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Wed Feb 26 2020 09:10:12

Etsy Unbundles Ads but Google Ads Mandatory for Some

By: Ina Steiner

Sponsored Link

Note: This article was originally titled "Etsy Listens to Sellers by Unbundling Ad Programs."

Many sellers called Etsy's decision in August to merge Google Ads with its own Promoted Listing ads a costly disaster. Apparently they voted with their pocketbooks, because today, the company announced a new offering that sees the two programs unbundled.

Etsy explained in its announcement to sellers, "Now when you run an Etsy Ads campaign, your budget will only go toward advertising your listings to shoppers on Etsy. Google is now part of Offsite Ads, so we'll no longer use your Etsy Ads budget for Google Shopping."

In the summer, Etsy had pitched the merging of the two programs by explaining, "Sellers can now set one budget, and Etsy will leverage its data insights and marketing expertise to optimize how their dollars are spent across channels."

The problem, according to sellers, was not only a lack of control over where their budget was spent, but some sellers said the program ate up their budget too quickly with little or nothing to show for it in terms of sales.

It was easy to see why Etsy wanted to merge the programs - as we titled our headline in August, "Etsy Helps Sellers Pay for Google Ads to Draw Traffic to Its Marketplace."

But 5 months after launching the "new" Etsy Ads program, there was a sign the company was reconsidering the move. As we reported in the AuctionBytes Blog, Etsy surveyed sellers about the program in January.

One seller explained in a comment on the blog post that they used to spend anywhere from 50 cents to $10/day on Etsy Promoted Listings, with a return of about $600 - $800 per week. After Etsy merged Promoted Listings and Google Ads: "Now it’s a $1.00 per bid and I have sold very little."

Today, Etsy said it will pay for Google Ads through the new Offsite Ads programs, and sellers will only pay if the ad results in a sale.

While the program is optional for many sellers, it's mandatory for some. Etsy explained:

"If you've made more than $10,000 USD in sales on Etsy in a 12-month period you'll benefit most from Offsite Ads. So, you'll be required to participate for the lifetime of your shop and you'll get a discounted advertising fee."

You can find more information on the Etsy Announcement board. As you go through the details, let us know how the changes will impact your Shop.

Update 2/26/2020: The devil is in the details - the cost of Offsite Ads is 15%. Here's an excerpt of an email Etsy sent to a reader (thanks for sharing!):

"Here's how it works: Our offsite advertising service promotes your items on Google, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and Bing. When a shopper clicks on an online ad featuring one of your listings and purchases from your shop within 30 days, you'll pay a 15% advertising fee on that order. You'll only pay an advertising fee when you make a sale. Plus: Our experienced team of advertising experts manage and optimize everything for you, so you can focus on the other parts of your business. 

"When this service launches in a few weeks, you'll be automatically enrolled and you'll see exactly how many sales you're getting from Offsite Ads on your new dashboard. You'll start being charged later in April, but if you don't want this additional traffic to your shop you can turn off Offsite Ads at that time."

Update 2/26/2020: Another reader forwarded the letter they received - the seller is required to participate in the Offsite Ad program and will pay 12% instead of 15% for resulting sales. Here's an excerpt of Etsy's letter:

"Here's how it works: Offsite Ads advertises your items on Google, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and Bing. When a shopper clicks on an online ad featuring one of your listings and purchases from your shop within 30 days, you'll pay an advertising fee on that order. You'll only pay an advertising fee when you make a sale. Plus: Our experienced team of advertising experts manage and optimize everything for you, so you can focus on the other parts of your business.

"Your shop is a success story - you made more than $10,000 USD in sales in the past 12 months. That means you'll benefit most from this advertising service, so you'll be required to participate. You'll also get a discounted rate of 12% for the lifetime of your shop, while most sellers will pay a 15% fee. 
 
"This update shouldn't have a big effect on your bottom line. Based on your sales this year, we estimate that this fee will apply to less than 5% of your sales.

"You'll be able to see exactly how many sales you're getting from Offsite Ads on your new dashboard, which will be available in a few weeks, and you'll start being charged later in April."



Comments (73) | Permalink

Readers Comments

Perminate Link for Etsy Listens to Sellers by Unbundling Ad Programs   Etsy Listens to Sellers by Unbundling Ad Programs

by: Jairib This user has validated their user name.

Wed Feb 26 10:07:18 2020

This is a money grab pure & simple.  They are forcing you to participate.  They are charging 12% on the total, including shipping and taxes.  There is no way to opt out.  Google ads have never worked for my items.  There is no transparency, how do we really know if they are selling from offisite ads?? It is just a way for etsy to increase their revenue.  They estimate 20% of my sales will come from this, how?  They never have worked before.  They are increasing their fees from me by about $1000.00 for the year.  I should be able to decide when and where I advertise and how much I want to spend.  Shopify here I come.

