Destination Digital

How To Advertise On Etsy

Etsy is a great marketplace for small handmade and vintage businesses and is a well-known platform. Etsy also offers a pay-per-click ad functionality within the site to make advertising easier and to drive traffic for their sellers. Read on for our quick guide to getting started with Etsy ads.

If you have an Etsy store on this popular platform and have been getting decent sales from it, you might be wondering if you should try out a spot of advertising on Etsy. Luckily, this is fairly straightforward, so we hope you will find this guide useful in demystifying this element of the platform.


How can you tell if a seller is advertising something on Etsy?

Products advertised on Etsy show up in search results as a regular product listing, with small print saying “Ad by Etsy seller” below the product name. So if you can see that another seller is doing well on the platform by selling something similar to what you have to offer, this small label might show you that it is the key to getting more interest in what you have to sell.


How To Advertise on Etsy - Ads by Etsy seller


Where do you get started with Etsy Ads as a seller?

Etsy ad settings can be found via the Marketing tab on the mobile app, and through the Shop Manager, under the Marketing tab via web browser. Here you can manage your ad budget, decide which listings to advertise and view ad stats. Once you have ads running, you will also check in here to see your ad views, clicks, orders, revenue and spend, each alongside a handy chart.

Etsy has recently launched an ad dashboard that provides a performance overview and allows sellers to view their ad results at a listing level by various stats, including click rate and return on ad spend. The dashboard also allows sellers to see what search terms lead shoppers to their listings, making it easy to decide which product tags (Etsy’s version of keywords) are working and which tags aren’t.

How To Advertise On Etsy -Etsy ads performance

Under “Manage advertised listings”, you’ll be able to see each listing and the stats for the ads you’ve run for each. This dashboard shows, clicks, click rate, orders, revenue, spend, and ROAS. You can click through to see what search terms displayed each listing as well.

One of the decisions you will need to make when embarking on adverts on Etsy is figuring out if it’s going to be profitable.  It may not be worth paying for Etsy advertising for any bestselling listings you might have, or for listings that already have strong sales.  As the old adage goes, sometimes the product ‘sells itself’ and so you might find you don’t really get much more uplift if putting ad spend budget next to these items.  Popular listings are often displayed on the first page of search results alongside the identical paid ad, so you might end up paying for clicks that you wouldn’t have needed to pay for. Bestselling listings in a category receive a “Bestseller” badge from Etsy that attracts clicks and traffic, and these listings should get plenty of organic traffic. So if this applies to you and your store, you might want to consider advertising other items you have to offer.

Etsy ads can be more useful in a saturated category with many competing sellers, and for new listings that haven’t yet gained traction.  As a general rule, it’s generally not worth spending money on advertising products that are already displayed on the first page of search results for their product tags.


What are product tags on Etsy?

We’ve mentioned ‘product tags’ a couple of times in this article so far, and so we’ll explain these in a little more detail here.

Each Etsy product listing comes with the ability to select up to 13 tags that are used by Etsy’s search algorithm to decide who to display listings and ads to. It’s best to have a mix of general and specific keywords for each listing. For example, if you sell jewellery, you could use a mix of more general tags like “gemstone ring” and “chain necklace” and more specific tags like “gold ruby ring” and “dainty gold necklace”.

If you use the wrong tags for your products, your products will be shown to and clicked on by shoppers who are less likely to make a purchase. For example, if you use the tag “costume jewellery” but are selling gold jewellery, it’s less likely that the shoppers who found your product through that tag will be interested in buying your listings, although they may click on ads and this will cost you money that is then wasted on the wrong audience. So don’t use product tags to spam other filtered results on the platform!

If possible, it’s best to not use one-word tags as it wastes limited tag space and the search algorithm will pick up that same word when it’s used in multi-word tags. For example, if you sell handmade bags, rather than using “bag” as a tag you would be better off using multi-word descriptive tags such as “handmade bag”, “black handbag” or “black leather bag”. Very obvious tags such as “bag” are also extremely competitive and will return thousands of search results, so the more specific you are with your tags, the higher your listings should rank in the search results and the more targeted your ads will be.

There is a 20-character limit for tags. You’ll need to be creative when writing them – for example, if you sell personalised handmade crochet dog toys, you’ll need to split that out into several tags due to the character limit. That could look something like “handmade dog toy”, “crochet dog toy”, “custom dog toy”, “bone dog toy”, “soft dog toy” and so forth.


Help with choosing the right product tags for your listings

There are several online tools that Etsy sellers can use to plan out their tags and analyse their competitors. These include eRank, Marmalead and Google Keyword Planner. You can also find out what tags your competitors use by scrolling down to the bottom of their product listing pages, where there will be a row of small images titled “Explore related searches” with the tags beneath them. This can be an invaluable (and free) resource for keyword research to help you find out what tags you need to be targeting (Top tip: don’t outright copy their tags, as it will serve your shop better if you differentiate your products with some unique tags).

