Category Summary Report Coming October 22nd

We are excited to release our new Category Summary Report on Wednesday the 22nd, and would like to share some of what you can expect to see.  The new report will be available in the Run Reports section where you’ll be given the product categories the buyers you send to eBay end up converting in.  This information is viewable by program and even down to the campaign level.  You can expect to see total ACRUs, Bid/Bins, Winning Bids, and Winning Bid Revenue displayed in your choice of either pie or bar chart options, to help you better visualize your performance.  Then to see even more granularity you’ll have the ability to drill down from the main categories to see sub categories down to the third level for exceptional insight into the buying patterns of your users. Screenshot (click to zoom in):

We want to highlight one specific topic, but to learn more about the Category Summary Report, please go the Help section for further details.

What is the Other Category? The items that are listed under the ‘Other’ bucket are based on the availability of items that were originally listed from another eBay Site, but were purchased via the program site you are active in.

For example, Seller XYZ posts a Beanie Baby on www.ebay.co.uk and lists the item as being available for buyers on other sites. A buyer clicks on one of your links and is forwarded to the eBay US site, and searches for ‘Beanie Baby.’ They then land on the results of the listing from Seller XYZ and they purchase the item. Because this item was originally listed on eBay UK, but purchased on eBay US, it will appear under the reports for the eBay US program and will fall into the ‘Other’ bucket.  This category usually represents a very small percentage of transactions for most publishers.

We hope you find this report helpful.

The eBay Partner Network Team

Reporting Delay – Update Oct 16th

Hello All, We are in the process of upgrading our reporting systems after the reporting delays this past weekend and wanted to tell you ahead of time that there will be some additional delays the rest of this week in reporting as we perform this maintenance. 

The data from the 14th posted today, but the transactions from the 15th will be delayed until tomorrow, the 17th.  We expect tomorrow's update will also include data from the 16th, and be back to the normal schedule moving forward.

We apologize for the inconvenience and want to confirm that the underlying tracking system is still in place and working properly, this issue is only affecting the loading of that data into the graphs and tables available for publishers on eBay Partner Network.

Sincerely,

eBay Parnter Network Team

Change of Payment Structure for the eBay.fr Affiliate Program on the 1st of November 2008!

The eBay France affiliate team is very happy to inform you that as of the 1st of November 2008, the payment structure of the French affiliate program will change in order to help you earn more! Up to now, the eBay.fr affiliate program has mostly rewarded the recruitment of new registered users. As of the 1st of November, we want to compensate you more for the activity of the 12 million registered users we have already!

This is why, on top of the new ACRU compensation, the ebay.fr affiliate program will be tying your earnings per bid and BIN to the revenue we get for the sold item and the share you receive will vary from 40% to 65%. This model has already allowed affiliates to increase their income in the United States, the United Kingdom and Australia.

Details on the Revenue Share Payout structure (or “Rev’Share”)

The revenue used to calculate your commission is made up of the seller fees (listing fees and final value fees) earned by eBay after a winning bid or Buy-it-Now that has been generated by traffic that you have driven to eBay.fr.

Basically, this means that when you generate sales on eBay.fr and eBay.fr receives €100 of revenue from these sales, you will be paid between €40 and €65, depending on the total monthly revenue generated by your account.

On top of an exceptional payout on revenue, the eBay.fr affiliate program will continue to reward you for New Active Users based on a new payout structure (see detailed structure below).

The Payout structure:

A couple of examples :

  • If you generate 100 New Active Confirmed Registered Users and €8,000 of eBay revenue in any given month, you will therefore receive compensation of (€15*100)+( €8,000*50%)= €1,500+€4,000=€5,500
  • If you generate 600 New Active Confirmed Registered Users and €120,000  eBay revenue, you will receive compensation of (€20*600)+(€120,000*65%)= €12,000+€78,000=€90,000

This new Payout structure will apply to all affiliates for the activity generated from the 1st of November onwards! Use this new compensation to increase your income during the holiday season!

