How Much Did eBay & Amazon Spend on Google Advertising in 2011?

While researching for an article working I’m working on in relation to Google Adwords and the eBay & Amazon marketplaces, I came across the info-graphic below and I’ve got to share!

The numbers are just unreal

In 2011:

  • eBay spent $42.8 million
  • Amazon spent $55.2 million

On Google advertising in one year.

Yes, in one year!!!

Question: How much did you spend on Google Adwords last year?

Was it £0, £10, £1000? You can let me know in the comments at the bottom

Googles Earnings Breadown for 2011

Googles Earnings Breadown for 2011

Managing Large Adword Campaigns with Google Adwords Editor

Google Adwords EditorEver wondered how search marketing companies & larger companies deal with more than a few Google Adwords campaigns? The answer is easy, they use the right tool for the job, Adwords Editor is one of them and best of all its free!

Managing Campaigns x 10,0000

A slight exaggeration, however using the Adwords Editor, you can manage literally hundreds of campaigns over several accounts using a single, free tool.

A key feature of the product is the ability to import new campaigns via CSV, you can update them via CSV for external processing and then import them back in again. Its all quite civilised and dealing with hundreds of campaigns at one time is a very simple task.

Why you should use the Adwords Editor

Here are the reasons why you would want to use the Adwords Editor:

  1. You can import and export your campaigns from Excel. That means for geeks like me I can do all the work in excel and then quickly and easily import the campaigns for immediate upload to Google.
  2. It works offline. This is brilliant if travelling or out of signal range. Just send the updates when you’re next connected.
  3. The Editor works with more than one Adwords account.
  4. Finding duplicate keywords is easy, see here for more info.
  5. This is an official tool created by Google,

So if you want one up on your competitors, you are about five up now. Or the biggest feature for me, was the import/export features. Being able to manipulate data outside of the interface and import, was a huge win.

There are other tools, mainly paid for, plus there is an API as well, which for the larger PPC based companies build their own interfaces to our use hugely expensive software to manage campaigns on an epic scale.

Helpful links:

Part 1: What Are Affiliate Networks & Should I be using Them?

Affiliate NetworksThis was an old post that I’ve revamped for human consumption. “What Are Affiliate Networks & Should I be using Them?” is a really good question and a very short answer is yes, you should be.

I’m looking forward to explaining and givening examples over the next three articles, as I discuss what they do, how they work, who uses them, how much they cost and ultimately why you should have a network as part of your online marketing strategy.

The Affiliate Concept


An affiliate network acts as an intermediary between publishers (affiliates) and merchant affiliate programs

Starting at the beginning, we have merchants, businesses that have websites and want more customers, we also have people like me affiliates (I was focused on Affiliate Networking for the majority of 2010) who want to specialise in their area which is known as publishing and will happily pimp themselves for a percentage cut of the merchants sales.

Affiliates and merchants normally come together via a 3rd party called an ‘Affiliate Network‘, which is a place where affiliates can find merchants to promote & vice’versa and acts as a trusted party between them both. As you can imagine there are a few of these globally and I’ll be looking at these in detail next week.

The Merchant gives the Affiliate a fee, typically for a confirmed sale, again typically through an Affiliate Network.

Affiliate Program Fees

Affiliate networks hold lists of merchants and lists of affiliates, then promote them to each other. The affiliate networks make their money in several ways:

  • The start up fee to the merchant
  • The on going monthly fee from the merchant
  • Commission on the commission’s paid to merchants
  • And in some cases a fee they take from the affiliates for joining

That sounds like a lot of fees to shell out as a merchant, but to give you some idea, the start up fees for a affiliate program range from a few hundred, to a few thousand and monthly costs vary from £250-500 or more.

The actual percentage paid to affiliates (those nice people known as publishers that get you customers) can vary and be tiered on performance. For technology based products, commissions of 1-3% are common, for clothing 8-15% are common, holidays are similar of not more and gambling can be much higher.

Note: Are these fees starting to ring true to the updates set by eBay in the eBay May 2011 update, Tech = 3%, CSA = 15%?

