Etsy began charging sellers for paid-search campaigns last year through a new Offsite Ads program, and now it will charge sellers for content marketing expenses using the same program.
It’s a bold move (some might say brazen). If an affiliate publisher drives traffic that results in a sale on the marketplace, Etsy will charge that seller a fee to help cover its costs.
The marketplace announced Tuesday it was expanding the Offisite Ads program to include its Publishing Partners:
“Offsite Ads can bring shoppers to your listings through ads on high-traffic sites like Google, Instagram, and Pinterest. And now, it could also get your items featured on publishing sites like Buzzfeed, Martha Stewart, and Real Simple.”
Other publishers participating in Etsy’s content marketing program include MyWedding, Better Homes and Gardens, Lyst, and Shape.
Etsy also breathlessly stated, “In addition to these big-name publishers, we’ll also share your Etsy listings with social media influencers and bloggers.”
As we’ve noted in our coverage of Etsy Offsite Ads, sellers who pay to list on Etsy expect the marketplace to invest in marketing and advertising to attract shoppers. If it does a good job in bringing in buyers, Etsy is rewarded by receiving commission fees from sellers.
With Offsite Ads, in addition to paying a commission fee on all sales, sellers pay an additional “advertising fee” of between 12% – 15% for sales resulting from Offsite Ads. That makes the program tricky for sellers when setting prices for their products – whether to build in enough profit margin for a regular 5% commission fee, or boost prices to account for the unpredictable 17% commission fee (12% Offsite Ad fee plus the standard 5% fee).
All sellers are automatically enrolled in Offsite Ads – only those who make less than $10,000 on Etsy in a 12-month period can opt out.
As for which publications their listing ads may appear, “What if there’s a site I don’t want to be featured on,” Etsy anticipated sellers asking in FAQs for the program. It provided the following response:
“We choose our publishing partners carefully and vet them using strict brand guidelines. That’s why we’re starting with a small, curated list of approved publishers. When you’re part of our Offsite Ads program, your listings could be shown on any of these sites. You can find a list of our current publishers in Etsy’s Help Center. If you have feedback on our publishing partners, send us your thoughts here.”
Etsy also announced on Tuesday, “In addition to adding publishers to Offsite Ads, we’re also expanding from Google Shopping to the full Google Display Network. That means your ads can appear on thousands of sites that partner with Google, helping you reach more potential customers, even when they’re not actively searching for something to buy.” Last year, Google Shopping went from pay-to-play to a mostly free platform.
Sellers can learn more and find FAQs on this page of the Etsy Seller Handbook.