eBay India opens up site to online advertisers

By , agencyfaqs!, New Delhi | In Digital | October 31, 2007
The auction-cum-shopping website has opened up space for display advertising and sponsorships

In a & #BANNER1 & # strategic shift, eBay India, one of the leading e-commerce sites in India, has opened up its website to graphical ads from advertisers. The online auction and shopping site is based on a commission model for products sold on the site, but attracts 2.5 million unique visitors and 30 million page views per month. Through display advertising and sponsorships, eBay India is opening up a whole new revenue stream.

Rathin Lahiri, chief marketing officer, eBay India, says, "An important trend on the Internet is that people are adopting online shopping and also doing online search for product information. Thus, we are offering brands an opportunity to reach out to customers who are actively looking for such information."

The company has been testing display ads on the site since July. It already has brands such as Nokia, Motorola, Dell, Reliance Communications and John Players advertising on it. The advertising options include banner ads on home, and search and category pages. Advertisers can sponsor certain categories, have their own micro-sites or eBay Shops.

In addition, eBay is launching online coupons that can redeemed on the site. "This is not just a communication platform, but a trial generation platform," says Lahiri. He adds that advertisers can also use coupons to see how their product is received by analysing the response rates.

Rathin Lahiri
Since eBay is an e-commerce site, there is the risk of the ads cannibalising the site's sales, but Lahiri says that this possibility has been considered. "We will not be taking ads from our direct competitors, that is, online shopping sites."

The company is working with digital agencies Interactive Avenues and Quasar for online sales, as well as their own sales team. Internationally, eBay has a partnership with Yahoo! to sell its display ads. In India, there is no such exclusive deal as yet.

Lahiri says, "We are examining our options. By the end of the year, we will have worked this out, but we would like a partner who has the same core competency." He adds that there is no deal with Yahoo! India as of now.

As 70 per cent of eBay India's transactions are from fixed price sales instead of auctions, the company is placed in the highly competitive market of online shopping stores - not leaving much room for the auction based revenue model on which it has built its international success. The introduction of advertising on the site opens up an additional revenue stream for the company.

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