ePN Mobile

ePN TV: Christian Erhard Updates Us on ePN Mobile

You may remember that last fall we talked a lot of ePN Mobile here on the blog. The program had been in the works for a long time and it was a definitely a priority for eBay. In recent months we’ve been in a bit of a holding pattern with parts of the program and wanted to update you a bit on the status and what you can expect going forward.

We sat down with Chrstian Erhard, Head of ePN Partnerships in Europe, to talk about evolving user behavior, tracking mobile vs. classic ePN traffic and the current state of the app-to-web portion of our program.

Right now we believe that mobile is a huge opportunity at eBay Partner Network. We know that many of you have made mobile versions of your website available to your audience, and we hope that you’re reaping the rewards of that decision. In fact, we’d love to get your thoughts on that process and if you’ve seen a lift in business since you’ve launched your mobile sites. Please leave a comment below.

Mobile Tech That’s Changing the Way We Shop

Here at ePN we talk a lot about the shifts happening in the way that consumers shop and pay. We’re always thinking about ways to integrate the behaviors and technology of tomorrow into our constantly evolving program. Last year you’ll remember that we made a big push around ePN Mobile. At eBay we believe that Mobile is the future and that preparing your business for that shift is imperative.

Evidence of that shift surfaced over at eBay Motors today with the release of their new mobile app. Highlights include:

  • New Search! See a car you like? Use Vehicle Finder to take a pic and find it on eBay – no typing needed
  • Win more stuff! Receive notifications for when you are outbid, items you are watching are ending and for Best Offer
  • Watch live eBay Motors broadcasts from events and races in the Videos section
  • Haven't uploaded a photo of your car to the Garage? Stock images for vehicles now show in the Garage
  • Share parts and vehicles you are buying or selling with friends and followers on Twitter (iOS 5 only)

My favorite part is that you can snap a picture of a car and it will find it for you on eBay. Pretty insane, right?

What sort of progress are you making on your mobile strategies? How do releases like this inspire you or cause you to rethink your current year-long planning? We’d love to get your comments below.

ePN TV: Julia Barrett Talks Goats and ePN Mobile

We try to keep things interesting when brainstorming concepts for ePN TV. This week would certainly fall into that category. Would you believe that our own Julia Barrett managed to tie her search for the perfect stuffed goat head to the continuous expansion of ePN’s mobile program? Believe it.

“Just as I normally do in any kind of antiques store, I immediately thought ‘I can probably find this goat head, if not a better goat head, on eBay and I bet you it will be half the price’.” Barrett continues, “My challenge to you, the developer community, is to help buyers like me connect with sellers – sellers of goat heads. Help me as a buyer find that goat head and help grandma list that goat head that’s in her garage.”

We understand that ePN Mobile was announced several months back, but we wanted to keep the subject fresh in your mind as you ponder your killer app. Julia’s goat head recommendation engine is only one idea in a sea of thousands that could add real value to the eBay shopping experience.

What will you dream up?

I’m Getting Mobile Traffic, Now What?

Last week, after many months of planning and development, we excitedly rolled out our ePN Mobile program. One of the driving forces behind this rollout was the desire to give publishers the tools they needed to better understand, optimize, and grow their mobile traffic revenue.

Now that publishers have had a few days to look at the new mobile reports, many of you may be asking yourself how you can capitalize on this newly discovered mobile traffic? How do you make the most of it? We want to help. We’d like to introduce you to a company called Netbiscuits.

Since 2005, eBay has partnered with Netbiscuits to build, manage and optimize m.eBay.com and now mobileweb.ebay.com into the premier mobile shopping site. We want to put this same powerful technology into the hands of our publishers.

What Does Netbiscuits Do?

As many of you may already know, navigating and developing and testing a mobile site that works on thousands of different connected devices used by consumers today is a challenge. Netbiscuits solves this problem by providing a unifying layer to the vast array of mobile and connected devices worldwide, enabling a rich user experiences for your mobile sites and apps.

Netbiscuits has provided a few best practices that you should be thinking about when considering a mobile website:

1. Understand your mobile use cases

Mobile is different. On one hand you have obstacles like smaller screen sizes. On the other you get additional functionality such as location sensitivity. You have to cater to both and think about the use cases that really make sense to your customers.

