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eBay Advertising reveals growing opportunity for ‘life-stage’ targeting online

Consumer insights released today by eBay Advertising explore the impact that key life milestones – such as starting uni and becoming first-time parents through to retirement – can have on shopping behaviours.

“Life stages” combined with insights available online provide an opportunity for brands to tailor campaigns more effectively for these unique audiences and enables brands to grow their market share.

Three examples from eBay reveal the opportunities for life-stage targeting:

  • New parents: eBay recorded over 3,400 searches for ‘Audi’ and ‘car seats’ in September and over 2,800 more for ‘Toyota’ and ‘car seats’, which suggests that a significant sub-set of car buyers are also new parents. By stripping out “gifters” – taking into account shopper age, past shopping behaviour and other criteria – brands can target new parents with the most relevant products and messages for them.


  • Silver surfers: eBay data reveals that a significant number of pensioners have an interest in winter sports – with over 47,000 searches for ski gear by shoppers over 60 from January to May 2013 alone. Brands can be highly effective in targeting this group of sports enthusiasts by tailoring campaign messages, placement and timing to resonate with them.


  • Flying the nest: eBay recorded over 25,000 searches for ‘Acer laptops’ by 18-24 year olds this August and September, a 75% increase on the previous two months. Targeting, which takes into account the time of year and observed and demographic insights, is a highly effective way for brands to reach students without alienating other audiences.


Phuong Nguyen, UK head of eBay Advertising commented, “It’s a known fact that life stage can have a significant impact on how people shop and what they need from a product, so it should be a fundamental part of every brand’s online marketing strategy. Brands can infer a lot by marrying demographic insights with observed search and purchase behaviour online. The brands that harness this intelligence to create a more relevant experience for their customers will be best placed to retain existing customers and grow their market share with new ones when they reach a new life stage.”

Pauline Robson, Director at MediaCom added, “There are of course obvious examples of how life stage impacts purchasing, such as new parents looking for car seats or a bigger car. But eBay’s data shows some more surprising results such as retirees searching for ski equipment. Whilst using demographics and life stage is a way to target consumers, it is important that we don’t stereotype. Behavioural data shows us what people actually buy at these crucial life events rather than what we assume they do, which in turn can identify new, surprising and valuable audiences for brands.”


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