eBay is one of the largest online brands and with the eBay affiliate program you can promote over one billion listings from any category you can possibly imagine. If you want to promote a specific product, you will find it on eBay.
In this affiliate program review, you will learn everything you need to know about the eBay affiliate program, so you can decide if the program is worth your marketing efforts or not.
eBay Affiliate Program
eBay has an in-house affiliate program: eBay Partner Network (EPN). Everyone with an eBay account can apply to EPN. If you don’t have an account, you will have to create one first.
There are no requirements for joining the program; however, eBay is quite strict with who it allows onto the program.
The program has a very good affiliate landing page with all the information every affiliate needs to know. However, it is worth noting that the information often differs from page to page. Obviously, when eBay make changes to the program, they don’t correct the information on all pages. If you find any contradicting information, the information that is included in their Network Agreement is the binding one.
The eBay affiliate program has a short referral window. Cookies used to remain active for seven days but now they are active for just 24 hours.
This change has understandably raised a lot of complaints among affiliates as it has cut their earnings significantly.
If you have ever used eBay, then you know that an important part of the platform is auctions. eBay claims that half of all the products on the platform are purchased via auction so it is logical that shortening the referral period to only 24 hours has reduced the potential of earning a commission from auctions.
Auctions can take up to 10 days on eBay and since buyers often wait until the very end of the auction, you have very little chance that someone buys a product within the 24-hour window.
Drawing traffic to auctions is therefore not the best approach. You have a better chance of earning a commission if you link to eBay products that have the ‘’Buy it Now’’ button.
The eBay affiliate program allows deep linking so you can link directly to any listing you want and not just to eBay’s homepage. The program has a custom link generator tool which is very easy to use.
Besides link generator tools, the program provides you with a couple of other useful tools.
The most useful is a tool called ‘’Smart Placements‘’. This tool allows you to display dynamic banners that identify your visitors and show them products that they viewed on eBay in the past but didn’t buy.
The eBay affiliate program provides you with a variety of banners in all standard sizes. They also create seasonal banners so you can feature what’s happening on the platform at the moment.
eBay Affiliate Program Commission
Every time your traffic converts into ‘Buy it Now’ purchases or ‘Winning bid’ auctions, you receive a commission.eBay has category-level commission rates ranging from 1% to 4%. The eBay commission rates change quite frequently so I recommend checking the rate card and not relying on the screenshot below.
As you can see, eBay also has a cap on how much you can earn from a single sale. The cap differs based on the category.
You can withdraw your earnings once you have earned at least $10. As a method of payment, you can choose between direct deposit (available in 11 countries only) or PayPal. PayPal processing fees are capped at $20.
How to Make Money with the Program
If you want to make any money with the eBay affiliate program, you should avoid promoting products that are on an auction lasting more than 24 hours. If the auction takes longer, people will wait to bid until the last moment and thus you will earn nothing because the purchase will not be made within the 24-hour referral period.
I would personally avoid promoting auction-style listings on eBay altogether and just focus on promoting products with the ‘’Buy it Now‘’ buttons.
When you promote the ‘’Buy it Now‘’ products, you should still take the short referral period into account and select products that you want to promote strategically.
You should select products for which the purchasing process doesn’t usually take very long. For instance, I would not promote laptops as I know it takes people quite a long time to decide which laptop is the best choice. If you write reviews about laptops, it’s very likely that a visitor to your website, after reading your article, will still go and search either for more information about the product or for other alternatives. The more expensive the product is, the longer the purchasing process will be and the fewer chances you have that your visitor will convert into a buyer within the 24 hours.
I am not saying that you should focus on the cheapest products, of course, as you would not earn much commission. In my opinion, finding products in mid-price ranges are your best bet. Also try to promote products that don’t have that many variations or alternatives as this prolongs the purchasing process.
eBay Affiliate Program vs Amazon
People often decide whether they should join the eBay affiliate program or the Amazon Associates.
Amazon has, just like eBay, cookies that last only 24 hours. Amazon prolongs the referral period to 90 days if visitors add the product to their cart but don’t buy immediately.
Both affiliate programs also have similar commissions rates.
However, Amazon is a bigger brand with more trust, and promoting its products is a bit easier. A lot of people still see eBay only as a place where they can buy used products (even though that is no longer true, around 80% of products sold on eBay are new).
If you are just starting with affiliate marketing and deciding between these two, my recommendation would be to go with Amazon Associates.