Are eBay Promoted Listings Worth It?

Nothing has divided seller opinion more than eBay Promoted Listings. For some sellers, promoted listings are just an additional fee designed to fill eBay’s coffers. For others, Promoted Listings provide a valuable promotional opportunity to increase sales in a highly competitive online marketplace. So who’s right? Are eBay Promoted Listings worth it? 

Hint: If your eBay listings are not optimised correctly or to a good enough standard they won’t perform well when running eBay Promoted Listings. Get your free eBay optimisation report here.

What Are eBay Promoted Listings? 

eBay Promoted Listings is an advertising system designed to enhance the visibility of items in eBay search. Promoted Listings fall into two categories: 


Promoted Listings Standard (PLS):

PLS is a cost-per-sale advertising system based on a dynamic ad rate (percentage of sale) set by the seller. The seller only pays when a sale can be attributed to an ad campaign. 


Promoted Listings Advanced (PLA):

PLA is a cost-per-click advertising system based on a dynamic ad rate set by the seller. The seller is charged every time a potential customer clicks on a promoted listing. 


While eBay has been criticised in some circles for using Promoted Listings to squeeze more money out of sellers, it should be noted that the online marketplace has always allowed sellers to optimise their listings based on premium listing enhancements. As eBay has evolved, Promoted Listings simply reflect the evolution of the marketplace and mirror similar advertising programs on other marketplaces, including Amazon. 

But the big question remains: Are eBay Promoted Listings worth it? 

How Much do eBay Promoted Listings Cost?

Both models of eBay Promoted Listings allow you to set your own rates, with PLS it is a percentage of the price of the item you’re promoting, with PLA it is a maximum amount you will bid to have a higher ranked listing and you will be charged that amount each time a prospective buyer clicks on your listing. You can set a daily budget for PLA campaigns, when it runs out your campaign will stop and your listings will n longer be promoted by eBay until the next day. eBay will suggest an ad rate based on being able to outbid other sellers.

With a Promoted Listings Standard Campaign you will only pay your bidding percentage when you sell an item that was being promoted at the time, or a buyer buys it within 30 days of clicking on your listing. If your item is found in search and the level of your bid meant that you were not actually getting a boost in position at the time, you won’t pay any ad fees. 

With a Promoted Listing Advanced you will pay every time a user clicks on your listing but won’t pay any extra fee if your item sells. This works on an auction basis so you set a maximum bid, and will get charged an mount below that but high enough to beat other sellers bidding on the same keywords. Here you can see examples from eBay of how this works

As with all online marketing strategies, there is no easy answer regarding whether eBay Promoted Listings are worth it or not to your business. 

eBay Promoted Listings might be very valuable to a business selling in a highly competitive category. Similarly, they might hold very little value to a business selling unique products with little competition.  

More mature eBay businesses who take care to optimise their listings based on the latest eBay best practices might have a different experience of Promoted Listings than a more recent seller just finding their feet. 

Some products will have enough margin to cope with the additional costs of promoted listings. Other low-cost or low-margin items will have much less room to justify the extra cost. 

The only way you will ever know if eBay Promoted Listings is worth it for your business is to set aside a small amount of budget and test various approaches to see what works best for you.

Do eBay Promoted Listings Work?

They can certainly increase your listing’s exposure but not all sellers need to use them, or at least not for every listing. If your listing is in a low-competition niche, competitively priced and showing up high on the page in eBay search there may be no need to make any extra investment. However, if you have listings that are struggling to gain traction, it can be worth the extra cost as opposed to the alternative of no sales! Particularly for new listings in a competitive niche, Promoted Listings Advanced can be used to good effect to get your listing going and gain some sales history which will help it rank higher even if you turn off the campaign after some time.

What Are Frooition’s Clients Saying 

On the whole, our clients’ experience of Promoted Listings is positive. However, the most successful sellers using the Promoted Listing advertising system stress the importance of carefully managing their campaigns to maximise your return on investment from the channel and ensure you are not overpaying for your campaigns. It’s worth remembering that eBay regularly updates the Promoted Listings service, which can impact your entire product catalogue and not just the promoted items.   

Most of our sellers using Promoted Listings use PLS, believing it represents less risk than PLA. The sellers using PLA are typically larger brands and use it to increase brand awareness and drive sales.  

Many, more sophisticated sellers are trying to work out the eBay Promoted Listing algorithm to come out on top – but this is easier said than done.  

One long-standing client recently told us that he had seen an uplift in sales by simply allocating the minimum percentage to every product allowed by PLS. While this strategy might work for him, less established sellers might need to invest more in the programme to see a similar return.       

Optimise Your eBay Listings 

Promoted Listings aren’t a shortcut to eBay success. There is absolutely no point in paying to promote an un-optimised listing. So before you consider testing eBay Promoted Listings, you must ensure your listings are fully optimised. 

What does an optimised eBay Listing look like? 

An optimised eBay listing is made up of multiple moving parts. It starts with a well-written description and high-quality images. But there is so much more. Sellers must ensure it is listed in the correct category and include all relevant item specifics. Shipping schedules can also positively or negatively impact your listing optimisation. 

And just to confuse things, just because a listing performed well last year doesn’t mean it will continue to perform well in the future. 

Listing Optimisation 

If you need help keeping up with the latest eBay best practices concerning listing optimisation, Frooition can help. Our free eBay Listing Optimisation service will quickly highlight everything that is right and wrong with your listings. Once you’ve worked your way through your optimisation report, you should be in good shape to give Promoted Listings a fair trial. To analyse all of your listings and exactly what needs to be optimised for each, you need to use Boost Analytics. This is the only eBay seller tool that will show you which listings need attention and what to change and is available to Frooition Customers, schedule a call with one of our eBay experts today.

As a Frooition customer you will also have access to free eBay ads tools that will help you optimise your ad campaigns for better return on spend. This service is free for all Frooition subscribers, click the link to find out more about our eBay services, including our eBay listing templates

For non-Frooition clients, we can offer a 30-day free trial of our eBay Ads Manager tool.

Learn More 

To learn more about how Frooition can help you manage your Promoted Listings campaigns, schedule a call with one of our eBay advertising experts today.  


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