I thought I’d follow up my previous post with some details on what I’ve found effective with the EPN (eBay Partner Network) toolkit sniplet widgets. You can probably gather some of these points by watching my review articles here on OpTempo. But, I wanted to get them all in one place. (Sorry about no fancy graphics today, I’m pressed for time a bit.)
Big Honkin’ Widgets
A while back I experimented with using huge affiliate banner ads and I found that larger sizes did better than small, discrete, 125×125 button ads. Likewise, I’ve found that using large EPN toolkit widgets do better than smaller ones. I usually do a custom size widget with a width of 570 pixels. This takes up a lot of the page space but converts very well.
Conversion rate on any kind of blog advertising rises significantly when you can place the ad inline with the post, particularly on the top left where English readers start reading naturally. You can see this method in action in my Boring Memo WordPress Theme or my Inline Ads Blogger Template.
Another technique, one that I use here on OpTempo due to the way the theme is laid out, is to interrupt the article with the eBay toolkit widget block. This is a technique I borrowed from MSNBC and some other mainstream news and entertainment sites. This seems to work rather well because search visitors should have purchasing and looking for a good deal on their minds.
Sort By Lowest Price
Sorting by the lowest price seems to drive the best click through rate (CTR). For example, many people will have curiosity over why someone is selling a Sandisk Sansa e260 4GB Media Player for a dollar. The one hitch I’ve found with doing this is that sometimes unrelated products or accessory products will be the only ones that show up. If that’s the case with a particular item you wish to display, try narrowing down the category more or raising the minimum price.
My other primary sort method is Ending Soonest. This usually yields a good mix of prices and products and works well for wider niches or as a second place listing like I’m using here. Sometimes I’ll use other sort criteria for a particular reason but this isn’t too common.
Include a Search
I always include a search form on the EPN toolkit widget. This can also encourage click-thrus for a couple of reasons. First, people may think it’s a blog search form, not an eBay search. Sorta sneaky but it works. Secondly, visitors may want to do a product search and this form provides them an easy way to do it.
Picture, Description and Price
I only include these 3 fields in most cases. I don’t include time left, number of bids or other fields. I want to keep it as simple as possible and give away as little information as possible about the underlying auction. Why? This means the visitor will have to click through to get these details and that action will set a cookie.
I’ve experimented with the fancy headers that are available but I’ve found that not using one helps improve conversion. I don’t use a border or different colored header and footer. I just use the background color of the page for these colors. For the text, I use the same color as my link text for the blog and the best match for the font although I prefer Verdana when it blends well. I show the smallest eBay logo.
That’s the basics of what I’m doing with the EPN toolkit sniplet widgets both on OpTempo and elsewhere. If you have any questions or thoughts about this, leave a comment and let me know.