eBay CEO Jamie Iannone confirmed today they are making changes to Promoted Listings specifically to show more ads of same/similar items on listing pages - and he thinks it's an innovative improvement in the product?!
The baffling comments were part of his presentation at the Goldman Sachs Communicopia conference earlier today (emphasis mine).
So I'll give you an example is recently we launched a visually similar Promoted Listings part of the experience, where if I'm in let's say apparel and I'm looking at black cocktail dresses with red roses on them, I'll see visually similar other dresses like that.
It's a Promoted Listings product but it's also providing benefit back to our buyers on the platform. We just introduced in parts and accessories new fitment based modules. So if I'm looking for a specific parts for an Acura MDX from 2017, I'll see Promoted Listings very similar to that specific fitment.
So the idea with advertising is really just this continual march to make it better every single day. And as Steve talked about, that's why we said, for the foreseeable future. We expect our advertising revenue to outpace volume because of the innovation that we're doing from the product and technology standpoint.
Jamie clearly has a very different definition of "providing benefit back to the buyers" and "making it better" than I do.
I did a full breakdown earlier today of how eBay's over-zealous ad stuffing is ruining the buyer experience, from irrelevant search results to over a 100 ads crammed on the listing page.
If you don't have time to read that full analysis, here's the TLDR version - eBay is so desperate for ad revenue, they've completely destroyed the listing page experience with over 100 confusing, competing "similar" offers.
Want a fun experiment? Pick a listing, any listing, and open it in an incognito browser window, making sure all ad blockers are disabled.
Just for one example, on a listing for toothpaste eBay showed me 11 separate ad modules, 7 of which are scrolling carousel displays, that represent a total of 116 ad slots on a single page.
I think most users would agree this is massive overkill and much more likely to cause confusion or decision paralysis from being presented with too many options than to really help buyers hone in on the perfect item to fit their needs.
Sorry Jamie, but if this is what you call "providing benefit to buyers" and "making it better every day" - you need to hire some UX experts stat!
If that isn't bad enough, it appears eBay has completely done away with the one small benefit there was for sellers in this scheme - opting in to Promoted Listings used to "reserve" one section of ad space for "sponsored items from this seller".
Some sellers say they begrudgingly used Promoted Listings for no other reason than to win back some valuable real estate on their own listings that they often are paying premium store subscriptions for, on top of Final Value Fees.
eBay has now completely removed that "items from this seller" section and instead replaced it with "similar sponsored items" that are from competitors.
That means sellers are no longer guaranteed even the few measly ad slots on their own listings they used to receive for opting in to Promoted Listings. 🤯
Sellers who go above the standard free listing allotment are either paying $0.10 per listing or have a store subscription costing anywhere from $4.95/month - $2,999.95/month depending on which store level they select.
Can you imagine paying almost $3000 or even $300 a month to eBay for a store subscription and still having 100+ competitor's ads shown directly on your listings, directing buyers away from your items?
And don't forget, eBay has said there are even more ads on the horizon with an ad product for stores theoretically coming soon and offsite Cost Per Click Google ads in development as well.
So buckle up everyone, I predict the ad stuffing is only going to get worse as eBay desperately tries to monetize every last pixel on the page for maximum Q4 holiday season ad rev.