Tips and Tricks

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.

Get 90 Days of eBay Market Research for Free

terapeak As a savvy publisher, you know to keep your ear to the ground for timely trends that drive people to search and buy. There are plenty of resources for research and trend spotting, and one excellent eBay-specific option is Terapeak.

To give you a view into the capabilities of this research platform, together with Terapeak, we’re offering eBay Partner Network publishers 90 days of free access, a $90 value. If you’re not already familiar with Terapeak, it uses eBay market data to provide historical trends and analytics across all eBay categories.

The web-based platform can help you evaluate supply and demand on eBay for specific items and categories over time, helping you to identify the top products for your niche. And by knowing what’s spurring interest or selling quickly on eBay, you have the opportunity to optimise by integrating these trends into your content to attract new visitors and drive more eBay buyers.

To get started, simply fill out this sign-up form within the next 7 days: http://value.terapeak.com/ebay-partner-network/. Please note that you’ll need to enter one of your campaign IDs to register so that we can verify your account with eBay Partner Network. Once you’ve signed up, you can review Terapeak’s website for resources that will teach you how to navigate and leverage the platform.

We hope this will serve as a valuable resource, and we are happy to provide this access to our valued partners.  If you have any questions about this offer or would like to provide feedback on this service, please visit: http://www.terapeak.com/contact/.

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News and Views: #OnTheBall

Bi-weekly-news-and-views In this edition of eBay Partner Network’s News and Views we kick off by looking at the huge opportunities the 2014 WC has to offer, tackling topics such as digital viewership, second screening and social media usage.

With a global audience of 3.2 billion, this year’s WC, hosted in Brazil, is a marketer’s dream. The event will have such a profound impact on the local economy that the Centre for Economics and Business research (CEBR) estimated that almost £38 BILLION worth of potential business could be made from the event.

So how can affiliates make the most of this remarkable opportunity? With nearly two thirds (63%) of viewers intending to watch highlights on a computer, according to advertising company Comigo, the digital opportunities are enormous. Combine this with the 58% of UK football fans using smartphones and 25% on a tablet, and your multi-channel campaign is ready to provide optimal results. With almost every vertical set to experience a shift in demand, be it BBQs to car accessories, make sure you’re seizing every opportunity.

Social media will play a vital part in ecommerce this WC. With an estimated 50 million football fans on Twitter alone, social platforms offer you a unique opportunity to tap in to a much larger audience pool due to consumers’ fragmented consumption habits. Get up to speed with the top trending Hashtags and keep your content as fresh as possible. While committing to round the clock real-time marketing is unrealistic, bear in mind the reactive nature of its environment. Fans share their opinion, they update on Twitter and Facebook, they second screen – try and tap into their behaviour as much as possible.

Enjoy the football – Ole, Ola!

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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”

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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

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  • 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.

Focus on Mobile: Tips to Boost Email Conversions

MobileUpdateLately we’ve been talking about mobile growth and the use of mobile-focused strategies as a way for our partners to tap into new revenue streams. As we mentioned in our previous blog post on the topic, nearly a quarter of the global population now owns a mobile device, presenting a big opportunity for marketers.

One of the key areas where affiliates can really move the needle is with email campaigns. Email is one of the most common activities performed via mobile, with 91% of smartphone users and 69% of tablet owners using their respective mobile devices to send and receive email (source).

Please note: You’ll need to get approval for a special business model with ePN before you start promoting via email. We’ve outlined the steps in detail at the bottom of this post.

Here are a few best practices to help get you started.

Keep Subject Lines Focused

With nearly two-thirds of all email opens taking place on mobile devices (source), this is a key entry point for ecommerce. To increase the likelihood that your email actually gets read, the first step is to examine your subject lines. Aim to keep your subject line copy between six to 10 words and under 50 characters, as a study from Retention Science found that this resulted in a 7% higher open rate than longer messages.

Other subject line considerations include identifying your company, hinting at the content inside and mentioning an offer. Focused, concise messages will help ensure that your entire subject is delivered and understood, rather than chopped due to mobile email client character constraints or disregarded due to irrelevance.

