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Etsy Kills a Behavioral Targeting Test

Etsy has decided to abandon a feature it had been testing that was designed to help shoppers browsing the site. In late June, Etsy notified members of a new “Recommended categories” section on the Etsy homepage on both the desktop and mobile web.

Etsy was showing the section to a subset of users and believed it would give buyers another jumping off point to explore categories and discover new shops they might otherwise not have found, straight from their homepage.

The categories Etsy was showing in the section were selected based on shoppers’ previous behavior – specifically, favoriting and purchases.

On Friday, Etsy said it had ended the test after running it for a few weeks. The company explained, “While “Recommended categories” didn’t negatively impact your shops or buyer behavior, we also didn’t see the results we were hoping for. We’re always working on new ways for buyers to discover your items and shops, so stay tuned for future announcements!”

While marketplaces and other tech companies are enamored of behavioral targeting and are trying to use machine learning and artificial intelligence technologies to make the process even more effective, many sellers tend to be skeptical about the ability of companies to deliver on its promise.

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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). She is a member of the Online News Association (Sep 2005 - present) and Investigative Reporters and Editors (Mar 2006 - present). Follow her on Twitter at @ecommercebytes and send news tips to ina@ecommercebytes.com. See disclosure at EcommerceBytes.com/disclosure/.