Maximize Your eBay Bids by Timing Your Seller Listings

Discover the best time to list your item on eBay

Listing items on eBay
••• Aping Vision / STS/Getty Images

Sellers spend a great deal of time perfecting their auction listings. They parse their item titles until they're the perfect blend of punch and searchable keyword, and they perfect the layout and content of item descriptions to encourage bidders.

Timing, however, is at least as important as the content of an auction listing when it comes to selling effectively on eBay. Like nearly all websites, eBay doesn't experience traffic in smooth, continuous flows. Instead, there are peaks and valleys to eBay use that can be measured by day, by week, and by season. Listing so that your auction spans or closes on a visitor traffic valley can mean that you don't earn what you could have. To take advantage of this, do your research and learn the best time to list your item on eBay.

Match Listing Endings to Peak Traffic

There are two simple principles you should keep in mind whenever you prepare to list an item. Once you've decided how long your listing should be, you can ensure always to post your auctions in the most favorable bid environments possible.

The Longer You List, the More Bids You'll Get

Three days is better than one, five is better than three, and so on. Many of eBay's visitors check the site once per week or less, so a listing of at least seven days is preferable, and ten days is ideal.

Time Your Listing So End Time Coincides With Peak eBay Traffic

The vast majority of eBay bids are placed within the last few minutes of an auction listing's lifespan. Though it takes days to accumulate watchers, most of these people won't actually bid until the auction is nearly closed. Once your auction is down to its last half-hour or so, it will also begin to appear in "closing soon" results, which can draw in still more bidders. But that's only if there are bidders around to see it.

The Best Days and Times to List on eBay

Peak traffic on eBay's main site runs in daily and weekly cycles, following the same pattern seen around most of the Internet. Usually, daily peak traffic is between 8 p.m. Eastern time and 10 p.m. Pacific time. This makes sense; most people aren't obsessively checking eBay all day while they're at work.

To maximize bidding for daily peak time, list your auction during this window so that it will close during this window and gain the largest possible daily audience. Try to keep an eye on other, successful auctions of items similar to yours, to see if you can discern even more specific peak times for maximum bids in a given category.

Weekly peak traffic on eBay is usually on Sunday evening. To match your listing to the weekly peak in order to maximize bidding, list so that your auction will close on a Sunday evening between 8 p.m. Eastern time and 10 p.m. Pacific time. Listing seven-day auctions every Sunday evening is a convenient way to time your auctions well without having to think about it too much while also avoiding the surcharge on 10-day listings.

Maximizing Your eBay Bids

Using these simple rules, you can maximize your bids on an ongoing basis. List seven-day or ten-day auctions whenever possible and time them to end on Sunday evenings. The difference can be quite significant, especially compared, for example, to endings on weekday mornings, when even people who were watching your listing closely are unlikely to remember to bid.