Be Accessible

Once you’ve passed the hurdle of getting the open and your message is in front of your mobile audience, focus on optimizing the email design for viewing across multiple mobile devices. This matters to your recipients: 83% of consumers say a seamless experience across all devices is somewhat or very important (source).

Mobile-optimized and responsive email templates will keep you on the right track to make sure that no matter what device your recipients are using, they’ll be able to enjoy a consistent experience. A design that lends itself to quick mobile scanning – by using appropriately sized header text, dividing lines and clear paragraph breaks are more appealing to mobile readers.

Be Personable

Approximately 64% of consumers report that they subscribe to brand emails, and 84% of those have made a purchase after receiving a brand email – for reasons ranging from deals offered to subtle reminders of something specific the recipient needed. To get to this point, put yourself in your audience’s shoes.

As you’ve likely experienced yourself, imagine them taking a few quick minutes during a busy, on-the-go day to scan their inbox. To grab and retain attention, it’s important to speak their language. This can be done by including personalised details like the recipient’s name, segmenting your audiences so each person receives the most relevant communications, and including other details like viewing or purchase history.

Streamline the Experience

After you’ve created your personalised, focused content, don’t let it go to waste by including other distractions. Multimedia additions like videos and large, slow-loading images can turn impatient users off, and some email clients may not automatically display images, leading to a disconnected experience for the recipient. On the other hand, identified links and clear calls to action will help get your email recipient to click through to your website.

While you’ll want to test your emails to see which strategies work best for your audiences, these are some considerations to get you started.

Applying for a Special Business Model

If you’re interested in promoting ePN directly within your emails, you’ll need to take a few quick steps to be approved for a special business model. To do this, complete the following for each domain:

  • Log into your ePN account, click the Referrers tab, add your domain and select “email” as your business model (Please note: If you have multiple special business model types, the system doesn’t allow the same domain to be added twice. To bypass this, add a variation of your domain name such as www. or https: instead of http:, for example.)
  • Click on the Account tab; click on the Business Model Applications sub-tab
  • The domains that require a business model application will appear on this page
  • Click on Create Application to view and complete the application
  • Make sure to include enough information and to answer all questions with as much detail as possible
  • Indicate specifically how your email list is generated, describe in detail how you comply with the CAN-SPAM Act of 2003 (or any other relevant email regulation that applies to your geography) and attach a sample email

How have you boosted the success of your mobile email campaigns? We’d love to hear your tips in the comments below.

Don’t Leave Money On The Table: Focus on Mobile

ebayMobileIt’s no surprise that smartphone use has been rapidly climbing over the past few years, with about a quarter of the global population now owning at least one mobile device (source). And mobile ecommerce is following the same trajectory, with 22 percent of web traffic and 18 percent of ecommerce sales now delivered through mobile devices (source). So how can affiliate marketers tap into this growing market? By developing a mobile strategy that enables you to deliver a seamless experience across any device, you’ll be more likely to increase reach and conversions, thus increasing your affiliate earnings. Here are a few top ways to appeal to on-the-go shoppers.

Partner with a leader in mobile commerce

With more than $22 billion in mobile commerce volume in 2013, eBay delivers great experiences anywhere, anytime. In fact, users accessed listings via mobile devices in 40 percent of gross merchandise volume in the fourth quarter of 2013.

Many of our partners understand the value of mobile – in fact, 22% of respondents to our recent survey indicated that mobile was the single most important factor in their 2014 growth strategy. Many of our publishers have sites that appeal to Fashion, Tech, Collectibles or Motors enthusiasts, which is good news for mobile initiatives: these eBay categories have been proven to perform best via mobile.  If you’re not yet looking into capturing additional revenue from mobile users, there’s no better time to start than now.

Deliver a mobile web experience

Mobile devices continue to see increased click-through rates, so once your audience arrives at your destination, make sure you’re offering them a welcoming experience. The good news is that according to our mobile survey, 57 % of ePN publishers have already taken steps toward capturing mobile affiliate sales by creating a mobile-optimized site, and 29 % of those without a mobile site plan to implement a solution within the next six months.

