Frequently Asked Questions


General Questions

Are Smart Placements compatible with HTTPS? Will I have issues with my site’s security messaging?

Smart Placements work with https sites, and will not cause any issues with your site’s security settings.

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How many Smart Placements banners can I create?

You can build up to 100 Smart Placements banners. You can use as many of these on one webpage as you would like.

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Do I need to know how to code to use Smart Placements?

No, you don’t need to know how to write your own code to use Smart Placements. However, you do need to know how to edit your site so that you can add your code in the head and body.

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Do you have a video tutorial?

Yes!  We posted one on our eBay Partner Network TV channel on YouTube. Watch our Smart Placements from eBay: Making a Smart Placements Banner.

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Do Smart Placements work on mobile?

Yes. You should, however, check the size of the banner to make sure it works well on a smaller screen with your website’s theme and page layout. The 300x250 is the most versatile for diverse mobile devices and browsers.

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Can I use Smart Placements on social media pages or other platforms?

Most likely not. Smart Placements can only be used if you can add Javascript and the requisite HTML elements, which is not allowed in places like Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. 

What eBay domains are supported?

Smart Placements includes all eBay domains that are part of EPN.

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What languages are supported?

English, French, German, Italian, and Spanish are supported with Smart Placements.

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Can I use Smart Placements and Smart Links on the same page?

Yes, Smart Links will not interfere with Smart Placements.

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Can I have multiple Smart Placements on the same page?

Yes. Each Smart Placements banner you create will come with a unique ID, so you can have multiple banners on the page.

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Creating and Viewing the Smart Placements Banner

Can I use advanced keywords and other syntax?

Yes! Smart Placements supports all of the same advanced search features as you’d find on the eBay site. See here for more details.

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What is “Auto-Optimization”?

If you choose this option by checking the box, you are adding the option to use eBay’s retargeting technology. This means that if we can identify that an eBay user is on your site, the Smart Placements banner will show results more tailored to that user. 

  • Contextual Optimization (English-language only): Our newest Smart Placements enhancement, this crawls the content on your page and populates the banner based on it. So, if one of your blog articles is about healthy, high-fiber dog food, it’ll show premium brands of healthy, high-fiber dog food. If another page of your blog talks about cat condos and cat trees, the contextual optimizer will show those products. It enables you to set up one Smart Placement with generally useful keywords for your site and lets it automatically refine the results based on your page.

  • Other Benefits of Optimization: You can customize the experience to the visitor’s demonstrated interests and enhance likelihood that they’ll see items that appeal to them, typically increasing click through rate and conversion.

  • Drawback of Optimization: If you want to control exactly what the visitor sees and ensure that the banners produce products in harmony with your surrounding text, Smart Placements might not be for you. For example: You run a fitness site. You want eBay items displayed in a banner that are all fitness-focused like stationary bikes and treadmills; an optimized ad might show a user comic books or high-heels depending on what they have shopped for on eBay before.

Here’s an example of when NOT to Optimize: An art blogger seeks to capitalize on the recent trending of Andy Warhol on eBay (to see what’s hot today, visit https://www.ebay.com.au/trending). She writes about the resurgence of Andy Warhol and wants to show some affiliate links to help generate income. A banner that uses retargeting could show the user items that have nothing at all to do with Andy Warhol.

 
 

 

Here’s an example of when TO Optimize: You’re a busy parent blogger and don’t have time to do much more than set up some basic banners, but you want them to be varied and interesting so they convert well. You can set up your basic Smart Placements banner to have a keyword that reflects your general current interest that you won’t have to change for a few months. “Plush Baby Toys” appeals to you as a default.  You set up your blog article template to always include that single Smart Placements Banner. You write an article on teeth and teething toys. You write another article on cribs and the brands you like best. Your third article is on strollers and must-have features. The different content will make that single banner look different, interesting, and relevant to your audience.

Auto-Optimized Smart Placements first tries to show a user things that have most interested them first, but if we can’t identify the specific person, we’ll present items from your article, so that each article has a nifty, customized experience, showing items relevant to your content (English-language only). If Smart Placements isn’t sure about the topic, or if you’ve written about a potentially sad or negative experience (about an accident that caused recalls for a particular item, for instance), we’ll show the default keywords you put in the banner, in this case “Plush Baby Toys.”

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What will show up in the banner?

The Smart Placements banner will show the results of doing a search on eBay with the Search Term and Category you choose when configuring the banner. If you choose to auto-optimize, it will instead display listings based on the items the user has purchased, bid on, or added to their watch list. If we don’t identify a particular eBay user, the banner populates with items based on keywords our crawler found in your content. It will organize the results into a banner using the size, font, and item title color choices you make when configuring the banner.

