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Social Media Portal interview with Gianfranco Ludovici from eBay

Tim Gibbon (Social Media Portal (SMP)) - 12 December 2012

Social Media Portal interview with Gianfranco Ludovici from eBay

Social Media Portal profiled interview with Gianfranco Ludovici, Senior Manager Online Partnerships EU at eBay

eBay Partner Network logoSocial Media Portal (SMP): What is your name and what do you do there at eBay?

Gianfranco Ludovici (GL): I’m Gianfranco Ludovici, Senior Manager Online Partnerships EU and I look after the business side of the eBay Partner Network. This means that my team works on maximising revenue for both our partners and eBay.

SMP: Briefly, tell us about eBay (for those that don’t know - hey you never know!), what is it and what does the company do?

GL: eBay is primarily a marketplace platform. We fundamentally bring buyers together with sellers. Our sellers vary from large retailers such as House of Fraser to small business sellers to people who want to clear space in their house and realise there is value to the things they want to throw away.

SMP: You recently attended a4uexpo London 2012, what drew you to the conference?

GL: The a4uexpo is always a great place to meet new and existing partners. We sponsored the event again this year and rather than having a stand we booked a meeting room and had meetings throughout the event. While I didn’t manage to see all of the talks it was great actually speaking to the people who matter – our affiliates. 

SMP: What objectives did you have for attending the show and how did it meet (or not meet) your expectations?

GL: There were two main objectives for attending the show. Firstly, it was to support the UK affiliate sector, which is continually developing and gaining recognition. The second was to meet face-to-face with people and discuss what really matters to them. As eBay is both an advertiser and network it’s really important to find out what we’re doing well and where we could improve.

SMP: Tell us about ‘performance marketing’ and how that has changed over the last year (or couple of years) and how are you helping your partners perform better in this space?

GL: The biggest change of the past couple of years is how we compensate our publishers. Our quality click-pricing model not only rewards for the sale of an item but it also allows the publisher to see the quality of the traffic they are sending to eBay.

SMP: How many partners does eBay have in the EU and UK and what’s the growth plans to secure more?

GL: In Europe we have over 1,000 active publishers and with the launch of our mobile payment last year we are seeing that there is an ever-growing amount of mobile traffic from publishers.

SMP: Was there anything that was concerning partners that struck a cord with you?

GL: Transparency throughout the industry is key. It’s something we’re working hard on and will be one of our main focuses over the next year.

Photograph of Gianfranco Ludovici, Senior Manager Online Partnerships EU at eBaySMP: How and why was the recent redesign important to eBay performing in the industry? And what prompted this big shift in how the site looks and functions?

GL: Our refreshed logo is rooted in our proud history and reflects a dynamic future. It’s eBay today: a global online marketplace that offers a cleaner, more contemporary and consistent experience, with innovation that makes buying and selling easier and more enjoyable.

The eBay logo is known the world over, so changing it was not a decision made lightly. The time felt right. We’re incredibly proud of how eBay started and quickly grew into the world’s largest online marketplace. Auctions-style listings, used goods, vintage items and quirky, one-of-a-kind finds are still a big part of what makes buying and selling on eBay special. We hope that’s always true. But we’ve evolved a lot in the past few years, and eBay is much more than auction-style listings today.

SMP: How does the new eBay site redesign tie in with what your partners need and expect from eBay?

GL: The way people shop is changing, so eBay is evolving to meet changing customer needs. The new features we’re rolling out are designed to make the shopping experience on eBay easier, more enjoyable and personal. We plan to continue to deliver bold innovations that blend the best of online and offline commerce, enabling customers to access the world’s largest marketplace from any screen or device, anytime, anywhere.

SMP: How important is social media to eBay? And is what eBay does in the social space important to its partners?

GL: Social discovery is a growing area of eBay. People are increasingly looking at their social graph as a trusted source of information and recommendations.

SMP: What are your top predictions for social media throughout the rest of 2012 and into 2013 – how are you working to best help partners navigate this?

  • Mobile is ever increasing and our partners are realising that they need to make sure that their sites are mobile friendly.

  • Payment models will continually change and be optimised. For someone the size of eBay not only is the sale important, but also is the incremental value of the sale. Would that sale have happened anyway?  It’s all about attribution.

SMP: eBay mobile is going great guns, how have you managed to achieve success and what role do you see mobile playing in the company over the next one to two years?

GL: eBay is a “think mobile first” company. Everything we do needs to have a mobile element. Mobile is no longer a separate channel for us; it’s a huge part of our business and continues to grow.

SMP: What sort of usage statistics can you share about the eBay mobile app?

GL: We’re always creating new ways to sell and buy. eBay is a mobile commerce leader. Our mobile apps have been downloaded 100 million times, and this year globally we expect over $10 billion in volume to be transacted via mobile devices. Shopping anytime, anywhere? This is the new eBay.

SMP: When was the Android version of the app released, and how has it been performing since then (how many downloads etc.)?

GL: We don’t break down individual platform downloads but, as you know, mobile is a big strength for us.  

SMP: Do you think the perception of eBay being about finding discount and / or bargain items may put some retailers off having an eBay store? If so, how can they ensure that they are getting their price points and offering correct?

GL: I think retailers are increasingly recognising the potential of eBay as a partner who can help them reach new customers.  It’s true to say that some may start with an outdated notion of eBay, but this quickly changes.  In fact, we find that when a retailer partners with us they may start out with clearance lines but they’ll quickly see the value of offering a fuller range.  

SMP: What are the low moments of what you have been doing so far?

GL: The lowest moments have been when I’m horribly jetlagged and find myself in all day meetings the day after I land.

SMP: What are the high moments of what you have been doing so far?

GL: eBay as a company is continually evolving and being part of that is fascinating. The eBay Partner Network has really been pushing the boundaries around mobile activity and I’m looking forward to the next 6/12 months to see how we develop this further.

SMP: Is there anything else you’d like to share with us?

GL: The future of commerce is personal, driven by data. Search results and recommendations are no longer enough. Consumers want insight. And they want personal, curated selection that is relevant to them, controlled by them.  Together, this is something we can deliver.

SMP: Best way to contact you and eBay?

GL replies with:

Gianfranco Ludovici on LinkedIn
eBay Partner network on Twitter @EPNEurope and its blog

Now some questions for fun

SMP: What did you have for breakfast and lunch?

GL: Today was a coffee and Danish for breakfast and some noodles for lunch

SMP: What’s the last good thing that you did for someone?

GL: I cooked my wife dinner

SMP: If you weren’t working at eBay (or doing what you do) what would you be doing?

GL: Flying tourists around remote parts on boat planes

SMP: When and where did you go on your last holiday?

GL: My last holiday was in August in the Italian Alps

SMP: You commute between London and Zurich for work… what do you enjoy and not enjoy about that?

GL: I enjoy working in Zurich. It’s a great city and being able to see the Alps in the distance always cheers up your day. The bad thing is that when I leave to come back, people from London are coming to Switzerland to ski for the weekend.

SMP: We guess you do a lot of travelling, what one thing you can do without (not your phone or tablet)?

GL: Passport obviously but most importantly it’s my moleskin notebook and pen. I’m fairly old school and like to write notes during meetings. I don’t think I will get used to typing on either a laptop or iPad when I’m speaking to someone.

SMP: What’s the first thing you do when you get into the office of a morning?

GL: I get a bowl of cereal, coffee and read the news headlines

SMP: If you had a superpower what would it be and why?

GL: I would want to fly obviously ☺

If you're interested in doing a Social Media Portal (SMP) interview, get in touch.

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