11/16/2018 at 9:36 am #51793
So this month I decided to lower my promoted listings to 1% across the board. I felt my store was in a steady state to the point I could do a fairly controlled study.
The reasons I feel this:
1. I have not heavily listed in several months.
2. I have not added any promoted listings in around 6 months, so these are all established, old items.
3. I had 3 months of data that showed quite consistent data in impressions, clicks, and sales for promoted listings.
In my store of 1060 items, over 600 are promoted. Previously all of them were set to trending rates. Many of these rates were OVER 10%. I do not like giving an extra 10%, especially since my gut feeling was that promoted listings was mostly a sham.
For the results I am just comparing the last 15 days of October to the first 15 days of November. If anything, I should have received a bump of sales merely from the holiday buying season.
October 17-31 VS November 1-15
October total impressions: 151449
November total impressions:77398
October clicks: 1350
October Sales: 12
November Sales: 3
As you can see, reducing my promoted listings to 1% across the board had a dramatic effect on my traffic and sales. I was consistently selling 20 items a month with promoted listings at trending rate. This month at 1% I am on pace to only sell 6 items…ouch. These aren’t even my newest items – they are all at least 6 months all, many of them are more than 18 months old.
I think going forward I am going to use promoted listings on all listings 3 months or older at trending rates.
I feel convinced from this data that eBay’s ads are actually working to sell my items – as unbelievable as that sounds. I’ve never in my life bought an item from a pop-up or side bar ad. As the old saying goes, “I am not my target buyer”.
So Excuse me, I need to go put my promoted listings back to the way they were and add some new ones to the mix.
11/16/2018 at 10:03 am #51796ebaymomParticipant
- Location: Ohio
Good data… good post! I completely agree with what you are saying here… in fact I’ve been doing promoted listings for months now and recently had backed off a bit and have been watching my traffic plummet. I don’t have the data in a nice layout to share right now, but I have noticed the same trend. When I promote at trending – it helps – when I promote lower (1%).. it doesn’t help at all. I have weekly minimum goals I try to hit sales wise and lately I have been falling short – so I crank on the promotions and it helps me to hit them. The problem is… when ALL of us turn on our promotions… well… it is going to drive the trending rate up so high that it is not worth while to promote any longer – we will be handing over 15% extra to eBay by default! It seems like trending rates go up and down in cycles. I do like your idea of only promoting older listings because a lot of the newer “good stuff” is going to sell on its own without needing to give away extra profits.
11/16/2018 at 10:28 am #51800
Oh we’re already at the 15% threshold. Some of my more obscure vintage trucker hats had a trending rate now of 14.7%! I had high prices on them though, so I just left it alone. I want them sold!
11/16/2018 at 10:15 am #51799
THANKS for this data!
I have 20 promoted listings on my high dollar items only at trending rates set from 10/31-12/31. Made 1 sale so far. 🙂
The biggest spike in impressions and sales was the first week of my promotion (10/31-11/8). It has went way down from there. I am thinking about ending the promotion and restarting in a week to see if it kicks back on and not do a long campaign like I had.
11/16/2018 at 12:13 pm #51809
I wonder if there is a correlation between listing less items and seeing fewer promoted listing sales? Perhaps the popular types of listings that would get a boost from promoted listings sold more in October, while the less popular items left are still selling through promoted listings, but there are overall fewer of them to make a correct comparison against?
11/16/2018 at 1:04 pm #51810
No correlation. I’ve had consistent promoted listings sales whether I listed or not.
When I first started promoted listings, it was the only thing I changed as it was at a time I wasn’t listing very much. At trending rates with my whole store promoted I was getting $1000 in promoted sales consistently.
The only correlation I have seen is with how many promoted listings I have. The only reason my promoted sales dropped over time is after I stopped promoting new listings. Slowly my total promoted listings dropped as the sold off since I wasn’t adding any new ones. Percentage wise, my sales were consistent.
I don’t have the numbers to confirm this as ebay only keeps 3 months of data. I know because I consistenly looked at the numbers and remember how many items were promoted vs how many items I sold.
11/16/2018 at 1:13 pm #51811
Hmm, in that case, another thought:
When did the trending rate option directly appear in individual listing pages? Last month? Maybe more sellers that weren’t aware of promoted listings before are choosing to promote listings now, bringing the trending rate up and the amount of competition for promoted listings up to a point that it is impossible to compete with?
I wonder if the 1% trending rate would have had more of an impact before that change in the listing pages, in August or September, but is pretty much being washed out at this point due to the increased competition?
11/16/2018 at 1:39 pm #51812jimiParticipant
- Location: Delaware
I have been doing promoted listings at the lowest 1% rate since Oct. 1 for my entire store(around 1500 items).