Perminate Link for Etsy Listens to Sellers by Unbundling Ad Programs   Etsy Listens to Sellers by Unbundling Ad Programs

by: sellerchick This user has validated their user name.

Wed Feb 26 10:12:33 2020

Terrible since they eliminated any control over cost per click. And the details are fuzzy between what sales were from ads, and what was probably an organic search.

Perminate Link for Etsy Listens to Sellers by Unbundling Ad Programs   Etsy Listens to Sellers by Unbundling Ad Programs

by: thriftyone This user has validated their user name.

Wed Feb 26 10:17:11 2020

Money grab, pure and simple.....

Perminate Link for Etsy Unbundles Ads but Google Ads Mandatory for Some   Etsy Unbundles Ads but Google Ads Mandatory for Some

This user has validated their user name. by: Ina

Wed Feb 26 10:37:06 2020

Thanks to everyone who reached out. Note that I've changed the title of this blog post to better reflect the impact on sellers.

Perminate Link for Etsy Unbundles Ads but Google Ads Mandatory for Some   Etsy Unbundles Ads but Google Ads Mandatory for Some

by: Junkminer This user has validated their user name.

Wed Feb 26 10:59:55 2020

"running your business here is the only way to reach them" I found this sentence in one of the lead paragraphs particularly arrogant. There are several viable sites for me to sell vintage on. Etsy is just one of my venues. I'll wait and see what the bottom line result of this is but I resent being forced into a program that will result in an addtional 12% in fees. Since it applies to my entire inventory there will be pieces included which don't have that much margin to give! Particularly the more popular/competitive pieces tend to have lower margins. Adding to the arrogance I've yet to find a place to air my grievance directly on Etsy. The forum post does not allow comments and when I click to direct etsymail the employee I'm told they don't accept DM's. In other words they're not interested in what I might think about this, I should lump or leave it.  

Perminate Link for Etsy Unbundles Ads but Google Ads Mandatory for Some   Etsy Unbundles Ads but Google Ads Mandatory for Some

by: HopScotchFreda This user has validated their user name.
Web Site

Wed Feb 26 11:53:03 2020

''Your shop is a success story - you made more than $10,000 USD in sales in the past 12 months. That means you'll benefit most from this advertising service, so you'll be required to participate.''

Translated: ''Your shop is a success and all YOUR hard-work is making you money, so we (Etsy) in our infinite greed, think we should get more of it.''

Perminate Link for Etsy Unbundles Ads but Google Ads Mandatory for Some   Etsy Unbundles Ads but Google Ads Mandatory for Some

by: Whatever This user has validated their user name.

Wed Feb 26 12:52:53 2020

start your own website instead of lining the pockets of eBay junior

Perminate Link for Etsy Unbundles Ads but Google Ads Mandatory for Some   Etsy Unbundles Ads but Google Ads Mandatory for Some

This user has validated their user name. by: Ina

Wed Feb 26 14:02:20 2020

Should the title of this blog post be, "Etsy Raises Fees"? Eager to hear what sellers think.

Perminate Link for Etsy Unbundles Ads but Google Ads Mandatory for Some   Etsy Unbundles Ads but Google Ads Mandatory for Some

by: HappyOne This user has validated their user name.

Wed Feb 26 14:17:48 2020

No Option does not sound right. I just broke the $10,000 barrier. My prices are already too high with “free” shipping. The “blank” with it; I will just increase all my prices by 12% NO 15% because additional FVF and Etsy Payment Fees will apply. If I get no sales Etsy gets no fees. Etsy and Ebay must think sellers super high profit margins. Wonder what surprises Ebay will have in update today?  

Perminate Link for Etsy Unbundles Ads but Google Ads Mandatory for Some   Etsy Unbundles Ads but Google Ads Mandatory for Some

by: pennyemporium This user has validated their user name.

Wed Feb 26 16:13:25 2020

my lovely email advised me:
''This update shouldn't have a big effect on your bottom line. Based on your sales this year, we estimate that this fee will apply to less than 5% of your sales.''

and

''When this service launches in a few weeks, you'll be automatically enrolled and you'll see exactly how many sales you're getting from Offsite Ads on your new dashboard. You'll start being charged later in April, but if you don't want this additional traffic to your shop you can turn off Offsite Ads at that time.''

so, no way to opt out BEFORE this thing rolls out?  new dashboard?  opt out and reduce traffic to my shop?  also.... if i don't have any sales now, why would i suddenly see sales through this offer?  unless, of course, the only way to get sales is to pay etsy another 15%....  

the mind boggles..... i can't opt out fast enough!

