The recently appointed UK commercial director at eBay Advertising is targeting travel as a business sector with among the most to gain from using the auction site as an advertising platform.
Alessandra Di Lorenzo, who joined from Vodafone in January, believes that eBay’s buying habit insights, coupled with the nature of travel products are a great match.
She said that she was in talks with agencies and corporates about how they can engage with eBay’s audience of 19 million UK shoppers every month.
“This gives us insight and information about what we see actually doing and what they are interested in doing in the future. There is a very powerful opportunity because of all the targeting opportunities that we can offer.”
Di Lorenzo said eBay users shopping for flip flops in January, or parents bidding on outdoor equipment like tents and camping gear are likely to be good targets for holiday companies.
It is this linked nature of travel related products that she believes makes eBay an opportunity to be considered alongside the likes of Google and other major advertising platforms.
In addition eBay users tends to be logged in, both on mobile and their other devices, so tracking across devices is possible.
“There are not that many other places that can offer shopper insights at the scale we can offer to advertisers and brands. We see people coming back to us again and again,” said Di Lorenzo.
Because eBay users are inherently in a commercial buying or selling mode, it believes there is less push back on overtly commercial messages as has been seen on social media sites.
While eBay itself has not developed as a dedicated auction platform for travel – it does not have a specific vertical for the sector – it does offer hybrid e-commerce advertising packages.
Last June, Secret Escapes used the site to drive sign-ups targeting a value-conscious audience in a campaign in collaboration with the World Wildlife Fund.
It ran a homepage takeover with an auction for an overnight lodge experience at the Wildlife Heritage Foundation in Kent and other hotel stays.
The campaign drove over two million unique visitors, claimed eBay, while the proceeds from the auctions were donated to the WWF.
Air France-owned budge airline Transavia worked with eBay last year on an initiative in which users could convert goods they sold on the auction site into flights.
Di Lorenzo said this saw a 45% increase in bookings over the course of campaign and showed how eBay wants to take a partnership approach to advertising as well as offering standard placements.
“The market is changing and it’s getting very competitive,” she said. “Display banner advertising has probably decreased in performance over time.
“However, the reason has been due to the lack of targeting and insight. Performance on eBay is answering our advertisers’ needs for it to be contextual and targeted.
“That helps keep our click through and engagement rates healthy and higher compared to the market.
“Our customers are first and foremost the most important thing to keep in mind. It’s important that we don’t disrupt that experience.
“I believe our advertising is so contextual and integrated in to the flow of the website that it does not really disturb the shopping or selling experience in any way.”
“We can do a lot more in travel. It really comes down to pushing it into the market.”