Auction Ads seems to be getting quite a bit of coverage recently so I thought I’d review the service and aggregate my own thoughts about using Auction Ads over AdSense or any other revenue generating service. I’ll cover the basics of how it works and offer some Auction Ads tips from what I have heard and seen from mine and other people’s experiences.
I’ve had an Auction Ads account ever since it was called Shoemoney Ads. Shoemoney created the concept, and seeing it work really well, expanded it to a full fledged business, one that has grown tremendously over the last few months. For certain types of websites, it can be much more lucrative to run Auction Ads vs. Adsense.
By the way, the reason it’s not called eBay Ads or eBay Auction Ads is because Jeremy wanted to keep the concept as flexible as possible – he even hinted that other merchants (outside of eBay) may be added to the system in the future.
How does Auction Ads work?
Auction Ads serves are the intermediary between eBay, Commission Junction, and you (the publisher), giving you control to set the types of ads you want to show on a website. Once you pick the keywords for ads you want to show, Auction Ads will show items currently selling on eBay that match your keywords. Here is an example:
Since in aggregate Auction Ads makes enough money to qualify for a higher payout percentage, they only take the difference between that and what you would normally be paid if you were running your own system through eBay’s affiliate program. It’s a win-win-win situation.
Any eBay purchase made through your ads (which includes items that are not directly displayed in your ad) will generate a commission for your account. At the end each month you will be paid directly via Paypal for the commission you generate.
What type of websites are Auction Ads best suited for?
Well-trafficked hobby and collectibles sites are great candidates for running Auction Ads. Electronics review sites and anything that relates to products that are in high demand and have high prices (like digital cameras or speakers) are well suited for Auction Ads. Websites in the automotive industry are also good candidates due to large bid prices generated through eBay motors.
Tips for Auction Ads
One of the biggest mistakes I see is people using Auction Ads on their “how to make money online” blogs and using keywords such as “make money online” or “SEO services”. This usually brings up the bottom-feeder products that are filled with scams and turnkey sites. Below is a good example of this. It uses “make money online” as the keyword.
More likely than not, you’ll see some photos of “babes” and cash above, selling a snake-oil product. Obviously you don’t want to run this type of ad since not only will you not make any significant profit, but your brand will suffer because some people might associate this garbage with your site.
One very useful feature that Auction Ads has added is the ability to narrow the results down to a particular seller’s items (and even filter them by keyword). This is especially useful if your category is sometimes filled with junk. Using this method you can go to eBay and find a large volume seller that regularly carries only high quality items to make sure that the products returned fit your “editorial standards”. Example code: auctionads_ad_kw = “userid:www.uogold.com dell”
Another recently added feature is the “minimum:$$$” option which lets you set a minimum price of products that are displayed. So if you wanted to show ipods (and not necessarily cheap ipod accessories), you could set the minimum price to something like $100. Example code: auctionads_ad_kw = “ipod; minimum:100″
I’ve also heard people having success for Auction Ads during a time of traffic spikes, such as ones from Digg or Reddit. It’s best to use keywords that match up to the demographics of these sites, often irrespective of your post content. Computer memory, laptops, and other technology related items tend to do well since the audience of these sites is largely tech-centric.
Auction Ads Affiliate Program
One bonus feature of Auction Ads is that it allows you to earn commissions of others who sign up through your Auction Ads link, which is automatically present at the bottom of your ads.
You can see above that the Ads by Auction Ads link takes visitors to a landing page encouraging users to sign up for Auction Ads themselves. If they do, you get 2% of the income they generate for 6 months.
There are some sites that are much better suited for Adsense, and some sites that will do far better by running Auction Ads. The only way you can tell is by testing them both and seeing how they do on your website. I’d recommend running them both for at least 2 weeks or a month since I’ve heard people only start seeing results after a few weeks. Auction Ads works off a 30-day cookie so you’ll often get credit for sales days or weeks after the person visited your site and clicked on your ad. You can even run these ads on the same pages as Adsense as long as the units do not have the same colors and borders (per Adsense TOS).
This is just like anything else in online marketing: you have to test test test. However, if you have a website that’s either tech-focused or has a niche that relates well to a group of eBay products, Auction Ads may end up beating out the few dollars many of you are currently earning from Adsense.
If you have any additional tips or recommendations for getting the most out of Auction Ads, or if you’ve had experience (good or bad) with their system, please leave them in the comments below.