Perminate Link for Etsy Unbundles Ads but Google Ads Mandatory for Some   Etsy Unbundles Ads but Google Ads Mandatory for Some

by: ThebigR This user has validated their user name.

Wed Feb 26 18:16:19 2020

etsy will control where the sale is claimed to have occurred from a ad you'll pay 12% plus 5% from within etsy just the 5%.. Its just a smoke and mirrors fee increase there is no huge pool of buyers surfing the net waiting to buy on etsy..

Perminate Link for Etsy Unbundles Ads but Google Ads Mandatory for Some   Etsy Unbundles Ads but Google Ads Mandatory for Some

This user has validated their user name. by: CanBrit

Wed Feb 26 19:06:43 2020

When they combined the advertising, my sales dropped 80%. Complete and utter fools, no different than eBay. They just play more in the dark. Nasty little critters.

Perminate Link for Etsy Unbundles Ads but Google Ads Mandatory for Some   Etsy Unbundles Ads but Google Ads Mandatory for Some

by: pfft!! This user has validated their user name.

Thu Feb 27 00:40:45 2020

I've sold on every one of the major ecommerce sites through the years so I've rolled with a LOT of changes.  THIS one has me totally DUMBFOUNDED.  
To think that they sat around and dreamed this up is astonishing.  To FORCE sellers to be opted in for LIFE.  To not give them ANY control over which items will be ''advertised'' and therefore subject to this HUGE fee if it sells.  A whopping 12% fee taken from the total sale ON TOP OF the regular etsy fees.  And we have NO WAY to cover it because we have NO control over which items will be promoted.
Are we supposed to go up on ALL OF our prices by 12%??  I have some items which COULD absorb a fee hike like that if need be.  But I have others that are lower priced which absolutely can't.  
I never in a million years thought I'd SAY this......but (cough.......) this move by Etsy is really making me take another serious look at Ebay.  I read where ebay is getting ready to roll out a new advertising option of its own (promoted listings really haven't done a lot).  Boy, if they play their cards right it could be a golden opportunity to grab some of those former sellers and make them take another look.  OF course, it's EBAY so they may just screw it up.  But now that they've relaxed a lot of the former ''rules'' that sent so many scrambling for other sites..........It might be worth a second look.
I usually just roll with the punches and ride this stuff out.  But Etsy has really jumped the shark with this.  I just can't get over the SIZE of this.  12%.....ON TOP of the regular fees.  WOW....    

Perminate Link for Etsy Unbundles Ads but Google Ads Mandatory for Some   Etsy Unbundles Ads but Google Ads Mandatory for Some

by: Moonwishes This user has validated their user name.
Web Site

Thu Feb 27 00:43:10 2020

I don't sell on Etsy so this doesn't affect me other than other venues thinking up new ways to steal money.

$10,000 sounds like a lot of money and probably the guys that thought this up didn't even see just how much that is a month -- $834! The thing is, if you have sales of $834 and higher, that doesn't mean that is what you pocket. You have the cost of goods, the postage, the fees, If my math was right this new fee will tack on $125 at least, overhead, etc. Sales of $10,000 is much different than profits of $10,000 and there is no way Etsy would know your expenses. With no way to opt out for some, this is a very bad deal. It always comes down to the numbers and apparently the Etsy folks think that the sellers are too dumb to to use a calculator.

Perminate Link for Etsy Unbundles Ads but Google Ads Mandatory for Some   Etsy Unbundles Ads but Google Ads Mandatory for Some

by: cayenna This user has validated their user name.

Thu Feb 27 00:52:34 2020

We should be given the opt right away if we want ads or not on or off site. How will these ads affect another websites visibility if I have another website.
So now they will grab more money and affect my traffic on and OFF etsy; whether I sell on FB, a website or anywhere else.  This is really sickening and really old. Also 10k is not enough to live on if you are selling FT.  I dont consider that a success, my business is not a hobby but they continue to knock me down by ripping me off just like increased taxes every year. There is no way to get ahead. They are taking what ever margins we have left.

Perminate Link for Etsy Unbundles Ads but Google Ads Mandatory for Some   Etsy Unbundles Ads but Google Ads Mandatory for Some

by: sapience This user has validated their user name.

