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Brainery | | Are eBay Promoted Listings Worth the Spend?

Are eBay Promoted Listings Worth the Spend?

eBayecommercemarketing | February 16, 2021
Are eBay promoted listings worth the cost? - Replyco Helpdesk Software for eCommerce

Should you use eBay promoted listings to enhance product visibility or save yourself the burden of extra fees? The eCommerce experts at Replyco break it down.

Promoted listings offer eBay sellers a direct and powerful method to easily increase listing visibility, which will ideally result in increased sales for your eCommerce business. While in no way a substitute for optimizing your listings — through factors like competitive pricing, high-quality photos and engaging product descriptions — promoted listings certainly augment your ability to achieve a greater amount of impressions, clicks and, ultimately, sales. In fact, according to eBay, promoted listings can boost visibility by as much as 36%. But when should you consider using them, how much will it cost and how will that cost affect your bottom line? Here’s what you need to know to get started.

Who Can Use Promoted Listings? 

Currently, in order to be eligible for promoted listings, your eBay seller account needs to have a seller rating of “Above Standard” or “Top Rated.” But not to worry — as per eBay’s definition, “Above Standard” actually refers to any seller on the platform who is meeting eBay’s minimum standard of performance and providing great customer service. As you peruse eBay’s criteria, you’ll likely notice that support and communication are a common theme, so make sure that you’re communicating with your buyers and addressing their needs in a timely manner.

Where Do Promoted Listings Appear?

Promoted listings appear in multiple places, but most prominently in eBay desktop and mobile search results. Assuming your listing isn’t already a “Best Match”  for a user’s search query, promoted listings will rank higher on the search results page than their non-promoted counterparts. They also often appear on product pages for different listings, within various product carousels, such as “Frequently bought together” and “Similar Sponsored Items.” Lastly, eBay promoted listings may appear anywhere within the eBay network, which includes partnered sites across the internet.

What Types Of Listings Can You Promote?

Only “fixed price” listings can be promoted, meaning that you won’t be able to enhance the visibility of your eBay auctions (or “Buy it now” auctions) using this method. Additionally, items in the “Real Estate,” “Travel,” “Vehicles” and “Everything Else” categories cannot be promoted.  If you use a third-party eCommerce software, like ChannelAdvisor, you can promote listings directly through their interface. 

How Much Does It Cost?

Promoting your eBay listing will cost you a percentage of your product’s total price (excluding tax, shipping charges or other fees), but the particular percentage amount you choose, also known as your ad rate, is entirely up to you.

For example, choosing a 10% ad rate on a $100 item listing ($10) will give your listing more impressions than a 3% ad rate ($3). While ad rate influences the likelihood that your listing is promoted in a given circumstance, other factors also play a role in determining which listing eBay chooses to display. Factors such as relevance to the user’s search query, pricing, listing quality and competing promoted products (and their ad rate) all contribute to (or diminish) the visibility of your promoted listing.

Perhaps the best part about promoted listings is that you’ll only get charged when an eBay shopper purchases an item through your promoted listing! Your standard, non-promoted listing will still appear in addition to the promoted version. Only when a user clicks on the promoted version of your listing — the one that says “SPONSORED” next to it — and actually purchases your product through that promoted link (within 30 days), will you have to pay the ad rate. You will not be charged for any purchases made through your standard product listing whatsoever.

What’s the Downside of Promoted Listings?

At this point you may be wondering if there are any drawbacks at all to using eBay’s promoted listings. After all, you only pay for them when they result in a sale for your business, so what’s the catch? 

Simply put, paying for a promoted listing can be a gamble. There’s really no way to tell whether you need to pay an ad rate of 2, 5, 10 or 15 percent to see the results you’re hoping for. This can make it quite difficult to know if you’re overpaying on your ad rate, which can really add up once you factor in the eBay seller fees and listing fees. If your profit margin is already low, adding a high ad rate fee may not be the best idea. 

It’s also important to note that if an eBay site visitor clicks on your promoted listing, but doesn’t purchase your promoted item until 30 days later, you will still get charged whatever your initial ad fee was. For example, if an eBay shopper clicks on your promoted link on March 1st, but doesn’t buy the promoted product until March 30th, you will still get charged whatever your March 1st ad rate was. In this scenario, if your ad rate was 13% for one day and 1% for the next 29 days, you’ll still get charged 13%.

Are Promoted Listings Worth It?

eBay promoted listings provide a surefire way to increase your product visibility. But in order to determine the best rate and ROI, start by identifying the max rate you would be willing to pay in order to maintain your desired profit margin and then move on to testing which rate provides the most economically feasible impact. We recommend beginning with a low ad rate, and simply observing how your items are performing, while increasing your ad rate in small increments until you start seeing a considerable increase in sales.

Unfortunately, this also will likely differ for each product listing you have, so it’s a good idea to analyze which types of products you think are the best candidates for promoted listings and continually monitor their performance. For example, seasonal products, like Halloween costumes, or products with a high sell-through rate, are likely to benefit the most from promoted listings. One-of-a-kind items and items with poor sales history, on the other hand, won’t likely become best sellers overnight from receiving a promoted listing.


Recall as we said earlier that promoted listings are only one of many factors that influence how eBay prioritizes listings on the search engine result page. While promoting a product will help gain more eyeballs to some degree, It’s still imperative to follow best practices to optimize your eBay store. This goes far beyond the product listing itself and is also influenced by your seller track record. 

If you don’t respond to your customers in a timely fashion and provide quality customer service, you can actually hurt your chances of making more sales on eBay. That’s where an eCommerce helpdesk, like Replyco, comes into play. With Replyco, you can easily manage eBay buyer messages and cases, access buyer feedback and even receive eBay buyer notes — all in one place. And with tools to reach customers on social, instant messaging, live chat and email, you’ll feel confident knowing that a customer inquiry won’t get lost in the multichannel mix ever again. 


Manage eBay Messaging, Cases & Feedback

Struggling to stay on top of emails, returns and feedback? Check out the Replyco eBay integration to learn how to get total control over your customer communications.

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James Otis

About the author: James Otis

James Otis is an eCommerce copywriter with extensive Amazon and eBay marketing experience. He received his bachelor’s degree in Communications from Southern New Hampshire University and has written for a variety of media, including sports magazines, blogs and marketing copy. James values creating truly helpful and user-centric content through clear and effective communication. Follow James on LinkedIn.


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