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Best Tips To Make Etsy Advertising Work (Updated For Etsy Offsite Ads)

Last Updated:

July 11, 2023


Marketing & Promotion
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Another day wasting $5 on advertising with only a few views and no sales.

And another day...

And another day...

I've been there, and I can't stand it either.

You must think, is Etsy advertising worth it? Is there a way to make it work?

There are a few crucial steps to put you on the profitable track of Etsy advertising. Choosing the right listing, testing, adjusting and scaling up.

Let's dive right in:

Big Update - Etsy Offsite Ads

What Are Etsy Offsite Ads?

In April 2020, Etsy introduced offsite ads, which they brand it as risk-free advertising service.

Etsy promotes your product on various platforms like Google, Bing, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, etc. Etsy may also promote items on Etsy publishing partners like Buzzfeed, Martha Stewart and Real Simple. Also Etsy would reach out to social media influencers and bloggers with selected items.

You pay Etsy an advertising fee when you make a sale. You don’t need to pay anything if shoppers only click on the ads. So there's no upfront costs.

The Etsy sellers who have made over US$10,000 over a 12-month period are required to take part in offsite advertising. Not optional.

Google shopping ads will be integrated into this new offsite ads program.

Etsy Offsite Ad Fee

The advertising fee is quite high for this new offsite ad. 12% for Etsy sellers who've made over $10,000 over 12 months, and 15% for the rest of the sellers. On top of the original Etsy fees like transaction fees and Etsy Payment fees.

And all orders made by the same customer after clicking on your ads will be charged the advertising fee within 30 days. So if a shopper clicks and makes 3 orders in 30 days, you will need to pay ad fees on all 3 of those orders! And that is in addition to the transaction fee, listing fee, and Etsy Payments fee.

As you can imagine, many sellers are quite angry about this new revised advertising service.

I totally understand the frustration. However, it seems like Etsy is pretty set on this, and assuming that you still would like to sell on Etsy, then it’s more productive to find the right tactics to deal with it.

Should I Use Etsy Offsite Ads?

If your profit margin is high enough and paying 12-15% is still profitable, then you should take advantage of offsite ads.

There are some advantages to this new system. The most notable one being that you only need to pay when you make a sale, which eliminates a lot of the risk. Given that you have a high enough profit margin, you won’t have a chance of losing money.

If you don’t have a high enough margin, you can either find ways to increase it, or not use offsite ads altogether (given your sale is not over $10,000).

How Etsy Chooses Who To Promote For Ads

It's more important than ever to improve your photography and have a high conversion rate.

As you only need to pay when you make a sale, it means that Etsy only makes money when you do.

What would you do if you were Etsy in this case?

Promote the products that sell of course!

The more sales made, the more money Etsy can get from advertising.

So you need to be the one that beats out your competitors in terms of click-through and conversion rates. That way, Etsy will be happily promoting your products in advertising and you will make more sales.

That’s also why Etsy makes it mandatory for more successful sellers (over US$10,000 of sales in a year) to take part in this. They have “proven” that their products sell, and Etsy are more likely to make advertising fee promoting them.

Let's move on to the strategies.

Strategies To Thrive With Etsy Offsite Ad

Better Product Photos

Photos are one of the most important factors of making sales on Etsy.

They need to be eye-catching that draws customers in.

More Compelling Product Descriptions

A good Etsy description serves a few functions:

Before writing Etsy descriptions, you need to ask yourself: Why should your customer care? How can your product improve your customer’s life and solve their problem?

Don’t just think about the color, size or functions of your products. They are still important, but they only appeal to the logical side of your customer’s decision.

If shoppers aren’t convinced that they need your product, they don't care about the features of your product.

So how do you convince them?

Appeal to them emotionally.

You probably can already think of some reasons: be happy, feel more comfortable, get fit and healthy. Or on the other side of the emotional spectrum: reducing stress, relieving pain, avoid missing out.

After that, they will have questions and concerns that you can answer. Why should I buy from you instead of your competitor? How long will the shipping be? Why should I trust your Etsy shop?

All of these should be answered in either product description, product photos or the shop policy. Think about all the concerns that could potentially stop a buyer from purchasing, and have the perfect answer for them.

Higher Profit Margin

Here are some ways to increase profit margin.

Let me elaborate:

Increase Price

Of course, just raising your price is very dangerous.