Total sales 242
Promoted sales 84
Fees on the 84: $26.70
About 1 in 3 of my sales are from promoted listings. I am averaging around 24k impressions and 200 clicks per day. I am up 26% sales from a year ago.
11/16/2018 at 1:41 pm #51813
I don’t know. It’s possible that it is working like the inverse of the buy box over on amazon.
Only the top percentage item gets the ad space, and then once it sells it goes to next in line.
You can either wait your turn or jump the line by increasing the percentage.
That’s another possible couple tests:
1. reset the trending rates every day on promoted items to keep rates fresh.
2. Set everything to trending rates, and then bump every listing up .1% to guarantee you are the highest. (this test could be performed on an individual basis with items that have quantities or have a lot of competition).
Again, “I am not my target buyer”. There is a reason the buy box works on Amazon.
11/16/2018 at 3:16 pm #51817MDC Galleries & Fine ArtParticipant
- Location: Atlanta
We dropped our promoted listings down to the 1% rate and impressions, clicks, dropped by 27% for that month and sales dropped by about $500 or so per month.
I have now gone back and put the promoted listings back and I can see on the chart from Ebay how the numbers of clicks are going back up.
I don’t use the trending rates, I import all our listings into a spread sheet then run a very quick formula to average the whole trending column, which comes out at 6.02%. Then I set all of our listings to that amount. I selected to run the promo. until right before Christmas and will see what the graph – chart looks like and how Sales go.
We build extra into our pricing to allow for running a Sale and also to make up for offers. So as far as I see it, the 6.02% for promoted listings is nothing more than a 6% off Sale. And we have way more than that built in. We can dump off 30% or more and still have a number we can live with if we run a 15% Off Sale and take another 15% off that comes from an offer. So, agagin that 6% promo fee is already built in.
mike at mdc galleries and fine art
11/16/2018 at 10:08 pm #51828
I’ve been running PLs at a flat 4% for a little while now, and it has brought me some sales. A few thoughts:
1. While eBay does hint that its good to use trending rate or a little above it, it’s important to realize that the rate is NOT the ONLY factor ebay looks at. I discussed this briefly with an eBay PL team member at eBay Open….ebay is looking at both whatever data they have on the buyer conducting the search , as well as the PL pool of items : relevancy, price, in some cases, proximity to buyer, and much more. The fact is, my item at 4% has a very real chance of getting preference over another PL item at 10%. (I see a lot of sellers on the eBay Boards and Facebook groups who say it’s ALL about the rate, because ebay wants the highest rate for the highest FVF. What they miss about this is: eBay wants sales velocity. If eBay’s algorithm is telling ebay that my item at 4% has a better chance of actually selling than the item at 10%, I’ll get preference—-because 4% of something is better than 10% of nothing.)
2. Related to this: I’m reading between the lines just a little here, but my impression is the PL team is judged less on the dollar amount of fees they bring in, and more on the percentage of successes they have. When I list something, I’m hoping it will find a buyer. When the PL team promotes a listing, they are betting it will sell. This is one reason they started recommending which listings we should promote…because their algo was telling them those listings had a better shot of selling if promoted. One reason they can’t hit home runs all the time is because sometimes there’s only one listing for that item in the PL pool, and it’s a non-competitive listing….
3. I often see sellers claim there’s no reason to promote listings like ours (used, antiques, etc), that PL is only useful for sellers in highly competitive categories with new merch. Well, I agree that for many of my items, if the buyer has been specific enough in his search terms/filters, my item will be on the first page of search results whether PL or not. But here’s my guess: When my PL items sell, I suspect they are often selling NOT because of their placement on the search results page, but because of their placement on OTHER pages, such as a product page or seller’s listing page, etc. PLs show up in a number of places, and in those cases they aren’t usually surrounded by tons of the same thing. In fact, the PL algo can show buyers stuff that isn’t exactly what the buyer is searching for, but turns out to be something the buyer likes. So, my oddball item shows up on some other page in front of just the right buyer, and I make the sale.
4. It all comes back to the team’s incentive: to show the right item at the right time to the right buyer to make the sale.
5. I agree with Mike, I can go higher than 4% and might do that as the Holidays wear on….the great thing about sourcing as most of us do is that we have high margins that can handle this sort of thing. I think PL is well worth it, even if it only sells a small percentage of my stuff.
11/16/2018 at 10:25 pm #51829
My Cottage – Yes , yes yes! For example: if I have PL for a vintage Chicago Bulls sweatshirt, it may appear as a PL to someone scrolling for Michael Jordan autographs. I like this so much and hope my items are appearing in “if you like THIS, you may like THIS…”
SO much yes on #1. Otherwise, paying the higher rate and having crap photos, high prices, and no return policy could give ebay’s “undesirable sellers” sales as they pay 25% PL rates. It IS pay to play but within the Cassini world that already exists.
