Brand Safety Predictions from eBay’s CMO

While it may seem like a post digital concern, brand safety issues have existed since the dawn of print media. If we go back to 1991 where the Sunday newspaper had a circulation of 62 million in the US, ensuring your ad did not appear next to controversial content required full-time resources. A travel brand advertising to summer vacationers probably did not want an expensive full-color placement near a story about a plane crash. History is truly repeating itself when it comes to brand safety, however the difference between now and then, is the complexity and scale required to maintain brand safe spaces today. 

The industry is struggling to keep up with the pace of online bad actors. As major online publishers increase resources to combat everything from fake news to hate speech, online offenders are becoming more advanced. This modern day Sisyphus scenario has marketers questioning whether or not digital environments can ever be safe. Brand safety isn’t just a trending topic; it’s a real issue that is negatively affecting advertisers, publishers, and anyone online. As we approach a major election year in the US, here are my predictions for how the industry will handle brand safety. 

An industry wide effort is required.  

Publishers are rightfully receiving much of the sting for allowing salacious or false content to reach online audiences. We’ve all read the reports on how major brands’ ads were appearing ahead of and alongside YouTube videos serving as terrorist recruitment. And we’ve all read about the “coordinated inauthentic activity” on Facebook. In fact, according to a new Pew Research Center survey, most Americans agree that the creation and spread of made-up news is causing significant harm to the nation and must be stopped. The most problematic publishers are listening and are attempting to put solutions into place. 

During this year’s Cannes Lions, Facebook, Google, and Twitter launched the first industry-wide initiative to improve online safety partnering with global advertising agencies and brands. Agencies including WPP, Publicis and Omnicom, and brands such as Procter & Gamble and Unilever, have realized the need for industry monitoring and want to stop the spread of harmful or fake content. “We need to fix the whole ecosystem, but Facebook and Google are the biggest players across all online media,” said Procter & Gamble’s Chief Brand Officer, Marc Pritchard. He added that his main goal for the alliance is to, “create standards to control and remove hateful content and comments on online platforms.” While this move toward self-regulation is a step in the right direction, this alliance cannot accomplish all the work alone. Partnership with neutral organizations like the ANA are required. 

One of the appealing things about eBay is that by its very nature, as an ecommerce marketplace, it is free of controversial content that can plague traditional publishers or social platforms. eBay has built immense trust among it’s community of buyers and sellers and this level of trust is also reflected in our ads business. eBay offers advertisers a safe and more controlled environment in regards to how brands appear. And with mountains of shopper data from our logged-in user base, eBay can also segment shoppers so brands don’t have to jeopardize overall integrity of what digital and mass scale can do for a campaign. However, as eBay considers expanding its business and taking in reviews and content, we know we will encounter the same challenges as Facebook and Google which is why we’re committed to putting the right brand protections in place before these issues surface.

Accreditation matters.

The complexities that exist online vastly surpass those that existed in pre-digital days. The sheer volume of hate speech, fake news, gun safety, and election falsities online, poses a very complicated environment that has to be moderated on a high level. The amount of work to be done is overwhelming if brands, agencies, and publishers go at it alone. 

Third party verification and accreditation must become the norm for anyone with an online platform. It’s not an easy feat to take on and often times publishers are concerned that the process will expose too much of their inner workings. However, I’d ask what’s worse: having to open back-end systems in order to begin the accreditation process or failing to provide a brand safe environment? As stated by John Montgomery, global vice-president of brand safety at GroupM, “third-party verification of harmful content on social media is one of its goals.” And while sites relying heavily on user generated content (UGC) are under more scrutiny, every online environment is susceptible to a brand safety blunder. 

Safety comes at a cost. 

Moving forward, brand safety will continue to be a heightened concern, not just for advertisers but for specific platforms that have encountered challenges in the past. Facebook and Google are already applying more money and human capital to resolving issues of brand safety. This will lead to better selection of highly controlled environments, but with possible increased costs to brands.

To circumvent higher prices, agencies and brands are going to have to be more strategic in how they select their media partners. Finding different outlets for brands, where they can achieve scale and have access to highly qualified audiences without costs inflated for brand safety, will become integral to media plans. 

