On the Call: EBay CEO John Donahoe

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SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — In September, eBay began a major ad campaign aimed at consumers who shop on smartphones. The online marketplace operator hopes to encourage mobile sales while helping shoppers see eBay.com as a place to buy and sell new goods, rather than as a staid auction site filled with musty collectibles.

The campaign, which will run into December, focuses on three types of mobile shoppers: fashion, electronics and auto parts lovers. In TV commercials, eBay shows these kinds of people in various situations when shopping inspiration strikes, and they pull out a smartphone to quickly buy something — a tablet computer or a new pair of high heels, for example — on eBay.

In a conference call to discuss the company’s third-quarter results with analysts Wednesday, CEO John Donahoe answered a question about how eBay will judge the usefulness of its marketing campaign.

Question: How will you measure the success of your new marketing campaign in the short term? And are you seeing any impact from it on your main website or through mobile traffic?

Answer: “On the marketing campaign, any time you do a TV brand campaign or an integrated brand campaign, the ultimate goal, obviously, is to grow your business over time.

“But the way we’re measuring it is, one, what is brand perception? What’s the awareness and unaided brand perception of eBay among consumers? Second, obviously we hope that generates incremental users and traffic, which will in turn generate incremental business.

“And so the timeframe … it’s not just within the quarter. Do I hope it has benefit in the quarter? Yes, I hope it has benefit in the quarter, but the timeframe and the way the program was designed was to change the perception and reputation of eBay and make people understand it’s a new eBay user experience. The new eBay inventory is here. And as I said earlier, the early feedback has been quite positive on that.”