*Winning Bid: An end user completes a bid or BIN that results in a successful transaction on eBay.fr and Content within 7 days after clicking your Link. ** ACRU: An end user (a) registers on the eBay.fr for the first time within 30 days of clicking on a Link (b) confirms his or her registration and (c) visits eBay.fr and Content and places a bid or BIN to purchase an item within 30 days of the original registration.

Trainz.com Boosts e-Commerce Revenues with the eBay Partner Network

Trainz.com is an e-commerce website specifically built for the model train enthusiast. Started in the late nineties by Scott Griggs, a lifelong model train hobbyist and salesman, Trainz.com sells collectible and new model trains, as well as scenery and materials for model train tracks.  Trainz.com sells inventory on its own website as well as on eBay, conducting about 4,000 total transactions per month. Since much of its inventory is sold on eBay, Trainz.com has incorporated links to its eBay inventory all over its website, encouraging visitors to check eBay as well as Trainz.com for the particular product they’re looking for.

In early 2007, Trainz.com became a member of the eBay Partner Network so that it could be paid for the visitors it was driving to eBay, whether a visitor bought a Trainz.com product or not. Since then, the company has seen an increase in revenues as a result.

Trainz.com issues a monthly newsletter to its 20,000 regular customers, which is used to highlight new and collectible items for sale on its site, and drives people to eBay to check out the new inventory there.  The combination of its multi-channel sales strategy and eBay Partner Network participation has helped Trainz.com continue to grow steadily every year. The company recently won a Professional eBay Sellers’ Alliance (PeSA) contest for driving the most traffic to eBay, outpacing its competition by 2-3X! 

“Joining the eBay Partner Network has been very beneficial to our business,” said Scott Griggs, founder and CEO of Trainz.com. “If our customers can’t find what they’re looking for on our site, we can provide a better experience for them by helping them find what they’re looking for on eBay. Even if they end up buying something completely different, we’ve helped that customer out and eBay rewards us for doing so.”

Halloween 2008, Top Sellers and NEW Banners

Hello and Welcome to the Halloween edition of the ePN blog

Fall colors, longer nights and that telltale chill in the air ... Halloween is just around the corner. As brick and mortar stores set up their creepy displays, eBay sellers are not to be outdone. Online shoppers can scare up a good deal on hordes of costumes, decorations, movies and more. By posting banner ads or links to Halloween related listings on eBay, affiliates are bound to drive a frightening amount of quality traffic ... while driving revenue for themselves. 

A few tips on hot costumes for 2008: With the releases of Iron Man and The Dark Knight, this is sure to be a big year for superheroes. Here are a few fun examples:

Iron Man

Little Batman

Big Batman

and even ... Batdog?

Look for super-pals Robin and Batgirl, or Joker the arch-villain, to ride the wave of publicity as well. Other kid favorites include Spider-man, Harry Potter, Indiana Jones, the Star Wars characters, Power Rangers, Transformers, Hannah Montana and any of the Disney princesses.

Speaking of dogs, the choices for spooky pet gear are nearly limitless. Check out this dog skunk costume... Or this Men In Black outfit.

For the little pumpkins, high demand costumes include cherished cartoon buddies like Thomas the Tank Engine or Nemo, the ever-popular animal outfits, furry little monster getups, or even baby Princess Leia!

Affiliates can also post this top ten list of costumes and link to the relevant items:

1. Batman

2. Indiana Jones

3. Iron Man

4. Political & President Masks

5. Joker

6. Star Wars

7. Harry Potter

8. High School Musical

9. Pets Costumes

10. Tinker Bell

But while finding great costumes is half the fun, the other half is setting up the Halloween mood. eBay sellers offer a host of creepy decorations, from spider candles to outdoor graveyards, ghouls, skeletons and more.  Shoppers also will be scouting for scary movie faves like the prolific Halloween collection, or the lighter side for kids, including themed films featuring Dora, Sesame Street, or SpongeBob SquarePants. Try the following links to send shoppers through.  Just enter one of the urls into the Link Generator Custom URL field to create the code:  http://search.stores.ebay.com/partyfrenzycom_halloween-decorations_W0QQ_trksidZp3286Q2ec0Q2em57QQftsZ1QQsaselZ743805479QQsofpZ0

http://cgi.ebay.com/HALLOWEEN-25-YEARS-OF-TERROR-DVD-BOXSET-NEW_W0QQitemZ370089516708QQcmdZViewItem?hash=item370089516708&_trkparms=72%3A1208|39%3A1|66%3A2|65%3A12|240%3A1318&_trksid=p3286.c0.m14