While we’re still in the early days of brand safety, it’s reassuring to note that many of us are having the difficult conversations. As a board member on the ANA and a CMO of a global brand, my decisions around brand safety don’t just come down to how my platform and brand will be affected. I always look at the industry as a whole, understanding that my approach to brand safety can influence how other brands and publishers tackle the issue. As brand safety problems evolve beyond adjacency and fraudulent views to how we manage influencers and regulatory oversight, solid partnerships with organizations like the ANA will ignite change. After all, brand safety isn’t just a problem for brands; it’s a problem for our consumers as well. 

To learn more about the ANA and how to become a member, please visit


Shopping at the Speed of Culture with eBay in Cannes

Cannes, Rose, Culture, and eCommerce! eBay is proud to be an official sponsor of the 2019 Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity. This year, it’s especially fitting as the festival’s theme is centered around the intersection of brands and culture – a place not unfamiliar to eBay.

The Speed of Culture

As the inspired eCommerce marketplace celebrating passions, eBay has always focused on how to bring the speed of culture to its users. Whether it’s a brand new Supreme collab, a classic Stan Lee comic book, or the Game of Thrones Oreos, eBay has always made culture shoppable.

If it’s trending, dropping or releasing, it’s happening on eBay.

The eBay Advertising Cannes cabana will bring to life some of the most memorable shopping moments in the last decade.

eBay’s 109M monthly are highly engaged and seek brands that keep up with influential cultural moments. Thanks in part to AI and advanced data collection, the platform deeply understands what interests users. eBay also understands how pop culture and social media play a role in what inspires user purchases. We know that the same person shopping for a Steph Curry jersey is a parent who will likely share this bit of nostalgia with their children. It’s our deep connection to culture, driving scale, and engagement, combined with our wealth of first-party shopper data that makes eBay a premiere media partner for brands.

See you at Cannes Lions!


The Top Three Reasons Why eCommerce Platforms are Appealing to Advertisers

Brands are increasingly moving dollars from platforms made for search to platforms built for shopping. This is happening across the globe. For instance, Alibaba, China’s largest online retailer is expected to claim more than a third of all of the market’s digital ad revenues in 2020. In the United States, marketers are considering a similar shift in their media mix. Read on to learn the top three reasons why advertisers are considering advertising on eCommerce platforms.

Achieving Relevance

Imagine you’re in a physical store. Let’s say you’re looking for a new phone. Now imagine that each salesperson comes by with suggestions for a designer handbag or new running shoes. How frustrated would you be? You were there for a new phone and while you like the idea of new running shoes, you’re not in the market for them. These salespeople are interrupting your experience and unfortunately, this scenario occurs most often online.

According to Dr. Volker Hildebrand, author of The Customer Experience Edge, “Customer experience is a holistic experience, and being able to offer a personalized approach for each customer can give your company a big advantage over the competition1.” Shoppers do not want to be served irrelevant ads. eCommerce ecosystems remedy this by providing an unsurpassed number of touchpoints with consumers from research to purchase.

Implicit Data vs Explicit Data

The metrics available to advertisers today has increased their demand for real performance and return on their ad spend. Advertisers want data driven success stories. However, not all data is created equal. 

Implicit data is what we find on digital advertisers such as Facebook and Google. This type of data draws inferences from user data and makes suggestions of what to buy. Implicit data is often the culprit behind irrelevant ads. 

To create customized experiences for online users, marketers must use explicit data. When we think explicit, all sort of brand safety concerns come to mind. But that’s not what we’re talking about here. Ernan Roman, president of ERDM and author of VoC Marketing, describes explicit data as, “self-profiled preference information customers provide in the Preference Center of a site or through dialogue boxes.” 2 An example of this on eBay is the My Garage tool. Users login to fill out the preferences for their vehicle. Everything from year, make, and model allows ancillary brands the opportunity to target a consumer appropriately. With this data, a customer can be served ads from insurance companies or auto part retailers that make sense.

