How I Use Promoted Listings on Etsy (with Costs)

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edit: Etsy has removed Promoted Listings in favor of Etsy Ads. Here’s how I’m getting around the insane costs of Google ads.

Meve Vintage is just cruising on being a year old on both Etsy and eBay. I’m happy to say that in that short period of time, we’ve almost broken through to the top 10% of Etsy sellers.

best way to use etsy promoted listings

Getting to that level wasn’t easy, but there were some ways to skip ahead of the line. That is better SEO and utilizing Etsy’s Promoted Listings feature.

I know what you’re thinking: it’s an Etsy double dip. First, you pay them to list, then you pay them to promote it, then you pay them when it sells. Let’s just start paying them to breathe, too, while we’re at it! To me, promoted listings are a necessary evil, especially because most of my things are one-offs. So I don’t have the luxury of building long term rank increases or getting “bestseller” badges on my listings.

However, the fees for promoted listings on Etsy have more than paid for themselves:

fees for promoted listings on etsy

My Tips for the Best Way to Use Etsy Promoted Listings

  • Do not allow the automatic bidding. I have two main categories for Meve: home decor (slightly competitive) and jewelry (uber-competitive). Yet, Etsy usually recommends a bid of .18 per click. For the holiday season, I will get close to this: my normal bid is around .10/click. But for December I’ve increased jewelry to .17/click to test.
  • Set a small daily limit to start and test – Throughout most of the year, my daily budget is $15 and I’ve found this to be a sweet spot. I know folks who drop 10x that per day and are bringing in $40k/month in sales, and I think that if I were more serious about this I would increase my budget accordingly, but since it’s mostly to save cool-looking stuff from the trash, I keep it low and manageable to where I need <1 sale per day to cover the costs. For December, I’ve increased the budget to $35 per day, and $50 per day for the weekends before Christmas.
  • Keep track and don’t let it run on its own – Since most of my inventory is one-off, I keep a close eye on how much it costs to promote each listing. I’ll spend around 10% of the cost on promoted listings then shut it off and tweak my SEO. I also don’t promote clearance items or lower-priced pieces as it’s too hard to absorb the additional costs.

How should you utilize Etsy Promoted Listings?

To use them effectively, you have to know your costs like nobody’s business. (Shout out to PRICR for helping me with this.) Know what sort of budget you can comfortably spend. Of course, right now you’re thinking “yeah but do I REALLY need to use them?”

Look, I don’t like it either, but when you treat your business like a business, you know that time or money needs to be dropped in order to push ahead. If you want to take less time to turn a profit you’ll need to invest in your advertising and marketing and it’s way cheaper to do this via Etsy than it is on Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook, or especially Google.

What is a Good Promoted Listing Budget for Etsy?

This varies based on the cost of goods and profit margins. My advice is to start very small, like $5 a day, and test your results. With that said, I would suggest starting as early as possible, rather than waiting until Q4 because you don’t want to play catch-up during the busiest season of the year.

Does Etsy SEO Help with Promoted Listings?

Yes. Well, okay, I can’t say for certain since I don’t work for Etsy, but based on my experience, the more SEO work you do, the lower your promoted costs will be overall. If potential customers can find you easily through your keyword strategy, it goes to think that they won’t need to find you via ads, thus saving you some click costs.

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