eBay will begin to run ads in its mobile app in this year’s fourth quarter, to help advertisers target consumers on both smartphones and tablets.
The online market place has always been a strong contender in the mobile space. Its shopping app has generated more than 200 million downloads, and it has about 4.6 million visitors on a daily basis, according to Stephen Howard-Sarin, head of display advertising at eBay. Where the company has fallen behind, it seems, is in its in-app advertising capabilities.
“We wanted to extend our advertising to mobile. And we wanted to open up this treasure chest for advertisers to target eBay consumers,” says Howard-Sarin.
Although several publications, including The Wall Street Journal, have reported that eBay is preparing to launch a mobile ad network, Howard-Sarin explains that this initiative is not an ad network, but rather “advertising in eBay’s owned and operated property”. He adds that the “mobile ad program” will not extend to non-eBay affiliated apps.
eBay’s shopping app will require users to enter the same single login used across all devices, which will enable advertisers to better tailor ads. The company’s in-house data management platform will gather the login data to monitor user activities, so that eBay knows consumers’ past purchases, most recent searches, and what they are browsing for.
“EBay has a vast reach, so the execution will determine the success,” says Ben Reubenstein, chief executive officer (CEO) of digital agency POSSIBLE Mobile. “Digital ads often lack innovation. Banners on mobile web and native iOS or Android feel dated. So if they can bring the consumer data and deliver the ads in a non-intrusive, engaging manner that leads to conversion, then they will succeed.”
The online retailer will team up with Triad Retail Media to test different formats of mobile ads.
Ebay’s Howard-Sarin believes that the mobile initiative will be complementary to the company’s growing online advertising business.
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