Our crawler’s pretty smart and usually produces a great match of the page content and eBay products. No crawler is perfect, though. We’ve designed ours to learn and continually refine results.  If you see one that you love and think is absolutely perfect, we want to hear from you! Likewise, if you see one that doesn’t produce a great match, we want to know that, too. (Do consider if it’s picking up your personal browser history, though--the retargeting feature will rarely match page content but converts well because it matches YOUR interests and behavior.  One way to make sure you’re seeing just the contextual aspect is to use an Incognito browser.) Please provide your URL and a screenshot of the Smart Placements banner showing it in position amid your content. Send them to us at AskEPN@ebay.com.

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What else should I know about content?

The Auto-Optimize crawler that looks at your web page’s content evaluates the sentiment of the page. We don’t want an article about a tragic airplane accident to feature cheerful travel accessories nor do we want an article about a company’s recall of portable chargers because they catch fire to feature those items. We’ve a tool that strives to make the most sense of the article and be a positive, high-converting, worry-free banner on your site.

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How Do I Turn It Off?

Go to Smart Placements in the EPN Portal (log-in required).  Edit the banner you want to change, uncheck the “Auto-Optimize” box in your Smart Placements banner unit.  Please note: This turns off both the contextual feature and retargeting.

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Can I just have it Auto-Optimize based on either customer behavior on eBay or content?

Our Auto-Optimization feature is comprehensive and always includes both.

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In what order are the items listed in the banner? Can I customize it?

It is the same order as if you did the same search on the eBay site. This cannot be customized.

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How many items will show up in the banner? Can I customize it?

You will see up to 15 items. This is not currently customizable.

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What happens if I pick a search term that has few or no results?

Whatever shows up when you do the search on the eBay site will show up in the banner, but we do have a minimum. The results of the search need to include a minimum number of items. Horizontal and vertical banners require 5 items; the square banner only needs 1. If the search has only a few (less than 5) results, the Smart Placements banner will not show on the page.

What if my criteria returns no results?

If your multiple keywords / category combination returns 0 results, the banner returns listings based on fewer keywords in the category you selected.  So a keyword string of “gold wall mirror 14.5x30” in the Home & Garden category (a very unusual size of mirror), typically produces no exact matches. In this instance, the banner returns results from just “gold walk mirror.”

If your single keyword / category combination returns 0 results, the banner returns items in ALL categories.  It shows the same sort of “similar” products that surface with a regular eBay search for that term.  Note: If you’re using item codes, this can produce some odd results. Your alphanumeric code for a rare stamp may result in Honda auto parts or eyeglass readers different companies using the same item number identifier.

It's always a great idea to double using the “Preview” to see how the banner will show up, before you paste the code on your site or before you save an update to an existing Smart Placements banner.

How does Auto-Optimization change this? When you’ve opted in for auto-optimization, we show results based on the user’s activity on eBay, which almost always produces the minimum results. If we can’t identify the user, we show the results of your search criteria.

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Does Smart Placements include an impression pixel?

Yes, it does. The reports in the EPN portal will show impressions for these banner ads.

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Can I dynamically update keywords and categories without changing the banner configuration in the EPN portal?

Yes. You can add parameters to the Smart Placements code that you put into the body of your site, which will allow you to dynamically overwrite the keyword(s) associated with that banner.

The parameter for the keyword is “data-keyword” and for the category ID is “data-category-id”. These are independent and can be used on their own or combined.

For example, this is what the code would look like if you were going to use the keyword parameter and add “bubblegum” as a keyword:

<ins class="epn-placement" data-config-id="YOURCONFIGID" data-keyword="bubblegum" ></ins>
This is what the code would look like if you were going to also use the category parameter:
<ins class="epn-placement" data-config-id="YOURCONFIGID" data-keyword="bubblegum" data-category-id="99536 | 11450"></ins>

You can select one or many category IDs, separated by a “ | “. This also allows you to be more specific with the categories you select, as the interface only allows the meta category to be selected; this parameter allows any category ID to be picked.

What is Category ID? How do I find it?  Category ID is the numeric ID for an eBay category. For example, for the US, the ID for the category Art , Art Prints is 360, and the ID for the category Cell Phones & Smartphones is 9355.

One reliable way to find a category ID: Navigate to the Link Generator, create a Search Results link, select your desired eBay country site, click Find Category ID, and select the category you want. The category ID displays in the Category ID field.

Another method that many folks find easier: Browse to the category and copy the ID from the URL, e.g.:
https://www.ebay.com/b/Steel-Hammock-Stands/20719/bn_7457415

Why not just provide me a list? Category IDs vary by country.  For instance, Antiques in the US, is 20081, but in France, it's Art, antiquités and Category ID 353. If you end up using the wrong Category ID, you most likely won’t get the kind of results you want in the Smart Placements banner.

