Item Watch Improvements
A few weeks ago, we hosted a moderated discussion with eBay sellers and buyers regarding Item Watch and what we
could do to improve the way it works. The discussion was lively, and it showed that some sellers would like changes
to be made to this feature. As a result of the discussions, we decided to do three things:
We are ready to share the data with you on the first two points, and have rolled out most of the product changes
that came from that dialog. Here is a summary of the product changes:
- We surveyed a random sampling of buyers and sellers to see what the overall community thought of Item Watch.
- We looked at a large sample of items both before and after introduction of the watch feature to
see whether Watch changed the amount of timing of bids.
- We made a series of product recommendations (well, you made the recommendations... we just listened) to
improve how Watch works for buyers and sellers alike.
We believe these changes will help buyers to return to their watched items, thus promoting more bidding on the
site. The following is a summary of the data:
- The location of the "Watch this item" link was taken away from the bid paddle on the individual Item page.
- A Watch link will be added to the individual Item page once you Sign In. The link will show how many
items you are watching and will provide an easy route back to your watched list.
- The Watch list and Bid list within My eBay have been combined and are the new default tab within My eBay.
- Later this summer we will roll out a reminder email system that will notify watchers which items on their
watch list are ending within 36 hours. Watchers will be able to turn off this email at their discretion.
We conducted a survey of 5,000 active sellers and 5,000 active buyers, and we received 1,780 responses. Responses were
counted by User ID so there was no double counting of respondents. Of those responding, 76% of buyers said they either
liked or really liked the feature and 59% of sellers said they either liked or really liked the feature. Among sellers,
there was a significant minority, under 20%, who did not like the feature.
Next, we conducted studies to see how Watch was impacting the trading dynamics. To determine what was going on, we looked
at 41,464 active item watchers. We also looked at 100,000 users from the same timeframe selected randomly (some who used watch
and some who did not). We excluded Dutch items and items over $10,000, and we looked at the results to see whether active
watchers acted differently than non-watchers.
We found that item watchers were more active in terms of their bidding. In other words, they bid on more items than their
non-watching counterparts. For each individual item, watchers and non-watchers bid the same amount. Item watchers did tend to
win their auctions more frequently but they had the same number of bids per item as their non-watching counterparts.
Next, we looked at auction timing to determine whether item watchers were bidding later in the auction process than
non-watchers. To do this, we looked at those who use watch and at their behavior before the Watch feature was launched and
after the Watch feature was launched. We learned that for bidders who use Watch bids within 24 hours of auction ending times
increased 2%. We also learned that for all bidders (including those who use Watch and those that do not) bids within 24 hours
of auction ending times increased 1%.
Finally, we looked at the total bid count before and after Item Watch was implemented. Total bids on the site did not decline
(though it didn't increase either) after Watch was introduced. Average selling prices have increased slightly since the Watch
feature was introduced. However, there was no difference between the average selling price of watched items and non-watched items.
Therefore it is unlikely Watch had an impact on increasing the average selling price.
All in all, we found that Watch was primarily positive for most folks and that it didn't significantly impact bidding. We hope
the product changes to Watch we are implementing in the coming days will do more to encourage bidding. We thank you for the
suggestions you have made regarding this feature and look forward to additional input.