A question we see regularly on Etsy seller forums and social media is the one below – ‘do Etsy ads work?’ It’s a totally relatable question, whether you’re new to selling on Etsy or have been established a while. If you’re looking for a better understanding of Etsy ads and some top tips on how you can make them work for you, we’re here to help.
As the global marketplace for unique and creative goods, Etsy gets a lot of visitors. Potential customers are looking for the types of products that you sell, but how do you get them to visit your store, rather than a competitor’s? With Etsy advertising. Setting up some ads can broaden your reach and bring new customers.
As an Etsy seller, you have two advertising options: directly on Etsy and across search engines (like Google). When you run Etsy ads, you’re more likely to appear higher up the search results. But do Etsy ads actually work for sellers?
What are Etsy ads?
Etsy ads work to prioritise your listing in search results. When a shopper searches for a potential keyword or phrase (e.g. ‘wooden toys for children’), if your product listing contains that keyword or phrase, your product will appear towards the top of the search results. This gives you a greater chance of bringing the shopper to your store and hopefully converting them into making a purchase. To stand a better chance of making a sale, you need to appear on the first page of search results – and Etsy ads can help you to achieve that.
What are the different types of Etsy ads?
Etsy Offsite Ads
Etsy advertises listings across the web, including in search engine results, social media sites and apps, Etsy Publishing Partner sites and Google Display Network sites. Etsy offers this service with no upfront costs to sellers: you only pay an advertising fee when you make a sale, which removes the risk of paying for ineffective ads. Google Shopping is now included in Etsy Offsite ads, which were specifically introduced for the needs of Etsy sellers and many shop owners do find them to be a worthwhile investment.
Etsy enables Etsy Offsite ads for all sellers, but some sellers have the option of opting out. In contrast, others are required to participate based on the criteria outlined in Etsy’s advertising and marketing policy.
Etsy Promoted Listings
Etsy Promoted Listings are paid on a bidding basis. This means you choose the maximum amount you are willing to pay for a single click on your listing ad. Etsy ads work similarly, allowing you to promote your listings with a bid of how much you wish to pay per click with a maximum of your daily budget. Because Google Shopping is now included in Etsy Offsite ads, Etsy will no longer use the Etsy advertising budget for Google Shopping.
How do Etsy ads work – and are they worth it?
In our experience, Etsy ads do work – but you must do your research before setting them up and also set a strict budget that you can afford, as costs can soon creep up. So how do they work?
Etsy selects ads through a bidding process for ad space on Etsy’s properties. It then submits “bids” on a seller’s behalf for this ad space based on the seller’s daily budget. In other words, ad inventory is “auctioned off” at a range of prices based on the level of competition for a particular query. For instance, if more Etsy ads match a given search query, the auction price may also increase. A bid is the maximum that a seller can be charged if a buyer clicks on the seller’s Etsy ad. Etsy determines bids depending on the information provided by sellers; such as their daily budget or the listings they wish to feature in Etsy ads.
A step-by-step guide to setting up Etsy ads
Etsy tries to make the process of setting up ads on its platform easy for sellers.
To set up Etsy ads, sign in to your Etsy store and click Shop Manager.
- Click on advertising
- Then click on marketing
- Set a daily spending limit. Your daily advertising budget should be capped at this amount, if possible
- $1.00 is the primary daily budget for all users by default. You have the option to adjust your budget at any point
- Start advertising by clicking the start advertising button
To start running marketing on an existing listing, simply visit the listing page, scroll down to the bottom of the page and you should see ‘Marketing’ (see below) and make sure ‘Yes, advertise this listing’ option is picked. It’s worth noting that when you add a new listing to Etsy, this can be set as the default option – so if you don’t want to promote your listing, you must opt for the ‘maybe later’ option, otherwise you will be charged.
Don't understand how your Etsy ads budget is being used?
When you select a daily budget for Etsy ads, you can specify the maximum amount of money you’re willing to spend on advertising per day. As you are only charged when a buyer clicks on your ad and visits your listings or shop, you might not reach your daily budget every day. If a buyer views your advertisement but does not click on it, your budget is not used. Etsy never goes over your daily budget, so if you’re wondering whether Etsy ads are worth it – they are, as long as you have control over your budget.
How to select which Etsy listings to advertise
As mentioned above, when you begin an Etsy ads campaign, all of your current listings are advertised by default. You should edit or update listings you do not wish to advertise.
