eBay's new AdContext "Get Contextual Keywords" tool will help eBay affiliates maximize "ad profits," and, in turn, help eBay increase its revenues, according to Lily Shen, Senior Manager of eBay's U.S. Affiliate Program. I spoke with Shen to discuss the unique features of eBay's new contextual ad serving system.
The principal, current, motivation behind eBay's AdContext is the goal of serving higher converting ads to its affiliate network (Shen would not disclose the number of alliates in eBay's network). According to eBay:
After studying user behavior, activation patterns, affiliate performance and onsite activity...to help you convert users...by driving them to the products they desire...
eBay AdContext was developed using eBay's keyword selection technology, which uses proprietary eBay data to match contextual eBay ads to the Web page. The contextual ads take into account the popularity of certain keywords on eBay, not just the keywords on a given Web site, making them relevant to what people are actually shopping for on eBay.
There is a new API call which returns ranked eBay keywords and categories for a specified Web page. This enables developers to create applications that may be different from traditional contextual ad serving.
While Google's AdSense ad serving determines contextual relevancy based on the text on a Web page, eBay's AdContext is designed to serve ads that are relevant to "what people are actually shopping for."
Another difference between Google AdSense and eBay AdContext is the rich, colorful variety of ad layouts, styles and formats available through AdContext, incorporating flash, photos, content, search...
eBay AdContext also differs from Google AdSense in terms of publishing partner compensation philosophy and motivation.
Google's AdSense compensation scheme is Google-centric and, in fact, is not disclosed to its AdSense publisher partners. Google cryptically says to prospective AdSense publishers:
advertisers pay either when users click on ads, or when the advertiser's ad is shown on your site. You'll receive a portion of the amount paid for either activity on your website. Although we don't disclose the exact revenue share, our goal is to enable publishers to make as much or more than they could with other advertising networks. The best way to find out how much you'll earn is to sign up and start showing ads on your web pages.
eBay, on the other hand, provides prospective affiliates with its compensation structure upfront:
Affiliates can earn between 40% and 70% of eBay's Revenue (not item sale price) on Winning Bids or Buy It Now transactions.
Additionally, affiliates also earn between $12.00 and $20.00 for each new ACRU driven to eBay.
Moreover, eBay actively strives to help its affiliates make more money from their relationships with eBay. eBay AdContext is but the latest tool eBay is providing affiliates with the goal of driving higher affiliate payouts.
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