Case Study for eBay Advertising

Background

eBay is one of the world’s largest marketplaces, selling everything from luxury handbags, to furniture, to cars. With 171 million active buyers across the globe and $84 billion in Gross Merchandise Volume (GMV), eBay offers brands and retailers a massive e-commerce distribution channel coupled with complementary advertising solutions to help drive sales.

While digital advertising spend is increasing and expected to top $82 billion in 2017, the number of advertising channels is proliferating, making it harder for brands to evaluate ad channel efficacy.  At the same time, brands face greater competition for consumer attention, making the advertising stakes even higher. While goliath marketplaces such as Amazon and Wal-Mart provide a platform for sales, their solutions don’t provide the data transparency that brands and sellers need to make the most intelligent advertising decisions.  eBay Advertising, a division of eBay Inc., helps brands of all sizes better understand the buyers’ shopping journey and leverage advertising within the eBay marketplace to drive additional traffic and revenue across all platforms.

eBay Advertising hired Karbo Communications in January 2016 based on the team’s strategic insight, successful track record and creative approach to PR. While the advertising space grew increasingly crowded with Google, Facebook and Amazon in the media spotlight, eBay Advertising had a strong, competitive offering.  eBay Advertising was looking to increase awareness among the market’s top brands, differentiate the advertising division’s solutions and drive brand partnerships. 

Objectives

  • Increase eBay Advertising’s market awareness among major consumer brands, media agencies and sellers;
  • Develop effective messaging that differentiates eBay Advertising in a crowded market;
  • Develop executive thought leadership;
  • Increase the company’s presence at industry events;
  • Leverage eBay Advertising’s unique shopping insights and first-party data in PR programs;
  • Pursue a regular drumbeat of news to keep eBay Advertising in the press and build momentum;

Execution

Karbo Communications and eBay Advertising began pursuing a messaging exercise to establish eBay Advertising’s market differentiation and its unique role as a commerce partner to large brands. Simultaneously, the agency began pursuing thought leadership programs to increase eBay Advertising executives’ involvement in industry discussions, securing interviews and contributed articles with top advertising trade publications, amplifying market awareness. The agency also began pursuing opportunistic press around seasonal events to increase brands’ involvement with eBay during key shopping days. The agency worked with the eBay team to brainstorm trends, pull data, develop infographics and pitch eBay Advertising’s perspective on the top retail/ advertising trends around holiday shopping, the New Year, Super Bowl and others.

To maintain a high level of visibility, the agency recommended pursuing an automotive market research survey, as this was one of their key verticals. The agency worked with eBay Advertising to develop objectives, a compelling questionnaire, field the survey, analyze results and recommend a media outreach strategy. The Karbo Com team worked with eBay Motors and eBay Corporate to execute media outreach and conduct interviews with key press. In total, the agency secured more than 20 articles with full features in publications important to eBay Advertising’s brand partners.

As the partnership progressed, Karbo Com worked closely with the eBay Corporate communications team to amplify eBay’s presence at Shoptalk where eBay Advertising V.P. Bridget Davies would be speaking. Messaging focused on the evolution of the advertising business, market timing, how new strategic shifts will impact brands and sellers, and press outreach.

Results

Within the first few months of working together, Karbo Communications secured coverage for eBay Advertising in the top advertising trade publications, including Advertising Age, Adweek, AdExchanger, MediaPost, iMedia Connection and WebProNews. Karbo Com pitched eBay Advertising executives to speak at top tier industry events, securing opportunities at Cannes Lions, Shoptalk and iMedia Brand Summit, among others.

The agency launched the eBay Advertising automotive survey in February 2017 ahead of the busy auto shopping season and secured more than 20 articles. These ranged from full features in ad trades, such as Adweek, tech publications, such as Digital Trends, automotive trades, including Automotive News and The Car Connection, and announcement pickups in the Wall Street Journal and Yahoo! Finance. Less than a month later, Karbo Communications helped eBay officially announce a shift in the eBay Advertising business, including a focus on first-party advertising, an in-house sales team and a larger focus on advertising in upcoming eBay Inc. earnings calls. Coverage included an exclusive story with Jason Del Rey at Recode and full features in top tier press, including Business Insider, CNBC, Reuters, MediaPost, Advertising Age, AdExchanger, CIO Today, Nasdaq, Yahoo! Finance, Motley Fool and more.

A sampling of media that have featured eBay Advertising:

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