  Also check out our new Halloween Banners!  Click on the banners to get the code or go to the Creative Generator and select no for Geo-Target then eBay US Program to see all of the new banners, Happy Haunting!

 black cauldron - 300x250
 

 

 
 

  

 

 

 

eBay Halloween static banner 120x60

 

 

 

 

Squidoo Helps Its Lensmasters Make Money with Their Passions and the eBay Partner Network

Every now and then, we like to share an affiliate success story to help inspire and offer ideas to other affiliates. We are planning on creating a series on this topic featuring new publishers each month.  This week we spoke to Squidoo, to learn more about how they’re using the eBay Partner Network.   Squidoo is a hand-built collection of about 600,000 web pages created by people with passions. Each page is called a lens and can be about anything a person is interested in. The idea behind Squidoo is to provide a place where people can research and meet other people online that have similar passions. Anyone can create a lens, and they can use the lens to earn money for themselves and for charity through ads and affiliate links. 

Squidoo has quickly become one of the top 300 most popular websites in the U.S. and has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for charities and for its users, or “lensmasters,” as they are called. Creating a page is free, and lensmasters can decide how much of their income they would like to donate to charity. Squidoo automatically sends 5% of all proceeds to charity, keeps 45% to run the company and lets the lensmaster decide what to do with the other 50% - keep it or donate a portion to a favorite cause.   Squidoo says there are thousands of eBay sellers creating lenses to help drive traffic to their listings, and that eBay sellers say it is one of the most effective methods of increasing their sales. Some lensmasters drive traffic to their own listings while others simply drive traffic to eBay to increase their affiliate earnings on Squidoo. The eBay Partner Network gives Squidoo lensmasters an effective way to spice up their lenses with photos and real-time links to eBay listings, while also bringing in extra income. Lensmasters can use eBay Partner Network’s advanced creatives to customize the listings displayed on his or her lens.

“eBay is one of the largest contributors to the revenue stream for Squidoo users,” said Megan Casey, editor-in-chief at Squidoo. “eBay listings are easy to find and post, productive and profitable. The new internal platform went in place without a hitch, and Squidoo and our hundreds of thousands of users are happily using it every day.”

If you have an inspiring affiliate success story to share, please drop us a note at Affiliates-Program-us@ebay.com

Campaign Quality Score Report Information

As you know, we released a new Campaign Quality Score Report as part of the newest Sept 10th release of the eBay Partner Network.  The report is only available for the US, and only affects ACRUs (a glitch at launch of the report meant you could select countries other than US and metrics other than ACRUs – but this will be addressed shortly – we apologize if this has created any confusion). For those of you who have not yet gotten a chance to run the report – it’s easy to do following these steps:

1. Log into your account and click on the Reports Tab 2. Select Report Type: By Campaign Quality 3. Period 8/31 4. Program: US 5. Actions: ACRU

At the very top of the report, under “Total”, you will see the total overall quality score for all of your traffic.  This is the score that will be used to calculate your ACRU payout for the US program.  This score will be applied to all the ACRUs in your account (i.e. the score is applied at a publisher level, not at a campaign level).  The tiers translate into ACRU payment as follows:

  • Very High = $50 / ACRU
  • High = $40 / ACRU
  • Medium = $28 / ACRU
  • Low = $10 / ACRU
  • Very Low = $1 / ACRU

As a reminder, these new tiers will not go into effect until November 1st for publishers that joined eBay Partner Network before August 1st.  This score is only informational until then so you can begin to see how quality-based pricing will affect you.  All publishers that joined the platform after August 1st are automatically put in these tiers, and if you are in this latter group, you can review them in the “Payment Structure” link in the Programs Tab for the US. 