A Better Ad Experience

Brands want their current and potential customers to remember them favorably. They don’t want to be associated with a pop-up ad that appears as a reader scrolls through an article about a recent tragedy. They also don’t want to be associated with ad units that seem almost impossible to close out of. Fortunately, shopping platforms provide a quality environment that prevents advertisers from annoying their customers.

As we approach the second half of 2019, marketers must resolve to use data wisely. Consumer patience is dwindling with every generic ad experience. In a 2018 Adobe study, 66% of consumers said encountering a poorly designed and impersonal ad experience would prevent them from making a purchase 3. As consumer expectations increase, marketers will benefit from leveraging brand safe, explicit data available to them on eCommerce platforms like eBay.

Stop the ad clutter and build a relevant campaign with eBay. Connect with our ad sales team.


Ramp Up with eBay’s Bridget Davies

International Women’s Day is celebrated on March 8th every year and seeks to celebrate advancements in women’s rights. As a company founded on the premise that humans are inherently good, eBay is committed to diversity in the workplace. On this International Women’s Day, eBay would like to highlight Bridget Davies, VP of Revenue and Seller Growth, eBay Americas.

Bridget recently participated in a panel at RampUp, one of MarTech’s premier conferencesOn February 26th, Ramp Up hosted, Building Data Narratives – Data & Technology Trends in Practice Track. Bridget and her fellow panelists discussed the importance of using data to create meaningful business insights for brands. Read on to learn more about how Bridget is using eBay’s proprietary data, scale, and advanced technology to help brands.  


eBay Data for Brands

eBay has acquired valuable shopper data over the course of two decades. And it’s thanks to this data, that eBay is able to understand what’s culturally relevant and what’s trending at any given moment. Advanced and long term data collection is something that is uniquely eBay. This data allows for a customer-centric approach, to better connect with 109 million unique shopper journeys each month. Bridget and her team are responsible for bringing that data, and the insights it provides, to brands both on and off the platform. When asked about how eBay’s data supports brands, Bridget said this:

There are three things I focus on when thinking about solutions for advertisers: our phenomenal scale, our ability to build audience data and pair it with behavioral and contextual data, and the mindset the customer has when they are in the marketplace. Bringing those three things together can be really powerful for brands.

Long-term Growth for eBay Advertising

eBay’s data capabilities allow for turnkey audience segments as well as custom segments that help partners connect to their target audience.

In our advertising organization, we have a team that understands our 700+ audiences and can partner with our clients and agencies to help in a consultative approach. – Bridget Davies

With a highly technical and creative team, eBay offers smart audience activation that drives efficiency and campaign success. In 2019, eBay will focus on further evolving the user experience, while pursuing significant long-term growth opportunities in advertising. eBay ultimately serves as a partner, not a competitor to sellers and brands. As discovery and technology advances, eBay is confident in the strength of their business and future growth prospects.

Want to learn more about eBay’s growing advertising opportunities? Contact our ad sales team.

These Three Trends Drove Some of 2018’s Most Successful Campaigns

We’re just a month into the “new” year, though 2019 is shaping up to be transformative for digital advertising. Campaigns are become more personalized than ever, yet marketers have developed heightened awareness to brand safety and compliance – all while still finding new paths to successful campaign optimization.

Only on eBay, a platform visited by as many as a third of all Americans, are marketers equipped with scale and precision – informed by millions of hours of logged shopper data – to execute campaigns that pair the right message with a highly-curated audience. Leveraging eBay’s advertising solutions, brands can keep steady control over their brand experience and profit from some of the biggest trends that continue to shape digital advertising.

Programmatic Guaranteed Meets Brand Safety

Last year saw increased interest in programmatic guaranteed ad buying, including greater optimization through leveraging a publisher’s audience data.

On eBay, programmatic guaranteed not only enables more personalization than private marketplaces, but also can help improve visibility above-the-fold.

With this methodology, advertisers have greater oversight into campaign targeting, pacing and delivery – all with the help of expert-level visibility from eBay’s advertising team. Line of sight into campaign progress and results allows the platform to offer personalized insights, improving future campaign executions and optimization strategies.

