What is Shopping.com?
A comparison shopping engine that started back in 1998 as Dealtime.com, eBay acquired the channel in August of 2005 with a $620 million cash transaction in an effort to put some life into eBay’s then slowing growth rate. While known for being arguably the biggest comparison shopping engine at the time, Shopping.com was expected to have only a small impact to eBay’s bottom line. The acquisition was seen as a means for eBay to expose its sellers to new buyers that came to Shopping.com for price comparisons and product information.
Fast-forward to April 2013, eBay re-launched Shopping.com as what is known today as the eBay Commerce Network (ECN). The idea was to reposition Shopping.com as a product listings platform by advertising products through paid ads that eBay dubbed as eBay Product Ads, and differentiate from other known Comparison Shopping Engine (CSE) platforms such as PriceGrabber and Shopzilla, both now known as Connexity. From that time forward, Shopping.com was, and is, no longer the Shopping.com that sellers have known it to be.
Source: CommerceHub all-time eBay channel performance through mid-June 2016
How did the Creation of eBay Commerce Network change things?
Since the acquisition, some of the most common questions we find are:
- “Can you boost bids in order for our ads to show on the first page?”
- “Why are none of our products showing on Shopping.com?”
- “Shopping.com is under performing. What can you do to improve it?”
If you find yourself asking these types of questions, or if you’re the person at the receiving end; then read on.
Shopping.com is not just Shopping.com anymore. Confused, yet? We’ll explain in just a bit.
Did you know that Shopping.com contributed a mere approximate 2% of the total traffic that the eBay Commerce Network received in 2015? As seen in the chart below, in 2016, it continues to maintain a low percentage traffic to the network.
Believe it or not, eBay itself took off into becoming the majority driver of traffic for the eBay Commerce Network upon its re-launch, and is coming in approximately right around 21% to the network’s overall in 2015 as seen below.
Source: CommerceHub Shopping.com referring site data comparing Shopping.com and eBay.com contribution for 2010 through 2016
What is also worth noting is that prior to the re-launch, Shopping.com was growing in terms of contribution to overall traffic, with eBay slightly on the decline. Once the re-launch occurred, eBay’s contribution surged upwards of 20%, while Shopping.com began to reduce the amount of traffic it has been delivering within the network.
The network reached its peak in total traffic the year of its re-launch, however, that trend quickly returned to pre-re-launch levels at the end of 2014. As the eBay Commerce Network, eBay connects with consumers through a group of publishers that are all part of the eBay Commerce Network.
Source: CommerceHub Shopping.com channel traffic from 2010 through May 2016
What This Means for Advertisers / Sellers
For starters, it’s the eBay Commerce Network. This means that Shopping.com is now just part of an all-encompassing network of partners under the eBay umbrella, such as CNET, Consumer Reports, Shopstyle, and arguably the biggest of the bunch, eBay, and your listings within that network are known as eBay Product Ads.
Also, it means that Shopping.com should no longer be your only source of truth to check how your listings are showing in comparison to your competition. Chances are, it will no longer provide you an accurate representation of your competitive rankings. You can boost your bids as much as you want, but that will not guarantee improved visibility on that site.
If you are looking to get a good idea of the visibility your products have on the eBay Commerce Network, eBay.com should be your new go-to. Enter a query into the search bar within eBay and you will notice ‘Sponsored Links’ carrying your product ads on banner at the bottom or the left hand side of the search results page.
What to Consider When Advertising on the eBay Commerce Network
Key takeaways that should be considered when it comes to the eBay Commerce Network:
- Report on the channel for what it is. It’s the entire eBay network with Shopping.com as merely an external publisher. Shopping.com still exists, but as a fraction of the eBay Commerce Network, hence the rebranding.
- Take advantage of the competitive insights given within the eBay Commerce Network UI to see how you rank compared to the competition within a particular category based on your category level bid.
- Promotional information such as pricing or messaging will not reflect the same across all publishers. While ‘Sponsored Links’ shown within eBay will show promotional pricing via a green ribbon with the percentage off displayed, it will not display promotional messaging (i.e. 20% Off Flowers & Gifts!). The only way promotional messaging will be reflected is if particular partners within the network have opted to display that information.
Getting your perception of this channel right is important. As stated earlier, Shopping.com is not Shopping.com as you used to know it, and may continue to see it as today.
Shopping.com is no longer a unique channel by itself, but rather a part of the eBay network comprised of high quality publishers that promote products with targeted ads.
As the largest contributor to the network’s overall traffic, eBay provides more opportunities to drive sales than just a single banner of product ads, but with increased real-estate potential within in the overall search results that generated that banner via eBay’s marketplace listings. t’s a partnership between marketplaces and the pay-per-click spaces. If you are actively listing products within the eBay Commerce Network, are you also actively managing listings on the eBay marketplace? This is worth considering.
CommerceHub has been a longtime manager and partner of comparison shopping engine sites, especially with Shopping.com and the eBay Commerce Network. It can be tough to keep track of where your ads are showing and when, especially as these channels merge together to form publisher networks and syndicate content. Reach out to us and we can help.