Featured

Updates to the New Mobile Experience for iOS 9 Users

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Last month, we introduced an enhanced mobile visitor experience to help you boost mobile conversions. Today, we’re happy to announce that we’ve expanded this mobile experience to include homepage and search results pages, in addition to view item pages, for visitors using iOS 9. Now, mobile visitors using iOS 9 who click through to the eBay homepage, search results page or a view item listing page and already have the eBay app installed will automatically be directed to view that page in the app.

Visitors using other mobile operating systems will receive this experience for item listing pages only, with plans to add this functionality for Android users coming in the future. Visitors who don’t have the app installed will receive the mobile web experience, with no prompt to download the app.

Remember that you can view clicks, transactions, and conversion rates for desktop, mobile app and mobile web traffic in the Mobile Landing Page Report, accessible from the Reports tab under “Mobile” in the Publisher Portal.

Due to iOS limitations, the opt out instructions previously provided will not work for visitors using iOS 9. However, we’ve seen an increase in conversion rates with this new mobile flow, and hope that you are excited about providing this improved experience.

If you have any questions or feedback on this new mobile visitor experience, let us know in the comments below.

The improved mobile experience with eBay Partner Network is now live

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The enhanced mobile visitor experience is now live globally! This new experience was developed to help you boost conversion rates for your mobile visitors. Mobile visitors who click through to an item listing page and already have the eBay app installed are now automatically directed to view the listing in the app. Visitors who don’t have the app installed receive the mobile web experience, with no prompt to download the app.

Your mobile traffic can be viewed in the Mobile Landing Page Report, which is now live and can be accessed on the Reports tab under “Mobile” in the ePN Portal. This report provides a breakdown of clicks, transactions, and conversion rates for desktop, mobile app and mobile web traffic across all programs. You will also notice an improved, more modern interface. Consider this a sneak peek into the future of ePN, as we work to create better tools and experiences for our publishers.

Please note: we are working to provide iOS9 support in the near future. If for some reason you’d like to opt out of continuing to offer this improved experience, you can do this by following the instructions below. However, we strongly recommend that you do not opt out, as testing has shown improved conversion rates, which of course will help you increase your earnings!

To opt out of the enhanced mobile experience: Add the parameter &ul_noapp=true to the View Item URL, or MPRE, but not the rover link. The sequence in which the parameter is added does not matter; it should just be added and encoded as part of the View Item URL.

So, for example: A sample View Item URL is: http://www.ebay.com/itm/Dell-XPS-13-Infinity-Display-Quad-HD-Touch-Ultrabook-i7-5500U-8GB-256GB-SSD/371407265256?hash=item5679991de8

Whereas a sample rover link pointing to this item might look like: http://rover.ebay.com/rover/1/711-53200-19255-0/1?ff3=4&pub=5575006797&toolid=10001&campid=5337059717&customid=&mpre=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.ebay.com%2Fitm%2FDell-XPS-13-Infinity-Display-Quad-HD-Touch-Ultrabook-i7-5500U-8GB-256GB-SSD%2F371407265256%3Fhash%3Ditem5679991de8

You’ll append the View Item URL with the &ul_noapp=true opt out parameter, so it would look like this: http://www.ebay.com/itm/Dell-XPS-13-Infinity-Display-Quad-HD-Touch-Ultrabook-i7-5500U-8GB-256GB-SSD/371407265256?hash=item5679991de8&ul_noapp=true

The rover version of this would look like: http://rover.ebay.com/rover/1/711-53200-19255-0/1?ff3=4&pub=5575006797&toolid=10001&campid=5337059717&customid=&mpre=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.ebay.com%2Fitm%2FDell-XPS-13-Infinity-Display-Quad-HD-Touch-Ultrabook-i7-5500U-8GB-256GB-SSD%2F371407265256%3Fhash%3Ditem5679991de8%26ul_noapp%3Dtrue

If you have any questions, please reach out to ePN Customer Support at ePN-cs-english@ebay.com

ePN TV: John Toskey Talks eBay Deals

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Tune into this episode of ePN TV to hear John Toskey’s take on eBay Deals. Promoting eBay Deals is a great way to draw the attention of new and reactivated buyers, which in turn will help you increase your earnings. eBay Deals are updated daily across all categories. Not only do they include free shipping, but the prices are also often better than what you’d be able to find anywhere else. John cites one of his recent Deals purchases, where he was able to get a pair of Converse All Star Chuck Taylors for under $30, delivered to his door within two days with free shipping.