High Demand for High-Impact Brand Awareness Campaigns

An effective strategy for long-term relationship building with interested buyers, high-impact brand awareness campaigns match brands with shoppers poised to become their biggest fans. Some of eBay’s most successful brand awareness campaigns have converted first-time buyers into brand repurchasers, who keep engaging long after initially viewing an ad and boost branded search traffic.

Combining eBay’s robust audience data with key placement opportunities, brands can create informed, impactful campaigns that augment ROI by identifying shoppers with the greatest potential for engagement. Feeding America, the nation’s largest domestic hunger-relief organization, did just this when partnering with eBay. The organization launched a Community Selling Campaign, targeting eBay sellers with potential interest in their mission for donations. High-impact ad units on My eBay, Sign Out and the homepage directed targets to a customized charity page, resulting in over 8.4 million impressions.

Through campaign-generated funds alone, Feeding America funded over 124,000 meals from over 16,000 visits to its landing page and over 132,000 listings that donated a portion of their proceeds. The campaign resulted in a 60% increase in brand awareness and led to a 45% increase in consideration.

Tech Leads the Way

Coming out of CES 2019, we’ve heard a lot about technology—but eBay’s audience data finds shoppers have been scoping new electronics and gadgets all year round. In fact, several tech-focused audience segments rank among 2018’s top-performing eBay audiences for pulling some of the highest click-through rates.

Many tech-savvy shoppers rely on the platform to exchange old and new smartphone models, evidenced by high-performing segments like iPhone Shoppers and Cell Phone In-Market Shoppers. Other top audiences include Tech Knowledgists and Consumer Electronic In-Market Shoppers, who use eBay as a reliable access point for the industry’s most popular and cutting-edge items.

eBay’s passionate audiences use the platform as a social marketplace to connect with other enthusiasts and find curated, one-of-a-kind items. Segments valuing niche items like Motor Parts & Accessories In-Market Shoppers and Fashion Brand Sensitive Shoppers rank among top-performing groups as well.

While these audiences certainly appeal to brands within specific industry verticals, other custom segments also drive performance thanks to eBay’s shop-alike models. Working with advertisers, the platform identifies active users most likely to respond positively to a campaign. These custom segments become curated audience targets, driving the success of some of eBay’s most successful campaigns.

In 2018, marketers navigated a demanding advertising landscape that challenged brands to maximize engagement while retaining expert control over brand safety and reputation. In the year ahead, brands can breathe easy knowing eBay’s advertising solutions drive strategic activations that help marketers profit from digital advertising’s most advantageous trends.

Eager to learn more? Contact our ad sales team.

Make the Most of 2019 Marketing Trends with These eBay Advertising Tips

All signs suggest e-commerce will remain as popular as ever in 2019, meaning many brands will continue trying to build relationships with online shoppers and attract attention in as short a time as possible.

Tracking the user journey to inform these objectives is easy on eBay, thanks to a cross-device user ID. Considering over 80% of active buyers are persistently logged in, marketers can pinpoint how and when their target audience begins a shopping session.

But in order to make a strong impression, advertisers must also know the consumer behind the screen. A number of factors–including users’ preferences, habits and moods–all impact whether a message will resonate. Here are a few of our best tips to leverage eBay’s audience insights and make the most of your next campaign.

Track the Customer Journey with Pixel Placements

Brands who implement eBay’s conversion pixel have first-class seats on a user’s customer journey, from the moment buyers are first exposed to an ad to when they check out. Illuminating audience demographics, cross-shopping behaviors and shop-alike segments, pixels can improve the precision of campaign targeting and timing.

They also keep advertisers aware in real time. Once a brand’s campaign goes live, pixels allow eBay’s Data Science team to deliver actionable insights at the campaign line-item level, fine-tuning audience insights to help improve ROI.

Placing a conversion pixel helped a leading car insurance brand find new customers. Targeting first-party shopper audience segments on and off eBay, the brand optimized their campaign through insights discovered from campaign purchase funnel data. It didn’t take long for the brand to see results–within just a week of placing the pixel, data insights resulted in a performance boost of 3x. By the end of the campaign, the brand achieved an 8% better CPA average than expected, and users were 121% more likely to engage with the ad.

