March to April as the “tipping point” when shoppers start their summer spending. This time last year, UK sales of barbeques doubled and those of cricket bats jumped up by 40%. In fact, the three categories singled out as seeing the most growth were ‘Garden Living’, ‘Paint Jobs’ and ‘Outdoor Pursuits’. With these findings in mind, publishers should look to capitalise on these seasonal demands and take advantage of relevant promotions such as eBay Partner Network’s Spring Collections campaign.

The British Retail Consortium reported that online sales for the last three months saw 17.8% growth year-on-year, significantly higher than the 12-month average of 12.7%. The publication noted how omnichannel retailing was going from strength to strength as shoppers used smartphones and tablets to research and buy.

And lastly, according to the IMRG Capgemini e-Retail Sales Index, UK m-retail grew by 66% this February year-on-year. Online shoppers in general spent £7.2 billion, which is up 18% year-on-year. The IMRG also highlighted strong sales in Home and Garden, again proving that now is the time to cater to the coming Season’s demands!

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Five Tips to Improve Your Website

Untitled The key to building a successful and sustainable affiliate program is to build and continuously improve your website as a destination that is useful to your visitors. Think of your website as your front door and your welcoming party. What should you think about when making improvements to provide the best possible first impression and overall user experience? We’ve collected a few top tips and refreshers that we hope provide value for new and established sites alike.

1. Get Found

You might have the best content in the world, but that will do little good if you aren’t bringing in new visitors. Most publishers know that search engine optimization (SEO) is key to attract new visitors who are searching for something specific, but the industry changes so quickly that it can be tough to keep up.

Make sure you’re covering the basics, like using a relevant domain name and including targeted keywords in your copy and page titles. Use meta data, or HTML text for things like videos and images, which search engines can have trouble indexing. Consider hiring an SEO firm or dedicated specialist to make sure you’re up-to-date on the latest search engine updates that can affect the way websites are found. It might also be a good idea to check out a few episodes of ePN TV featuring eBay’s own resident SEO expert, Jordan Koene.

2. Build Trust

Imagine that you’re coming upon your website as a visitor for the first time – perhaps a visitor who has no knowledge of affiliate marketing. You think the content is relevant to you, but you don’t know the person behind the website, anything about the organization or why there are links to eBay or other affiliate sites. What is the purpose of this site? Is it trustworthy? Why are they linking to products on ecommerce websites? What’s the relationship there and how is your information used or shared?

By answering these questions up front, you can build trust with your visitors. Make sure the words you use on your site are accurate and descriptive. In addition, identifying your company as an eBay affiliate can help put visitors at ease. By being straightforward and offering up information, your visitors can be assured that your site is reputable and trustworthy.

3. Know Your Trends

Keep an eye on industry trends to see what is driving eyeballs on the internet. If you’re constantly scanning to learn what is making news, what people are talking about around the water cooler and on social media, you may be able to integrate some of these trends into your content to attract new visitors.

To take this a step further, know what’s hot on eBay. Not only do we regularly publish trend-based information on this blog to help guide consideration, but you can also explore eBay Collections and eBay Today to get up-to-the minute information on what’s trending. Another option is to check out a research platform like Terapeak for more robust and historical trend data across all eBay categories.

4. Remove Distractions

What’s the goal of your site? If one of your primary goals is to generate revenue through affiliate links, make sure your visitors aren’t getting distracted on the way there. In today’s multitasking society, you need to streamline the steps and the path people take to get to your desired end goal.

Examine all possible distractions from a user’s viewpoint including navigation, sidebars, links, images, videos, text layout and otherwise cluttered or too sparse pages. When you look at your website statistics, do you know where people are going, how long they’re staying on pages and what they’re clicking on? If you have high bounce rates or low conversions, distraction may be a factor worth looking into.

5. Be User-Friendly

Taking that a step further, check your site’s overall usability. Confusing navigation, an unbalanced mix of copy and media, outdated site design, slow page load times and an incongruent mobile experience can all contribute to user frustrations.

The best way to fix this is through user testing. Know the flow of your site, and any potential roadblocks. You can integrate best practices such as using plenty of white space, integrating value-added rich media, breaking up copy into bite-sized sections and using prominent calls to action, but make sure to test your experiments. There are a number of services that can help you assess this, from self-serve A/B testing tools to online focus group solutions.

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Small changes can make a big difference. Removing a few graphics, adding trust cues or streamlining your navigation can go a long way toward building a loyal and satisfied user base, ultimately increasing click-through and conversion rates.

What site improvements have you made? Let us know what you’ve been up to in the comments.

 

Catering to Online Customers

Untitled Making dinner reservations, booking vacations and buying anything and everything online — from cars to clothes — is the norm in today’s highly digital world. And as the Web continues to grow and change, so do customer expectations. So how can you ensure you’re catering to customers effectively across all channels? We've gathered some tips to help you exceed your online customers’ expectations.

Make it Personal

Piquing and keeping an online customer’s interest is substantially more complex than doing so with an in-person customer. After all, it only takes a split second to lose interest and close out of a website. So it’s important to always be engaging your visitors through not only valuable content and images, but by bringing something to the table. Always be thinking about who your customer is and what you can offer them. Just like the Cheers gang, website visitors want to go where everybody knows their names (or at least is always glad they came and want to give them a good deal), so promotions and special incentives for, say, first-time buyers, can go a long way in making them want to return. Likewise, ensuring that you’re using the most effective landing pages based on where the user is the purchasing cycle can help drive even more sales.