11/17/2018 at 4:42 am #51833Antique FrogParticipant
- Location: Leicester
I just checked, and I can set the rate to 100%. What happens at 100%? (apart from me losing a barrowload of money if the item sells) Does eBay’s main page get replaced by my listing?
11/17/2018 at 6:35 am #51834
Antique Frog, Only way to find out is to try it. LOL When PL started, ebay had an arbitrary limit of, as I recall, 20%. A while ago, they eliminated that, so sellers have as much flexibility as they want, to go as low or as high as they choose. I have never seen the trending rate come anywhere close to 50%, much less 100%.
As I explained above, I doubt even 100% would do a seller much good if the listing was , say, way over-priced or the seller lad terrible feedback, etc.
11/17/2018 at 6:01 pm #51872ebaymomParticipant
- Location: Ohio
You guys have inspired me… The next time I feel like culling an old worthless item from my inventory – I’ll try to promote it at 100% and I’ll let you know how long it takes to sell 🙂 I can see using a 100% promotion only if you are at the very end of a quarter and wanted to use up your $30 / $55 quarterly promoted listing credit rapidly (on an inexpensive item?), knowing that you can recoup the money. Otherwise.. it seems pretty pointless, why would anyone want to work for nothing?
11/17/2018 at 10:23 am #51857
Enjoying this discussion. I’m banking on the fact that many sellers are anti-fees and I’m willing to pay 1% more in the hopes that I get shown before them. Also, I think there might be a chance that Ebay’s system is not sophisticated enough to rank items based on the % promotion (plus #1 @mycottage above), so why not do it on the cheap and see if it helps. Unfortunately, it’s difficult to tell if it’s working or not, especially since I’ve been taking a lot more offers lately, which I suspect really helps sales.
11/17/2018 at 10:40 am #51859
I would be curious to see a seller experiment with 1 month trending promoted listings, 1 month no promoted listings, 1 month 1% listings, all in a row. Maybe February – April, so as not to interfere with q4 and beginning of q1.
I run sales, but I don’t touch promoted listings at all. It sometimes feels like sales jostle something in the system if sales have decreased. I wonder if promoted listings work in a similar way.
11/17/2018 at 6:05 pm #51873
ChristineR, I agree with your advice: do it on the cheap, can’t hurt to try (espeically since most of us have roomy margins).
But I’ll stress again, eBay’s algo would have no trouble ranking PLs based ONLY on the rate. The algo is much MORE sophisticated than that, taking into consideration a whole range of factors (both buyer side and seller side) The reason ebay does NOT use only the rate is that it would be counter-productive, both for sellers/buyers and for eBay. As I said, 4% of a sale is something, but 10% (or 50%) of a non-sale is: Nothing.
eBay’s CEO likes to tell stock analysts about the dollar amount PL brings in for eBay, but the number the PL team is really concerned with is the conversion rate for items they actually promoted.
11/17/2018 at 6:18 pm #51875
I’m a very small seller. I sold three items today, 2 were with the 4% PL. I have no way of knowing whether they would have sold without it, but I’m perfectly happy to pay the extra 4% given my high margins.
11/17/2018 at 8:17 pm #51880
@MyCottage I hear what you are saying and indeed the algo is complex and designed to generate a conversion. However, promoted listings is an add on feature. Am I confident that Ebay’s changes are seamlessly integrated into the existing system. No. Also I had some things promoted at 5.1% and I decided I’m not really willing to pay Ebay that much extra, especially since I’m trying out free shipping and returns on first class items and some PFREs. So, I’m trying out the 1%.
It would be interesting to know how many sellers are going for promotions and how much that changes since they added it to the listing interface.
11/17/2018 at 9:29 pm #51882
Yep, I get what you are saying about 1%. My choice of 4% was kind of arbitrary: at 4% I figure even if I’m running a sale on everything, I can handle 4% because of my margins. The better half is experimenting with 1%.
11/18/2018 at 3:54 pm #51889Antique FrogParticipant
- Location: Leicester
I did “promote” a postcard at 50% a day ago. No extra views, but a) made three sales elsewhere, and an enquiry on a £750 artwork b) realised that most of the stuff I’ve listed is cr*p, and I’d better pull my socks up. So… it was useful 🙂
12/03/2018 at 9:53 am #52570
So here is my final update for this test. To recap, I turned Promoted listings down to 1% across the board on Nov 1st. I had intended to do the entire month, but the drop off was so drastic that I decided to do a split month example.
On November 16th I turned promoted listings back up to trending rates.