Send the Right Message to the Right Buyer

An ad, even when placed at the right moment, will not make an impression if it doesn’t target the right customer. To help advertisers find their target audiences, eBay has constructed hundreds of evergreen audience segments based on interests, demographics, purchase habits and more. These segments are constructed with insight from countless hours of transaction-level data, logged by over 177 million active buyers who browse eBay’s 1.1 billion listings.

Brands who think outside the box can also leverage Shop-Alike Audiences to target users who behave like existing customers and create custom segments.

Additionally, eBay’s Client Insights & Analytics team helps advertisers figure out which members of their target audience cash in on trending shopping moments. During viral campaigns like Nike’s Just Do It launch last fall, searches on eBay for the brand jumped 600%–creating an e-commerce event that other brands could leverage.

Leave Room for Creativity

Jennifer Werner, eBay’s Head of Industry, works with brands of all sizes across a variety of verticals to reach their most passionate shoppers. Even though her clients are experts in their goals and audience targets, Werner expects her team will surprise them with new insights.

“Our campaign managers bring new ideas forward and share really good insights on ways to optimize any kind of campaign,” she says. “We always hope our clients are willing to test new areas, because that’s where we see the best success.”

This collaborative relationship helped one financial services firm’s high-impact awareness campaign perform above expectations, and even pick up some new customers.

“Today, we have a strong partnership with them, and we’re continuing to have a dialogue on testing new areas of opportunity,” Werner says.

Brands that work with eBay can benefit from expert audience analysis. With a small budget set aside, they can test different audience segments and increase their chances of maximizing the success and reach of campaigns.

Greater precision, focus and flexibility is guaranteed to help digital marketers stay ahead of the curve. As brands reflect on a year full of can’t-miss e-commerce moments and advancements in audience targeting, eBay Advertising is helping them set ambitious resolutions for each interaction ahead.

Ready to make each moment count in 2019? Contact our ad sales team.

eBay’s Commerce Marketing Summit @AdWeek

Where, when and how we shop is changing, and as marketers – we must adapt to this new reality. This month, eBay sponsored the Commerce Marketing Summit at AdWeek New York, hosting sessions that focused on a range of topics, from content to personalization, to top trends shaping the future of commerce. Watch the replay below.

Key Trends Shaping the Future of Ecommerce

The e-commerce industry is booming. And, with rapid growth comes frequent changes. We sat down with some of the brightest minds from eMarketer, Feeding America and Isobar to discuss what’s next for ecommerce marketing.

Getting Personal – A Customer Experience

In today’s ever-changing retail landscape, capitalizing on data-driven insights to build dynamic relationships with customers is more important than ever. Poor personalization can, in turn, lead to lower engagement and bad brand experiences. We sat down with Pandora, Gravity Road and Reebok to discuss how marketers are leveraging data to provide a greater user experience.

Getting Personal – A Customer Experience Session @AdWeek from eBay Advertising on Vimeo.

Online Marketplaces, the Sleeping eCommerce Giant

Only ten percent of the five trillion in total annual sales in 2018 is attributed to digital channel sales[1]. However, the future is bright for eCommerce as eMarketer forecasts that sales will grow by nearly 70% by 2022. That’s a lot of growth happening quickly, which is why eCommerce platforms have been called the sleeping giant.

Over the next four years, it’s projected that 83.2% of the total digital population will be shopping online, which is 12M new digital shoppers by 2022[2].

As more and more people are conducting their shopping digitally, eCommerce platforms are leveraging shopper data to constantly develop new ways to make digital experiences more personalized, fluid and intuitive. This, in turn, is driving the growth of shoppers and sales.

Where there’s engaged shoppers and massive amounts of data being collected, there’s going to be advertisers. If Amazon is an indicator of how advertisers will leverage the ever-growing eCommerce market moving forward, business will be booming. In 2017, Amazon was the second-fastest-growing major digital ad firm in terms of ad revenue. It’s expected that Amazon’s net US digital ad revenues will increase by 42% in 2018[3].