If you’re interested in promoting eBay Deals, visit the Promotions and Sales Portal to easily create affiliate links based on current Deals. Be sure to follow us on Twitter and subscribe to this blog for updates.

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Important Notice for Publishers in the German Program

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Please see below for upcoming eBay Partner Network (ePN) requirement for publishers who advertise in Germany. What is the Requirement? Many publishers in Germany are already familiar with German base price (“Grundpreis”) rules associated with the German law “Preisangabenverordnung“. One of the law’s requirements is that certain items, when advertised with a price by a professional dealer towards a consumer, must also express the price per relevant unit (e.g., price per milliliter, gram, etc.). The law applies to products sold prepackaged, in open packages, or without wrapping, by weight, volume, length or area (e.g., chocolate, motor oil, sewing thread, perfume, etc.). For more information on this law, please see the following page from eBay’s German site: http://pages.ebay.de/rechtsportal/gewerbliche_vk_11.html

Who Is Affected? All advertisers and publishers in Germany must comply with this law. eBay sellers today provide unit price information when listing items on eBay’s German site and, beginning November 15, 2015, ePN will require all publishers who advertise items on eBay’s German site to comply.

What Do Publishers Need to Do? As noted above, all publishers who advertise items on eBay’s German site need to display unit price where applicable. The compliance steps involved differ depending on which tools a publisher uses.

  • Unit Price information is already available through eBay’s Finding API (UnitPriceInfo), so publishers who use this API are already able to comply
  • For publishers who use ePN’s feeds, ePN is making a change to ensure that we pull unit price information from our Finding API into our feeds. eBay uses the UnitType and UnitQuantity values and the item’s listed price to calculate and display per-unit pricing. For publishers who already ingest our feeds, you will need to reconfigure to ingest the new UnitPrice field for display on your site where prices are advertised.
  • Publishers who use other ePN tools (e.g., Creatives Generator, Link Generator, etc.) but who manually add price information to ads will need to ensure compliance as well.

When Is the Change to ePN Feeds Taking Place? The changes to ePN feeds described above will be completed by October 19th. ePN publishers will need to comply by November 15, 2015. After November 15, ePN may take action against individual publishers who are out of compliance.

Please write to ePN Customer Support at ePN-cs-english@ebay.com if you have any questions on this.

ePN TV: John Toskey Talks New and Reactivated Buyers

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In today’s episode of ePN TV, global director John Toskey discusses the 200% commission bonus ePN gives publishers for attracting new and reactivated eBay buyers (defined as those who haven’t made a purchase within the past 12 months). Publishers who frequently earn this bonus are digging into the Transaction Download Report to analyze the audiences and categories that tend to drive these new buyer transactions. We hope that all of our publishers are able to take the time to do the same to understand where these new customers are coming from, and how you can optimize to earn more.

We understand that attaining this bonus does take some extra effort, which is why we provide such a significant reward. If you’d like to learn more about optimizing your efforts with the data in the Transaction Download Report, check out this blog post.

If you have any questions, please let us know in the comments below.

JOHN TOSKEY TALKS FUTURE OF EBAY PARTNER NETWORK

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In this episode of ePN TV, John Toskey follows up his most recent video by addressing publisher feedback, and chats about what’s coming down the pipeline for the program. John first speaks about eBay’s practice of testing website elements and pages, which has been discussed in our forum. John confirms that like most successful ecommerce businesses, eBay does have an ongoing practice of strategic testing and optimization. This process is important and will continue because it allows eBay to improve conversions, turning visitors into buyers – benefitting ePN and our publishers.

Next, John addresses a question in the forum about the strength and viability of ePN. He says that as the largest paid marketing channel within eBay, the traffic our publishers send to the site is valued, and we will continue to reward partners for doing so. He also says that year over year, we are paying more publishers more money, and we will continue to grow and invest in our publishers.

As far as upcoming projects go, John mentions our continued investment in the platform. This includes improved stability and new functionality around reporting. In addition, we are also testing a few new initiatives, including different kinds of ad units and an improved mobile app tracking process.

Finally, John thought it would be helpful for partners to have access to the latest data about our Marketplaces business. For example, did you know that 81% of eBay items are listed at a fixed price? You can see tons of great stats like this via ‘Fast Facts At-A-Glance.’

