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Etsy Addresses Questions about Its New Ad Platform

Etsy has been rolling out a new ad platform for sellers and is holding a workshop on Thursday to address the many questions sellers are asking. EcommerceBytes checked in with Etsy and with a seller who is getting up and running with Promoted Listings to learn more about it.

While there are a lot of anecdotal reports about seller performance with Promoted Listings compared to the Search Ads program it is replacing, Etsy declined to share information about the overall results it was seeing thusfar.

Claire from ModAndMini used Etsy’s Search Ads extensively and was switched over to Promoted Listings when it were rolled out in early September. Her “day job” is in the advertising field, and her background is conversion optimization, specifically in the art, craft, handmade and craft supply sectors.

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Claire said that Search Ads wasn’t perfect, but had provided basic conversion stats and gave her the opportunity to fine-tune her goals for maximum conversions. “As sellers we were able to see which items and keywords were performing well, and make adjustments to keywords and our promoted items’ search tags accordingly.”

As EcommerceBytes reported in August, sellers no longer select and manage keywords as part of their Promoted Listings ad campaigns on Etsy.

“Promoted Listings not only did away with the option to select and refine the keywords for which our ads are served, it also left us completely in the dark with regards to reporting of any measurable sort,” Claire said.

Because she can now only view Impressions, Clicks, Cost, and Revenue, she said she is unable to determine how buyers are getting to her listings – for example, if buyers are searching within a specific category or site-wide, or what keywords they are using.

She’s also unable to determine which clicks have resulted in another conversion type, such as an Item or Shop Favorite or an Add To Cart without checkout.

She would also like to see how many of her items a user views from her shop after clicking through, and how her ads and listings are performing in comparison to similar promoted listings from other shops.

We asked Etsy spokesperson Sara Cohen if the marketplace had plans to provide more information to advertisers. “We do show revenue that results from ads, and we’ll be working on providing more detailed statistics around clicks and sales next year,” she said.

Even though Claire said she would welcome more information about her campaign performance, she would still be unable to do the kind of optimization she had been able to do under Search Ads. “Currently, the only “settings” we are able to tweak are our daily spend caps and our PPC bid amount per item. We can use Etsy’s “recommendation” of an auto bid system, or we can override with a bid amount of our choice. That’s it.”

Some sellers discussing the program wondered why Etsy doesn’t allow advertisers to control preferences such as time of day or location of shoppers, and we asked Cohen if Etsy had any plans to offer an ad scheduler.

“Promoted Listings respect location filters in search. At this time, we have no plans to offer an ad scheduler but we are listening to seller needs and feedback as they use the product.”

We also noted that some sellers were concerned that the new platform might favor larger sellers with bigger budgets. Cohen said all types and sizes of shops can find success using Promoted Listings, and suggested sellers review this Seller Handbook article for more information on strategies for smaller shops.

Other sellers expressed confusion about Promoted Listings budgets and autobids. Cohen recommended this how-to article.

Etsy will hold the Promoted Listings workshop on September 25th at 5 pm EST on this discussion board. Members of Etsy’s Ads team will be answering questions, and users can submit a question by replying to the thread. Other members will vote on the questions they want to see addressed.

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Ina Steiner

Ina Steiner is co-founder and Editor of EcommerceBytes and has been reporting on ecommerce since 1999. Send news tips to ina@ecommercebytes.com.


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