2. Provide a consistent, yet user friendly experience

Even though mobile is different you should try hard to provide a consistent experience across all platforms. Convert as much of the functionality of your desktop site to mobile as you can to create a seamless experience.

3. Integrate your online presence

Use re-directs and deep linking to provide a seamless user experience across all platforms online. Re-direct mobile users from your standard domain to your mobile-optimized site. Put search requests via Google, Bing etc. directly through to your mobile content pages. This will help you leverage your desktop SEO initiatives for your mobile site too.

4. Listen to your users

Once launched, your mobile site needs even more attention. Invite your users to take a look and ask them for their opinion.

What’s missing? What is obsolete? What needs a second round of improvement?

5. Make your mobile site accessible on any device

Use Netbiscuits to go mobile. The built-in intelligence of our their enterprise-class mobile web software platform removes the complexity of programming for the vast array of devices, operating systems and browsers while providing a suite of tools and a roster of partners to maximize and monetize the mobile opportunity.

A Special Offer for ePN Publishers

Because we believe in the importance and rapid revenue growth potential of mobile traffic, we want to help our publishers make their mobile strategy a priority. To do that we’ve worked out an agreement with Netbiscuits that gives ePN Publishers a 60-Day FREE Trial of their services. That means that you can try Netbiscuits for free, without any strings attached for two months to see if it has any positive impact on your mobile revenue.

We know you may have lots of questions on this. Please feel free to leave your thoughts or comments below and we’ll work with the Netbiscuits team to get answers as quickly as we can for you.

ePN Mobile is Here!

After many months planning and building behind the scenes, we’re excited to finally announce the arrival of ePN Mobile! As you can imagine, our team is incredibly excited to help you get your mobile initiatives out of the starting gate and around the track. Before we continue, let’s review...

As you may recall from our pre-announcement on August 22nd, we’ve updated our policies and have rolled out a new Network Agreement and Code of Conduct. Please take some time to read and understand how they affect your business. You may also remember that we asked you to register all of your domains with us. This requirement is very important and dictates whether or not you receive payment for traffic that occurs on a mobile device. Please ensure this crucial step has been completed.

A couple of reminders:

We understand that you probably have lots of questions around this rollout. We’ve compiled some helpful information below to help get you started – including a screenshot of what the report graph will look like, instructions on how to retrieve your reports and some answers to the most frequently asked questions you’ve raised thus far.

1. Where and how will I be able to see the mobile traffic that I’m driving?

There are a couple of ways to see your mobile traffic and they’re nothing new.  We simply added mobile traffic to reports you’re already using.

  • Go to the Reports Tab >> Run Report and select “Mobile Traffic” for Traffic Type.  You’ll see your daily report and graph just like you’re used to seeing with your classic traffic.

  • Go to the Reports tab >> Download Reports and run a Transaction Download Report.  This report now has a column marked “Traffic Type” that indicates whether your traffic is mobile or classic.  Please note that we’ve also added a column for “Item Name.”  This doesn’t have anything to do with mobile specifically, but we know it’s something you’ve been asking for.

2. What does ePN classify as web and mobile traffic?

We define traffic type based on the device.  Web or “classic” traffic is defined as traffic which occurs on a desktop or laptop computer. Mobile traffic is traffic that occurs on a mobile device like a smartphone or tablet.

3. How will ePN track my mobile traffic clicks, purchases and other activity?

We will continue to use a 7-day, browser-based cookie to track on mobile, just like we do for classic traffic.

4. What commission model applies to mobile traffic?

The same payment structure that you’re currently on for classic traffic is also applicable to mobile traffic.

5. I don’t have a mobile site, can I still get compensated for mobile traffic?

Yes, publishers do not need a mobile website to drive mobile traffic. When your website is accessed on a mobile device the traffic will be detected and reported as mobile traffic.

Moving Forward

We want to encourage you to ask questions in the discussion board or here in the blog comments. Our team will be monitoring both places very closely and jumping in to respond when necessary. We look forward to starting this exciting journey into Mobile with all of you!