Masters of Media – 10 minutes with a yield manager: eBay

11/04 By IAS team


Name: Ollie Steele

Title: Advertising Yield Manager, EMEA 

Joined: October 2015


What did you want to be when you were growing up?

I’ve always had a fascination with space exploration and the planets in our Solar System, so growing up I wanted to be a scientist or an astronaut. Believe it or not I actually achieved one of these for a while – I’ll leave it to your imagination to guess which – but it wasn’t a long-term solution. To be honest, growing up I never even considered that I’d end up in business or technology – which I think is true for a lot of people in our industry!

How did you end up working in the advertising industry?

Once I’d finished my studies and decided to get a ‘proper’ job, like many graduates I wasn’t sure exactly which sector I wanted to go into. I decided to apply to a wide range of industries, and pick whichever role sounded the most interesting. Advertising technology won, and I entered the industry as a data analyst for a mobile exchange.

What is your favourite thing about working at eBay?

It sounds clichéd, but it’s definitely the people and the culture. I’ve made some fantastic friends in my four years with the company, and I enjoy every day at work due to the office environment. eBay’s culture is incredible, and it creates a very relaxed and fun place to work, with a good focus on work/life balance. 

What is your role at eBay?

My role at eBay is European Advertising Yield Manager, so I am in charge of maximising the revenue of eBay’s ad placements – either by optimising placement or product parameters, or by recommending product optimisations. I am also in charge of viewability, and all related projects for Europe. I run eBay’s internal Advertising University as well – sharing knowledge across the team as a part of our push to be an effective consulting partner for all of our agency partners.

How does IAS help you to achieve your goals in your role at eBay?

IAS enables us to differentiate eBay’s advertising inventory by viewability score as well as by brand safety rating, which has proven essential for our inventory optimisation. Additionally, as more and more brands and advertisers are demanding only high viewability placements or guarantees of brand safety ad measures to combat ad fraud, IAS allows us to service these customers. Thankfully eBay has a good reputation within these fields of ad delivery, but the IAS seal of approval further endorses our credentials.

How is eBay championing viewability for its clients, today?

At eBay we spent six months working on a project to improve our viewability – and as a result of that research, we ended up shutting off the 50% of our UK ad impressions with the lowest viewability score. Although that naturally reduced our volume of available inventory the big benefit of course is that it considerably pushed up our overall site viewability – and subsequently our ability to meet our buyers’ demands for high quality impressions. It’s been a huge move for us in terms of making sure our clients get the best possible inventory, and ensuring we continue to deliver value for our advertising partners. We also offer viewability-targeted PMPs for advertisers who work with us directly and want to guarantee even higher scores. 

What is eBay doing to help improve the digital advertising experience for consumers?

At eBay we are driving advertising technology forward through our proprietary server-to-server ad tech solutions. This reduces the workload performed by our customers’ browsers, resulting in a faster experience for the end user. 

Further, digital advertising techniques are evolving rapidly due to the shifting advertising landscape, and as cookies become less prevalent, we want to make sure our targeting remains as effective as it always has been. As part of our cookie-less targeting offer, we’re turbo-charging contextual targeting by tying it in with new shopper intent capabilities: blending real-time contextual segments with key shopper intent signals. Contextual may have been simple in the past, but it’s getting increasingly intelligent – and offers a brilliant opportunity for marketers to get closer to their customers whilst maintaining a relevant and appealing advertising experience for our customers.

What do you think the biggest advancements in digital advertising will be for the industry this year?

For the coming year I think one of the key advancements in digital advertising will be the emergence of one or two (almost) universally utilised identity solutions. I also think there will be a huge push in cookie-less audience targeting, as we have seen the use of the cookie decline steadily this year. Beyond this, I believe there’ll be many steps taken towards transparency between publishers and agencies. We are already seeing many more steps being taken to surface all tech and middle-man fees, but I am sure we will see further advancement in this space. 

Where can people find you when you’re not at work?

In my free time I enjoy hiking, skiing and travelling with my girlfriend, catching up over a drink with friends, and going to gigs. Sometimes nothing beats chilling at home and playing a video game, though!