Determine which solution will work best for you and your visitors by weighing the options: a dedicated mobile site or a responsive overall site design. A dedicated mobile site is essentially a copy of your website, which delivers an optimised page and navigation that’s fit for mobile devices. This option creates a unique experience for mobile users, and can be more cost effective and easier to implement. On the other hand, responsive design is more flexible and adaptive, automatically adjusting displays based on mobile specs. It also doesn't require you to introduce an additional domain.

Implement ePN tools

There are several ways you can capture additional revenue by directing your mobile visitors to eBay, with the help of ePN tools. Based on our survey, text links are the most commonly used, with more than half (51%) of mobile strategies deploying this tool. Other popular methods include using the product feed (33%), HTML custom banners (27%) or the API (23%) – or all of these tools (15%) for a comprehensive mix.

Analyse your results

By using the information in the Transaction Download Report, you can see how your efforts are paying off as you focus on driving more mobile traffic to eBay. You can filter the Transaction Download Report to show your level of mobile traffic, enabling you to evaluate which campaigns are driving the most mobile revenue. This data can help you further refine and optimize your ePN campaigns.

As technology, mobile e-commerce and the affiliate marketing industry continue to evolve, tuned-in marketers taking advantage of mobile capabilities will be able to find even more opportunities to drive traffic and increase earnings. Stay tuned for more info on ePN mobile opportunities, and let us know what you’re doing to capture this additional revenue stream in the comments below.

A sporting chance to potentially boost your earnings to Olympic levels!

A sporting chance to potentially boost your earnings to Olympic levelsAs the world watches the sporting triumphs and heartaches of the most prestigious athletes taking place at Sochi during the Winter Olympics, now is the perfect time to promote sports gear. Consumers sitting at home will be inspired by the daring feats they watch, and be getting online to buy their own hobby clothing and equipment. Since sports equipment falls within eBay’s Lifestyle category, it should provide a 75% revenue share for publishers selling these products. You can find out more about the different shares for each category on eBay by using our rate card.

So, stock up your inventory with winter sports gear and get promoting, to see if you can boost your conversion rates and go for gold on your earnings this February!

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A More Granular Look at Commission Rates per Meta-Category

Commission Rates per meta CategorySince we published our category rate card, many of you have been asking for a more detailed look at meta-category level data. As a result we’ve published more than 100 of the top categories on eBay and their default revenue share percentage for frequent buyers. Note that there are two lists, one for the North American programs and another for international programs. Feel free to leave any questions in the comments below and we’ll do our best to get you an answer as quickly as possible.

How to choose the right landing page for a user

How to choose the right landing pageSo your users are clicking on your eBay links - a vital step on the way to purchase - terrific!  But what happens after the click? What is the optimal eBay landing page to direct your traffic to in order to close the deal? There are many destinations on eBay, and while one destination may convert well for one partner’s traffic, it’ll miss the mark for another. Selection largely comes down to user intent, and where the user is in the purchasing cycle.

A few tips before you start:

  • Always keep the user experience in mind: Does the landing page match what you show on your website? How will this look to the user? Make sure the landing page is relevant and consistent with the overall content and the link or ad your user clicks on to get to the landing page.
  • Test and experiment: You may be surprised by which landing page configurations actually convert best. Using ePN tracking parameters such as Campaign ID and Custom ID, you can experiment and test sending your traffic to different landing pages. Your Transaction Download Reports may yield great insights into which experience users actually prefer and which experience — and landing page — leads to better conversions.
  • Use the Link Generator: the Link Generator, which you can find in the Tools section of the ePN interface, helps you build trackable links to all pages and is adoptable for all types of business models.

Landing pages can have a substantial influence on the user’s entire shopping experience, as well as your conversion rates. Read on for insight into which eBay pages work best, based on where a user is in the purchase cycle.

