If you’re considering a paid search campaign, or if you have one running now, you might have been a little thrown off if you heard eBay’s recent announcement that they’re ending most of their paid search campaign based on their findings that paid ads aren’t effective.
However, take a closer look at eBay’s campaign, and it seems they made quite a few poor decisions which directly led to the poor results they saw.
Put simply, a paid search campaign is most successful when:
- You’re selective about the words you’re paying for (and those you’re excluding)
- The ads associated with your keywords words are well thought out and appropriate
- You monitor the campaign and adjust as needed on an ongoing basis
The metrics available with paid search and the ability to easily make adjustments to the campaign leave marketers little excuse for continuing an approach that’s performing poorly.
Yet eBay continued on with poor use of approaches such as Dynamic Keyword Insertion, seemingly no use of negative keywords, and ad copy so generic that a search for the word “vomit” returned an eBay ad touting “Vomit Sale- New & used Vomit. Check out the deals now!” And while we’re sure eBay hopes there are no stolen cars on eBay, another ad reads “Looking for Stolen Cars? Find exactly what you want today.” There are so many examples exactly like this that it’s no wonder they didn’t find paid search successful. In fact, there are entire websites devoted to these odd eBay ads (including this one, which while it does illustrate the ridiculous extent of eBay’s campaign, is a little juvenile in the ads it showcases)
eBay certainly has a few things on its side already, including strong name recognition and high rankings in organic search, it seems they could have created a paid search campaign that worked for them by paying attention to the right details and evolving their approach as needed. But in the end they just provided a good example of what NOT to do.