Focus on Etsy Promoted Listings

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Etsy, like many other marketplaces, have a optional paid advertising program – Etsy Promoted Listings – where sellers can voluntarily bid an additional amount to have their listings featured in search results on desktop and on the Etsy app.

The first thing you need to know is how Etsy Promoted Listings are charged. It’s a cost per click model (similar to Amazon Sponsored Products), not a cost per acquisition model (under which eBay Promoted Listings operate). This means that you’ll be charge every time a buyer clicks on your Etsy advert regardless of whether they go on to purchase it or not.

When Etsy choose which ads to show for a buyer’s search, they look at items whose titles or tags match the buyer’s search terms. Etsy also take into account any filters the buyer has applied, so if your listing doesn’t ship to the buyer’s location or fall in their selected price range, your ad won’t be displayed.

Etsy then take into account how much you’re willing to pay for each click (your bid) and how likely a buyer is to click on it (listing quality).

You’ll need to set your daily budget for Etsy Promoted Listings. This should be the maximum amount you’re willing to spend per day to advertise your items, and the minimum daily budget is $1.00. You should expect all of your budget to be spent but currently that might not be the case.

In the latest Etsy Earnings call, they revealed that sellers give Etsy access to more funds than they are currently able to spend by a fairly meaningful amount. This means that sellers are bidding higher and committing to a greater budget than the available number of buyers and the inventory available for them to buy. There are three components to the algorithm – views times, click-through rate times cost per click and Etsy are focused on good relevancy algorithms to make sure exactly the right listing per visitor is displayed.

16% of Etsy sellers have adopted Promoted Listings and some of the largest sellers are disproportionately represented in the list of those using Promoted Listings. Joshua Silverman summed it up as the amount sellers are willing to invest is well in excess of Etsy’s ability to spend it.

“The amount of investment capacity they have given us is well in excess of our ability to spend it. So that gives you some sense of adding more sellers may not directly translate into driving more Pro List sales, it’s more around improving the relevance of our algorithms and bidding engines and things like that.”
– Joshua Silverman, CEO, Etsy

This could be viewed in two ways from the perspective of the Etsy seller. Either you could consider that you need to up your bid rates to have a chance of being seen due to the disproportionate competition on the site and you may think that a bad thing. Alternatively you could view it as Etsy not blowing your entire budget and holding you to ransom for higher bids because they’re actually focused on getting clicks that convert. They’re not going to show your ad to buyers that probably don’t want to buy it because they’ve got the relevance right and that’s where they are focussing their efforts.

If you are an Etsy Seller and haven’t yet tried Etsy Promoted Listings then it’s well worth experimenting with on some of your most popular selling lines. Before you set up ad campaigns focus on your listings and make sure they’re in tip top shape and are likely to convert highly for the key words you’re going to bid on – the last thing you want is to invest in clicks that don’t convert… and from Etsy’s reluctance to spend all of the budget sellers are currently willing to commit to, they don’t want clicks that don’t convert either.

You can get started with Etsy Promoted Listings here.


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