Selecting an eBay Landing Page

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eBay Homepage

http://www.ebay.co.uk

  • Point in purchase consideration cycle: The user has not made a decision on a specific product, category or deal yet, and is simply browsing at this point.

The eBay homepage is one of the most visited sites on the web. It was recently restructured to not only show the latest offers and deals in a highly personalized manner. For traffic that doesn’t have a specific niche or theme, the eBay homepage can be a good fit for users who are just beginning their search.

Category Pages

http://www.ebay.co.uk/electronics

  • Point in purchase consideration cycle: The user is interested in a specific product category, but may still be researching available options, product brands, product types within a brand, prices and more.

For some of the most popular categories such as Fashion, Electronics and Home & Garden, eBay has dedicated hubs that show the latest offers and deals, as well as menu options for sub-categories to help narrow a search. These hubs can be great landing pages for category-specific traffic for users who want to explore a specific theme or area.

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Search Result Page

http://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_fspt=1&_lncat=0&_sop=1&_from=R40&_mPrRngCbx=1&_sacat=0&LH_ ItemCondition=3&LH_FS=1&_nkw=sonos+play+3&rt=nc&_dmd=2&LH_BIN=1

  • Point in purchase consideration cycle: The user is narrowing in on a specific product type, possibly still considering different product types within a specific brand, or exploring price ranges.  Getting closer to purchase.

The Search Result page delivers results for any search or keyword the user is looking for, so it can be used in a very flexible way. It is also highly configurable. Filters for specific attributes can be used, e.g., for fixed-price vs. auctions, new vs. pre-owned, free shipping, etc. You can also select List View or Gallery View for the search results, which can influence your conversion rates. We recommend testing different options to see which configuration works best for your audience.

image005

Deals Pages

www.ebay.co.uk/rpp/deals

  • Point in purchase consideration cycle: The user may be looking for a specific product or may simply be browsing for available deals. They could be ready to make purchase if presented with a deal at the right price.

The Deals pages display the best deals and offers on eBay, including Daily Deals, Top Picks, category-specific offers and more. These pages can provide ideas and inspiration for the cost-conscious customer. They tend to convert well with users who may not have a specific item in mind, but are browsing for good deals and stumble upon an item at a great price.

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View Item Page

http://www.ebay.com/itm/XXXXXXXXXXXX

  • Point in purchase consideration cycle: The user is focused on a specific product type with specifications and options. They are ready to make purchase.

The View Item Page is the landing page to use to direct a user to a specific item. It’s laser-focused with the details (title, price, description, images, seller, shipping information and more) of the item you have specified, making it easy for the user to start the purchase process immediately.

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Hybrid Landing Page

http://www.ebay.com/itm/like/XXXXXXXXXXXX

  • Point in purchase consideration cycle: The user is focused on a specific product type, with specifications and options.  They are ready to make purchase.

A more recent addition landing page option is the Hybrid Landing Page. Though similar to the View Item Page, it’s not as focused on one single item.

The Hybrid Landing Page features additional high-level item details to provide additional purchase choices. For example, if a user wants to see items from a different seller, only Buy It Now items or free shipping items, they can do so without leaving the page or hitting the back button.

To get a Hybrid Landing Page URL for any listing, simply add /like/ in front of the item ID.

URL example (not live listing):

  • VIP url:  http://www.ebay.com/itm/350915027604
  • HLP url: http://www.ebay.com/itm/like/350915027604

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Another interesting feature of the HLP is that you can customize the page to highlight alternative item choices. By making simple URL structure changes, the following information can be included on the page. (Keep in mind that these parameters designate the selection of products shown below the main item to which you link.)

URL examples – not live listings.

