If you play your cards right, advertising on Etsy can bring in new business. You can customize your ad budget, and choose which listings to promote.
Should you get involved? Let’s find out if Etsy ads are worth it!
What are Etsy Ads?
Etsy ads spread the word about your store. Your listings will be bumped up when users search for items within Etsy and explore Category and Market pages.
This applies to both Etsy.com and the Etsy app. You can also opt for ads beyond Etsy, which reaches a far broader audience across the internet.
The more ads you purchase, the more likely your listings will pop up as a search result. If your listings are attractive, people will click– and this could lead to sales.
Like all advertising, there is no guarantee you will make sales from your ads. However, if people see your ads and visit your page, you’re far better off than if they didn’t see your page at all.
How Do Etsy Ads Work?
Onsite ads operate within the Etsy website and app.
You may pop up higher in search results and categories, depending on these four factors:
- Search relevancy
Are you using popular keywords to allow you to show up in people’s searches?
- Listing quality
Is your listing Etsy compliant?
- Your bids’ budget
Higher bids are favored.
- Likelihood of views or sales
Etsy values this based on past performance.
When your listing succeeds in getting a click, so does Etsy. The site wants to promote ads that are good quality because it’s their name on the line too.
Etsy also offers ad opportunities beyond its platform. This includes external search engine results, social media sites, apps, Etsy Partners, and Google Display Sites.
You do not have to pay for this service — unless it gets you a sale. Then, you pay an advertising fee.
Whether you can get involved in offsite ads depends on your revenue made on Etsy in the past 12 months.
For this reason, established businesses may have a better ad experience than newbies.
Where Do Etsy Ads Show Up?
Etsy ads show up on Etsy Search, Category Pages, and Market Pages on both Etsy.com and the Etsy app.
Can You Adjust Etsy Ads?
After they’ve been published, you can adjust your Etsy ads in a few ways.
You can edit:
- Which of your listings are advertised and which are not
- How much you spend on ads per day
- The countries who see your ads.
It’s very easy to opt in and opt out depending on your budget, marketing strategy, or mood.
However, not everything is customizable! Etsy controls the rest of the ad process without your input as a seller.
How Much Do Etsy Ads Cost?
You must pay a minimum of $1 per day to activate onsite Etsy ads. From there, you can pay as much as you’d like to.
More money or ‘bids’ can put your business higher up in Etsy activity.
Low bids are generally trumped by bigger bids in auctions. However, if bigger bids are linked to poor listings, the money could potentially be useless.
If you are paying for listings to be advertised, ensure they follow the Etsy rules and are attractive and engaging.
For offsite ads, the process is a little different. Etsy puts your ads out there for free– but if you make a sale, you are charged an ad fee. No win, no loss!
Can You Advertise on Etsy Without Paying?
No. For onsite ads you must pay $1 per day, minimum. If an offsite ad earns you a sale, you pay a fee for that ad.
When You Should Consider Etsy Ads
When You’re Building a Marketing Funnel
Marketing funnels are a key concept in business.
Imagine a funnel. It’s wide at the top and thin at the spout. When you pour something into the large opening at the top, it comes out in a thin stream at the bottom.
That’s exactly what happens with consumers. Only a percentage of your target audience will look into your business.
From there, only some will purchase a product. And from there, only some will become repeat, loyal customers.
Your consumer base gradually narrows as you travel down the funnel. So, your goal is to catch as many as possible at the start! That way, you’ll end up with more sales at the end.
When Return on Investment Is High
When making an item, the production costs need to be lower than what you sell the finished item for.
The further you can widen that gap — while keeping quality and ethics in mind — the more profit you will make.
If You Have an Ad Budget
If you’ve got the money, spend it on Etsy ads. Since onsite ads are custom priced, there’s no huge lump sum to pay.
You can set the dollars per day to something within your budget until it packs a punch.
If it works, consider increasing. If it isn’t working, you can always opt out.
