Why ebay does stupid ads

Posted by , February 19th, 2007 at 4:04 am PST
Categories: Uncategorized | No Comments »

Have you ever seen bizarre ads from eBay? Often when you’re searching you’ll see an eBay ad and you wonder why eBay would want to buy the keyword you just typed. Often they can be hilarious. Here is a great collection of funny eBay ads.

At eTail last week we found out why eBay does this. Vice President of Internet Marketing, Matt Ackley described eBay’s automatic system for purchasing and managing keywords. Essentially they watch what people search for on eBay and purchase those keywords on Google, Yahoo, MSN etc.

It would be an understatement to say the system has some complicated bits. Matt described how they have a team of about 100 people working on this. Most of them are engineers – many with backgrounds in statistics. They’re responsible for creating and managing these campaigns to ensure they yield a positive return on investment and for controlling the spend so they remain within budget.

Matt said the system works very well. They buy a very large number of keywords and because it’s automatic some of the keywords are not intuitive and some of them don’t perform. The system finds obviously relevant words – like “joe dimaggio cards” but in the millions of keywords there are also some strange ones, like “bodily fluids” and many more.

I’m not sure how relevant this was to the assembled retailers – a lot of the people I spoke to struggled to find one person to manage their paid search campaigns – so something this complex would not be appropriate. However it did emphasize the value of using your internal search logs for keyword research in your search marketing. eBay are doing this automatically and on a massive scale.

I found this idea fascinating because our Ad Champion service provides a similar service – it uses the activity on your site search to automatically create paid ad campaigns. It was great to see that the bright minds at eBay are thinking along the same lines.


Leave a Reply