Listing type – Buy It Now or Auction:

  • BIN: http://www.ebay.com/itm/like/310822884088?format=1
  • Auction: http://www.ebay.com/itm/like/310822884088?format=2

View type – List or Gallery:

  • List view – http://www.ebay.com/itm/like/310822884088?hlpv=1
  • Gallery view – http://www.ebay.com/itm/like/310822884088?hlpv=2

Condition – New or Used:

  • New – http://www.ebay.com/itm/like/310822884088?cond=1
  • Used – http://www.ebay.com/itm/like/310822884088?cond=2

Free Shipping – Show items only with Free Shipping

  • http://www.ebay.com/itm/like/310822884088?fs=1

Top Rated Sellers – Show only items from Top Rated Sellers

  • http://www.ebay.com/itm/like/310822884088?trs=true

You can also combine parameters, such as the one below, to show BINs and TRS:

  • http://www.ebay.com/itm/like/310822884088?format=1&trs=true

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We’re eager to answer any questions you may have about these landing pages. Please feel free to leave questions in the comment section below.

eBay Announces New Buying Guides

ebay Buyer Guides

To help cut through the confusion of shopping online, eBay, with the help of key Sellers, has created thousands of Buying Guides that to help shoppers navigate purchases. From cars to carpets, electronics or fashion, these guides provide consumers all the information they need to research new products or make an informed buying decision on ebay.co.uk, ebay.de and ebay.com.

As affiliates diversify campaigns and look for ways to drive new shoppers to eBay, these informative product guides can attract new clientele without the pressure to make an immediate purchase. In addition, if a consumer is simply browsing online for information on anything from silver bullion to American Girl dolls, these guides and related ads index in search results.

Any questions or comments? Please let us know below.

 

eBay Partner Network Tips & Tricks: - Getting the most out of the eBay Partner Network

Welcome to the eBay Partner Network Tips & Tricks blog. During the coming weeks and months, we will be sharing how-to-guides that will showcase different features and best practices, hopefully helping you garner the best results from eBay Partner Network.

We’ll also be looking at getting the most out of the ePN on social media sites. We have added tools that will help you maximise your social media campaigns, help you to track activity and reporting, and use shorter links to make your Facebook promotions more efficient.  You can find out more information here.  ePN is also developing its mobile capabilities, so make sure you check back for our mobile updates.

Below, please find a concise overview to eBay Partner Network for newer users. For our seasoned affiliates, it may be an interesting refresher.

Stay tuned for more helpful how-to’s soon!

Getting Started on eBay Partner Network

The eBay Partner Network represents eBay Inc.'s affiliate and partner programs worldwide. The eBay Partner Network:

  • Enables you to become a long term partner with one of the biggest brands on the Internet.
  • Makes it easy to monetize your website with fresh and unique items that complement existing content and add value for visitors.
  • Enables you to monetize international traffic with a global reach and appeal to people around the world.
  • Offers a competitive commission rate that rewards web sites with unique content and innovative technology that help visitors make purchasing decisions. 

Getting started on eBay Partner Network 

If you haven’t already applied to eBay Partner Network then read this! Did you know that applications are subject to a manual review by a real human being? Put yourself in their shoes. The more information you provide such as your business model, traffic sources and specific URLs you intend to use, the more likely your application is to be accepted.

Here are some key recommendations direct from the eBay team that you can use as a checklist:

  • Submit an active phone number where you can be reached within 24 hours of your application – there may be a phone call to verify the accuracy.
  • Be crystal clear as to exactly how eBay will be promoted in your description.
  • Add all domains to your account that will be used to promote eBay – more on transparency later!
  • If your primary business model is not listed in the options, you must fill out a special business model application form -  if not done, you may be required to pause campaigns until a review can be performed, or possibly have your account suspended.
  • If you change your business model at a later date, always remember to change the description within the eBay Partner Network interface. To do this, go into the Account tab and select Business Information. You may also need to submit a special business model application form.
  • Ensure that all payment information is accurate and complete and includes details on tax status where applicable – you don’t want those commissions to get held up!

 Setting up links

In the “Tools” tab on your dashboard you will find the “Link Generator” tool. This tool allows you to create trackable JavaScript or HTML links for any of your marketing activities on the eBay Partner Network – see a quick hot-to in this video.