Make it Easy

Remember the “Easy” button? Suffice to say, people like no-brainers, whether they’re in a store making a purchase or on the couch with a tablet in one hand and a pint of ice cream in the other. So why not make the shopping experience as simple as possible? Since online customers lack the ability to touch or smell or even see firsthand the item they’re purchasing, give them as much detail as possible about their options — and be as transparent as possible about important details like pricing and shipping.

Being helpful to the customer is also crucial. For example, if your site is focused on books and DVDs, offering well thought out reviews adds credibility to your site, and more importantly, is useful information customers will appreciate. Simply posting link after link of products with the hope that someone clicks on it is a poor strategy that customers can usually see right through.

Finally, make it painless for someone to reach you via email, phone or chat. If a customer has to exude massive effort to find what they need — especially your contact details — chances are they’ll take their business someplace they don’t.

Make it Mobile

According to practicalecommerce.com, mobile internet traffic will surpass both desktop and laptop traffic this year, making it clear that mobile site optimization is key for websites and online retailers. Evidence also points to consumers preferring to use mobile devices over desktop computers to browse. Needless to say, delighting mobile visitors by taking a multi-channel approach is a must, especially since it’s often the initial point of contact for both individual and business customers.

For an optimal mobile experience, it’s important to make interacting with your brand consistent across all channels. Applying key functions and features of your website to your mobile site is a good start, as is incorporating social network and video capabilities. And since there’s nothing more frustrating — and nothing more likely to lead visitors astray — than long load times so using appropriately sized images is also key to a seamless mobile experience.

Catering to online customers is a trend that will only continue to become more important as today’s digital capabilities and customer expectations are heightened. Do you have any tips to share? Feel free to leave questions or comments below.

Bi-Weekly news and views: mobile ad-spend

NEWS-vs-mobile-adv_2690209c In this edition of ePN’s bi-weekly update we discuss the latest trends in mobile behaviour, what they mean for the industry and how to act on them, including mobile ad spend stats, conversion rates and catering for omnichannel.

With UK mobile ad-spend forecast to surpass that of newspapers’, according to eMarketer, the e-marketing economy has quickly recognised the potential that mobile holds. While the £2.26 billion figure may seem noteworthy enough in itself, it is only when we take a closer look and focus on the percentage increase that its true extent takes shape. With a whopping 90% year-on-year rise UK mobile ad-spend is forecast to almost double in size as consumers increasingly turn to their devices as their primary information source.

Yet despite this surge in mobile activity, device conversion rates remain garishly low in comparison to that of their desktop/laptop counterparts. Basket abandonment rates on m-commerce sites were at 84% this January according to eConsultancy.

So what are the key learnings of this? Well, it’s not all doom and gloom for mobile by any stretch of the imagination. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. Think of mobile access as the initial incentive. It is a significant step on the path to purchase to simply have them access your channel. Provide the right content, the best experience, and it should prove enough a reason to visit you via another channel and continue on their journey.

Tanya Lawler, VP of eBay UK recently spoke on the importance of making sure retail is seamless. Each and every individual aspect of retail, be it online or offline, must be flawlessly integrated as consumers now expect a fully omnichannel experience, bar nothing. The challenge for affiliates then is to make sure you provide a smooth component for this well-oiled machine.

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Mobile Survey on the Way

201403_ePN-Blog_research As a valued partner in our program, your feedback is important to us. While we have insightful conversations on our blogs and in our forum, we also find value in gathering a more focused perspective on specific topics from time to time.

Beginning March 13th, we will email UK, DE and US publishers a link to a survey with questions about the role mobile plays in your current and future relationship with eBay Partner Network. We encourage you to take a few minutes to complete this brief survey by March 30, as it will provide valuable information that will help us get a better sense of how we can best serve our publishers.

Please watch your inbox for the survey, and thank you for helping us make ePN a mutually beneficial partnership. Feel free to leave any questions in the comment section below.

 

Extending the Timeframe for Transaction Adjustments

Planned Deprecation of Four ePN Tools On March 3, eBay Partner Network put in place a change that extends the current transaction adjustments window from seven to 30 days and will be visible to publishers starting in April.

As you know, ePN earnings are based on Winning Bid Revenue (WBR), which is the amount eBay earns when customers make purchases. WBR consists of seller fees such as insertion fees and final value fees, but for various reasons, not all seller fees settle right away. Sometimes adjustments are made days after the original purchase, and they show as additional entries in publisher transaction reports.

These adjustments can increase, reduce, or even eliminate WBR in the case of buyer returns or unpaid items. In the past, we only included adjustments made during the first seven days after a purchase. However, under the newly extended window affecting purchases from March 3 onward, adjustments within 30 days of the original purchase will be counted towards your WBR and earnings totals, and visible within your transaction reports starting in April.

Although some adjustments will increase earnings for many publishers, others will see a slight decrease in earnings (i.e., the majority will see an earnings decrease of less than 5%) due to cancellations and returns. Adjustments will vary by publisher, depending on the volume of their cancellations and unpaid items.

We are introducing this change to increase the overall strength and productivity of the network. We believe that when a purchase is successful and eBay collects seller fees, publishers should receive all possible earnings from that purchase. But when a purchase is cancelled and eBay earns no revenue, it’s not practical to pay out commissions. Eliminating payments on cancellations and returns will help us fund more commissions for productive purchases that lead to incremental volume and new eBay buyers.

As always, we welcome your comments and suggestions. If you have questions, please contact us or email us at: epn-cs-english@ebay.com.