Quality Click Pricing - More Of Your Questions Answered

Over the past months as people are getting used to the new Quality Click Pricing payment model, we've been asked many questions about the new system both in person and on the boards.  Many have already been answered in the FAQ document that we published at launch, but some were new and we thought it worthwhile to collate them and publish them here so that everyone can benefit from the answers.  We're committed to helping people suceed under QCP, so as well as reading this article, we recommend you check out some of the educative articles that we've posted to help you increase the quality of your traffic. Are higher ticket categories, such as Motors, and auction heavy categories, such as collectibles, adversely affected by the launch of QCP?

The motors category overall hasn’t experienced more publishers whose earnings have declined when compared to winners than other categories and in fact, there are twice the number of motors affiliates who are earning more or about the same amount than there are losing under QCP.  In general we see motors publishers bring in a bit less short term revenue (as the purchase cycle of vehicles tends to be longer than that of other items).  However, this is balanced by the fact that their traffic’s long term revenue tends to be greater than for other affiliates, which leads to these results. 

When looking at the performance for segments of Motors affiliates, the results are very intuitive when taking into account the objectives of QCP.  Motors affiliates who generate more than 50% of their revenue from the motors category tend to do better when compared to their CPA earnings.  However, affiliates who send traffic to the motors category, but whose users tend to convert elsewhere generally see lower earnings when compared to CPA.  So the sites that target motors visitors and help get them interesting in buying motors items on eBay do better!

Why is my EPC zero for a campaign, despite it having posted winning bid revenue for that day?

QCP is based on revenue, so just like in the old system there may be days when an affiliate has zero sales and therefore zero EPC. This is especially true with campaigns that have lower volumes of clicks.  This said, there are a few specific reasons why you might see zero EPCs: • Rounding for extremely low EPCs: If your EPC earnings divided by your number of clicks is less than 0.005 (in USD or any other currency) then the EPC will be rounded down to zero. • Click spiking: The system has a built-in protection to ensure that people can’t build up a high EPC level with a low volume of traffic and then profit by flooding ePN with high volumes of low quality clicks the next day.  Therefore, when we see that a campaign has a significant increase in clicks (this also happens with new campaigns), the history for that campaign will be weighted less and we’ll use shorter term revenues, and an estimate of longer term revenue, as a way to calculate the value of those clicks until we have more data to determine the quality of those clicks (usually a few days).  If you have no short term revenue associated with those clicks, you may have a zero EPC until we can determine the actual value of the traffic.

I just generated an ACRU and my EPC hasn’t changed – why?

Your EPC is made up of both the short term value generated by sales and also the long term value from new users, so we’re still looking at the quantity of ACRUs each publisher brings in and what those ACRUs are worth to eBay.  However, what has changed is that we no longer simply add up the number of ACRUs, multiply by a monthly tier, and pay out for them. Instead we now use a combination of the number of ACRUs and the actual value of those ACRUs to determine the long-term value of your traffic.  This is a factor that gets adjusted on an on-going basis as the quality and quantity of ACRUs evolves over time.  Thus when you generate an ACRU, you may not see any impact on your EPC that day, since the ACRU value is realized over a longer period of time.  In the long term, you will see an increase in your EPC if you drive either more ACRUs or the value of those ACRUs increase.

Are my EPC amounts and my earnings affected if I am hit by a bot and my clicks increase?

We recently launched in mid-November additional real-time click filters that will help address a large number of clicks from these unknown bots, and we’ll continue to work on additional filters to catch more of them.  However, if a bot does hit your site and is not filtered, your EPC is still based on revenue, so although an increase in clicks due to bots will decrease your EPC, in most cases the overall amount you earn will remain the same.  If you suspect a bot, you can contact customer service.  Please include the website that was affected and  the IP address.  Our team will investigate for inclusion into our list of filtered bots. 

Why does my EPC appear lower than usual when I split existing activity into multiple campaigns or start a new campaign?

When you first start a campaign, the system has very limited information with which to predict the value of your clicks, so it may take a few days’ worth of data to reflect the actual value of your traffic.  In some cases this may lead to us paying more than we would have if you had a full campaign history and in some cases less.  This is because until you have built up a history, we use revenue generated very close to the click, with an estimate for long-term revenue, as a way to calculate the value of those clicks.  The system will get up to speed more quickly with campaigns that have larger numbers of clicks and may take a bit more time with campaigns that have fewer numbers of clicks.

How can my EPC earnings amount be higher than the amount of 7 day winning bid revenue?

• There are other components to the QCP algorithm besides winning bid revenue, such as the long term value of ACRUs and PayPal and advertising revenue, which means that your earnings could be higher than your winning bid revenue.  This could also have happened under the old CPA system. • In addition to looking at the revenue driven by yesterday’s traffic, the system also takes into account the value you have driven from sales historically, including from sales that occurred within the 7 day cookie latency.  This means that although the winning bid revenue could be low for this day, the EPC also takes into account winning bid revenue you received on other higher winning bid revenue days, for example Sundays.  Given the difficulty in making these comparisons, we recommend that you analyze your earnings over a longer period of time such as a week or month.

Why does my EPC fluctuate so much from day to day?

In general, publishers should see less variability in their EPC than under the old CPA system as the algorithm looks at historical data as well as what happened yesterday. In fact, we have seen about a 30% reduction on average for publishers.  This said, there are a few cases where you may see more volatility in your EPCs: • If you are a low volume publisher you may see more fluctuation than other publishers, just as you would have done under the CPA payment model.  This is also the case if you are operating on one of eBay's smaller programs, such as Belgium, since traffic volumes on these programs tend to be lower.  If you’re a very low volume publisher that is not sending enough clicks for us to calculate their value, then your clicks and earnings may be pooled with other low volume publishers and you will be given a default EPC. • If you have recently increased the number of clicks you are driving to eBay or started a new campaign, then your EPC is likely to fluctuate more than normal as you build up a history.  This is because we use revenue generated very close to the click as a way to calculate the value of the new campaign or increased volume of clicks. 

Does lack of referring URLs or not having your business model specially approved (where relevant) affect your EPC?

At the current time, QCP does not factor referring URLs into your EPC.  However: • If you operate under a business model that requires special approval, you need to apply for and receive approval for that business model.  These include electronic communications (e-mail), incentives, downloadable software, or “other”.    Failure to do so may lead to you being expired from eBay Partner Network.  You can find the special business model applications under the “Account” tab under “Business model applications” • It is important that you take steps to enable us to see your referring URLs.  You can find more information on ensuring we can see those here. While these don’t impact your EPC at the current time, we do look regularly at each account and its referring URLs, and whenever there’s any issue with an account, referring URLs are important inputs to ensure we understand where traffic is coming from and can take the appropriate action.