We’re excited for what’s ahead and hope you are, too. If you have any feedback for John and the rest of the team, please share it in the comments below.

eBay Category change

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From the 2nd 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. (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:

AT AU CA CAFR CH DE ES FR IE RU UK US BEFR BENL IT NL PH PL IN Motors

EBAY PARTNER NETWORK PAYMENT CALENDAR 2015

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Our goal is to pay publishers as early as we can while taking into account all of the internal requirements for a successful payment cycle. Beginning in 2013, in response to publisher feedback, we committed to paying publishers by the 22nd rather than the 25th of every month, whenever possible. Though we’ve done a fair job of adhering to this goal, recent publisher feedback has made it clear that we need to do a better job of communicating any exceptions. So, to confirm, ePN will continue to strive to pay partners on the 22nd of every month, with the following exceptions:

  • If the 22nd occurs on a weekend or holiday, ePN will pay on the next business day.
  • If the 22nd occurs on a Friday, ePN will possibly pay on the Thursday before but more  likely on the Monday after.
  • Our payment dates are timed to avoid PayPal software release dates. However, if PayPal changes their release dates during the year, it could change our payment dates. If this happens, we will try to let you know in advance.
  • If an unforeseen issue delays payments, we will address the problem as quickly as we can, and strive to keep you informed along the way.

We know that our partners are business owners and need to know when they’re going to get paid. So to clarify the schedule and allow you to plan, here is our payments calendar for the remainder of 2015:

Payment Calender 2015x_

We hope this helps, and as always, we welcome your comments and suggestions. If you have questions regarding payments, please contact us or email us at: epn-cs-english@ebay.com.

Performance Marketing Awards 2015 | We’ve Been Shortlisted!

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With the countdown to April’s ceremony well underway, the shortlist for the Performance Marketing Awards 2015 has been revealed, and eBay Partner Network have been nominated for its uLink native app linking technology! This April, Grosvenor House will host almost 1,000 advertisers, publishers, networks, agencies and technology providers to celebrate phenomenal achievements throughout the year.

Leading entries were identified by the judging panel, featuring experts from Arcadia, Google, Hotels.com, the IAB, GroupM and many more. Judges were tasked with pinpointing outstanding contributors to performance marketing across an ever-expanding range of categories.

Judges this year remarked on the clear objectives exhibited by entrants and strength of the applications, in addition to the tough decisions presented to the panel.

eBay’s uLink native app linking technology brings together the app and web-based world, allowing for a greater propensity to purchase via apps. We have evolved our linking process so that any publisher traffic that follows an affiliate link on their mobile device will be automatically redirected to the eBay app (dependent on preference settings). All user tracking is linked between the web environment and the app with the publisher now rewarded for, what would in other programmes be, an unattributed purchase.

See the full list here: https://www.performancemarketingawards.co.uk/2015/shortlist

PMA

For-Sale.co.uk (BC.net)

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We had the pleasure of catching up with our partner Bart Verschueren of BC.net. He runs a series of websites including For-Sale.co.uk, an online shopping search engine for quality, second-hand items. For-Sale.co.uk was created because of irrational price drops of second hand items. If you want to start promoting eBay’s products on your platform by becoming an affiliate like BC.net, your job will be to link buyers with sellers by promoting eBay items on your website, driving traffic and hopefully conversions!

 

How long have you partnered with eBay Partner Network and what first attracted you to working with them?

We’ve been partnered with eBay Partner Network for four years now with our French and Italian platforms, which now attract more than 4 million visitors per month. With a revenue share of around 75% and a wealth of used and new products put for sale by professional and private sellers, eBay Partner Network is probably the most competitive monetisation option for our business.

We started a couple of months ago in the UK with www.for-sale.co.uk and are seeing a visit increase of around 20% week over week since the beginning of the year. It’s growing really quickly now!

 

Which of ePN’s tools do you use and why?

Our goal is to provide our users with the highest quality used objects for their search. The eBay API is a fantastic tool to accomplish this. Its extensive list of search attributes enabled us to create optimised search algorithms to find the best bargains within eBay’s millions of items for sale.

ePN’s reporting is also really helpful. It offers details on all transactions generated by our traffic. By tying these conversions and earnings back to our own individual pages, we can identify the pages that are particularly worthwhile to improve, and the ones that are not…

For us, this is where analysis becomes especially interesting and valuable. It allows us to verify hypotheses made when looking at weekly or monthly aggregates, with details from the lowest level of your dataset. That’s something most affiliate platforms can’t offer.

 

Since working with ePN what specific aspect of the relationship has had the most impact on your business and why?

