eBay’s Christmas 2015 holiday marketing plans

Last Christmas eBay kicked off their first ever world wide global brand campaign in October, with the theme “Shop The World”.

The campaign launched across multiple digital and social channels in the US, UK and Europe followed by a more Christmassy campaign focussing on gifts and highlighting Click & Collect at Argos. So what can we expect this year?

eBay TV Christmas ad?

Don’t expect eBay to be running a hugely expensive Christmas TV ad campaign this year. We’ve seen them in previous years, but for 2015 the TV ad everyone will be talking about is likely to be from John Lewis rather than eBay. When asked last week, Devin Wenig told investors “Last holiday, we did a bit of TV, not in every DMA but we did some TV in the U.S. and some in Europe. We’re not going to do a significant amount of TV this holiday but we won’t spend less”.

Social Media

Expect to see eBay using social media to drive traffic more than ever before. Last week we saw eBay’s CUKFLASH 20% off discount code. eBay cunningly announced the promotion at 6am to catch workers on Facebook on their way into work, but didn’t release the coupon code until 4pm. The coupon was valid from 4pm to 10pm.

This generated huge amounts of traffic throughout the day as buyers desperately revisited eBay’s Facebook page and scoured the web for the discount code so that they’d be ready to spend as soon as the promotion period started. By withholding the code it generated a sense of desperation as consumers worried that they’d miss out and not have the code in time to use it and then when it was finally release shoppers went crazy.

Promotional discount

I’m willing to bet that one of the smartest moves eBay did was not to insist on using the discount for a single item purchase. By setting a top discount of £50, that allowed buyers to fill their eBay shopping basket with up to £250 worth of goods from multiple sellers across eBay. When you know you’re getting a discount (unless you’re incredibly disciplined) it’s all to easy to think that you’re “wasting” money by not spending the full amount.

We don’t know how much the promotion cost eBay, but in terms of TV advertising costs I’m willing to bet that the cost was comparable. By the time you’ve had briefs with agencies, paid for filming and post production and then splashed out on premium air time.

To put in into perspective, the 2014 John Lewis advert cost a cool million quid to shoot. The total cost of the campaign was £7 million. If eBay were to spend £7 million on discounts at 20% that would equate to £35 million in sales and it doesn’t end there, the chances are that having spent on eBay recently dormant buyers will come back to eBay in the near future and they’ll be looking out for the next campaign.

Let’s not forget that the promotion didn’t cost eBay 20% of the sale price either – they’ll have around 10% of the sale price come back their way in final value fees and some boffin would have run the spreadsheets to work out the uplift in sales and figured out that the increased basket size on the day would help offset some of the remaining 10% that they actually had to fund. It’s still a ballsy move and a nice discount however.

Look out for more promotional discounts

It’s hard to complain about the discounts (although a sellers few managed to!). The good news is that eBay have plans for more events, eBay VP Tanya Lawler told Tamebay “We’re now looking forward to the big events at the end of this year to rocket fuel our sellers – like Black Friday and Christmas”.