Be the customer is something regularly communicated to eBay employees. It’s the best way to understand the seller’s experience, goals, and challenges. Preston Gause started his Trading Cards “side hustle” on eBay in 2016 and turned it into a full-fledged business in 2020. How’d he grow his business and increase sales by ~92%?1 By tapping into ads. Read Preston’s honest takeaways and tips for other sellers to get up and running with eBay’s advertising solutions.  

eBay store of Trading Cards seller Cards2214
Can you share a bit about your role within the company?

I am an Account Manager for our Trading Cards category, which essentially means that I work with sellers to better understand the eBay marketplace, category trends and opportunities to grow their business.  

Why did you start selling on eBay?

It all started when I was hired at eBay and went through the onboarding process where we are encouraged to “be the customer.” I really took it to heart and began listing items pretty immediately. I even won a few internal selling challenges. What attracted me to the marketplace was the ease of listing in addition to the seller community. The passion of the industry also was a large factor.

What does growth look like to you as a seller?

Increasing product availability and sales is a big part of it. In addition, and more importantly in my opinion, is my brand becoming more commonplace on the marketplace and known as highly trustworthy that is easy to work with. Customers come back to those who offer a good experience, and I aim to make every transaction a positive one that leads to repeat business – that’s the goal. 

How’d you get started with promoting your listings? 

To be honest, I was hesitant at first and concerned about the impact on my profits. I started testing in 2018 – 2019 at a 1% rate. In 2021 I leaned into the suggested ad rate to be even more competitive. Then, in February 2022 I automated all my campaigns and saw a big increase in my sales, impressions and page views as a result of activating the feature. 

Automated Promoted Listings with a general campaign strategy campaigns resulted in:


increase in sales


increase in impressions


increase in page views

To this day, promoting my listings with a general campaign strategy continues to be my main driver of sales on all of my fixed price listings. I start at 2% over the suggested ad rate and have a cap at 15%. The sheer volume of sales outweigh the concerns around loss of profit margins.

Let’s have some fun. What is a fun fact you can share about your eBay business no one knows about, or very few people are aware of?

I run it all by myself. Additionally I have my kids now loving Pokemon also mostly because of this business.  #legacy

Raichu trading card
What 3 tips would you give sellers launching a general campaign for the first time? 

1) You don’t have to add this to every listing. Start with those that have been on the site for a while or that you have more flexibility on in regards to pricing and fees.

2) Start with a 2% ad rate fee so that your items show up in the sponsored placements across eBay to increase visibility can bring success. From there, consider increasing the amount to the t​​rending rate, or the eBay suggested ad rate, thereafter to make sure you’re staying competitive. I’ve seen my best results occur at the trending rate.  Launching an automated campaign will make adjusting rates really easy by automating the process.

3) Think of Promoted Listings as your billboard. Most (if not all) successful companies advertise their items/services. This is your way to advertise.

Thanks to Preston for sharing his top tips on getting started with Promoted Listings, and for his insightful experience as an eBay Trading Cards seller. We love sharing our own eBay buying and selling stories amongst our colleagues and now with you. 

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  1. eBay data, 11/21/22 – 5/21/22

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