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eBay says all data taken was nonfinancial and not confidential.
eBay says all data taken was nonfinancial and not confidential.

EBay placed a winning bid on consumers' appetites for buying and selling goods to each other. The online auctioneering Web site and brand has also always made the most of its real-time transactional data to inform marketing decisions.

“The constant theme for us when it comes to direct marketing is the application of technology and data,” says Matt Ackley, VP of Internet marketing and advertising at eBay.

“Our goal is to use transactional data to inform our marketing decisions,” he explains. “That transactional data is highly predictive. We can extract demographic and psychographic data from that. The user who searches on a used iPod is very different than the user who searches on Louis Vuitton. The analytics we employ help us understand who people are and how they behave based on what they purchase.”

That analysis informs its search strategy. Ackley says eBay manages 5 billion keywords a year.

“We buy anywhere from 25 million to 30 million keywords at a time,” Ackley explains. “The entire process is based on the data; the on-site merchandising is also based on data.”

The majority of eBay's marketing budget is direct-marketing focused, Ackley continues.

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