Implement Geo-Targeting Today

As we mentioned in an earlier blog post, we are posting a series of articles that highlight best practices and give you tips on how you can improve your traffic quality. This article covers geo-targeting – a sure fire way to increase your EPCs, if you’re not doing it already! The results are in from an internal eBay Partner Network (ePN) geo-targeting study. Our data has shown that between 5% and 25% of visitors to US-based publishers with .com websites come from outside the United States. However, many of our publishers send all their traffic to eBay.com, rather than to the eBay site specific to the country their visitor lives in. There are two main reasons why you should send your visitors to the corresponding local eBay site rather than always to eBay.com.

1. ePN Tracking is Program Specific

Different eBay programs on ePN use distinct tracking codes. This means that you earn no commission if you use a US ePN link (starting with http://rover.ebay.com/rover/1/711-53200-19255-0/...) to send a British visitor to eBay.co.uk. But it is also not a good idea to send a British visitor to the eBay.com website, even if it is using the US ePN link. This is because although the QCP algorithm will give you credit for purchases, you will not get credit for new users.

Why is that? The reason is that when a British person tries to sign up as a new eBay member on ebay.com, they are redirected from the US registration page to the eBay.co.uk website, and on eBay.co.uk there is no recognition of the eBay.com affiliate tracking.

This means that in order to get credit for the ACRUs and the commission for transactions, you need to send your visitors to their local eBay website (as long as this local website has an ePN program). Therefore for British visitors, choose a UK ePN link (starting with http://rover.ebay.com/rover/1/710-53481-19255-0/...). For other programs’ placement ids, please see the table below this article.

This table summarizes your options:

geo-post-image-14

2. Propensity to Buy Favors Local Site

Perhaps unsurprisingly, people have a higher propensity to buy from their own country’s eBay site, where available. Therefore if you direct a user to their local site, they are more likely to make a purchase than if you send them to eBay.com. We have found that even for countries like Canada, where a lot of people buy on eBay.com directly and import from the US, geo-targeting the traffic to eBay.ca usually results in higher earnings than sending buyers directly to the US website. We recently conducted A/B tests with two niche website publishers where they sent their Canadian buyer traffic to the eBay.ca site instead of eBay.com. We tested this both under the old pricing model as well as the new Quality Click Pricing model, and in both cases the results showed an uplift in EPCs.

geo-post-image-2

A/B test results with 2 content website publishers with their Canadian traffic in August & September 09.

For publisher 1, their EPC increased by 2 cents per click when he directed his traffic from Canadian IP addresses to the eBay.ca website instead of the eBay.com website, and publisher 2 saw a huge 6 cent increase. Of course, not all publishers will see the same results, but it does highlight the opportunities of effective geo-targeting.

How to Activate Geo-Targeting

Firstly, make sure that you are signed up to all programs to which you intend to geo-target your traffic.  There are some ePN tools with built-in geo-targeting capabilities available in the publisher interface. Geo-targeting in ePN is available for:

• Selected banners (geo-targeting is a search option in the creatives generator) • Home page links • Item ID links • For search results links, geo-targeting works for English speaking countries (US, UK, CA, AU & IE) only.

The built-in solution requires the use of JavaScript links, as this is necessary for the IP detection of your visitors. For other ePN tools that don’t have built in geo-targeting capabilities, there are external services that allow you to geo-target. Also, you can use an external solution if you do not want to depend on JavaScript. One of these services that publishers have recommended on our affiliate discussion boards is the GeoLite country database from maxmind.com (please note that we have no direct experience with this service and can’t help with implementation). For further information, we recommend visiting the boards and then use ‘geotargeting’ as a search term to find relevant threads. There is also further information in the user manual, in the tools section for creatives and link generator, and in the tracking section.

Finally, please note that currently geo targeting does not work for the Motors category (vehicles and parts and accessories) if you are directing traffic to the US or Canadian site from any country outside of North America, or if you sending traffic from the US or Canada to any other eBay site. 

We will follow this article up soon with a shorter post about where you should direct traffic when the visitor is from a country where there is no eBay site.

The next educative post will be posted next week by James Skelland from our UK agency, R.O.EYE. James has been working extensively with publishers across Europe to help them optimize the products they showcase using the API or Custom Banner. He’s become quite the expert, so make sure you check back next week to read his article!

Happy geo-targeting!

The eBay Partner Network Team

eBay Placement IDs

eBay Program / Placement ID eBay US / 711-53200-19255-0 eBay AU / 705-53470-19255-0 eBay BE / 1553-53471-19255-0 eBay CA / 706-53473-19255-0 eBay ES / 1185-53479-19255-0 eBay FR / 709-53476-19255-0 eBay IT / 724-53478-19255-0 eBay UK / 710-53481-19255-0 eBay IE / 5282-53468-19255-0 eBay NL / 1346-53482-19255-0 eBay DE / 707-53477-19255-0 eBay AT / 5221-53469-19255-0 eBay CH / 5222-53480-19255-0