You can have different link formats, depending on the types of services you offer. The following link types are available:

  • Homepage - Takes the user to the program home page (ex: http://www.ebay.co.uk)
  • Search Results (eBay only) or Keyword Search (Half.com only) - Takes the user to a search results page with the search criteria you choose on the appropriate program site.
  • Item (eBay only) or ISBN/UPC/MPN (Half.com only) - Takes the user to a page for the chosen eBay Item or Half.com catalogued Item on the appropriate program site.
  • Store (eBay only) - Takes the user to the eBay Store you specify.
  • Custom URL - Takes the user to an eBay URL you specify.
  • eBay Product ID (eBay only ) a.k.a. EPID - Takes the user to the product page that shows the best deals for that product by item condition (New, Used, Refurbished, etc.,) and buying formats (Auction, Buy it Now) on the same page.

Reporting

In the “Reports” tab you can see the multiple reporting options for you campaigns. Run reports by:

  • Day  - See your performance by day (“One day per line”)
  • Campaign – See the performance of individual campaigns (“One campaign per line”)
  • Tool See the performance of various tools, e.g. Link Generator and Creatives (“One tool/creative per line”)
  • Program See your performance breakdown by programme (“One programme per line”)
  • Transaction Download Download your raw transaction data (revenue generating events) for use with your own analysis tool or spreadsheet program

These reports include graphs, summary reports and downloadable transactional data.  These will allow you track your campaigns and optimise campaign performance.

 Payments

Affiliate commission payments are done at the end of each month, for the previous month’s activities. To ensure correct payment, make sure you enter the correct payment and tax information  in your “Accounts” tab.  You can be paid via PayPal or by Direct Debit.

If you select “Payment History,” you can see all due payments and previous payments.

We hope you have found this introduction to eBay Partner Network useful and we will continue to share tips and tricks on a regular basis.

If there’s anything in particular you’d like more information on, or if there’s a certain topic you’d like to learn about please let us know – we’d love to hear your thoughts!

New Transaction Report Live on June 12th

Category-ChangesA couple of months back we announced that a natural evolution of our pricing was coming in the near future. We also committed to providing new visibility and insight to help publishers meet the new goals set forth within the program. To that end, we’re excited to announce what we believe will be a powerful tool: a more detailed Transaction Report.

What does it mean for publishers?

One of the common themes we heard from partners over the last few weeks was their inability to identify whether a buyer was infrequent, frequent or new. With this updated Transaction Report, publishers will be able to see information about the types of users they refer to eBay as they will be separated into one of three distinct categories:

(1) User has not bought something within the last year (2) Buys items with low frequency (3) Buys items with high frequency

In the existing Transaction Report, there are two fields that have previously not been used. This first “Not Used” field will now be used as “User Frequency ID” and have a value of 1, 2, 3 or blank depending on the user criteria outlined above. For transactions that are event type “Winning Bid (Revenue)”, the report will display 1-3. It will be blank for all other event types. All publishers will see this field regardless of program or payment structure.

Once publishers have this information, we’re confident they’ll be able to use other report data to experiment with different campaigns, Custom IDs, tools and widgets in order to compare which types of referrals drive new and infrequent buyers vs. frequent buyers. This information will be important in determining the optimal way to drive traffic to eBay.

Please note: Publishers that automatically import the Transaction Report should check to make sure the renamed column “User Frequency ID” does not interfere with their scripts. There was no data in this field previously.

Finally, we know that there may be some confusion between ACRU or CRU events and User Frequency. For now, ACRUs and CRUs are still used for payment for a small subset of publishers. We are leaving these items in the report as separate rows with event type “ACRU” or “CRU” for use by these publishers. These rows will have a blank User Frequency ID. Everyone else should use the new User Frequency ID field as it provides greater insight.

This report will be released on June 12th and we hope you’ll take advantage of the new information and insight it will provide about the makeup of your customers. Please note that the Transaction Report will not retroactively populate user frequency data before June. Questions? Leave them in the comments below.

