Case Study


EBAY VERTICAL PROMOTIONS

eBay is the world's online marketplace—a place for buyers and sellers to come together and buy or sell almost anything! Vertical Promotions is a native brand and seller advertising experience designed to help buyers discover sponsored items on eBay.

Project Overview

NATIVE AD PLACEMENT

Offer a paid solution to sellers integrating the promotion of items beyond standard ad display areas across eBay:

  • Design a placement and treatment solution for sponsored ads

  • Craft a design system to support all potential brands and sellers

  • Create an automated solution to support hands-free ad management

MY ROLE

I led the product design of this debut eBay feature, which included an extensive competitive audit, product scope definition, visual design, and collaboration with engineering and product management.

Product Design, Visual Design

My Approach

FINDING THE RIGHT BALANCE

INDUSTRY COMPETITIVE AUDIT

  • 33 e-commerce sites reviewed with all having a mixed variety of placements and visual treatments

  • Majority of placements appear at the top of search results or not at all and have a mixed level of engagement (ie. with/without imagery, button, etc.)

  • Compelling promotional message

DESKTOP DESIGNS (ROUND 1)

From my competitive audit review, I felt I had a good sense of the parameters, ad treatment trends, and direction. I jumped straight into exploring desktop visual treatment options.

MOBILE DESIGNS (ROUND 1)

I continued my design explorations within the tablet and phone environments. Designs needed to be consistently represented across all form factors and screen perspectives.

USER EXPERIENCE RESEARCH STUDY FINDINGS

  • Perceived as ads and users skipped over without interacting.

  • Placement and size of banner was not a concern.

  • Search term and promotional message relevance are very important.

  • Display of sponsor branding would be useful.

  • Intent is unclear.

DESKTOP DESIGNS (ROUND 2)

I next began a new series of explorations based on the user testing results. The project scope also shifted, requiring dynamic content and a method to view a rotation of multiple ads.

MOBILE DESIGNS (ROUND 2)

Design explorations for the mobile experience also supported multi-ad display, a mix of imagery treatments, and simplification tactics.

The Results

CLEAN, CLEAR, ACTIONABLE

The second-stage design explorations were tested with users, vetted with stakeholders, and reviewed across product domains. I worked closely with the development team to ensure pixel-perfect implementation.

Lessons Learned

This high-profile and revenue-generating project was key to helping big brands and high-volume sellers promote their merchandise. Its dynamic template design reduced the need for production resources.

  • Alotting time for a thorough competitive analysis leveraged industry standard design patterns.

  • Multiple rounds of user testing helped to validate the design and supported engagement drivers.

  • Partnering closely with the development team insured accurate display across devices and perspectives.

  • Taking time to think through and test edge cases and max/min constraints prevented inconsistencies.

  • Clearly understanding the needs of the business from the beginning of the process grounded the intent of the effort.
KIRK WICKS UX/PRODUCT DESIGN