Below the “Total” line, you can see individual quality scores for the campaigns in your program.  This can allow you to analyze which of your sites or methods are generating the highest quality ACRUs and make adjustments accordingly to maximize your total score.  You are only able to see campaign-level quality scores for campaigns with >5 ACRUs in the time period (campaigns with less than 5 ACRUs will show “Not enough data”). 

Please note a few final things:

  • Campaign level data is estimated and may not match the payout tier for your overall account.  This is because your account-level tier is calculated using historical and other account-level factors not applied to campaign-level data
  • Quality score is not based on volume, ie. Higher volume does not mean a higher quality score
  • We’ll continue to update these quality reports every two weeks with updated scores, and they will allow you to be able see performance over time

You can find more information about this report in the user manual under Reports->Summary Reporting->By Campaign Quality.

eBay Partner Network Team

A Content Publisher’s Guide to Making Money with Affiliate Marketing

Copyblogger.com editor Brian Clark provided a three-article series earlier this year that offers helpful insight into how online publishers can overcome issues associated with traditional advertising methods and make money with affiliate programs: Why Affiliate Marketing Will Save Free Online Content

Three Killer Content Strategies for Building Affiliate Marketing Assets

Five Effective Copywriting Tactics for Affiliate Marketing

Clark notes that traditional advertising tactics don’t translate well to the Web, what with limited control over where the reader accesses content (RSS, email, etc.), and the ease with which Web surfers can dismiss, block and simply ignore ads around the edges of a page.  His advice? Since the Internet is a buyer’s market, become the buyer’s trusted advisor. He believes (as do we) that it’s possible to recommend quality offers without alienating the visitors you’ve worked hard to attract.

He goes on to say that making money with affiliate marketing requires attention and trust, but the real secret is engagement.

“If you have a page with an affiliate offer that ranks well for searchers in buying mode, that's pretty high engagement,” he says. “You need a trusted, authoritative site to pull that off, which means strong content and plenty of links.”

He details a few ways for affiliate marketers to develop good sources of traffic.  They include building sites with rich, unique, frequently changing content that can be picked up by search engines and sites like Digg.   In the process you can develop a relationship with buyers and become their “trusted advisor” that can recommend products and services.  He also outlines some tips for how to effectively do e-mail list building.  Best practice is to develop a relationship with users and get them to sign up for a newsletter with valuable content that you can then use to selectively promote advertisers on.

Clark also details five copywriting tactics (endorsements, reviews, tutorials, bonus offers and articles) to bring in immediate and long-term revenue from affiliate programs.

The take-away? With the right content and copywriting strategies, affiliate marketing is a lucrative option for proactive publishers. We tend to agree.

Announcing New eBay Partner Network Release on Sept 10th, 2008

We are working hard to continue to improve the eBay Partner Network platform and are excited to announce our newest release, which will go live Sept 10th.  Some of the most consistent feedback we have been getting from you has been in the area of reporting.  You have given us many tips and suggestions about how we could expand the functionality in this section to help you better and more easily track your traffic’s performance on eBay. In this release, we have focused on improving this area of the platform.  We will be:

  • Introducing a new tab, “Run Reports”, that consolidates all your reports into one, easier to use create flow.
  • Introducing saved and scheduled reports to let you more quickly get the information you use most.
  • Adding new fields to the transaction download report that will help you see what category and country the transaction corresponded to.
  • Providing a transaction ID to help track each transaction and all the credits/debits associated with it.  We are also giving you the ability to receive non-paid transactions in the download report.

In addition, we announced on August 1st that we are moving to Value Based Pricing for ACRUs for the US program.  The September 10th release will include a new report: the “Campaign Quality Report”, which will give an indication of the quality of your new active confirmed registered users (ACRUs) all the way down to a campaign level.  Although publishers that joined the US program prior to Aug 1st will not be placed on ACRU-based tiers until Nov 1st, this report will allow you to begin to see what tier you would have been in for August.  The report will update every 2 weeks.