Here are the results:
November 1-15 (1% PL rate) Vs. November 16-30 (trending rates)
November 1-15 total impressions:77398
November 1-15 clicks:489
November 1-15 Sales: 3
November 16-30 total impressions: 311650
November 16-30 clicks: 3378
November 16-30 Sales: 29
As you can see, the results are night and day.
In just 15 days with trending rates back I sold 29 items for $929.63 and paid $66.37 in PL fees.
I sold many older items – some high dollar items. 10 of the 29 sales were Buy It Now. I do believe promoted listings does help bring in impulse buyers, and trending rates for darn sure brings eyeballs to the products.
I’ll state it again – I am not my target buyer.
12/03/2018 at 10:38 am #52575
Wow! That is quite a difference. I’ve been using a flat 4%, and I’ve had some PL sales, but given the very competitive Holiday Season, I’m thinking I’ll bump that up to trending rates.I gather you were doing the Trending Rate, not TR Plus .1% or anything like that?
12/03/2018 at 11:20 am #52582
Thanks for the update. I’m focused right now on other offerings that are slimming my margins but I’m grateful for the information.
12/03/2018 at 2:59 pm #52597T-SattParticipant
Interesting. We have stayed at a flat 7% for promoted listings across the board. Only a small percentage of the items sell with the promoted listings, but I feel that when you get one sale in a category/brand, you get more organic sales through better placement in best match.
12/03/2018 at 8:50 pm #52613
I heard a rumor the recommendation is to run a short campaign on the Promoted Listing, end it, then start it again a few days later. This has worked for me on some mulit-quan listings. Initial boost then a taper-off.
Thanks for the data supporting trending rates as well!
12/03/2018 at 9:11 pm #52614
I’ve always followed my promoted listings. Promoted Sales have always been extremely consistent, which was why I started to suspect it was a complete rip off.
It’s the real deal Andy data doesn’t support this idea of a taper off at all.
12/04/2018 at 9:09 am #52629
Retro, Are most of your listings multi quantity listings, or one offs? I’ve basically heard the same thing about campaigns for multi quantity listings—they start to taper off IF PL is not generating sufficient sales per listing for the algo, because ebay will start promoting other listings for the same item from competitors. If that’s true, I would guess there’s somewhat less of that effect for one offs.
12/04/2018 at 9:16 am #52630
Mostly one offs.
12/04/2018 at 12:19 pm #52650thriftstorechadParticipant
- Location: Georgia
I don’t visit the forums that often. Came on to see if there was a discussion on the post office closing on Wednesday and saw this post. We’ve been doing Promoted listings for 3 or 4 months now. Our sales are up easily over 50%. We usually do 10% on all our items. I hate the idea of giving eBay more money, but the results are too good. We’re looking at it like hiring an employee. We’re paying eBay a lot less than it would cost to hire an employee and the only other way to ramp up sales is to ramp up our listings. Because we get stuff so cheaply, giving eBay an additional 10% isn’t the end of world if it means making a lot more sales. If we buy a shirt for $3 and sell it for $30, that would be an additional $3 for the shirt using our 10% example. I don’t think it makes much sense for those who don’t have the profit margins to work with like most of us do. Just my 2 cents.
12/04/2018 at 12:28 pm #52651
I just switched from 4% across the Board to Trending Rates across the Board, and if this works well, I’ll stick with it or go higher. I have two thoughts: 1. Like you, we have the margins for this. I suspect it may be harder to justify for sellers of new items working with thinner margins, but I can handle this, especially if it really ramps up my sales velocity. 2. I suspect most of my PL sales are NOT the result of my PL listing showing higher on the search results page, but rather of my PL listing showing up on other pages, where it is more likely to sell as an impulse buy than something someone was definitely searching for.
I also suspect there may be an advantage for our type of stuff because many sellers of used stuff focus only on the search page impact. I’ve seen many sellers say : My stuff shows up on the first page anyway, because it’s an oddball type item, so why pay eBay more? They don’t consider the value of having PL items show up on other pages…
12/04/2018 at 10:43 pm #52672thriftstorechadParticipant
- Location: Georgia
I hadn’t really thought about this that much, but it makes sense. My thinking was for a typical item of ours – even if it’s a vintage item, there’s usually dozens if not hundreds of other options for the buyer. If your item is promoted, you know that based on eBay’s formula and the percentage you’re willing to give, your item will make it to the top. For rare/unique items, it may not make as much sense to promote those items.
12/06/2018 at 1:16 pm #52811BigSallyParticipant
- Location: Washington State
Interesting observation about promoted listings
Now getting full price sales on my promoted items, they all have make offer, but I’m getting full price cha ching regularly. been going on for about a week.
I am regularly fiddling with the percentages turning them on and off, going up to and regularly above trending rates on some things with high margins.
And I’m listing more, so maybe this is a combo ebay likes – i like it.
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