How To Advertise On Etsy search terms

Etsy shows sellers what search terms brought shoppers to each listing under the Stats tab. The sources of traffic to your shop are displayed under “How shoppers found you”, and you’ll be able to see what search terms Etsy users entered to find your listings by clicking “Etsy search” for desktop browser searches, and “Etsy app & other Etsy pages” for users that found your listings using the app (unfortunately, searches made using the Etsy mobile app are not included in the data for ‘Etsy search’), home page and favourites. If your keywords and tags don’t match up with the searches that bring shoppers to your shop, it’s worth updating your tags to include the top search terms to make sure you are capturing as much traffic to your listings as is possible.

How much should I spend on Etsy Ads?

The first thing to explain is that Etsy Ads is run in US dollars, so that’s how you will set your budget. How much this ends up costing will depend on the exchange rate if you are in the UK, which, as we know goes up and down with the financial markets. The cost of running ads is deducted from your sales revenue before Etsy deposits the money in your bank account, or is charged to a debit or credit card if your shop does not have enough revenue to cover the cost

When running ads on Etsy, you set a US dollar amount for advertising (there is a minimum spend of $1 per day) and then you select which listings to advertise. If you’ve just started your Etsy shop, it’s a good idea to run ads for all of your listings until they start to earn organic traffic. The ad stats will help you to decide which listings need tweaking, or aren’t worth running ads for.

Etsy ads tend to be a better value for higher priced products, and for digital products vs physical products, because the production costs for digital products is generally lower and ads take a bite out of your profit margin.

The average cost per click for Etsy ads is around .20 to .50 USD, so clicks for a low-priced product are proportionally more costly and take a bigger chunk out of the profit. Running ads drives traffic to your Etsy shop, and oftentimes shoppers will visit your shop’s main page and other listings after clicking one of your listings in their search results, so even running ads on a low spend per day can get results,

On Etsy Ads, you are charged whether your customer makes a purchase or not. Taking a 1% conversion rate as a rule of thumb from the digital advertising world, broken down this means that you need 100 clicks to get one sale. Depending on the click price and how many clicks you get for the budget you set for your listings, you will be able to calculate how much you expect to spend to gain one sale, and whether that works out for you financially.

  • So, for instance;
    • if your click price is 20 cents, and you need 100 clicks to make one sale, it will have cost you $20 to make the sale. If your products and the profit margins are worth more than this, you have a profitable campaign.
    • it’s also worth analysing if people put more than just one item in their basket when buying from you. So you might, for instance, have a product that costs $15, but that you find people almost always add an additional number of products to make a basket of $40. That $15 product therefore is your ‘hero’ product or the hook that draws people in. In this case the ad spend of $20 to get that basket would be profitable.


Offsite Ads through Etsy

Etsy also offers what it calls ‘off-site advertising’. This is optional until your shop hits $10,000 in revenue – after that, your listings will be automatically advertised off-site for the rest of the time you operate your Etsy store.

Off-site advertising is, as the name suggests, a series of ads that run on a website that is not Etsy! A key difference in the budgeting for these ads is that, unlike on-site ads where you are charged for every click, with off-site advertising, you won’t be charged for these ads unless someone buys your product after clicking on an ad.

The fee for products purchased through off-site ads is 12% of revenue for stores that have made at least $10,000 USD. The fee for purchases for stores that have made less than $10,000 is 15%. The offsite advertising fee for an order will never exceed $100 USD, and so there some comfort in knowing that this spend won’t get totally out of control. There is a full list of fees here, including details on Transaction Fees and Listing Fees:

Your products will be advertised in Google shopping results and in banner ads. Etsy offsite ads are displayed on the following (but not limited to) sites and networks:

  • Google
  • Facebook
  • Instagram
  • Pinterest
  • Bing
  • Google Display Network (a network of over two million sites on which Etsy ads can be displayed)

The full list of sites where Etsy offsite ads are displayed can be found here:

As a smaller seller, someone who clicked on an offsite ad for your listing within the last 30 days makes a purchase from your shop, you’ll be charged 15% of the total sale price (this includes shipping fees).

Unfortunately, sometimes this can result in misaligned expectations when customers buy from Etsy for the first time through an offsite ad and don’t realise they are buying from a small business selling handmade products. If you have got the tone of your listing and the voice right, you will be able to help people through this barrier by helping them to understand that they are investing in small and ‘boutique’ rather than a faceless and corporate giant like Amazon.

Etsy ads are fairly simple to get up and running, but tweaking and optimising your ads for the best result is an ongoing task. Check your ads often and turn off ads for listings that aren’t converting until you get your listing SEO just right. If your listings have the correct tags, listing title and description (a topic for a different day!), you’ll be well on your well to running a successful Etsy shop.

We hope this helps answer some of your questions on Etsy advertising and might encourage you to jump in and give it a go ahead of the Christmas gifting season.


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