Note that none of these features will require you to change any links or the way you work with eBay Partner Network.  Existing users of our transaction download API should take note of our changes to the transaction download reports and update their scripts appropriately.  These changes were outlined in our board post on Aug 19th.

Finally, we are also working on a new campaign report that will let you see what categories your traffic is converting in.  Please note, however, that this report will not be available until October 15th.

Please read on for a more detailed overview of the newest program features:

Run Reports We have introduced a new Run Reports tab, which consolidates all your report types into one, easier to use, create flow. You will now be able to select the report that you want, and also have the option of saving or scheduling these reports, which can then be managed within the My Reports Tab.

Saved & Scheduled Reports (In the My Reports Tab) You will now have the ability to save and schedule all reports within a new My Reports Tab. With this new functionality, publishers will be to create and monitor saved and scheduled reports more efficiently.

For Saved Reports, you can now save a report template in the interface, or create historical records of saved reports when a custom date range is chosen. You will also be able to save up to 25 report templates or historical reports in the interface, and these will all be available in the My Reports Tab.  Additionally, there will also be a link to your top Saved Reports on the publisher dashboard, so that you can get easy access to these reports.

For Scheduled Reports, you can now save reporting templates, and have these reports delivered to you via email on a weekly or monthly basis. Publishers will be able to save up to 10 scheduled reports, and the last 5 historical reports for each report will also be available. To view this functionality, please use the My Reports tab.

Configurable Non-Paid Transactions in Transaction Download Publishers will now have the ability to see non paid transactions in the Transaction Download with the ability to select “All Events” in the Transaction Download report.  Note that the default will continue to be for the report to show paid transactions as it does today. With this new feature, you will have more visibility into each specific transaction, which will in turn help you determine how to best optimize their efforts. To view this new functionality, please see the Transaction Download report for further details.

Additional Flex Fields in Transaction Download Three new flex fields will be added to the Transaction Download report to support additional reporting metrics.  These 3 new flex fields include the Item Site ID, the Meta Category ID and a Unique Transaction ID (for revenue share only). With these new additions, publishers will get deeper insight to the effectiveness of their campaigns.  More information is included in our August 19th blog post.

Campaign Quality Report Per our board post on Aug 1st, the US program went to value based pricing for ACRUs for new affiliates that joined the program on or after Aug 1st.    Although affiliates that joined the US program prior to Aug 1st won’t be placed on value-based tiers until Nov 1st, all affiliates will have access to the new Campaign Quality Report, which will be part of the September 10th release and will have data for August available by the following day.

This report will give an indication of the quality of ACRU traffic at the campaign level and allow affiliates to assess and improve the overall quality of their traffic by eliminating inferior campaigns and promoting superior ones. The report displays a qualitative quality ranking for each of your campaigns as well as for overall traffic.

Please note that only US program ACRUs have quality scores at this time.  Also, please note that scores at a campaign level should only be considered directional and may not average to total publisher-level score (which represents the payments tier you would be placed in).  This is because we take history and other factors into account when calculating publisher-level score that are not applied at a campaign level.  To use the report, log in click on the reporting tab and select reporting “by campaign quality.”

We hope you find these new features useful,

The eBay Partner Network Team

Tips for Sending Engaged Buyer Traffic to eBay Sites

Our philosophical approach at eBay Partner Network is to pay generous commissions for quality traffic that drives incremental buying activity on eBay, i.e., purchases that occurred due to the affiliate’s actions.  Thus, we’ve looked closely at how engaged the traffic is from our affiliates and in the interest of eBay’s sellers and the overall health of the program, we made the decision to expire a small number of affiliates who were driving the least engaged traffic.  Moving forward, should we notice that any affiliate is driving low quality traffic according to our metrics, our goal is to provide help in improving the affiliate’s site(s) before taking any action such as expiration. In the interest of helping you maximize the impact of the traffic you drive to eBay, and enjoying in the financial benefits, we also wanted to re-post some of the tips from our board posts which some folks found to be very helpful.