As I’ve said, the ePN tools and reporting capabilities are very powerful, but we would probably not have used them as well as we do now without the support of the ePN team. You could easily get overwhelmed by all the possibilities. The challenge was to find out what worked for our application, and the eBay team certainly helped!

 

What three pieces of advice would you offer other businesses thinking of becoming eBay partners?

Understand why people visit your site. If you have a blog about electric guitars and a page about rock in particular, you’ll probably know which guitar brands, bodies and pickup styles will suit with your readers. Use these product criteria to show your users the best electric guitars offered at the moment on eBay.

Take the time to go through the documentation of all of the eBay API’s. This can be hard going if you’re not technical, but well worth the effort. Ask the ePN team for support if you are struggling to find your way around.

And lastly, take a deep dive into the transaction reporting. Find out what are the drivers for your eBay revenues and new eBay users. Try to understand the numbers and verify your thoughts by setting up tests. Building up insights like this will help you define your next steps.

Introducing the Promotions and Sales Portal

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We’re pleased to announce the launch of a new tool to help partners find the best promotions, events and deals across eBay. The Promotions and Sales Portal makes it easy for you to view promotions for eBay-curated events in one place, and quickly share these deals with your visitors. The Promotions and Sales Portal is a resource that will make it easy for you to find promotions by site, category or a themed group. After you identify a promotion that would appeal to your visitors, you can easily generate a trackable affiliate link to an event or individual item. Promotions are currently available within the Fashion, Electronics, Home & Garden and Lifestyle categories, with more to be added in the future. At this time we support links for US, UK, DE, IT, FR, ES.

Here’s how you can get started:

  • Log into the publisher portal.
  • Select the Tools tab.
  • Select Promotions and Sales Portal
  • Select site, vertical or type.
  • Copy links to an event or to individual items by clicking the "Copy Link" button to save the link to your clipboard. This link will refer to the selected eBay promotion and include affiliate tracking to your Campaign ID.
  • Additional tips and FAQs can be found in the “How to get started” link at the top of the tool page.

It’s our intention that this tool will help you drive traffic and earnings by providing your visitors with the most relevant and timely deals across eBay. If you have any questions or feedback, please leave your thoughts in the comments below.

eBay Category change

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From the 9th of February, 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. (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:

AT AU CA  CAFR CH DE ES FR  IE RU UK US

Mandatory declaration for the Energy Efficiency Rating for all Publishers active in German speaking markets

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It is now a legal requirement for sellers and advertisers who participate in German speaking markets to display to their buyers the Energy Efficiency Rating for certain electronic devices in certain categories. This requirement arises from the EU Energy Efficiency Directive and the German Energy Consumption Labeling Ordinance (Energieverbrauchskennzeichnungsverordnung, EnVKV). What will this mean for you?

As an advertiser active in German speaking markets, you must ensure that advertisements for certain products indicate their Energy Efficiency Rating if the price is specified in the advertisements, or if they contain information about energy consumption. This information must be included in the creative itself and must be visible at first glance. Therefore, please ensure that product advertisements that are subject to this aforementioned law contain the required item-specific Energy Efficiency Rating.

What products are affected?

Currently, these product categories are affected:

  • Computers, Tablets & Network > Monitors, Projectors & Accessories / ID: 80053
  • Televisions, Video & Audio > Televisions / ID: 11071
  • Appliances > Ovens & Stoves > Ovens / ID: 71318
  • Appliances > Ovens & Stoves > Cooker Hoods / ID: 71253
  • Appliances > Ovens & Stoves > Stoves / ID: 71250
  • Appliances > Ovens & Stoves > Mini Oven / ID: 122930
  • Appliances > Dishwasher / ID: 116023
  • Appliances > Freezers & Refrigerators > Refrigerators / ID: 71262
  • Appliances > Freezers & Refrigerators > Combination Devices / ID: 20713
  • Appliances > Freezers & Refrigerators > Freezers / ID: 71260
  • Appliances > Freezers & Refrigerators > Whine Refrigerators / ID: 177750
  • Appliances > Washing Machines & Dryers > Dryers / ID: 71254
  • Appliances > Washing Machines & Dryers > Washer Dryer / ID: 71257
  • Appliances > Washing Machines & Dryers > Washing Machines / ID: 71256
  • Appliances > Air Conditioning & Heating > Heating / ID: 20613
  • Appliances > Air Conditioning & Heating > Air Conditioners / ID: 69202
  • Appliances > Air Conditioning & Heating > Dehumidifiers / ID: 79621
  • Appliances > Air Conditioning & Heating > Air Cleaner / ID: 43510
  • Appliances > Vacuum Cleaners > Vacuum Cleaners / ID: 20614
  • Furniture & Living > Lighting > Lamps / ID: 20706

