eBay Commerce Network SKU-Level Bidding Out of Beta, Increases Advertiser Control

Earlier this month, the eBay Commerce Network made its SKU-level bidding tool available to all merchants who are listing products on Shopping.com and its partner network. This feature had previously been available as a limited beta but has now been rolled out to any interested merchants. To use this tool, merchants will need to add one column to their data feeds, populate the column with a desired bid, and map the new column through Shopping.com’s user interface. With the tool, advertisers will be able to assign bids for individual products through their data feeds, instead of going through the user interface that was previously required for bid placement. This creates a more granular bidding structure than the one created by bidding through the user interface, where merchants can only set bids at the category/subcategory/price bucket level.
rkg-ebay-commerce-UI-bidding-method eBay Commerce Network - UI Bidding Method

Thus, a merchant can fine-tune their bidding to the point where the bid for a product is tied to the value of the traffic generated by the product, resulting in increased efficiency or greater sales for efficient products. Further, this enables a merchant to perpetually send their entire product offering (rather than omitting products that drive inefficiency at rate card) in their Shopping.com feeds, maximizing exposure and sales in the process. Bids may be placed relative to the rate card, or on absolute basis. For example, a submitted bid of -0.05 for a product will translate to a bid five cents below the rate card for the category/subcategory/price bucket combination. Products bid below the rate card will receive less traffic than those bid at rate card but will still show on user searches.
rkg-ebay-commerce-sku-level-bids eBay Commerce Network - SKU-Level Adjustment Example

  Conversely, a bid of +0.05 will bid five cents above the rate card. A bid with no plus or minus will be bid at the amount listed in the feed. Products bid at 0.00 will not receive traffic. Because of this, we recommend that anyone interested in using this tool thoroughly familiarize themselves with the rate cards for the products corresponding to the products in their feed to maintain efficiency and formulate a projection of spend ahead of making any changes. All Merkle | RKG clients that operate on comparison shopping engines were previously opted into the SKU-level bidding beta. With the additional levers to better control our efficiency, we were able to add significantly more products to our eBay Commerce Network feeds without sacrificing our efficiency standards. As a result, eBay Commerce Network rose from an 18% share in CSE spend for RKG clients in Q4 2013 to a 33% share in Q4 2014. This makes eBay Commerce Network currently responsible for the largest share of CSE spend among all RKG clients. This new feature could be a useful resource for a merchant looking to maximize efficiency in their CSE campaigns.  Of particular note is the fact that it can be used either to reduce costs or increase revenues at a macro level. During the competitive 2014 holiday season, this functionality enabled us to add more products to our Shopping.com programs as we were able to effectively re-allocate spend from less valuable traffic to products where we received a superior return.
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