Despite eBay Enterprise’s Technology, Its Real Power Is Its Data Connection

EnterpriseIf data is currency, then eBay’s ecommerce marketplace is a bank. But what of eBay Enterprise, the marketing services division that eBay hopes to spin off?

While the eBay marketplace has 155 million active users, generated $2.3 billion in Q4 and fields mobile apps that helped transact $20 billion in sales last year, eBay Enterprise had $1.2 billion in net revenue for the entire year and its segment margins (15.5%) were “relatively flat” compared to last year.

Shortly after eBay CEO John Donahoe said in January that the company wants to jettison the unit, Re/code reported this month that the division wasn’t allowed to sell retail ads on eBay-owned properties and that Triad Retail Media had been named exclusive manager of ads on eBay properties.

Triad Retail Media manages ads directly placed on and eBay apps, but eBay Enterprise has noted it partners with and delivers programmatic demand to websites, according to a report by EcommerceBytes.

More importantly, eBay Enterprise reportedly gets exclusive access to eBay Marketplace data to use toward display advertising. This is key because that data helps advertisers target consumers both on and off eBay-owned sites on their path to purchase. Donahoe, during eBay’s last earnings call, said the company “is kind of a unique data beast.”

Marc Fleishhacker, head of products for eBay Enterprise, described the unit – prior to the spinoff announcement – as “the gateway to be able to fully leverage the massive amounts of eBay insights because of our marketplace and PayPal.”

That also includes Audience Insights Engine, a data-management platform (DMP) combining first-party eBay commerce data, customers’ own database data and data from third-party sources.

“Our DMP is able to perform analysis against [data we ingest from multiple sources] so clients can make their emails more informed, improve display ads or better segment their customer database to personalize web shopping experiences,” Fleishhacker said.

Exclusive access to that data makes eBay Enterprise attractive to the right buyer, should eBay’s plans for a partial or full sale of the business (and not IPO) occur.

Although it’s unclear what eBay data sets will still be available if eBay Enterprise is acquired, an impending purchaser could gain access to a sizable stable of offline and online marketing tech and media relationships.

Beyond data relationships, eBay Enterprise includes an omnichannel solution built from nine marketing applications including display, search, campaign management, affiliate and media optimization.

Ebay Enterprise’s tech is powered by eBay’s multiyear investments in marketing tech, namely through acquisitions of GSI Commerce, an ecommerce and interactive marketing platform eBay acquired for $2.4 billion in 2011, ecommerce tech platform Magento, attribution analytics via ClearSaleing and an affiliate network with PepperJam Exchange.

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