In 2015, eBay launched their open source analytics program. The tools were initially put in place to manage personalization and fraud detection for the company itself. Now, anyone who uses eBay can use the analytics tools in order to improve their sales, get to know their customers, or just out of curiosity. There are no limits or stipulations on how you can use the tools to examine analytics on your eBay store. Whether you’re a power-user or a now-and-then seller, you can go ahead and take a look at all of the data that’s relevant to your little corner of the website.
In 2010, analytics was something major companies used. Some small business owners employed analytics, but it wasn’t the necessity it is for running a business in the current year. There are more tools than ever for businesses of all sizes who want to utilize analytics in their marketing, in their customer service and business planning and so on, and there are more people taking advantage of these tools than ever. Put simply: in 2010, analytics gave you a competitive edge. Today, they are a must if you want to stay in the game at all. It’s like TV, indoor plumbing or internet: First a novelty, then a necessity.
That said, if you make a living selling on eBay, or even if you just make a little supplemental income on the side, there’s a chance that you haven’t even considered using analytics in your business. After all, the site kind of takes care of the details in its very model for shoppers, right? People who want what you’re selling type it into the search bar, and then they click on your item and place a bid or click the buy it now button.
What can analytics do to improve upon that?
Well, as it turns out, quite a bit. The eBay setup is pretty simple if you just want to post items and wait for buyers. There’s nothing wrong with using eBay like that. It’s how we’ve been using eBay for the last twenty years, why change now? But, if you want to be a power user, if you actually use eBay as your primary means of income or otherwise move hundreds of items a month, then you may be surprised at just what you can get out of eBay Analytics. Their data collection is very robust, and can be very useful.
eBay Analytics Search Data
The eBay Analytics tools have a number of options for tracking how you’re performing in search engine results. Even if you don’t sell hundreds of items a month this can be useful. If your products are slow to move, if you never really get the bidding wars you were hoping for, it could have something to do with your search engine performance. A lot of people will click the first thing they see. They won’t bother looking for cheaper shipping or a higher seller rating, they just go right for the first result. Being in that first page of finds is important. Here’s what you can track with eBay Analytics when it comes to search engine performance:
- Where your item ranks in search results. This will show you what page you’re on and how many listings down you are. This number is going to be the basis of your SEO efforts on eBay. If you’re not coming up on the first page, then nobody can see what you’re selling in the first place, so it’s important to get your rank up in the results. By tracking this data you can find out what works and what doesn’t.
- How many people are actually seeing the results. Yes, analytics can tell you how far down the search results people are scrolling and clicking. A lot of them only look at the first page, and a lot of them don’t even scroll past the first few items. It varies by product and interest of course. People who buy vintage magazines, for instance, are looking for something specific that might not pop up in the number one spot. But with many other items people simply aren’t interested in doing any hunting and seeking to get what they’re after. They let the search engine do the work for them, which means you have to do the work for the search engine.
- Are people actually clicking through? Getting to the top spot is great, but at the end of the day you’re selling to human beings, not search engines, so it’s important that your listings are attractive to actual buyers. A search engine optimized description and title will get you to the top of the first page, but if it’s coupled with an ugly preview image, or if you’ve put so much focus on writing for SEO that your title doesn’t even look like a human language, don’t expect anyone to actually click through and buy anything.
- What do these same numbers look like for your competitors? It’s important to know what you’re up against in a competitive field like selling on eBay. Many of the numbers that you can track for yourself, you can also track for people who sell similar items or work in a similar industry through eBay. You can learn from their successes and mistakes and refine your own approach to creating listings for all of the different items that you sell on the online auction website.
eBay Analytics: What Else Does It Cover?
Of course, this is all pretty basic by 2018 standards. It may have been impressive in 2010, or even 2015, when the tools were first released to the public, but today your analytics tools need to operate as both data and analyst. You want your tools to work like a hired professional who can advise you on the best course of action to take based on that data. Fortunately the eBay Analytics tools do have quite a bit to offer in terms of helping you to actually turn all of those numbers into something useful. For instance:
- Charts and timelines. The tools can automatically track changes over time so that you don’t have to sit there with a spreadsheet and a pocket calculator in order to find out whether or not your efforts are actually having an impact on your search engine optimization and sales. It’s a lot easier having all of this information lined up for you, organized in a way that makes sense. You want to chart your progress, but that can be difficult when you’re just looking at numbers, which can be a little abstract. Charts and timelines help to paint a clearer picture of what’s working and what isn’t.
- It’s one hundred percent free. If you’re using eBay, then you have access to all of their analytics tools. There’s no free and premium versions available, there’s no “consultation fee” or anything like that. Absolutely no hidden costs. When you log in, you have full access to all of the same tools that everyone else has. As eBay sees it: When you do well, they do well. They collect a fee on every sale, right? So they’re not going to be trying to make it harder for their sellers to earn some money.
How Do You Access eBay Analytics?
Admittedly, the one downside to eBay Analytics is that it can seem a little unwieldy at first, especially if you’ve never really used analytics tools before. Fortunately, it’s not that tricky once you spend a little time with it. There are a few extra steps, a little more than you might expect, to get going and start activating all of your listings, but once you get through that it becomes second nature. Here’s what you need to know in order to get started using eBay Analytics for your retail business on the auction site:
- First, go to your eBay page. Simple as that.
- Next, click on the applications tab. It’s not hard to find.
- Scroll along until you find the “feature apps” box, and then go ahead and click “see all.” You can find that box on the upper right hand corner of the apps window.
- A search bar should pop up. You can go ahead and click on that, and then type “Listing analytics,” and start searching.
- You’ll find the Listing Analytics app, and there should be a button or link reading “Get it Free.” Go ahead and click on that.
- Check both boxes on the next page so they know you accept the terms and conditions.
- Confirm subscription, and you’re ready to go.
What If You Want More Out Of The Site?
This isn’t the only application that can help you to track your analytics across the auction website.
- Smart Counter Analytics. This is available in the app store and can be used to bring in a greater depth of detail. This will let you know the best times and dates for your listings, when you would get the best response for posting it. It will show you regional and national rates of sales and so on. This might not be necessary for many eBay users. Again, much of the site’s sales funnel really takes care of itself, and you might not need to go as in-depth on your sales analytics as you might if you were selling through a conventional e-store setup. But, if you really want to take your sales to the next level, Smart Counter Analytics is a great tool to help you get there. Highly recommended for people who are full time eBayers, who use the website as their primary means of income.
- Terapeak. This is a marketplace research app available in the app store which can show you which categories and items are hot right now. Generally speaking, chasing trends is not really the way to make a living on eBay. Someone in China or India or Mexico can always get the trendy item faster and sell it cheaper. But, it’s worth staying on top of the trends all the same. Don’t chase trends, don’t let them dictate your business, but be aware that there are waves you can ride for some fast sales every now and then. You’re best off developing your own niche and being The seller for a particular field, item or industry. But trends can help now and then.
These two apps are paid, and might not be worth the expense for many users. But, the eBay analytics tool is fantastic, and it’s free. Take your time to learn the ropes so that you can figure out how to improve your sales on the website through the power of numbers. If you’re already doing great at eBay, the analytics tools can help you do better. If you’re quite where you’d like to be, the tools can help to get you there. Absolutely worth the download.