You need to have a reason to raise your price, especially for your existing customers. If you raise your price with the same exact product, they won’t be happy.

Improve product quality, better material, and so on. And then you have the leverage to price yourself as a premium choice for the niche you are in. This is more convincing if paired with better photos.

Look at the premium options in your market outside Etsy. The brand names that you have heard and think highly of. Examine what they are doing that you are not. Do as much as you can to provide the same experience for your customers similar to the premium brands.

Comparing yourself to premium brands is one of the most effective ways to increase the price.

I would recommend creating higher-priced new products, instead of replacing the original products. This way your original customers are not alienated.

Another way is to have add-on. Consider using gift packaging as an add-on. Charge another $2.99 - $4.99 on top of the product price.

Bundling some popular products in your shop can be a good way to “increase” price. As each item in the bundle has their own profit margin, the ad should be relatively more affordable for these product bundles.

Decrease Cost

Understanding the supply chain of your product will allow you to source your materials cheaper. Rarely will it be the case that you already have the lowest price for your raw materials. You are likely to be buying them from a retailer, who sources from a wholesaler, who sources from a manufacturer.

Look for trade shows in your city. Some of those trade shows are open to the public which you can apply to enter. You are most likely to find wholesalers there that you can negotiate for a better price. Remember to get their contact details as well so you can buy from them outside the trade shows.

Increase Customer Lifetime Spending

This one is more of a long term strategy. One of the most effective ways to achieve this is by building a friendly and trusting relationship with your customers. Position yourself as a trustworthy seller and an expert in your field. So when they think of the product, they think of you.

One of the most effective strategies I used for my 6-figure shop is setting up an automated email sequence for customers. Customers keep coming back after implementing this.

Let’s say each customer now buys 3 items instead of 1 because of the email sequence (which is free to implement). Now the Etsy ads, even with the increased cost, make much more sense.

Onsite Ads - Promoted Listing

How Much Does Etsy Promoted Listing Cost?

In most cases, you can expect Etsy promoted listings/Etsy ads costs $0.2-0.3 per click. It is charged by the click, not by the impression or sales.

Etsy Promoted Listing Strategies

Etsy has changed the promoted listing dashboard. Compared to before, now there are fewer customizations.

You can’t change the bid for individual bids, but only able to control the daily budget for all the promoted products.

Although there are not many moving pieces (Only budget and products), there is a solid strategy to maximize your sales and profit with Etsy promoted listings.

Choosing the right listing to promote.

Here’s how to do it:

Choose Listings With Highest Conversion Rate

Just like Etsy SEO, listing quality is one of the determining factors of how much your product is shown, especially now that you can’t decide on the bid of individual listings.

Etsy wants to show products that shoppers will click and buy.

That’s why you need to put forward listings that have eye-catching photography (so shoppers click) and higher conversion rates (so shoppers buy).

Before doing optimisations, look at your Etsy stats. Click “orders” so that the products with the highest number of sales will be shown first. And calculate their conversion rates (order/view).

Select the products that have the highest conversion rates to promote. Choose about 10-20 to start.

Testing And Adjusting

After some time (a week to a month, depending how much traffic you get to your shop), you will have some data of the performances of different product listings.

There are some valuable patterns you can extract from the data.

Your best bet would be to improve the thumbnail photo as it's likely that it's not eye-catching enough for visitors to click.

Improving conversion rate is the best option. Write better product description, check whether the shop policy is in place, etc.

These listings probably have a lower listing quality score (the click-through and conversion rates are lower). Fixing these will take longer time.

If you can make the fix in a few days to category 1 and 2 listings, quickly revise them and keep promoting them. If the fix takes a longer time, take them off the promoted listing until you fix them.

Mark down the date after you’ve made all the fixes.

Give it a few weeks and see the new results. Make sure you only show the results of the period after the revision (Use “Custom” time frame).

If you are confident that you can make another round of changes, do that. Otherwise, stop promoting the products that have low clicks and sales.

Scaling Up

After the steps above, you will now have your highest performing products in promoted listing. Increase the budget to scale up the sales. This gives you the best chance in increasing sales with Etsy promoted listing.

You should still check back once every few weeks to make sure everything is working properly. Repeat the previous step to improve/eliminate products if necessary.

For new products in the future, they need to go through all the steps to make sure they can bring you the most sales and profit.

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