I had a pleasant but brief chat yesterday with Christian Kunz, the man heading up eBay’s newly-announced international ad business .
The division, which will be headquartered in Bern, will oversee the management of advertisers' display and text ad campaigns across 25 international sites.
It will aim to further increase eBay’s already-rapidly-growing ad revenues; a small part of its business, but one that is successful enough already to have caused concern to some in its seller community.
But it certainly offers a compelling proposition to brands, considering the nature of the site’s audience and its international reach.
Kunz said its creation would allow eBay to deliver international ad campaigns “much more professionally”:
“We have already done international ad deals in the past, but this was an ad hoc effort and there was a lot of negotiation and coordination involved between different markets.
"We have now streamlined our processes and want to provide a seamless experience to advertisers and agencies. If there is a global product launch, a new movie or car coming out, we can now support these deals really effectively.”
According to Kunz, most of the display campaigns eBay will carry will be CPM-based, although exceptions might be made for some of its larger clients. The ads will be targeted using eBay's in-house software, and served in the majority of markets via Doubleclick.
Unfortunately, however, he wouldn't name any new brands eBay was talking to (existing clients include Royal Mail, Mercedes-Benz, Commerzbank and Fiat), or indicate how much demand there was for multinational, rather than local, campaigns (other than saying his team was “busy”).
Nor would he go into more depth around how results could be influenced by eBay users’ “high propensity to buy”, or the vast amount of e-commerce data it is able to glean from activity on its site. All this seemed slightly bizarre, considering that information would no doubt help its cause. It also begs the question: Is there a web company that’s less generous when it comes to sharing its data than eBay?
Nevertheless, the signs are good for the new business; eBay’s Q2 results (pdf) show its overall ad revenues grew by 183% year-on-year (although, predictably, there's no indication of value), and it can certainly offer something several big web properties are struggling to at the moment - an audience that's in 'buying mode'.