Case Study: A Good Social Strategy from eBay

The use of word “strategy” is often abused in digital marketing, especially in social media. Many companies have limited themselves to social ads and Facebook Page, leaving the power of social media untapped. Today, I’ll share a good social strategy from eBay.

eBay has a Group Gifts service, which employs Facebook platform technology, helps users to split a gift cost with friends.

To use Group Gifts, users can choose the recipient of the gift  from his or her Facebook friends:

And then proceed to look for a gift:

Users can search for gifts, browse gifts by category, or get social search suggestions. With social search suggestions, eBay will suggest searches that are relevant to the friend/family member for whom you are gifting based on information from his/her Facebook profile. A really great way to find cool, relevant gift ideas for your friend/family member.

Once a gift is selected, the user can decide how much to contribute himself or herself and how much to leave for others with three options:

  • Split equally
  • Edit Amounts Manually
  • Don’t suggest amounts

If logged in to facebook, the user can select friends directly; alternatively, he/she can choose email contact.

It will allow users to invite as many as 26 people per day through Facebook to join the event. If a user has a ton of Facebook friends and would like to invite more than 26 people to participate, she will need to either:

  1. wait until the next day to invite the other people, or
  2. make the event public so that people can proactively choose to join the event without your explicitly inviting them individually.

if you don’t care whether or not the gift recipient finds out about the gift, you should use the “Spread the word” gifting options, which include sending out a Facebook newsfeed, tweeting about your event on Twitter or the sharing a URL to the event through any means you would like.

Why is eBay’s social strategy for Group Gifts service  a good strategy?

It’s social and very useful. It solves many problems that offline group gift buying faces.  Would you feel grateful when you receive an iPad 2 as birthday gift from 10 colleagues?

For eBay, they can now sell greater volume of more expensive products.  And, as eBay users invite their friends to share the cost of buying gifts, it literally advertises for eBay; and the cost of acquisition? Zero.

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