Etsy ads are a great way to boost your Etsy shop visibility on Etsy's site. But if you're not careful, you could be throwing away money. Etsy Ads are only good if you've already optimized your listings on your Etsy shop. This guide will walk you through how to get ready for, use, and tinker with Etsy Ads for the best results.
You should only spend money on Etsy Ads after you've optimized your listings. Start small, choose specific listings to target, run tests, then increase your ad spend at the end.
Etsy Ads are a service on Etsy.com's marketplace where you can set a daily budget to run ads (also known as Etsy Promoted Listings) on your items. An item in your Etsy shop with an ad will appear at the top of the search results even if it's not normally placed there. You can set a daily budget that starts at $1/day and goes up to $25/day for an Etsy ad campaign.
When you first start selling on Etsy, it's hard to get organic views because your Etsy shop is new. Ad Targeting via Etsy promoted listings gives you an advantage by increasing the chances of someone clicking on your product or seeing your style. Ads are especially good for saturated markets, because your item may appear on page 5, and no one ever gets that far in search results.
Your ads will not be totally organic - they will appear as "Etsy promoted listings" in the ads. Lately, Etsy has even been removing shop names from the promoted listings, making it harder for people to avoid clicking on ads. Your ads will also show up on the Etsy app.
As your Etsy shop grows and your listings begin selling, the algorithm will naturally move your Etsy promoted listings up farther in the Etsy search results. Etsy's algorithm pays attention to things like Titles, Keywords, Conversion Rate, Free Shipping, and Star Seller status (coming soon).
When I first started my Etsy shop, I felt like I would never create promoted listings. It felt like handing more money over to the marketplace that already took 34,000 separate fees whenever I made a sale. However, Etsy ads work when they're intentional and targeted. Here are some instances when I think you should - and shouldn't - spend money on ads for your Etsy shop:
Depending on your settings, Etsy ads will likely boost item views and sales. Just be sure that your keywords and listings are optimized for the best possible outcomes.
While we're talking mostly about promoted listings in this article, I wanted to highlight offsite ads briefly as well. Etsy offsite ads are an opt-in service if you make less than $10,000 in a year on Etsy, and mandatory if you make above that threshold.
With offsite ads, Etsy is basically advertising your listings all over the web: on Facebook, on Google, even on Bing. You pay nothing for this service UNLESS someone clicks and then buys your product. The window for purchase is 30 days. If you do make a sale with offsite ads, then Etsy takes a much larger cut than usual to recoup their expenses on advertising.
Some people LOVE offsite ads and other people hate them. I think if you have tight profit margins, you should opt out. If you don't though - it's free advertising! Your ad spend is essentially zero until you make a sale. If you put your products somewhere other than your own Etsy shop, you'll always need to pay for advertising. So overall - it's a great deal.
There are as many opinions about listing optimization as there are clouds in the sky. However, we all agree on a few points:
When you're ready to run Etsy advertising, it's important to approach it from a scientific mindset. On Etsy, you're not allowed to set budgets for individual items. Instead, you simply turn ads on or off for your listings. Etsy automatically allocates the budget. While this makes the user interface easier, it makes optimizing your money tough.
Here's a great Etsy advertising example from my small business, Nonbeenary Designs. One of the stickers has the phrase "It's Trash Can, Not Trash Can't!" - and for a long time, the tags and title both had "trash can sticker" inside. However, looking at ad stats, we were able to pinpoint that people who were typing "Trash Can Sticker" into Etsy's search engine were actually looking to label their trash can - and probably not with a motivational opossum sticker. As a result of this analysis, we were able to adjust the title and tags, and run ads that were actually hitting our target audience, and not just padding Etsy's bank account.
We can't tell you exactly what to look for, but we can give you the general strategy for tinkering with Etsy Ads.
You should spend as much on Etsy Ads as you can afford, that is reasonable. If you're selling $4 items, do not set an Etsy ads budget of $25 per day unless you're going to get $250 of sales from that budget. Definitely don't set an Etsy ads budget that might send your account into the red. This advice holds true if you're advertising on social media, too.
I recommend that most folks start with the minimum - $1 per day. Give it a week, see how your stats are doing, then increase by 10-20% if you want. Never make very large changes to ad budgets, as it can be wasted money. You should only ever increase (or decrease) by 10-20% until you're secure in what the ads are doing. You might think that throwing more money at it will help, but you could be wrong.
Similarly, only advertise a few listings at a time. If you have 20 advertised listings at $1 per day, that's only $0.05 budgeted per listing (if split evenly). Your ads will be more impactful if they have a larger individual Etsy ads budget. Etsy marketing is about being strategic and not just throwing your money at a problem.
Finally, only advertise your items that sell. If your items aren't selling, an Etsy ads budget won't fix the problem. Revisit the product, pricing, or optimization to figure out how to get those items selling before you invest in Ads. You'll save money and time.
Etsy ads worth is wholly dependent on the amount of effort you put into them. You need to make sure that:
Are Etsy ads worth it for all Etsy shops? Only you can answer that question about paid advertising for your small business. I hope this guide helped you increase your Etsy sales! Leave your questions in the comments below.
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