eBay ditches cookies for new programmatic ad platform

eBayeBay Advertising has launched a new programmatic targeting tool, developed in response to increasing demand from client marketers for solutions which do not use third-party cookies but still offer realtime audience data.

The eBay Advanced Audience Technology (eAAT) platform was launched in the US in May and is now coming to Europe before being rolled out to other regions.

Powered by eBay shopper data – which the company claims offers “rich insights” into the 174 million global shoppers which use the site – the new solution creates audience segments which are based on observed and predicted behaviours and are updated between ad calls in realtime.

This means that each user is assessed and segmented by their exact shopping behaviour at the precise moment the ad is called. This, the company insists, means advertisers can be confident that everyone in that segment is actually looking for their product or service at that time; it also means that consumers will not be served ads for items which they have already purchased.

eBay Advertising currently offers over 300 audience segments across Europe, from mobile phone intenders to business owners. However, custom segments can be quickly created on demand, with eBay developing these transparently and in partnership with brands to ensure they deliver the best results.

Targeting is based on eBay user IDs, negating the need for cookies. And, by moving to a cookie-less targeting environment where no DMP matching is required, eBay says it has achieved a 300% increase in audience match rates across its 174 million shoppers worldwide.

eBay director of ad sales Mike Klinkhammer said: “We want brands to be able to target everyone who’s genuinely in the market for their product at any given time. Gone are the days of segmentation lags, match rate issues, third party cookie reliance and guesswork: with our proprietary eBay Advanced Audience Technology, we can confidently augment our data to create audience segments for almost every intention – from exercise enthusiasts to photography fans and specific brand affinities – and know they’re as scaled and up to date as they possibly can be.

“The second a user loses their intent – because they’ve bought a product or are simply more interested in something else – they’re removed from the segment, meaning they won’t be served an ad that’s not relevant to them. With marketers under peak pressure to demonstrate ROI in the current climate, this next generation of audience capabilities truly changes the game for advertisers looking for granular, transparent targeting at scale.

“Third party cookies have certainly served a purpose, but the advertising industry is crying out for an alternative – and, so far, there’s a gap in the market. That’s why we rebuilt our infrastructure from the ground up, to maximise reach and future proof our offering to ultimately help drive better business outcomes for our clients.”

The launch follows a successful pilot campaign with Freeview, which, through their digital agency NMPi, targeted shoppers across relevant product categories to drive awareness and purchases of TVs installed with Freeview Play.

Using eAAT, eBay was able to match the programmatic deals offered by a leading data service provider (DSP) across a range of categories (including ‘Electronics’ and ‘TV’), supplemented with additional, hyper-targeted audiences at scale to further reduce wastage.

For the broad ‘Electronics’ deal, eBay delivered a CPA 33% lower than the DSP (£94.41 vs £141.71), while for the core ‘TV’ deal, the CPA using eAAT data was less than half that of the DSP (£26.89 vs £55.01).  Overall, eBay outperformed the DSP for both CPA (£41.15 vs £61.40) and CTR (0.07% vs 0.04%).

Freeview senior marketing manager James MacDonald said: “The ability to target not just highly relevant audiences at scale, but also benefit from truly realtime data so we know that they are genuinely in-market was of critical importance in Freeview’s decision to add eBay’s eAAT targeting to our media plan.

“The KPIs for this campaign were very much performance-led and eBay outperformed both our standard TV targeting and our go-to targeting from a major data provider. Based on the results we saw from this test we are keen to explore other eBay targeting solutions and we are looking to invest more budget into eAAT-driven activity.”

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