Category IDs can change over time as consumer products diversify or we reorganize categories to better suit customer searches and needs. You can keep up with eBay category IDs for the US here: http://pages.ebay.com/sellerinformation/news/categorychanges.html. 

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Managing Banners

Can I edit the Smart Placements banner after I’ve created it? How does that work? Do I have to do anything on my site after saving changes?

Yes, you can edit it. This can be done directly in the EPN portal on the Smart Placements page. When you get to the Smart Placements page, you will see a list of all of your Smart Placements configurations. When you hit the “Edit” button next to the one you want to change, the “Edit the Configuration” section will appear, which will allow you to change any of the criteria (Search Term, Category, Size, etc.). Once you make the changes and hit “Save,” you do not have to make any other changes to the code on your site- the banner will automatically update based on the configuration you saved.

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Can I delete or deactivate a Smart Placements banner? What happens on my site if I do?

You can deactivate the banner from the EPN portal on the Smart Placements page. In the list of banners, there is a column called “Active”. If you move the slider left (it will change the color of the slider from blue to grey) it will deactivate that banner. If you don’t also remove the code from your site, the banner will collapse, which means you’ll have a blank space wherever you’ve inserted this Smart Placements banner on your site.

At this time, you cannot delete any Smart Placements banners. If you no longer want to use one, deactivate it as described above.

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Can I reactivate a Smart Placements banner I had previously deactivated?

Yes, you can do this from the EPN portal. Move the slider right (it will change the color of the slider from grey to blue). If you had not previously removed the code from your site, the banner would start displaying again. Otherwise you’d have to put the code back on your site after you reactivate the banner.

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Troubleshooting Banners

TIP: Minimize lost work: Always Save before Preview.

The banner doesn’t seem to be working. What should I do?

Here are some things to check:

  • Make sure you have the code in the <head> tag of the page on your site, and that it’s formatted correctly
  • Verify you have correctly pasted in the code for each Smart Placements banner in the body of the page
  • Search for the same term / category on the eBay site, confirm that there are results being returned
  • Check to make sure that the banner is “Active” - look at the list of banners in the EPN portal and make sure this banner has the “Active” slider colored blue.
  • Check the browser console, and see if there are any epn.ebay.com related error codes

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Um, I don’t know what my browser console is, or where to find it.

  • Each web browser has its own set of tools and typically a console to help website developers gain more insight into errors. On most browsers, you can hit F12 and the browser console will appear.. If you’re not up for this level of diagnosis, no problem. Contact us at AskEPN@ebay.com.

Most Common Errors

The “Oops” Error Message - When you sign in and go to the tool, our systems do a quick security check and then approve your computer for a set time. If a longer time period elapses, the page times out.

  • How to Fix It: Refresh your page. It’s a bummer, but you’ll need to put your information back in. It’s a good idea to save regularly.

The Swirly - The tool should load previews and save your ads immediately or with just a momentary delay.

  • How to Fix It: If you get the circular animation that it’s thinking, give it a moment. If it stays ‘thinking’ for more than a few seconds, refresh your page. You may need to put some or all of your information back in.

The Images Don’t Load - Whoops! The images should display in the preview tool.

  • How to Fix it: Try refreshing your page. If you’re willing to do so, put the code on your site and preview the page (even if the tool preview doesn’t work, it should work on your site.) If you still can’t see anything, please send as much detail as possible (screenshots, your website url, the browser you were using, your keywords & category, if you selected optimization for the banner, and any error messages you saw) to AskEPN@ebay.com.

What I saw in “Preview” doesn’t match what I see on my site - This can happen for three reasons:

  1. You chose ‘Auto-Optimization’. This will show the user items based on their eBay history and preferences. We do not show ‘Auto-Optimization’ results in the Preview.
    • How to Fix It: heck to see if you selected ‘Auto-Optimization’ in the configuration of that Smart Placements banner
  2. You manually adjusted the code of the Smart Placements banner on your site. If you have manually altered the code on your site, Preview will not know that, so you will see the Preview based on the Keywords/Category you selected in the configuration.
    • How to Fix It: Compare the insertion code in your banner to what’s on your site. You will want to update one of these so they match and produce your desired results.
  3. Item inventory changed. This can happen fast on eBay - the results of the search can sometimes show different results at different times, as items sell or listings are pulled / altered, etc.
    • How to Fix It: If you want very consistent results you’ll likely need to search on broad terms in popular categories. Otherwise, this kind of variability is just part of the eBay experience!-[‘

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If you still can’t figure out what’s wrong, contact Customer Support via AskEPN@ebay.com.and provide as much detail as you can - the site where you’re placing the banner, the search term and category you’re using for the banner, the browser and operating system you’re using, etc.