eBay Ramps Up New Ad Exchange In Threat To Amazon

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John Donahoe

eBay CEO John Donahoe

eBay is ramping up its ad exchange in the U.S. with target-able shopper segments, according to Adweek. The exchange will allow advertisers to target web ads at users based on their eBay history, via an automated real-time bidding platform.

Amazon already has an ad exchange up and running that some people believe is already making $500 million in sales. Because Amazon can potentially use its vast database of consumers' purchase histories to target ads, many refer to it as the Sleeping Giant of the online ad business. (eBay, by that logic, is the Second-Hand Sleeping Giant).

eBay’s head of digital display in North America, Stephen Howard-Sarin has previously said that he believes the exchange is a direct competitor to exchanges offered by Amazon, Facebook and Google.

Adweek notes:

Dave Martin, svp of media at Los Angeles-based agency Ignited, said that eBay has compiled shopper segments like people looking for or buying auto, clothing, music or books that advertisers can target via a self-serve real-time bidding platform or working directly with eBay's sales teams.

eBay has been running a pilot ad exchange in the U.K. (if you can call an entire country a pilot), with 17 million monthly users and 5 billion impressions.

eBay also hired former Turn sales exec Glenn Fishback to become svp/digital media services and strategy at GSI Commerce, an eBay acquisition, Adweek notes. GSI is an enterprise marketing services operation that also does online ad analytics. It's not clear how GSI fits into eBay's online ad plans — except that it's another signal that the company is investing in the area (and Turn, of course, is a demand-side platform).

Who can you reach on eBay? Ignited's Martin put it this way:

If I want an autographed baseball card from a 1952 [Boston Red Sox] player, I can’t get that from Amazon.



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