Amazon isn’t the only eCommerce site growing their ad business. eBay Advertising has seen exponential growth over the past few quarters. In fact, Promoted Listings on eBay contributed one point of eBay’s 7% transaction revenue growth in Q2 of 2018. As of Q2 2018, there were over 300,000 sellers promoting 150M listings on eBay and Promoted Listings has the potential to boost visibility by 30% which is why large brands are taking advantage of this opportunity.

It’s forecasted that global digital media will account for 43.5% of investments this year and it’s thanks to rising global ecommerce spending and shifting viewership from traditional TV to digital channels[4]. In other words, as eCommerce rises so does the market for digital ad spend. US digital advertisers have spent about $111B dollars on digital placements so far this year, which is a 26% increase from last year [5]. It’s also forecasted that by 2022 digital ad spend will make up nearly 65% of total media ad spending[6].

This growing trend will shake up the digital advertising world as we know it where the Duopoly, Google and Facebook, have been dominating the field. With more dollars devoted to digital ad spend and the strong growth of online shoppers, it’s anticipated that eCommerce will thrive.

Here’s Why:

Rich Audience Data & Targeting at Scale

eCommerce sites have troves of shopping journey data that provide a deep level of understanding of who their shoppers are and how they shop. Turning this shopper data into powerful insights is key for fueling successful ad campaigns.

These eCommerce platforms are among the most effective digital channels for collecting marketing data, according to US marketers[7]. A study by BARC says some benefits of using big data from eCommerce include making better strategic decisions and gaining a better understanding of customers.

Digital shoppers are starting their hunt for products on eCommerce sites with increased frequency. In 2018, 28% started their searches on platforms like eBay or Amazon, up from 22% in 2017[8] . With eCommerce dominating as a search and discovery platform, there are strong shopper intent signals that can be leveraged by advertisers.

Shopper intent data is just one of the many examples of the valuable insights eCommerce sites capture from shoppers that can be leveraged by advertisers looking to connect with shoppers in the conversion mindset. Allison Giorgio, Head of Marketing at PUMA North America shared in a CMO Council report, “Without a doubt, the data that eCommerce sites are able to gather allows us as marketers to make better decisions and to understand exactly who is purchasing our products.”

Contextually Relevant, Beyond Audience Targeting

Contextual targeting is rising in importance. While reaching a quality audience at scale through traditional targeting tactics is important, another key to campaign success is to engage consumers while they’re in contextually relevant places.

Understanding the context someone is in when they encounter an ad is key to make sure it resonates. For example, if a shopper is demographically targeted with clothing and accessory ads while he or she is reading the Financial Times, he or she is likely to be less open to the ad. In this example, he or she is not necessarily in the “shopper mindset” however, if he or she encountered the ad while visiting an eCommerce site they’re in a different mindset and are more ready to transact as they’ve got their wallet in hand.

Quality is Key

In an April 2018 study commissioned by Oath, 99% of respondents expressed concern about their ads appearing in brand-safe environments. Fifty-eight percent of those respondents said they were more concerned about brand safety this year than they were in 2017. Clearly, brand-safe environments are top of mind for marketers when making their advertising decisions.

By their very nature, eCommerce platforms are typically free of controversial content that can sometimes plague traditional publishers or social platforms. Shopping platforms provide the quality environments that advertisers want and the brand safety they need.

But quality isn’t just about the environment that an ad appears in, it’s about the audience that’s exposed to the ad. In today’s digital world, non-human traffic is yet another challenge that marketers contend with. Again, this is a place where eCommerce shines. For example, 80% of eBay’s users are persistently logged in, providing advertisers with piece of mind that their ads will be seen by real people, not bots.

An Ad Age article said it best, “For now, the real solution is for marketers to focus on quality placements with trusted publishers. This proven strategy ensures a brand-safe environment. Only when brands partner with reputable publishers can they have full confidence in where their ads are being placed.”


When and how we shop has changed and – as a result – advertisers must adapt to the new reality. Partnering with an eCommerce site to devise a strategic advertising campaign will unlock powerful shopper data and can give brands the edge they need in a highly competitive space.

Learn more about eBay’s Brand Solutions and contact our sales team today.

Learn more about eBay’s Brand Solutions and contact our sales team today.

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