How to interpret your data and optimize your business
Once you start monitoring your performance through reports, your next step is figuring out what changes you can make to optimize and improve your results.
When you are first getting started, you should become familiar with the reports available in the portal and what metrics they deliver. You can view your earnings, see how your activity is contributing to the bottom line, and compare numbers over different time periods.
But to make sense of the data you’re looking at, there are three important questions:
How am I doing?
The first step towards optimization is to understand your current performance, and learning how to use the reports to determine:
- Your earnings over the past several months
- The trend– are they going up, down, or staying the same?
- The volume of clicks your ads generate
- Your most successful campaigns
- The highest converting items you promote
- Categories of interest for your visitors
- Performance in different time periods
Once you have a better idea of what’s going on, you can dig in even deeper. For example, you might notice that one of your campaigns increased in earnings since the previous month. Or you see an increase in clicks, but a decrease in conversion rate. Or that your earnings are the highest they’ve ever been last month – all of which leads to the next question.
Why is it happening?
What factors are driving your performance? What changed to cause the results you’re seeing?
At this point, you’ll need to cross-reference the report data with the actions you took during that same period to track what, where, and how you were promoting. The interaction and relationship between these different factors are essential. For instance, if last month’s earnings were the highest they’ve ever been, you’ll want to dig deeper and find out:
- What other metrics changed along with earnings?
- Were your clicks also higher? That could mean you sent more traffic because of a new content strategy, or maybe moved ads to where they were more prominent.
- Was your conversion rate higher? You could have added different ad target filters to reach a more relevant audience. Or maybe you changed which products you promoted to better suit your audience.
- What items were people purchasing through your links? Are people buying a lot of a certain item? Are you now selling more of some higher-value items than you weren't previously?
All of these factors can affect your earnings. But once you know the how and the why, that leads to the most important question.
What can I do about it?
This is where the optimization kicks in. Continuing with the scenario above, where you see your highest monthly earnings ever, you keep exploring until you find that during that month, you started promoting a popular item that drove a lot of commission. In this case, you should:
- Focus even more on this item, and find an even wider audience with whom you can promote it
- Feature these items more prominently on your site or social media feed
- Promote broader page types than individual items to encourage additional sales
- Find similar items, and start promoting those as well
- Use Smart Links to ensure that every eBay link on your site is being tracked
- Deploy Smart Placements to create eBay ads that follow your visitors online
Optimization is an ongoing process. The most important thing you can do it keep asking how you’re doing, why it’s happening, and what you can do about it.