Yummy Cookies

Cookies are worth a special mention here, this is because you can set the length of time you can allow your affiliate to gain commission on a sale from the time they referred them to your site(s).

Note: We’re not talking about those delicious snacks, we’re refering to cookies, that are dropped by websites into the clients browser, the HTTP cookie, see here for more info.

Normally this is a 30 day cookie, some companies offer 7, 15, 30, 45, 60, 90 or infinite or if your name is, then the cookie life is 24 hours. More on that later in another article as I am not willing to contribute to the ongoing war, sorry debate over cookies and their timings at this time (this is an industry wide hot topic, sadly with no ‘right/perfect’ view).


There are several different ways you can tackle affiliate networks, you could ban PPC affiliates or stay text link only OR you could open your affiliates up to allowing them to use PPC (on or off your brand name) and give them something called a ‘datafeed’.

Affiliate networks do more than just put an affiliate and a merchant in touch, they can handle data feeds given from the merchant to the affiliate network, for adaptation and distribution to their affiliates, then track clicks the sales and report these back to both parties.

Datafeeds are files that contain the very latest (hopefuly!) information from a merchant on their product catalogue, so you as the merchant can keep your affiliates up to date on the latest products you have.

Below is a screen shot of items selected using the AffiliateWindow ‘Create-a-feed’ tool in their new (ish) Darwin interface.

Affiliate Window Create-A-Feed Tool

Affiliate Window Create-A-Feed Tool

Contacting Affiliates

This is also part of your fee to the Affiliate network, you should be assigned an account manager who will ‘woo’ the top affiliates in your product area(s) and get them to take your feeds. A tip here is to do two things. Firstly research who is promoting your products, secondly now knowing who is, speak with your account manager and get them to promote you to them.

As a merchant, you can either choose to allow anyone to join your network (suggested) or filter the affiliates that want to join (not suggested) and the different affiliate networks have different tools to allow you to communicate with your affiliates.

Here is a screen shot of a message from the Dorothy Perkins affiliate program:

Example: Dorothy Perkins Affiliate Email

Example: Dorothy Perkins Affiliate Email

In the second part of this series I’ll be covering the following sections:

  • Who’s Using Affiliate Networks To Promote Their Products?
  • Examples of Affiliate Sites
  • Special Networks
  • Summary of Affiliate Networks

You can read the second part here Part 2: What Are Affiliate Networks & Should I be using Them?

Best Use of the New Facebook Layout?


This has to be the most ingenious use of the new Facebook layout I have seen to date. So much so I might just have to borrow that for my own use!

This shows with a little creativity, that even the dull blue of Facebook can be lifted. Thankfully, Facebook has a far limited set of design options when you consider some of the shocking myspace, twitter and youtube profiles there are.

Dan Wilson: What are your nuggets of eBay selling advice?

Online Business Forum eBay

Online Business Forum eBay

An interesting question came up in the LinkedIn ‘The Online Business Forum powered by eBay‘ group by Dan Wilson and I think I am only one probably prepared to spill anything of any substance (I might be wrong by the time this is released), here is the question in full:

What are your nuggets of eBay selling advice?

I was asked last week for some advice regarding online selling by a journalist. The hack in question wanted little known tips for an article he was writing. Needless to say, I had a view. Here’s what I said:

Don’t sweat the small stuff.
Dealing with trouble customers and problems takes time and time is money. Sometimes quibbling over a few pounds is just not time or money efficiently spent. And when it comes to customers, there really are just some people who can never be satisfied, so save your energy and don’t try. Refund and move on. Finance this by making sure you build up a notional fund for such situations. The size of that will depend on what you sell online, but a small levy on everything you sell soon adds up because most customers really are lovely.

Are you getting the best deal on fees?
On eBay, there are several ways of getting better, lower fees. The first is an eBay Shop. Just by paying a subscription, you can get preferential treatment on the fees for BINs in particular and that can significantly lower your outlay if you want to expand the inventory you have available in the marketplace. And don’t forget PayPal. The merchant rate offers lower PayPal fees if you’re taking a lot of money through the system. But you do have to ask!

