The Concept of Digital Marketing and How eBay Evolved into an Online Marketplace Phenomenon

My perception of digital marketing is the action of promoting or selling a product or service online typically through the use of social media platforms. Former business analyst Sheetal Rai defines traditional marketing as any type of promotion, advertisement or campaign through print advertisements, billboards, flyers, pamphlets, TV, newspaper or the radio (, 2019). Digital marketing is database driven helping businesses to monitor consumer preferences and allowing them to cater to each specific person. Social media platforms such as Facebook use our online search history to generate appropriate advertisements.

The advantages of digital marketing compared to traditional marketing is that a targeted audience can be reached in a cost-effective and measurable way (, 2019). Other digital marketing advantages include increasing brand loyalty, driving online sales and internet sharing [viral]. Viral advertisements can spread to the news or the radio [traditional marketing] creating a wider audience.   

eBay is an American multinational e-commerce corporation that was founded by Pierre Omidyar on September 3rd 1995 in San Jose, California, United States. Originally launched under the name AuctionWeb, the auction-style sale website received no visitors within the first 24 hours.The company officially rebranded changing the name to eBay in September 1997. Within the space of 7 years [2010 – 2017], eBay went from having 90 million active users to having 168 million (Chaffey & Ellis-Chadwick 2019).

The website facilitates consumer-to-consumer and more recently introduced business-to-consumer auction-style sales through its website. Potential and current consumers perception of eBay heavily impacts the corporations ability to grow. Customers perceive eBay as solely consisting of consumer-to-consumer auction-style sales. This perception results in potential customers not considering eBay as an online shopping website.

The e-commerce corporation innovated their original purpose and transformed into a global marketplace phenomenon with business-to-consumer sales. Sellers are able to list items for sale on an auction-style basis or at a fixed price (Chaffey & Ellis-Chadwick 2019). eBay continues to innovate, enabling the brand to evolve and remain relevant. 

eBay’s growth strategy includes:

  • The ability to attract buyers and sellers;
  • The number of transactions, affordable prices and a variety of goods;
  • Brand recognition; 
  • Customer service. 

The e-commerce corporation invested into the enhancement of their products and services. eBay aimed to build their customer base and loyalty by improving trust and safety (Chaffey & Ellis-Chadwick 2019). eBay has introduced a colour-coded star rating system allowing buyers and consumers to feel more comfortable using the website.The purchase of a product allows buyers and sellers to rate one another based on the quality of the product received and if the buyer pays on time.

The star rating system was designed to show off the positive feedback each buyer and seller receive from previous transactions (, 2019). This simple idea increases consumer trust, brand loyalty and changes the face of the company creating a positive image to the public. 

eBay Star Rating System (source:, 2018)

The American multinational corporation plans to update their brand positioning using traditional media. eBay UK marketing director Gareth Jones explained that: ‘We don’t want to be defined by that online car boot sale reputation anymore, We need to get people to consider eBay in a completely different way’ (Hobbs, 2016). Despite being in the era of digital marketing, Jones firmly believes that traditional marketing methods such as advertisements on TV is the future of reshaping eBay’s brand image to the modern-day society. 


Chaffey, D & Ellis-Chadwick, F 2019, Digital Marketing Strategy, Implementation and Practise, 7th edn, Pearson Education, Harlow, United Kingdom. (2019). How the eBay Star Rating System Works. [online] Available at: [Accessed 15 Aug. 2019]. (2019). define traditional marketing – Google Search. [online] Available at: [Accessed 15 Aug. 2019].

Hobbs, T. (2019). Ebay wants to be ‘all over TV like a rash’ as it looks to rebuild the brand – Marketing Week. [online] Marketing Week. Available at: [Accessed 15 Aug. 2019]. (2019). Advantages and disadvantages of digital marketing. [online] Available at: [Accessed 15 Aug. 2019].

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