Does eBay really hate paid search?

Searching for eBayIs eBay’s newest report on paid search really a blow to look engine advertising? Or are we throwing the child out with the bathwater?

Following the discharge of the ultimate outcomes of an ongoing research, there have been headlines proclaiming that“eBay “warns that search advertisements have ‘no measurable profit”.

So, both eBay is making an outrageous declare that paid search advertisements don’t work. Or, the headlines are barely deceptive.

Having now learn the paper by eBay, it might seem that each could also be true.

Online retail big eBay (by way of Blake, Noska and Tadelis at Berkley) argues that paid search or ‘search engine advertising’ (SEM), the most important web promoting channel by income, has had its advantages overstated.

Well, what it says is that ‘typical strategies used to measure the causal (incremental) impression of SEM vastly overstate its impact’. OK, that’s not fairly the identical factor. That’s associated to crude measurement methods that not all entrepreneurs use.

It additionally argues that:

…the effectiveness of SEM is small for a well known firm like eBay and that the channel has been ineffective on common.

This is coming nearer to the daring assertion made by headline writers that eBay is wholly dismissive of the channel. But it’s not clear that a broad swipe has been taken on the entire channel; fairly, the wording means that SEM simply hasn’t worked for eBay.

The authors additionally “discover a detectable constructive impression of SEM on new consumer acquisition and on influencing purchases by rare customers.” In brief, the report calls into query solely sure parts of the search advertising channel, and the present strategies of attribution – not your complete idea.

Branded search

The report begins by speaking about branded search, that’s, shoppers typing an organization identify right into a search engine. These individuals are then served each a paid-for advert and the natural itemizing for the corporate.

The report discovered that turning off these model-key phrase paid search advertisements for eBay didn’t result in a decline in visitors or certainly attributable gross sales. The report additionally argues that many purchasers who click on on advertisements (and go on to buy – rating!) would have bought anyway.

According to the report:

Advertising might seem to draw these clients, when in actuality they might have discovered different channels to go to the corporate’s website.

It’s straightforward to see why and the way this kind of finances allocation could possibly be discredited. A click on on the paid advert is PPC finances down the drain, certainly.

Well not essentially! eBay is an enormous model, and would in fact dominate the pure listings for ‘eBay’ phrases. Not all corporations rank extremely for their very own identify.

Furthermore, comparable research have proven that turning off the paid advertisements for some manufacturers, even once they do dominate the natural search outcomes, results in a (typically vital) lower in gross sales income.

So what about generic product searches?

When individuals seek for a generic time period, do paid search advertisements facilitate product discovery and result in gross sales? Maybe, however Google’s recent Clickstream Whitepaper exhibits that search behaviour, though always altering, tends to start with a branded time period, until the search is for property (almost one hundred% generic searches) or journey merchandise.

In different phrases, generic product searches are on the lower.

The great thing about paid search, in fact, is that it’s much more nuanced than the stories from Google and eBay might recommend.

Success on this channel will utterly rely in your market, your merchandise, the key phrases you want to goal and your strategy to attribution. eBay does say “our outcomes present that for a well known model like eBay, the efficacy of SEM is restricted at best.”

As Econsultancy pointed out when the preliminary findings have been unveiled final yr, the report is value a learn… however “the lesson is: discover out what works for you and never what works for eBay.”