What does “engagement” mean?

“Engagement” is how we look at a user’s experience on eBay once directed via an affiliate link.  Among other metrics, we look at the time that users spend on eBay, the number of pages that they view, and their bidding and buying activity after coming through an affiliate link.  For example, a user who visits eBay and then leaves the site immediately is not “engaged”, whereas a user who comes and browses the site and places a bid or makes a purchase is highly “engaged.”

Can affiliates affect engagement and conversion?

Definitely and there can be a big difference in performance on these metrics between affiliates. To illustrate the point with an extreme example, a site that helps potential buyers find and research stereo receivers and then points them to great deals on eBay will drive more engaged buyers with better conversion rates than an eBay banner on a ringtone site.  Also, a user is far more likely to be engaged if they knew prior to the click that they were going to be driven to eBay.

How can affiliates improve engagement from their sites?

Many of you are already using these techniques and others, but for those who may not be, here are some tips to improve engagement.

  • Maximize the amount of unique content to your site. Create commerce-oriented content for your site that engages the user in the shopping experience. Conversely, avoid putting eBay affiliate ads on pages that have little to do with shopping – e.g. ringtone sites, non-commerce oriented social network sites, e-mail services, etc.  Also, sites that do little other than offer links to redirect to eBay generally don’t perform well and remember to always make it clear on the affiliate links that they will be redirected to eBay to shop
  • Use more targeted creatives and tools. If all you have is a simple text link to eBay or a static eBay banner ad on your site, consider using one of our flash creatives. Use what you know about your users and your content, so consider using our banners targeted to specific demographics (e.g. male vs. female) or categories.  Also, consider using our Editor Kit and eBay To Go (US only) widgets, which can be customized to show specific eBay listings for a given category or keyword right on your page.
  • Integrate eBay links within your content. Sites that find a way to work eBay advertising into the content, rather than just as a simple ad at a top, side, or bottom of a page, tend to perform better.
  • Optimize your landing pages. Use what you know about your users to help them find what they want on eBay. If your site is about tennis rackets, avoid landing your users on the eBay homepage, and instead send them to a search results page on eBay for targeted tennis queries.
  • Use our geotargeting functionality. Sending a visitor on your site who is from the UK to ebay.co.uk (our British site) rather than ebay.com (our US site), will significantly improve conversion rates and engagement. You can select this option when you’re generating eBay links in the “tools” tab.
  • Avoid simply incentivizing visits to eBay or registration with eBay –If you are going to give your users cash back or points, tie those rewards to actual valid purchases on eBay.  If you incentivize visits or sign up, a user’s primary motivation is typically not browsing or purchasing from eBay, so their value to us is low.

How can affiliates test & improve their performance?

  • Set up specific campaigns to test out any new sites, links, content, etc., and ideally, test these new approaches in smaller volumes than your overall traffic. This way you will be able to evaluate the performance of each new campaign separately, ramp up the ones that perform the best, and prune the ones that don’t perform.
  • Leverage the custom ID reports to further segment your testing. In an upcoming release, additional category reporting will be made available that will help you identify at campaign, tool, and program levels the categories whose traffic is most likely to convert into sales, which will help you further optimize your content and affiliate links.

Lastly, as we have set high standards for the program, we are also taking this into account as we screen new registrations.  We are committed to growing the number of quality affiliates in the program, and we want to make sure our newest partners can meet those expectations.  As a result going forward we are paying close attention to all aspects of applications – especially the descriptions of affiliates’ business models and URLs that affiliates are planning on sending traffic from.  If you are interested in applying, please keep this in mind as you fill out your application.

We hope you find this communication helpful and wanted to thank you for your work in driving great traffic to eBay.  We remain committed to working with you to continue to build and strengthen eBay Partner Network.

The eBay Partner Network Team