eBay Best Offers & Promoted Listings

Liz Morton
Liz Morton


CEO Jamie Iannone stressed the importance of tight feedback loops and listening to sellers when he mentioned changes on the horizon for Best Offers in his keynote address for eBay Open Online.

To help ensure that you get paid on Best Offer sales, we'll soon start to ask buyers to provide a payment source at the time their offer is made.

This reminded me of another piece of feedback that sellers have been giving eBay since at least 2019 concerning Best Offers and Promoted Listings.

Promoted Listings Standard is a CPA ad model. Sellers set an ad rate that will give eBay an extra x% above and beyond the regular Final Value Fee, but they only pay that additional fee when a buyer completes a purchase within 30 days of clicking on the ad.

Sellers can choose their own rates manually starting at 1% or opt to use eBay's recommended ad rates.  Of course sellers are going to have to consider the effect these additional fees will have on their bottom line and either accept giving away a bit of margin or bake those costs into their overall pricing strategy in some way - and that's where the issue with Best Offers comes in.

As eBay continues to find new ways to push sellers to offer negotiated and discounted pricing, they seem to have forgotten a huge piece of the puzzle - sellers need to have visibility into their total costs so they can make the best pricing decisions!

When a seller is considering Best Offers from buyers, they have absolutely no way to know if that buyer found their item through Promoted Listings, leaving them open to the possibility of additional fees.

One particular vociferous commenter brought this issue up in the eBay community weekly chat back in March of 2019.

Re: Community Chat, March 27 @ 1:00 pm PT - General Topics
2 Quick Items on Promoted Listings: 1) I am seeing Promoted Listings frequently showing up in search results directly adjacent to the original listing: In these situations, paid promoted listings provide no value to a seller as it’s a virtual **bleep**-shoot whether the buyer clicks through o…

As eBay continues to develop different one-to-many offer submissions, sellers paying for Promoted Listings have no visibility as to whether or not accepted offers will be subject to promoted listing fees.

Transparency into whether additional PL fees will be applied to a sale in many cases is critical for obvious reasons if the seller can't accurately calculate their margins.

It would be helpful if eBay would take steps to remedy this in good faith, as eBay continues to thrust "offer" features on both the buyer/seller side, especially with their double-digit "trending" suggested Promoted Listing fees that inexperienced sellers are likely to use.

Recommendation: Advise sellers when reviewing pending offers whether the sale will be subject to additional promoted listing fees.

TIA for passing these thoughts on to the proper teams.

eBay staff responded:

I chatted with the Promoted Listings team, and they advised that both of these are already on their radar and they're in consideration along with other high priority requests from sellers.

Since 2019, eBay has gone all in on pushing advertising, promotions, discounts, and offers but has still failed to provide this transparency so sellers can know exactly what their total cost for eBay fees will be if they accept a Best Offer.

Here are just a few examples of this ongoing request from sellers in the eBay community.

Best offer and Promoted Listings
Does anybody know of a way to tell if a best offer was generated from promoted listings? I receive many Best Offers and always try to work with the customers to make the sale, but it isn’t until after the sale is complete that I am told it was sold ‘via Promoted Listings’. Had I known ahead of tim…
How can you tell if the user thats sending you an offer got there by clicking on a promoted listing?
How can you tell if the user that’s sending you an offer got there by clicking on a promoted listing? If they didn’t click on a promoted listing - and so I won’t pay eBay the promoted listing fee, I’d be willing to accept a lower offer. If they did click on a promoted listing - and so I will have to…
Re: Community Chat, January 6 @ 1:00 pm PT - General Topics
Hello eBay, I need to determine if the best offer is from a Promoted Listing or an Organic Listing. I sell new goods with low margins. If I am selling a $400 item with an 8 percent Promoted Listing fee ($32) I can’t accept a seller’s offer of $350. If the buyer found me from either my EPN pro…

I chatted with eBay Ads leadership about this issue in January 2021 and was assured it was still very much on their radar, but was technically challenging because ad attribution isn't always determined in real time.

While I understand the challenge that may present, it doesn't seem like it should be insurmountable for a 25 year old multi-billion dollar tech company - especially one that is on a multi-year journey of tech-led reimagination.

First and foremost, this is an issue of trust and transparency.  If Iannone is serious about wanting to be the "platform of choice for sellers", those sellers need to be able to trust that they will always have full visibility to the information they need to make the best business decisions.

Beyond the transparency issue, providing visibility to possible ad fees on offers just makes good business sense both for eBay and sellers.

The lack of visibility leaves sellers with basically two options - exclusively use either Promoted Listings or Best Offer , but not both on the same item or negotiate offers based on the assumption that the Promoted Listing fee will apply to make sure you don't lose money.

That's a terrible position for sellers to be in and it does a huge disservice to buyers too. How many potential sales that otherwise could have been negotiated to a mutually beneficial offer are lost simply because sellers don't have access to the information they need to make informed business decisions and have to rely on assumptions to mitigate their risk?

It's been almost 2.5 years since that original commenter ( Fidomaster, who uses the Twitter username "unsuckebay") posed the question to then CEO Devin Wenig - "Why is it okay to leave eBay Sellers completely blind as to whether a best-offer has ad fees tacked-on or not?"

Today I have to ask the same question of current CEO Jamie Iannone and VP, GM of Global Advertising Alex Kazim. I hope we see some action on this longstanding piece of seller feedback in the very near future.


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Liz Morton is a seasoned ecommerce pro with 17 years of online marketplace sales experience, providing commentary, analysis & news about eBay, Etsy, Amazon, Shopify & more at Value Added Resource!