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Etsy Rolls Out New Ad Platform

Sellers have only a short time to get used to Etsy’s new advertising platform before it does away with its current Search Ads program fully on October 1st. The company provided additional tips on using “Promoted Listings” on Tuesday and gave sellers a chance to comment and ask questions.

As reported in EcommerceBytes last month, sellers will no longer select and manage keywords as part of their ad campaigns. Instead, they will tell Etsy which items they want to promote and how much they want to pay per click, and Etsy will “make sure they are shown to the right buyers at the right time.”

The Promoted Listings ads appear at the top and middle of Etsy search results. Etsy’s Bowen Slate-Greene outlined two marketing strategies for using Promoted Listings: direct-response advertising and brand advertising, and provided tips on optimizing an ad campaign.

Direct-response advertising focuses on getting clicks, making sales and earning immediate revenue. First determine a daily budget that is sustainable for your business, he recommended, saying that turning on auto-bidding for the selected listings will get the most clicks for your budget. Sellers can also enter custom bids rather than automatic bids.

Brand advertising focuses on getting more exposure for a shop as a whole through frequent appearances in search and increased views. “You’ll promote every listing in the line, enable auto-bidding and increase your budget to serve as many impressions as possible.”

Responses to Seller Questions
Susan G asked: “How will Etsy decide where promoted items will be advertised? Placement position, according to past info from Etsy, will take “quality of the listing” into consideration – can you please explain what this is.”

Slate-Greene responded: “Promoted Listings looks at a few factors when determining ad position, including your bid and the quality of the listing. Listing quality is determined by looking at how buyers have interacted with your listing in the past. This gives you more control over placement, because by improving your listing quality – freshening up your listing photos or improving your SEO – you can get better placement.”

AmericanBride asked: “So does this mean that you pay to have an ad and then pay to have the ad in a higher rank on the ads that run across the top of the page?”

Slate-Greene responded: “When you bid on a listing, and that listing shows up in a Search, you are entered into an auction for an ad spot. Depending on the results of that auction, your listing gets placement on the Search page as an ad. At this point, you have not been charged. You are only charged If a shopper clicks on your ad. The bid you made is the MOST you’ll ever pay for a click, not the amount you’ll pay every time. In fact, most times you’ll pay less.”

Seller Response – Positive and Negative
Among the responses to the tips on Promoted Listings were the following three comments:

“I think advertising is a great way to get your product out there. I love that Etsy is so willing to go the extra mile for help out their shop owners. Thank you. You have given me more to work with and study.”

“Thanks, Etsy, for giving us the opportunity to dial up or down our own individual marketing budgets. With some customization too. This approach can be adapted to even what’s going on in the maker’s life, like dealing with family issues or wanting to launch a new product line and seeing immediate results in the interest level of shoppers. A planned approach to marketing with immediate ability to adapt what I want to focus on to attract event shoppers and not lose track of my target market.”

“I’m disappointed at the way Etsy is going recently. What happened to a level playing field, to the community of makers, to everyone having a fair chance? Now it seems all your advertising is only open to those who can afford to pay, mostly by paying minimum wage to the REAL makers in their own country or exploiting cheap foreign labour. Who polices the quality of items offered on your site, & why is so much foreign tat able to be sold with impunity? There are numerous items on Etsy that can be bought from many different sellers (definitely not craftsman made, even if they were assembled by genuine hands… as are garments in sweatshops) & also from a multitude of sellers on sites such as eBay. This approach directly undermines the value of the items that are made by hand by the person you buy them from. I fear Etsy has outgrown its ethic.”

Slate-Greene said Etsy will begin replacing Search Ads with Promoted Listings on September 9, and fully replace them on October 1. More information is available on the Etsy Promoted Listings web page.

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Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner is co-founder and Editor of EcommerceBytes and has been reporting on ecommerce since 1999. She's a widely cited authority on marketplace selling and is author of "Turn eBay Data Into Dollars" (McGraw-Hill 2006). Her blog was featured in the book, "Blogging Heroes" (Wiley 2008). Follow her on Twitter at @ecommercebytes and send news tips to ina@ecommercebytes.com. See disclosure at EcommerceBytes.com/disclosure/.