To begin or discontinue advertising for specific listings:
- Navigate to your Etsy ads page
- Toggle the on and off status
To begin or discontinue advertising for a collection of listings:
- Advertised listings can be accessed via Etsy ads
- Examine the listings you wish to advertise. You can pick or deselect all items at the top of the screen, filter by section or advertising status, or search for listings
- Click the update button.
You can modify advertised listings at any moment and we recommend you do so regularly – look at the stats on your Etsy ads page and see which ones are working, and which are not performing so well.
How to update your daily budget on Etsy ads
You can specify a daily budget, which is the maximum amount you will spend on advertising every day. To make a daily budget adjustment:
- Vist your Etsy ads page
- Create a new daily budget for yourself
- Click the update button
There is a limit on the amount of money you can set aside for daily expenses. To determine the upper limit on your daily budget, Etsy considers your average spending, along with your current payment status and payment history. Etsy will gradually increase your maximum daily budget if you consistently spend your entire daily budget. All sellers start with a maximum daily budget of $25.00 and Etsy recalculates this budget weekly for sellers enrolled in Etsy payments and monthly for sellers not enrolled in Etsy payments.
How am I billed for Etsy ads?
Etsy decides the price of your ad by the number of people who click on it and the relative value of the location where it is appearing. The cost per click in search results may vary from listing to listing and from time to time.
The charges for each day’s clicks go straight to your payment account the following day. Etsy never allows you to go over your daily budget, so you do know the upper limit of your spending on any given day.
How to disable Etsy ads
If you’re not in a position to run Etsy ads, or you’ve run a few but would like to stop them, you can easily turn off Etsy ads completely. To disable them, simply:
- Visit your Shop Manager
- Click marketing
- Click Etsy ads
- Select other options
- Click the disable button to stop your adverts
Can you opt out of Etsy's offsite advertising?
Yes. To do so, follow these steps:
- Visit Shop Manager on your Etsy shop (browser is better than using the Etsy app)
- Find settings
- Click Offsite ads
- Stop promoting by clicking the stop promoting my products option
- Hit confirm
If you’d like to re-start off-site ads at any time, you can do so easily.
Top tips for making Etsy ads profitable and successful for your shop
Make sure your SEO is strong
This is particularly important if you are a new shop looking to make your first Etsy sale. Prioritise making your keywords the best – and most relevant – they can be before you run any Etsy ads. Etsy employs a different algorithm for ads that the organic search algorithm and testing shows that Etsy does try to ‘force’ in keyword searches for ads, so your product could end up in a completely irrelevant search from time to time.
Set an affordable budget
This might seem obvious, but plenty of Etsy sellers don’t realise that advertising is a default when they set up their store and can be hit with a surprise charge at the end of the month. When you’re just starting out with Etsy ads, our advice is to set your daily budget to $5 a day for at least two weeks – but ONLY if you can afford that. If you can’t afford that, do not use Etsy ads – there are other ways to get traffic to your Etsy store that won’t cost anything, such as promoting your shop on social media.
Know your numbers
There are plenty of lively conversations on Etsy sellers forums that show many sellers do not make much (if any) profit from Etsy ads. Be prepared for that. Know your numbers – work out how much you’d have to invest to start making a profit and only spend what you can afford.
Set a goal
‘Running Etsy ads’ isn’t a goal in itself – if you’re going to invest in ads, you must have a firm goal. Be clear with yourself about why you want to run ads and then once they are running, make sure that you are closely monitoring progress. After a few weeks, review your ad stats and ask yourself: are your ads helping you to work towards achieving your goal?
Monitor and amend
Keep an eye on important metrics such as click-through rates and every time you make a change, allow enough time (three-four weeks) for data to show the effect of that change before making further amendments.
Etsy ads: Final thoughts
Etsy ads are worth it if you have products to promote that shoppers are already searching for, strong keywords on all listings and titles and are able to afford a daily budget. Etsy ads can bring new potential customers to your shop, allowing you to grow your business. Switching ads on won’t automatically result in orders flooding in – they can take time to work, so you will need to be patient and only make changes to your Etsy ads once you have enough data to support making those changes.
Do you use Etsy ads? We’d love to hear how they are working for you – join the conversation over on Twitter, @sellwithathlete.