Has eBay Finally Realized Promoted Listing Ad Stuffing Has Gone Too Far?

Liz Morton
Liz Morton


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UPDATE 7-29-23

Sadly, it appears that eBay has not in fact learned their lesson about ad stuffing as this test has now ended and the full 100+ ads are now back on all listings pages in all browsers.

Incidentally, sellers began complaining about a massive drop in Promoted Listings impressions at the time the test was first noticed, continuing during the duration and are now reporting impressions going back up after the test has ended.

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Changes to View Item page indicate eBay may be testing removing the majority of Promoted Listings ads from the listing page, showing organic placements instead - are they finally admitting the strategy of stuffing over 100 ads on each page isn't working?

The test was first noticed by a seller in the eBay community:

Anyone else seeing these changes to Promoted Listings on View Item Page?
I know ebay has been testing various changes to the View Item (listing) page, maybe along with the Ads Team. I also know that the Ads Team acknowledge a while ago that one of their “modules” (something like “People who views this item also viewed these items”) was showing ORGANIC listings, not spo…

I know ebay has been testing various changes to the View Item (listing) page, maybe along with the Ads Team.

I also know that the Ads Team acknowledge a while ago that one of their "modules" (something like "People who views this item also viewed these items") was showing ORGANIC listings, not sponsored listings. I believe they also said that different listings show different modules at different times.

I'm seeing two things tonight that are interesting. For me, both in Chrome and Edge, I'm seeing only one, sometimes two , modules on listings---both between the above- the- fold section and the description box, with nothing below the end of the listing. I'm guessing this is a test. (Of course, it could be a glitch of some sort, as well).

Looking at the two modules, the module titles are "Similar sponsored listings" and "Related Sponsored Listings". Now, here's the thing. Each has a "See all>" option, and if I click on that, a new page opens.

That page shows 25 listings under "Similar Sponsored Items", followed by 25 listings under "Similar Items"....as far as I can figure, the 25 items under Similar Items are NOT sponsored items.

I don't know whether the items in the second group are true organic listings, or listings in a Promoted Listing campaign being shown as organic. Or a mix of both.

But if ebay is starting to mix in organic with promoted on some of these non-search results pages, it's a pretty big shift for the Ads team.

In testing to try to replicate the issue, other users have seen varied results depending on which browser is being used and whether the page is viewed while logged in or using an incognito window.

For example:

  • Chrome logged in: 2 rows of PL above description with "see more" that goes to full page of other items, 25 other items below description/feedback labeled as "You May Also Like" (presumably organic, but may also be "halo")
  • Chrome Incognito: 2 rows of PL above description with "see more" that goes to full page of other items, no other items below description/feedback module.
  • Firefox logged in: 2 rows of PL above description with "see more" that goes to full page of other items, no other items below description/feedback module.
  • Firefox incognito: 2 rows of PL above description with "see more" that goes to full page of other items, typical previous "tons" of multiple PL rows and other items shown below description/feedback module.

In all results, users are currently still being shown 1 or 2 rows of Promoted Listings ads between the top image and seller info section and the item specifics and description (which is interesting since eBay has specifically said they eventually plan to remove those two rows whenever they finalize the "new" View Item page design).

Those ad rows scroll to the right to reveal more ads and you can also click "See all" to go to a separate page which shows both Sponsored ads and Organic "similar" items - some of which are actually the same listing repeated as both sponsored and organic on this page.

But the more important part of this change is on the View Item page, below the description and seller feedback module.

This area has traditionally been overflowing with multiple rows of ad modules and/or organic display of other items - and some users are still seeing that usual display.

However, those who are seeing the test in various browsers report either seeing only a module titled "You May Also Like" that appear to be completely organic results (no Sponsored label) or they are not seeing any other items in this area at all - either organic or promoted.

To be clear, this is not the result of any ad blockers - in certain browsers/scenarios eBay is just simply not displaying any other items in that area.

The seller who originally posted about this test also brought up an interesting point about eBay's recently introduced "halo" ad attribution policy.

Major Money Grab In eBay Promoted Listings Update
eBay just made a major money grab with promoted listings ads - here’s what you need to know!

What is a Halo Item sale for Promoted Listings Standard?

  • A Halo Item sale is the type of sale when a buyer clicks on one of your Standard ads and purchases a different Promoted Listings Standard item from you within 30 days.
  • A Halo Item refers to a purchased item from a Promoted Listings Standard campaign that resulted from an initial click (from the same buyer) on a different Promoted Listings Standard item of yours.
  • The ad fee for a Halo Item sale will be calculated based on the ad rate in effect for the purchased item at the time of the sale.

The seller posed the question - are these apparently organic items being displayed on the View Item page really organic or is eBay purposely displaying items that are in a Promoted Listing Standard campaign in order to possibly get a "halo" sale?

...assuming some of these listings are being shown as organic, a question I have is: are they showing as "true organic" (not in a promoted listing campaign) or as "halo organic" (in a promoted listing campaign, but being shown as organic)

Remember, if they are "true organic" (not in a PL campaign) they cannot be charged a halo PLS fee. However, if they are "halo organic" (shown as organic, but part of an active PLS campaign), they can be charged a halo PLS fee if the 30 day requirements are met.

I'm guessing at least some of these are halo organic. That is, the ads team is still selecting them from the PLS pool, but is choosing to display them as organic, which reduces, but does not eliminate, the chance that they will be charged a PLS fee if they sell.

So far the eBay ads team and community staff have not responded to questions posed in that thread, so unfortunately at this time we just have a lot of questions and no real answers.

Interestingly, coinciding with the first sighting of this apparent test, some sellers are also reporting seeing major drops in Promoted impressions in Seller Hub reports.

Re: Impressions broken again??
Exactly the same here on 2 accounts, nearly 50% drop in promoted impression, views & sales totally stoped for 2 days now after a resonable daily sales until then. Something is seriously broken & still no fix dispite so many reports from sellers.…

Exactly the same here on 2 accounts, nearly 50% drop in promoted impression, views & sales totally stoped for 2 days now after a resonable daily sales until then.

Something is seriously broken & still no fix dispite so many reports from sellers.

Screen-Shot-2023-07-20-at-09.47.55

eBay has been very candid with sellers in the past that the majority of Promoted Listings Standard impressions come from the View Item page, not search pages - so it would absolutely make sense that if they are testing removing the majority of Promoted Listings ads from the View Item page, sellers will see a significant drop in Promoted impressions.

eBayUK community staff have responded to those reports saying they've confirmed there is no technical issue causing the drops, which would also absolutely make sense - if this is the result of an intentional test, eBay would likely not consider that a "technical issue."

We'll continue monitoring this apparent test - stay tuned for updates!


Are you seeing less Promoted Listings ads on the eBay View Item page? Let us know in the comments below!

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