Soon, the following product categories will be added:

  • Appliances > Ovens & Stoves > Other / ID: 20712
  • Appliances > Freezers & Refrigerators > Other / ID: 112596
  • Sports > Camping & Outdoor > Coolers & Refrigerators / ID: 16035
  • Appliances > Washers & Dryers > Other / ID: 112595
  • Appliances > Air Conditioning & Heating > Heating Mats / ID: 126214
  • Appliances> Vacuum Cleaners > Vacuum Cleaners Washing / ID: 177746
  • Appliances > Vacuum Cleaners > Other / ID: 8417
  • Living > Lighting > Ceiling Lights & Chandeliers / ID: 117503
  • Living > Lighting > Lamps / ID: 112581
  • Living > Lighting > Hoses & Chains / ID: 116022
  • Living > Lighting > Night Lights / ID: 20702
  • Living > Lighting > Wall Lights / ID: 116880
  • DIYers > Installation > Water / ID: 59035
  • DIYers > Installation > Water > Water Heater > Electric / ID: 126227
  • DIYers > Installation > Water > Water Heater > Electronic / ID: 126228
  • DIYers > Installation > Water > Cooling > Other / ID: 59036
  • DIYers > Installation > Water > Hot Water Boilers / ID: 126230
  • DIYers > Installation > Water > Other / ID: 30566

 

What technical adjustments do you need to make?

In order to implement these requirements, please proceed as follows:

  • Finding API: With a standard Finding API call, such as findItemsAdvanced, XML items in the affected categories can be returned with the standard output field eekStatus (for example, "<eekStatus>A+++ </eekStatus>"). Each time that an item from the above categories is displayed with price information, you will need to specify its Energy Efficiency Rating.
  • Custom Banner: The information about the Energy Efficiency Rating is automatically shown to publishers who use the Custom Banner. You do not need to make any adjustments.
  • RSS Feeds: The information about the Energy Efficiency Rating is automatically shown to publishers who use the RSS Feeds. You do not need to make any adjustments.

These requirements must be implemented no later than 22 February 2015.

Please keep in mind that specifying item-specific Energy Efficiency Ratings makes it easier for buyers to decide to purchase and can therefore increase your chances of a sale. We recommend that you display item-specific Energy Efficiency Ratings in categories where it is not an explicit requirement.

If you have any questions regarding this issue, please contact us or email ePN-cs-english@ebay.com.

 

Mega Deals Weekend

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The final weekend ahead of Christmas is upon us, with last minute buys for those forgotten relatives terrifying us in our sleep. Fortunately eBay is running its Mega Deals Weekend to help us through the final home straight. eBay will be running deals of up to 60% off RRP* on selected lines from today, December 19th for its Mega Deals Weekend. There will be deals for every member of the family with men, women, and kids all accounted for – so rest easy! The weekend’s promotions include deals for the following categories:

  • Electronics
  • Men’s Fashion
  • Women’s Fashion
  • Kids Fashion
  • Health & Beauty

These campaigns offer you a great opportunity to capitalise on one of the most active times of year, along with the dedicated Christmas Hub that is live over the course of the festive period.

As always we welcome your feedback and comments.

*Please note sellers and products will vary and are subject to availability.

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DE & US Hot Categories: January

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Welcome to the New Year’s edition of the eBay Partner Network’s Hot Categories forecast. In this post we outline our January predictions for the 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 graphics to see What’s Hot this January:

DE Program

Suggestions: In January, the sub-categories “iPad, Tablet & eBook Zubehör”, “Konsolen” as well as “Software” within “Electronics” are very popular. Due to the low temperatures, the children’s playroom still is in the house – this is why it is useful promoting “Modelleisenbahn Spur H0” and “Rennbahnen & Slotcars” within the “Home & Garden” category. “Skisport & Snowboarding” and “Weitere Sportarten”.

US Program

Suggestions: The Electronics category is forecast a strong month this January, with “Computer Components & Parts” and “Video Game Consoles” both experiencing high levels of traffic for the duration of the month. Other complementing sub categories such as “Video Game Accessories” and “iPad/Tablet/eBook Accessories” are also predicted traffic spikes as we head into the New Year.

Remember: If you are intending to publish content based on individual weeks, keep the timing in mind. 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 again 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 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 adjust your performance strategy to align with the forecast. It’s as 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:

  • 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

As always we welcome your feedback and comments.

