Advertising with Etsy

June 27, 2020 | 4 minute read

Advertising is a great way to drive traffic to your listings.

Unforunately, I’d say I’ve used it with minimal success. I’ve sunk a good chunk of money into ads, and my store is still underperforming.

The setup process for Etsy ads is very simple. They have a section within the Shop Manager dashboard under Marketing > Etsy Ads, and that’s where you can configure your ads. All you really have to do is set an ad budget, and Etsy will do the rest. Etsy will start advertising your included listings within their own search results as well as other off-site platforms (ie Facebook, Google, Instagram). These off-site platforms are defined as offsite ads. In short, setting up ads is very easy. I greatly appreciate how simple it is to get it setup, but I do worry that it’s constructed with too few guardrails.

etsy ads

Run ads when you want to test something

From my experience, I’ve found Etsy ads to be great when you have something specific you want to test.

One example was when I wanted to test the effectiveness of coupons. I offered up a 15% coupon and I applied it to two of my listings. I also added ads for two other listings, but without coupons. Within a two days of kicking off the ads, I was able to start forming conclusions behind the effectiveness of the coupons.

By having ads turned on for your Etsy experiments, you are able to guarantee impressions for your listings; hence removing a variable to your experiment. What I mean by this is that you won’t have to wonder whether your experiments aren’t getting the results you expect because of a lack of traffic to your sites.

Ad results may be hard to understand

This may just be me, but I’m having a hard time wrangling through the advertising data to come up with actionable insights. Maybe it’s because I have so little control over how my ad budget is being spent.

The pieces of information that are presented are: Ad views, Clicks, Orders, Revenue, Budget spent, and the search terms that resulted in an ad impression. I think it’d be a lot more helpful if there was one or two listings that immensely outperformed the others, so then I could try to tweak my other listings so they can produce similar results. Unfortunately, all of my listings perform at the same level.

Ads can be expensive

If you don’t actively monitor your ad spending, it can quickly get out of hand.

Etsy starts you off with an ad budget around $25 I think? Then as you prove that you can pay off whatever costs you incur at the $25 band, they’ll up your limit to $50. I think the next tier is $100, and I’m unsure of the bands above that as I’ve yet to hit those.

Be thoughtful on when to pump money into ads

Don’t pour large sums of money into ads until your campaigns are successful on a small scale. At the end of the day, ads or no ads, success of your product is determined by its conversion rate. Once you’ve got your product listing to the point where it is converting at a high and comfortable rate, then you can push the button to scale.

That’s when you know you have product market fit, and every dollar spend is going to yield a return.

If you don’t have a conversion rate that you are comfortable with, then don’t spend large amounts of money on ads.

As always, if you have any additional thoughts or would like to discuss about this topic, feelf ree to tweet at me.