How Well-Meaning Publishers Sometimes Get Themselves into Trouble

Banana picLike other affiliate networks, eBay Partner Network (ePN) has a set of rules and policies that govern how publishers are expected to work within our network.  We encourage publishers to promote eBay on their sites and send traffic to eBay but to do so in a spirit consistent with eBay’s values, avoiding any behaviour that runs counter to those values.

Sometimes it’s the case that well-meaning publishers, particularly those new to Affiliate Marketing, may unintentionally get themselves into trouble.  Often these mistakes are due to a lack of familiarity with our rules.  So we thought it would be helpful to highlight a few of our policies which sometimes cause problems for publishers, in the hope that we may help particularly new publishers avoid trouble from the outset.  (These and other rules can be found in our policy documents, ePN’s Network AgreementTerms & Conditions, and Code of Conduct).

Direct Linking 

The spirit of affiliate marketing, of course, is that publishers deliver more and higher-value traffic than what eBay would otherwise bring in.  One way of ensuring this value is by ensuring that publishers not send traffic from paid search results directly to eBay, but rather that publishers bring users to their site first.  For this reason, ePN prohibits publishers to send traffic directly to the eBay site from paid search results or other promotional placements.  Sending user traffic from promotional placements is ok, just so long that it links to the publisher’s site and not directly to eBay.

Linking from Seller Pages 

ePN encourages publishers to drive traffic to eBay that we consider new traffic, which excludes directing users who are already on eBay back to our site.  Sometimes, for example, publishers who are also eBay sellers will think of driving traffic from their own listings, which goes against this principal and rule.

Identifying Content with eBay

When publishers promote eBay products through placements on their site, they must make it clear that any photos or other promotions shown are in fact eBay listings, and that clicking through them will lead the user to eBay. In some markets, failure to do so could legally imply that the publisher has “adopted” the content and is therefore liable for it.

Special Business Models

ePN designates certain ways of driving traffic (including Loyalty/ Incentive, Downloadable Tools, Email/IM, and Sub-affiliate Networks) as Special Business Models.  (See April 15th blog post “Special Business Models Best Practices”).  Sometimes publishers forget that sending traffic to eBay with these business models requires ePN permission in advance.  So if you plan to send traffic to eBay using these methods, make sure to ask for approval by first going through our online application process.

Unacceptable Placements 

One of the seemingly straightforward areas where publishers sometimes get into trouble is through “Unacceptable Placements”.  ePN prohibits placements in connection with content we deem controversial, including adult content, firearms, or discriminatory content, to name a few examples.  Please see the ePN Code of Conduct for more examples and detail.

Sniping

Another Unacceptable Placement to avoid is anything associated with ‘sniping’, which involves any software or service that automatically places bids or makes Buy-It-Now purchases on behalf of eBay members.

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All that said, it’s worth reiterating things that are now allowed and even encouraged on ePN.

Relaxing Domain Ownership 

As noted in this blog in February, we now allow publishers to promote ePN from domains they do not own, notably social networking and blog sites.  (See the February 20th blog post “Understanding the Domain Validation Change”)  Since that time, many of our publishers have begun to promote eBay through third-party sites, and we encourage more to take advantage of these new channels.  Remember, however, that publishers are still responsible for complying with the terms of the third-party sites where you place Promotional Content (for example, by not promoting through sites where that is banned, such as www.craigslist.com).

Allowing URL Shorteners 

To help our publishers promote more easily via social sites, in February we also loosened our restrictions on url shorteners.  Previously something that was not allowed, today we allow publishers to use three url shorteners (by Twitter, Google, and bitly) to facilitate social site promotions.

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While maintaining certain principles of behaviour is a necessary part of every functioning community and network, ePN will continue to strive to limit these to only rules that are necessary.  When we do, we’ll work to communicate them to our community in a way that is clear and transparent.

Special Business Models Best Practices

Fishes

The eBay Partner Network extends a warm welcome to entrepreneurs and companies thinking outside-the-box to promote ePN.  We’re excited to partner with innovators and look forward to working with you.