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Publisher Stories: Propersmart

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We were recently caught up with our long-time partner, Rick Harris from Propersmart. He runs online shopping portals, Offer of the Day (UK) and Deal of the Day (US). Through these sites, customers can find the latest and best deals on the net using easy to filter categories.

So how long have you been with ePN and what attracted you?

We’ve been with ePN for 5 years now. I hadn’t initially thought of eBay as something to promote as a “shop”. But what really worked are the outlets because they are essentially shops – we could just slot them in amongst the others. eBay has become a “buy it now” retailer environment and so it fit in really well.

So what tools do you use?

It’s pretty much the API and the daily deals feeds. The API is by far the most useful part. It will get key word recommendations for your site – it auto corrects search terms and suggests improvements which is really useful. We also find that eBay’s banner support is very effective as it offers display based on keyword terms rather than using generic spray tactics. Personalised banners are essential and we generally find that impersonal banners don’t work – customers tend to get “banner blindness”. Make sure you banners always tie into your content.

What methods do you use to drive traffic?

We don’t do a lot of SEO – lots of our traffic is repeat traffic. Neither do we do a lot of link building. We focus on the website. There’s a lot of customer loyalty. We have a survey on there that asks how people came to the website and “recommended by a friend” is the number one answer.

What differentiates your website?

New deals and fresh stuff to look at – come back on to the website and there’s new stuff half an hour later. The accuracy of the website’s data is also a draw. We use a lot of our own technology rather than relying on third party tech to keep things up to date (except for the eBay API, which forms part of the insight we have).

If you were to do it again, what would you do differently?

Maintaining our website requires a very high workload. If I were to go into the affiliate market again I’d do more things like the local deals finder – once it’s created then “it’s done” and will work forever more. Keeping real time data up to date is a never ending task of maintenance and updating – it’s constant.

You have a dedicated mobile website. Why did you choose this over say over responsive design?

Our website has had so much split testing done to it that we didn’t want to sacrifice that for the sake of responsive design. I know some particularly well known shops have gone down the responsive design road and its bitten back quite hard.

How important is addressing customer segments?

We log everything that people search for and then review how many results there were against it. Anything that has a low quantity of search results we look at to see why that is: Is there a niche we don’t have a merchant for? Or are users making common search mistakes, for example, Dyson Hoover – two conflicting brands so it doesn’t come up with a vacuum!

So Data is key?

Yes, especially search terms. We use the same tracking for our mobile website. We’ve experienced a lift of 45% this year and 34% year before on mobile usage, so it’s on the up.

Any other advice?

Split test. While it may feel like you’re slowing down the process, even just changing the text on a button may improve the click rate by one or two percent, which in the long term is hugely significant. All of this is common sense!

The other thing is to make sure your page has a purpose. Ask yourself, “what am I trying to get the user to do on this page?” Keep it very siloed – “I’m making this page for this purpose, and this is the action.” Don’t end up making lots of pages that are the same with no real purpose. This helps with your SEO as well.

It’s also worth bearing in mind not to index everything on your website to Google. This dilutes your website and doesn’t help your SEO. Stick to your core pages that have a purpose.

 

Thanks, Rick.

News and Views: Black Friday & Cyber Monday Recap

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So the dust is beginning to settle after the madness of Black Friday and Cyber Monday. In this December issue of News and Views we’ll take a look at some of the insights that are rolling in as a result of the busiest (extended) weekend in commerce. According to the IMRG, an estimated £810m was spent online by British shoppers last Friday, meaning that Boxing Day has potentially been overtaken as the biggest shopping day of the year in the UK. These figures eclipsed initial estimates of £555m, with some 267,000+ orders being logged by 6pm on the Monday.

IBMOne of the most promising features worthy of note was the increase in mobile transactions. According to IBM, mobile accounted for over a third of all traffic on black Friday – up from last year’s 20% figure (right). What is most interesting is when we compare sales figures of mobile vs. tablet. Despite accounting for less than 15% of all traffic, over 16% of all sales were made on a tablet with a conversion rate just short of 5%!

PayPal, who sees $1 in every $6 of e-commerce go through its network, has also reported a 47% increase in the number of mobile payments this Thanksgiving, and a 62% increase on Black Friday over last year.

While various sources may be reporting a decline in sales last weekend on 2013, one thing is clear: the mobile and tablet customer base is growing rapidly and is showing no signs of slowing.

As always we welcome your feedback and comments.

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