Thu Feb 27 01:28:27 2020

IF I were to explain all the reasons this latest ETSY Big Brother move is so damned wrong in so damned many ways & to be completely thorough, I would need to delve back to 2009 to begin laying out the facts. That's just too much time to put into dissing a company I really can't stand, and most certainly don't respect. I can't even say I've had a love/hate relationship with Etsy over the past 11 years as it's been more of a ''hold my nose/hate & resentment relationship. I've left many times. The only time I come back is for a relatively quick and cheap way to check out a new angle on my business. I don't have to spend time building my site, brand, etc.. I just need a means to test a new product quickly. Etsy has allowed me to accomplish that several times over the past 11+ years. To actually stay & create a permanent presence on Etsy has always been offensive to me. Etsy has effed me over left and right since I 1st began with them. So I use them, and leave...it's what they deserve in my opinion. What worked 10 years ago, perhaps it's not working so well 10 years later, etc. Let me be perfectly clear, I can't stand ETSY!! I use them, and try my best to limit how much they use & abuse me.
This latest time I 'came back' was in late October 2017. I had a great thing going since 2011 after launching on Etsy in 2009... I left Etsy once I found I could sell my product(s) on a platform where a lesser chunk was taken out of my profits. I was doing well until China swooped in and stole my ideas, concepts, even many of my designs. I was struggling, and then spent nearly all of 2017 in a catatonic state. Did I have new ideas? Sure I did BUT they all required money that I just didn't have. For anyone who actually relies on the internet to keep a roof over their heads, they get that... Anyway, I wasn't sure if it would work, going back to my roots, etc. I still had the majority of supplies so I didn't have to invest too much. I was in a financial crunch disaster situation, thus; it was easiest to just re-open my Etsy shop. So I did, and it worked. I got through the year, barely kept the roof over my head. I worked on expanding my line, and then 6 months later bought a new domain, built a new website focusing on the new line. In October 2018 I began dumping ad money into Google. $3 bucks per day ad dumping budget, LOL. HUGE Ad budget, roflmao. Xmas season 2018 on Etsy was considerably lower than the year before, with everything continuing to tank on Etsy throughout 2019. YET, my website sales continued to grow. I offered additional variations of my product on my website, but continued to restrict my products to the basic offerings within my Etsy store. When Etsy did their money fiasco grab/wiping out people's accounts last early Spring, raised their fees, etc.. all for the love of their wanting to keep their own piece of the pie, collect their own interest on fees AND get bonus money back from PayPal by dumping all sales monies collected into their own personal Etsy account, I began NOT renewing listings. I eventually removed every listing except ~25 listings. I had built it up to around 300 listings in 2017 thru 2018.
I ALWAYS had 5 star ratings, from 2009 thru until about 2 months ago. Now I've had (2) 1 star ratings in one month alone! Both reviews have NOTHING to do with my product, my service, etc. BUT has EVERYTHING to do with Etsy deciding that the information in my product description isn't important!! It's tough enough to get people to effing READ, let alone to hide the information completely!! We all know there is a certain segment within our population that doesn't like to read AND has a difficult time taking responsibility for their mistakes. IF you don't fellate their ass and come out with your arms flayed wide in fawning obsequiousness, they will make a You Tube video, try to destroy you on twitter, AND NOW Etsy will effing close your shop! ALL because ETSY doesn't effing care nor do they understand what the seller goes through and that ITEM DESCRIPTION INFORMATION FOR A CUSTOM HANDMADE MARKETPLACE IS EFFING ESSENTIAL INFORMATION!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Many claim that Etsy's attitude stems from when they went 'public' and now answer to stockholders. Welp, I have news for all of you! Etsy was always ignorant to a seller's needs and were money grabbing mongrels even back in 2009 several years before they went public on the stock exchange! Once again, it would take a long time to explain all of the supportive reasoning, experience, and facts ''I'' personally have gone through that would prove my point. Hell, I am already writing a short novel while trying NOT to point out all Etsy's bullshit!
Oh yeah, I don't use their effing shipping label service either any longer. I use Pirate Ship. I decided EFF ETSY, they aren't going to even get any of my money for their shipping cut. NOT to mention how often using their shipping label service lowers my Account Balance, lowering it to a level that results in my having to wait longer for them to effing transfer my money because the balance is now below the minimum value for transfer!
Sooo when I got the email today about the MANDATORY advertising BS... instead of getting totally angry ( which I AM angry, don't get me wrong) I am honestly more disgusted than anything else. And yeah... part of me is laughing at them...
So I will find a way to manipulate this new scheme that's apparently been created by the same Etsy team folks who really have no idea what a seller's needs are.
My products are designed by me, 100% made by me.. I've NEVER been able to charge for my actual labor. Although my products are unique & mine, I am nonetheless selling in an over saturated category of which I have lots of competition and buyers have a plethora of choices. Thus, I've never been able to raise my prices to the level that they warrant. SO for ETSY to think I can afford to lose an additional $3-5 PER SALE on a product of which I already can't charge what it's worth is way off the top!! Pushing me down to sweat shop, overseas wages won't cut it because I am still responsible for over inflated effing USA prices on everything from food, housing, internet, etc.... I am thankful that I am a 62 year old who was taught the lesson back in 2009 to NOT drink Etsy's Koolaid! It literally raises bile from stomach to my mouth when I read the bullshit posted by sellers who kiss Etsy's proverbial protuberance. Seriously?!? An old WWII Germany saying by Martin Niemoller...