If It Aligns with Your Etsy Business Goals
Every successful business has short-term and long-term goals in place. Etsy ads could help you achieve them, whether you’re:
- A newly opened business needing traction
- Not getting the sales you used to
- Releasing a new collection.
Case Studies for Etsy Ads
In our research, we found a wide range of opinions on Etsy ads.
Here are three:
- Etsy seller Wildernessinabox via Reddit:
“The ads that do well are often backed up with good reviews from multiple sources. And have bright color popping images with nice flat lays or presentation/branding.”
- Etsy seller Queenofhearts33 via Reddit:
“I have a shop with 2000 sales. Every now and then I’d switch ads on and saw no difference in sales. I think people with newer shops are more likely to try ads to get their first sales/feedback. It’s a huge money maker for Etsy.”
- Etsy seller Decafdiva via Reddit:
“I have a different experience from a lot of others — I ran ads when starting my shop, and they got me a lot of my initial sales. I believe this gave me the traction I needed to get going. The ads only barely paid for themselves, but I wouldn’t have the sales I have now without them.”
Opinions on Etsy ads are a very mixed bag. Some people say they are a waste of money. Others think they work just fine.
There is no definitive answer because success or failure depend on so many variables. However, there are tactics to improve your chances.
Top Tips for Optimizing Etsy Ads
Do Your Research
Look into successful Etsy ad users. What have they done to get to this point? Inspect their listings and find the formula for success.
SEO (Search Engine Optimization)
Some people’s full-time job is to manage SEO in content. The right keywords and tags are your best friend, as they will pop up when entered into the search bar.
Measure and Adjust Your Etsy Ad Spending
There’s no harm in doing a test run! Whether you use calculations or trial and error, it can take a bit of adjusting to get the ad spending right.
Use Compelling Photos
When it comes to listings, looks are important. The images you use have a huge influence on whether the product sells. Take your time planning and choosing photos.
Compelling photos have:
- Good lighting
- Clearly show your product (multiple angles or a GIF/video if necessary)
- Are consistent
- Are nicely styled — eg, dinnerware shown in a nice table setting so customers can imagine it in their own home.
Check out this example from WinkieT on Etsy.
Non-compelling photos are:
- Have inconsistent fonts, filters, composition, format, and background
- Don’t show the product clearly
- Too few — potential customers can’t get the full idea
- Using dramatic filters
- Not your own — have watermarks or are stolen images.
I won’t name and shame here; you’ll know when you see bad listing images! You’ll be unimpressed (and probably annoyed)because the product isn’t clear.
Look Into Your Ad Performance
In the ‘Manage Advertised Listings’ tab of Etsy, you’ll find data related to your ads. Analyze the data to figure out what worked and what didn’t.
Did you get the reach you wanted? Did clicks translate into sales? You can find out.
Base your next move on these findings.
Take Inspiration from Your Competitors
Say you clicked on an ad online. Think about it — what made you click? The image, title, tags or location?
Click on a few of your competitors’ ads. What are they doing to achieve sales? Could you (without plagiarizing) apply their tactic to your own ads?
If you can figure out what works for others, you can borrow those tips and tricks to improve your own business.
Split A/B Testing
Make two identical listings, change one variable, and see which version does better. Boom — you’ll have some useful data!
For example, say the variable is the number of keywords in the listing title:
- Listing A: 5 keywords
- Listing B: 15 keywords.
Whichever performs better is likely the one to go with. Remember, you can always repeat the experiment to be sure!
The Verdict: Are Etsy Ads Worth It?
Etsy ads aren’t guaranteed to work. However, with a strategy in place, you can increase the odds of success.
Before paying for ads, ensure your listings are high quality. They need to be enthralling, or people won’t respond.
Once they are perfected, give Etsy ads a go. Spend enough per day to make a difference.
If the ads aren’t bringing in sales, reconfigure your listings. If they are, consider investing more.
And lastly, if absolutely nothing is working, look for another way to advertise. For example, social media could be worth trying. Good luck!