eBay’s Gold Standard – The Ultimate Guide

By Chris Dawson March 29, 2016 - 6:12 am

ListSmartAltViz are announcing today a new tool ListSmart, which currently in private beta, to help sellers optimise their listings. Their aim is to uncover the ‘Gold Standard’ secret sauce of eBay listings. If you want to know how many images you should include on a listings or whether it’s worth completing Item Specifics this is the tool for you.

It’s easy to say that the more information you include or a greater number of images is better, but how do you measure success? Using their ListSmart engine, AltViz have mined the data of over 15 million eBay listings and 5,000 sellers to quantify the performance impact of listing aspects like: Item Specifics, Titles, and Images across multiple categories.

ListSmart can give you empirical data to help you analyse your listings, prioritise actions based on the visibility impact, GMV potential and expected increase in conversion rate and then optimise your listings and measure your success.

AltViz are first and foremost a data science company, and tackle complex problems using data mining and machine learning to uncover strategic insights – so that’s naturally the approach they have taken to dissect the Gold Standard and understand the characteristics of high performing eBay listings.

AltViz have agreed to share the results of their findings in a series of articles:
1 (That’s this one): eBay’s Gold Standard – The Ultimate Guide
2: Diving into the Data – Optimal Image Count
3: Diving into the Data – The Specifics of Item Specifics
4: Diving into the Data – Effective Titles in 80 Characters or Less

1: eBay’s Gold Standard – The Ultimate Guide

To summarise the Gold Standard, we’ve defined 2 areas of focus: Listing Content and Listing Features.

ListSmart_Article1_titles (2)Listing Content:


Use as much of the 80 characters as possible, but avoid using multiple synonyms (e.g. “purse”, “handbag”, “bag”), as eBay already map these synonyms in keyword search. A basic formula to use is Brand (or Adjective) + Product Name (MPN where appropriate) + Category Name (+ Features/Colour/etc)

ListSmart_Article1_images (2)Images

Provide multiple, high quality images – and different angles. If you’re selling food items, include an image of the label.

Use a white background, and show products both by themselves and “in situation” (i.e. on a model) where appropriate.

ListSmart_Article1_itemspecifics (2)Item Specifics

Focus on the item specifics that are used for filtered navigation in each listing’s category. Many categories have “Type” as an item specific – and some also include “Sub-Type”, which is dependent on “Type”! Use a value that is presented to the buyer in the filters…otherwise it’s not really worthwhile to populate the item specific. (Read more on Item Specifics in a recent Tamebay article)

Depending on the listing solution a seller is using, product Identifiers should be included as both product details AND item specifics.

Only use “Does Not Apply” and “Unbranded” when absolutely necessary, as listings will likely lose traffic if they don’t have this info. If you’re listing actively in other countries, be sure to use the localised terms (““Nicht zutreffend” and “Markenlos” in Germany).


eBay says over 40% of purchases are “touched” by mobile. Don’t use a crowded HTML description template! Keep it clean and simple – and responsive if you can.

Listing Features:

Fast & Free

Offer 0-1 day dispatch time and free shipping for a boost
Premium Service (Top Rated Sellers)

Offer Fast & Free shipping, as well as an expedited option and a 14-day return policy (30 days as of May 2016)


Use eBay’s Promotions Manager to offer order level promos or upsell offers. We believe this will improve visibility and can improve average order value.

Strikethrough Pricing

For approved sellers, this can help drive conversion. Sellers should check with their Account Manager or eBay Support for eligibility.

Click & Collect

Ensure items are eligible for C&C at Argos to ensure buyers have as many delivery options as possible

What else impacts Best Match?

Impressions and Recent Sales (Fixed Price listings) – # of views compared to number of recent sales (up to 30 days).

High views and low sales – examine listing content and competitor pricing. Are you competitive? Does your listing look professional? Are your policies deterring buyers?

Low views and low sales – is it categorised correctly? Can you find the item in search?
Seller Rating – Feedback and Defect rate can impact search rank. Monitor items that generate a higher volume of negative feedback and/or low DSRs to see if there’s a problem area in your assortment.

Subscribe for updates to ListSmart

If you’re interested in finding out more, you can subscribe at for updates as they approach a full public launch.

    4 years ago

    we think PRICE ? has the biggest effect

  • Steve
    4 years ago

    It does not matter how good your listings are if the site is broken every 5 minutes or eBay have hidden your listings from all the buyers you sell what eBay lets you sell regardless how much work you put into your listings.

    On your own PC your listings come top of best match when you check them

    Use a different PC that’s never been used on your eBay account and connect using a different IP address and your listings will be hidden on page 10 of the best match results.

    Its a rigged game where eBay feed you just enough sales so you keep listing and paying your shop fees growing your business is at eBay’s discretion not a result of anything the seller does

    • James
      4 years ago

      Do you have hard evidence to support this or is this just in theory?

    • Steve
      4 years ago

      Just try it yourself make sure the computers are not linked in any way and one has not been used to log into your eBay accounts.

    • chrissieboy
      4 years ago

      Steve is correct. Just phone up a few friends around the country, in fact even same town, and ask them what they see using search for your item. They won’t all be able to see it. Then try around the world, same again. Depends on which week/month it is and which way the wind’s blowing never mind regular outages etc. Rigged i tell you James, rigged.

    • keith
      4 years ago

      Ha, well how strange is that? To be fair ‘best match’ is pretty irrelevant to me as I auction unique items. However I’ve just looked at my items and they come up as they do, then I looked at my items on another ebay site as a guest, and they’re in a totally different order!

  • Dave
    4 years ago

    In my case, it doesn’t matter how optimised your listings are. I may as well be flogging a dead horse.

    My latest pain is that eBay have created an entire new category for all of my larger competitors:

    Just have a look. Hidden feedback, not adhering to the picture standards and crossed-out pricing. At least on Amazon you can compete on a level playing field.

    • James
      4 years ago

      Unless you’re competing against Amazon themselves or FBA Amazon in which case you are most certainly not competing on a level playing field.

    • Dave
      4 years ago

      I do compete against Amazon as well Amazon FBA sellers, and I also use FBA for some items. The point is that you can if you want to, the option is there. You may not win the buy box if Amazon sell the item themselves, but its good enough to generate substantial sales.

      Its not a level field with eBay. The competition isn’t just about price/dispatch time on there. I can’t get the crossed-through pricing, or have my own little ‘Refurbished Tech’ area.

      You can tweek your listings until your blue in the face, but as the guys mention above, it can be all for nothing.

    • James
      4 years ago

      I don’t disagree with you about eBay – I agree it is a constant source of frustration.

      I’m just disagreeing with you on Amazon. Agreed options for FBA are available to everyone and therefore this is a level playing field.

      However when Amazon decide to come in and either

      i) Sell a product with a different brand and their product goes straight to the top of the search function with no sales history – and therefore gets maximum viability from day one


      ii) Where they sell on an existing listing at a higher price and win the buy box more often than FBA or 3rd party fulfilled sellers.

      In many cases I find Amazon to be the more dangerous of the two. At least if you follow good listing practices with eBay you will get a somewhat decent listing rank. Amazon can take and destroy your business in 1 day if they decide to compete against you. Competition is good – Amazon competition is about giving themselves preference without using the same rules they impose on their 3rd party sellers.

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