   First they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out—because I was not a socialist.

   Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out— because I was not a trade unionist.

   Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—because I was not a Jew.

   Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.

So for those Etsy sellers who are still drinking the Etsy Koolaid... you may wish to think about it a bit...''1st they came for the vintage sellers, but I did not speak out because I don't sell vintage... Then they came for the European sellers and exploited their VAT, overcharged them, dragged their heels paying them back, some have NEVER been paid back... but I don't sell in Europe, so I didn't speak out...ETC. ETC... this latest maneuver over mandatory ad spending... JC People, get an effing clue and wake the eff up!! Are you really that helpless that you have no idea how to sell your wares online where you can maintain AND control your own autonomy! Fine, if you don't know how or don't want to try, whatever... just don't blow smoke up my ass in the forums telling me how effing GREAT Big Brother Etsy is because it ain't so!!

P.S. BTW... for all of you that caved to the 'free shipping' mandatory laid down by Etsy last year... congrats! You increased your total sales for last year of which Etsy will determine if you are above or below their 10K threshold for their mandatory ad program. They stated today that the 10K will be based on your sales MINUS shipping, tax, etc. BUT IF you rolled the shipping costs into your price so you could 'claim' to offer 'free shipping'.... welp... how smart are you feeling right now, especially if that choice has thrown you into the 'mandatory' ad program?? Congrats... add some more sugar to your Etsy Koolaid... get a clue!

Perminate Link for Etsy Unbundles Ads but Google Ads Mandatory for Some   Etsy Unbundles Ads but Google Ads Mandatory for Some

by: hawk This user has validated their user name.

Thu Feb 27 07:07:49 2020

Etsys greed , corruption , and absolute lies will eventually destroy everything and everybody , just like history has always proven. when they keep taking and taking , there is eventually nothing left for the people that helped make them big.

Perminate Link for Etsy Unbundles Ads but Google Ads Mandatory for Some   Etsy Unbundles Ads but Google Ads Mandatory for Some

by: go-figure This user has validated their user name.

Thu Feb 27 07:57:08 2020

@moonwishes

That one excerpt from your post sums up Etsy's philosophy: "the Etsy folks think that the sellers are too dumb"

Nuff said.

Perminate Link for Etsy Unbundles Ads but Google Ads Mandatory for Some   Etsy Unbundles Ads but Google Ads Mandatory for Some

by: byemilie This user has validated their user name.

Thu Feb 27 08:20:36 2020

This is what I was going to send on to etsy via their feedback but one has to check their box to allow it so I'm posting it here:

My products basically sell by themselves. I've never used Google Ads and maybe once years ago an etsy ad. I rarely use Pinterest but have a few times. Right now with this latest CAN OF WORMS etsy is opening is just another money grab on esty's part, and will force many more of your good sellers to move on to other sites. Whom ever is running this show, so needs to stop and not keep forcing it's sellers  to bare the  brunt of it's illogical workings behind the scenes. This should be an OPT OUT for everyone should they so desire, stop trying to take over our businesses completely. BE WARNED ...I believe ...  it's also the straw that will break the camel's back .

Perminate Link for Etsy Unbundles Ads but Google Ads Mandatory for Some   Etsy Unbundles Ads but Google Ads Mandatory for Some

This user has validated their user name. by: Life During Wartime

Thu Feb 27 08:24:11 2020

sapience, lots of us that did try to speak out concerning Etsy's corporate culture of poor customer service to the seller community were perma-muted for our efforts.  Etsy is not a civic institution, but a corporation.  The only one who can prevent abuse by Etsy is the individual seller, by closing up shop and leaving.  

And it was Flavor Aid, not Kool Aid, that was served in Jonestown.  While Kool Aid isn't a healthy choice for a children's beverage, it was not involved in herdlike self-destructive behavior.

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