What’s your best little nugget of online selling advice? Or is it too good to be shared?

After writing what was a hefty reply, I decided it would be worth beefing it out and including it here for all to see. I’ll keep to my two points I could go on a blogging-bender quite easily.

Point 1: Do not devote 100% of your business to eBay

Amazon UK

Hey Look Amazon!

Its a mistake I made a long time ago and will not let clients make the same one. If eBay is taking up more than 40% of your over-all business turnover then you have a *critical business issue* and need to diversify your marketplaces, FAST.

I’ve said for a very long time that I am sure that sure that eBay does what it can to cause maximum impact to sellers to keep them ‘entertained’ with the eBay marketplace. The entire selling process could be a lot simpler and dare I say it less ‘unique’ to each buyer. eBay selling can-and-will hog your time, you need to be wise to this and look for ‘tools’ to aid you to diversify into other channels.

I’ll come back to viable actions for this point later in this post.

Point 2: My other tip is risk Aversion.

The point here is to not rely solely upon a single eBay ID. This could mean breaking ‘eBay policy’ to some, but I see each eBay ID as a ‘business’ in its own right and if done well it acts like one too.

To list on eBay has never been so cheap for pretty much ALL eBay sites, yes ALL sites, not just the eBay UK site. By spreading the risk of selling on eBay into two or more (20 plus is not unheard of now) eBay ID’s that have specific persona’s and product cross overs can be done from well managed backend systems.

Once you have created your inventory in a backend management tool (Channel Advisor ‘loosely’ fills this spot, eSellerPro is suggested [yes I used to work there, hell there is not one part that I didn’t influence. blah blah blah its ace]). The point is that to prepare the data for a second eBay ID is a fraction of the work, to prepare it for many eBay IDs (including on multiple sites) is again ‘a fraction’ of the initial work.

By spreading your inventory groups over more than one eBay ID, loosens the reliance upon a single point of income which in my eyes is a bad thing. It also allows you to focus each business (eBay ID) on to its core role. This does need to be done well and its a whole topic for another day on how to do it well (if I ever decide to divulge this info publicly, actually I doubt it).

Expanding Upon These Points – Real Life Tips

Now here some real life tips you can action really easily if you have the right tools.

Here is a no brainier, did you know that the vast majority of the eBay US categories are exactly the same as the eBay UK ones? That means porting your eBay UK data to a eBay US eBay ID is really quite easy, especially now that both sites are using custom item specifics for almost all categories? The same goes for nearly all the other sites too, they all have a common base, just with a few tweaks here and there.

Settle for the ‘Other Category’ if you have too, if its a decision between actually getting listed and getting the categories right, screw the cats, get the items on. You can sort out the re-categorisation (not mess as I first typed) later.

Also remember that America is massive, buyers are used to orders taking over 10 days to arrive for non expedited services and guess how long it normally takes for a UK parcel to arrive in the US? Yep you got it, about 10 days!

The second is a set of two questions:

  • Do students really cost that much?
  • Does outsourcing your language translation requirements sound really that scary?

Now leading on… eBay Germany [DE] is bigger than eBay UK and they will pay by PayPal (used to be a big issue, as those Germans love bank transfers). Yes thats right eBay Germany is BIGGER than the UK, let that sink in for a moment.

* let the dust roll by *

Sunk in? Here’s an idea for you, use Google Translate on your top 10 products, now search on for them, making an excel spreadsheet as you go, then use to get the latest rate, the numbers work? If you have a Terapeak account, pay the extra and research the foreign eBay sites, I guarantee you, you’ll start feeling sick.

I Need Help Now!

I’d love to, but cannot commit to anything before the new year due to prior commitments. My content creation team is working literally 24/7 currently and its time I start looking at a VA (Virtual Assistant) again. Hey at least I’m admitting my flaws! Are You?

Anyway, its the reason why I have published this in front of the other posts that were due to be released, at least I can help you go in the right direction.