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eBay Launching First Mobile Ad Business in Q4

The company hasn't previously placed advertisements in its apps or on its mobile websites, other than a brief test in 2012.

Jason Del Rey has been a business journalist for 15 years and has covered Amazon, Walmart, and the e-commerce industry for the last decade. He was a senior correspondent at Vox.

EBay, which makes some of the most popular shopping apps in the U.S., will start running ads within its apps on phones and tablets in the fourth quarter, the company’s lead advertising executive told Re/code in an interview Thursday. This will be the first time eBay will place advertisements in its apps or on its mobile websites, other than a brief test in 2012, the company said.

The initiative will let marketers place advertisements on the home screen of eBay’s main tablet and mobile phone app and target shoppers based on their shopping and search habits on the giant marketplace. The ads will extend to eBay’s mobile websites as well. EBay can target customers based on their purchase history because users have to create an eBay account and log in to complete a purchase.

“Because of that, we can do cross-device targeting better than almost anyone else,” said Stephen Howard-Sarin, eBay’s head of display advertising.

The foray into mobile advertising comes as eBay continues to establish itself as a respectable player in the online advertising business. Its “marketing services and other” business, which includes both advertising and classifieds revenue, generated $1.7 billion in revenue in 2013. Nearly 24 million people visited eBay’s main app on mobile phones and tablets in July, a 20 percent increase over the same period last year, according to comScore.

Howard-Sarin said the new mobile ads won’t be standard rectangular display ads. Instead, they will mesh into the grid of products displayed in the app’s feed of product listings. They will be capable of playing video or leading shoppers to download the advertiser’s app.

EBay is working with Triad Retail Media to sell the ads.

This article originally appeared on

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