Today’s Burning Question: eBay to Challenge Amazon’s Ad Exchange


ADOTAS — We asked our panel of thought leaders the following Burning Question: “eBay has launched an ad exchange, following a similar move by Amazon. What’s your take?”

“eBay (along with Amazon) are sitting on the ‘holy grail’ of audience data: shopping intent.  It’s a clear path to make this data available for desktop ads, the next challenge (and opportunity) is synching this with mobile ads.  The desktop ad world has the benefit (and the curse — with all the recent issues) of 3rd party cookies that just don’t scale on mobile. eBay and Amazon will need a different approach to monetizing their data for targeting across mobile. Without cookies, eBay and Amazon could look to synch profiles to device ids (like ID for Advertising from Apple’s iOS 6 release last fall) or other device id options.  The key will be to make sure this is privacy sensitive and that all parties support an opt-out.” — Howie Schwartz,  CEO & Founder, Human Demand.

“I wish we had more details on this story, it sounds as though eBay is getting ready to sell ad inventory through a sel-serve platform for advertisers, that this platform will support RTB and that they feel like they’re competing against Amazon. What is not clear is whether or not advertisers can continue to use their current DSP and leverage eBay data for buying targeted ads. After reading this article on ExchangeWire, it is also unclear whether the UK project with Rubicon is in fact a pilot for this ad exchange, or if it was a completely separate project from this one. eBay data is certainly valuable for some advertisers, however is it as valuable as amazon data – in other words, is data from a segment of buyers who are known for hunting bargains valuable for merchants?  I think it will be quite valuable. But like any data, value will be relative, and pricing will be key in whether or not merchants can make it work for them.” — Marc Poirier, Co-Founder & EVP, Business Development, Acquisio.

“The adtech community’s view of Amazon’s ‘ad exchange’ may be overly optimistic. While the scale and granularity of Amazon’s intent data makes unbelievably attractive, the availability and application of that data is going to be carefully controlled by Amazon. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if Amazon harvests as much data from advertiser’s programs than they release to advertisers in the first place (as we’ve seen with their marketplace program). eBay on the other hand has been aggressively positioning itself as the ‘anti-Amazon.’ Their argument: eBay is a partner, not a competitor. That should matter here. In particular, they won’t have a competing agenda in regards to the data they share and collect. And I suspect they will be far more open to how it gets applied (e.g., who can use it, where clicks get sent, etc.). And if eBay gets permission to tap into sites on their GSI and Magneto subsidiaries, their value to advertisers grows that much greater. Will be interesting to see how it evolves over time and to what degree eBay is able to potentially integrate their aggressive expansion offline and in mobile.” — Richard Harris, CEO, Intent Media.

“This is not a surprise. If you have high-quality audiences, as a publisher, you are better off harnessing it yourself.  We think this is just the beginning.  High-quality publishers will begin to ‘take back’ their audiences and enable more and more real-time capabilities, providing brands with higher quality, more unique experiences better suited to the best publishers and best audiences.” — David Jakubowski, CEO, Aggregate Knowledge.

“As audience buying continues to grow, publishers are starting to follow their audience on the ad exchanges, allowing brands to engage and convert high quality audiences. It will be interesting to see if publishers will follow the same path as agency trading desks; starting with one DSP, adding multiple media partners to scale their business, diversify risk, and meet advertisers’ preferences, then centralizing audience management and intelligence across all inventory sources.” — Pascal Bensoussan, chief strategy officer, Aggregate Knowledge.

“The announcement of eBay launching an ad exchange is not surprising, as it rolled one out in the UK last fall. Similar to Amazon, eBay has an opportunity to capitalize on its ‘active shopper’ audience data (which is in itself a unique selling proposition) by offering an additional way for advertisers to get in front of such purchase-ready consumers. Advertising placements on shopping engines are generally touted as being cost efficient, but somewhat low in volume. An ad exchange is an additional way for eBay to increase volume for its advertisers against a qualified audience.” — Liz Serafin, Vice President – Media, Geary LSF.

“While eBay’s ad exchange is in its infancy, there’s a lot of potential for advertisers on the horizon. A lot depends on eBay’s data sorting capabilities, but there’s no debating the breadth and depth of eBay’s data. Its users have been searching, sorting and identifying items of interest for nearly two decades. Marketers could put all that data to great use, and the success of the exchange will depend on how useful eBay can make this data.” — Alan Osetek, president of Resolution Media.


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