Innovation is a source for change and a catalyst for new ways of promoting the eBay Partner Network.  ePN is always interested in understanding new sources of traffic promoting our network. Consequently, we ask that these types of publishers go through a separate application in addition to the standard eBay Partner Network application.

We hope this article will clarify which special business models require a separate application and what information ePN is looking for in the application. A simple general rule is that your Special Business Model application should include as much detailed information as possible. As always, you should ensure that have familiarised yourself with all the terms and conditions relevant to your business model in the ePN Code of Conduct, ePN Network Agreement, and ePN Advertiser Terms and Conditions.

You only need to submit a special business model form if you fall under the following business models: Loyalty/ Incentive, Downloadable Tools, Email/IM, Other and Sub-affiliate Networks.

  • Loyalty/Incentive

You should select Loyalty/Incentive business model when you plan on promoting ePN through incentivising your user base.  Incentives and rewards include offering cash back, loyalty points and communicating to your users that proceeds go to non-profits.  Your application should include as much detailed information about the types of incentives you plan on using, your user base, and ePN programs you plan on promoting.

Note that ePN programs (eBay regional web sites) each have their own approval criteria so your geographic location will be taken into consideration when reviewing your application.  Specifically, publishers located in the UK and US will not be allowed to promote ePN via any type of incentivised traffic.

  • Downloadable Tools

You should select Downloadable Tools when you plan on promoting ePN though a method that requires installation by the end user.  Please ensure your tool is ready to be downloaded and tested by our Network Quality team when you apply.  Your application should include as much detailed information about your downloadable tool, supported browsers, supported operating systems, marketing and distribution channels, and how you plan on monetizing your application.

Note that publishers promoting ePN via downloadable software may be paid only for the ACRUs their traffic generates rather than via the Quality Click Pricing payment model.  You will be informed of your payment structure by email after your business model application has been approved.  You can also review your payment structure by clicking on the “Programs” tab and then clicking on “Payment Structure”.

  • Email/IM

You should select the Email/IM business model when you plan on promoting ePN through email or instant messages.  Your application should include detailed information about how you comply with local Email regulations (see ICO for UK) , how you obtain your distribution lists, opt-out options and also include a sample email for us to review.

Note that publishers promoting ePN via Email/IM must comply with all the terms and conditions as described in the ePN Code of Conduct.

  • Other

Business model of Other should not be selected if you plan on promoting ePN through your website, blog, social media page or similar site. Instead you should choose Shopping Comparison, Editorial Content, User Generated Content or Merchant/Seller. You should select other if you plan to promote the eBay Partner Network programs through an innovative, outside-the-box way that is not already listed under the business model drop-down menu.

Sub-affiliate Networks- You should select “Other” if your business model involves promoting ePN through a sub-affiliate network.  Note that ePN requires sub-affiliate networks to be limited to a single tier of agent relationships.  Additionally, ePN requests that you identify each agent with unique tracking information. The terms and conditions applicable to sub-affiliate networks can be found in the “Working With Agents” section of the ePN Network Agreement.

Once you have submitted you application, you can typically expect to hear from us in within one week.  Please note that some Special Business Models may take longer than others.  Regardless, we will keep you updated on the status of your application.  If you do not hear from us within a week, you can always write in to check on the application or if you have further questions once a decision has been made.

We hope this information was helpful.  ePN is excited about including new publishers in our network that are planning on promoting ePN through innovative methods. We look forward to receiving your Special Business Model application and working with you.

Category Changes April 2013

eBay will be updating how some categories are structured. These changes are part of ongoing efforts to create a better experience for eBay’s buyers and sellers at eBay. For eBay Partner Network publishers, these changes will impact Custom Banners, RSS feeds, Link Generator or any widget that contains Category IDs as an option. The following categories will be updated:

  • Clothes, Shoes & Accessories
  • Coins
  • Health & Beauty
  • Home, Furniture & DIY
  • Jewellery & Watches
  • Pet Supplies
  • Sporting Goods
  • Vehicle Parts & Accessories

You can get all the details by visiting http://pages.ebay.co.uk/categorychanges/

Questions? Please comment below.