eBay’s affiliate program is the eBay Partner Network. You are paid a category based percentage of the eBay selling price for referred transactions.
A key driver is that eBay has a lot of trust in the marketplace — the number one factor in conversions. Buyers have great confidence that they will get a quality product that has been gently used for a large discount from new.
eBay Partner Network
Types of products: Broad range of physical products both used and new.
Where to join: eBay Partner Network Signup
Commission structure: 2% – 6% of eBay selling price
Cookie length: 1 day
Payment Methods: Wire or Paypal
eBay is of course best known for their auction format but they are becoming more and more of a general retailer. They recognize that many people want to order now and not wait to maybe win an auction. As eBay moves to more retail type buy-it-now pricing model the affiliate program has been ramped up. It is a great opportunity to align your self with a large company that is making a push in the affiliate channel.
The eBay breadth of products is amazing. There are hard-to-find specialty items and great bargains on gently used items. eBay also sells many new items and retail arbitraged items. Many items are available as but-it-now items for people looking to make an immediate fixed price purchase.
eBay does not come close to Amazon’s product depth but they have many unique products … a used Leica lens that many collectors want, that odd auto part no longer manufactured, etc. From a product standpoint, most niches would find valuable merchandise for their visitors.
eBay Affiliate Commission Rates and Rules
eBay pays affiliates a percentage of the sales price which amount to 50%-70% of the fees they receive for referred transactions. Different categories have different commission percentages.
The cookie period however is only 24 hours. This the same as Amazon’s but … more than 50% of eBay sales are 7 day auctions. And most buyers are trying to snipe auctions so they wait for the final hours of the auction to bid. As an affiliate it takes a bid to get credit for the sale. But the good news is eBay is transitioning more and more of their business to buy it now type purchases.
Bonuses and Bounties
There are many ways to increase a transactions earnings.
- New affiliates make double commissions the first three months.
- Affiliates get a 100% bonus when referring a purchaser who is new to eBay or a reinstated one.
Partner Network Tools and Support
eBay really stepped up in this department at the last program overhaul. There are now many ways to insert links and even tools to increase conversions. The eBay Partner Network provides affiliates with their Publisher Portal. This is the jumping off point for getting creatives and information on how to use all of the linking tools. These include …
- Link Generator -- Link Generator will create a deep-link to any product or page and append your affiliate id. Quick Start Guide Link Gen
- Smart Share -- A Chrome extension that lets you browse eBays site, stop on a product and get an affiliate link. You can even share it immediately on Facebook or Pinterest. Quick Start Guide Smart Share
- Bookmarklet Tool -- Just bookmark a page and a link is created with your id. Quick Start Guide Bookmarklet
- Site Wide Linking -- This is like Viglinks for eBay. Any eBay link gets monetized. You add a small bit of code to your site. It also automatically makes banners to help with conversions. Quick Start Guide Smart Links
Another advantage of eBay is they are very inclusive with API access.
eBay Affiliate API
Tools like Prosociate interact with the api to search for relevant products and automatically let you post them Your products become WooCommerce products with access to all of the inherent capabilities. You can post single products, products with graphics, categories of products, make wish-lists etc.
In addition to Prosociate there is an ecosystem of other tools you can use to manage eBay affiliate products on your site or social page.
Unlike Amazon who limits their api to established affiliates, eBay makes it available to all affiliates. This gives Save & Exit you access to product data if you are a programmer or professional tools developed to integrate with eBay.
Getting API access is straight forward. eBay has a quick and easy setup to get your keys. They provide an easy to follow getting started guide
Prosociate provides detailed steps to get api access in our post about setting up Amazon and eBay sites.
How to Promote eBay Online
eBay allows you to promote products on your website and social channels. Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr are all acceptable platforms . Generally if a social platform allows users to add affiliate links then eBay allows it.
The 24 hour cookie however is not aligned to the way auction transactions work. Most auctions have few bids in the early days. Buyers start bidding in the final 24 hours. I would use a strategy of advertising and listing “auctions ending today”. This however would be a maintenance issue if you did not use the api and a software tool.
Another strategy would be to focus on items that are available both on Amazon and eBay as buy-it-now. This will bring you buyers ready to make a purchase not bidders waiting to snipe a product in 3 days after your cookie has expired. For these buy it now purchasers focus on keywords with buying intent. eBay is putting more emphasis on this type of transaction which is good for affiliates.
According to eBay, the affiliates that do the best with eBay focus on “creating a great user experience”. Tips from eBay to achieve this include:
- Create relevant copy, update it often and only embed relevant inks.
- Avoid lists of products with no content relevance
- Encourage product reviews from users
- Leverage the eBay brand by being clear they are linking to eBay.
- Send traffic to products or at least departments. The eBay homepage will not convert well for affiliate referrals.
- Target new users and take advantage of bonuses
- Test, test, test every niche and site will convert differently.
Pros and Cons —
eBay Affiliate Program
All in all a good program but hard to recommend to affiliates who do not have traffic for used and auctioned products. Th ecookie issues are hard to profitably navigate.
Worlds biggest flea market
Huge brand trust
Generous signup and new customer bonus
24-hour cookie length
7-day acution not aligned with 1-day cookie
Should You Become an eBay Affiliate?
The eBay affiliate program is a tricky one to navigate. Of major concern is the 24 hour cookie vs. 7-day sales. To be successful I would consider using them as a supplement to Amazon vs. a replacement. You could offer products from both networks on a comparison basis. It is hard to find any affiliates doing well these days with eBay. In fact the testimonial section of their website returns a 404!
“In addition to several inspiring success stories that you can check out on the EPN website …” — oops 404!
But the bonuses are nice, they have huge trust and brand awareness. The marketing value and service to your community is valuable. Offering used versions of niche products from eBay may yield more goodwill in your community then commissions.
Can any join the eBay affiliate program?
Yes, the eBay affiliate program is very inclusive. All you need is a website ... and traffic of course.
How much does eBay its affiliates?
eBay pays a percentage of the fees they receive from auctions and sales. The affiliate commissions range from 50%-70%. There are also bonuses and bounties.
How long do you have to make a sale from someone who uses your affiliate link?
eBay has a 1-day last touch cookie. As long as the customer purchases within 24-hours of arriving via your affiliate link you will receive the commission.
Does eBay have an affiliate API.
Yes, eBay has an API. At Prosociate we have a plugin that uses the API to import products to your website. Unlike Amazon, the API is available to new affiliates.