How to Survive the New Etsy Ads

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Like many of you, I’ve put a lot of time and effort into my Etsy shop where I sell vintage home decor and jewelry.

Also like many of you, I saw a positive ROI in their Promoted Listings feature and had dabbled in using their option for Google ads, but found there wasn’t a successful ROI in it. So I shut it off and focused my advertising budget inside of Etsy.

Now things have changed with the rollout of Etsy Ads.

Gone are the abilities to control where your budget is spent, what your CPC rate is. And many of the statistics that I’ve relied on to make sure I was calculating my costs. (Though I’m giving Etsy the benefit of the doubt here. Believing better stats will roll out someday).

I’ve mostly gone with the flow when it comes to their changes. Pushing free shipping was understandable and something I believed in. When I buy things online, I would default to items that had free shipping so I understood the mentality behind it. Moving around descriptions and focusing more on pictures? Sure, that makes sense…we’re more visual now in e-commerce than we’ve ever been before. (Note: I noticed that they’ve put descriptions back under the images instead of to the side. So maybe their tests have proved otherwise).

But I cannot support Etsy (and yes, it’s supporting Etsy and not individual sellers) by throwing money into a void and hoping it returns a profit. My dilemma, though, is that moving my advertising budget to a third-party platform like Pinterest or Instagram would be way more challenging to manage since most of my inventory is one-offs.

How I Plan to Advertise without Using Etsy Ads

If you’ve listened to my podcast before, you know that I’ve always advocated maintaining your own email list or shop to keep control of your business. But I know that can be a scary thing to do (not the email lists though, please try to have those!) in terms of driving traffic to your own shop rather than having a built-in marketplace like Etsy or eBay, I totally get it.

But using those platforms doesn’t mean you need to rely exclusively on them. They aren’t a closed ecosystem. Maybe it’s for the best that this has happened. As I know I’ve been lazy when it comes to bringing traffic from outside those sites to my listings.

So here’s my plan: Value-Based, Evergreen Content.

I’m going to work an editorial plan to create more value-based content on Beige House around vintage goods. What’s “value-based?” Essentially it means creating content that is of value to your reader rather than a direct sales pitch.

An example would be “X Ways to Wear a Brooch” which includes a feed from the vintage brooches section of my shop, most likely utilizing an embed code or Wordpress plugin. This way, I’m not relying on only one listing or item, but can have a constant feed of current listings available.

Once that post has been written, it’s off to the SEO factory for optimizing (note: I am the SEO factory…). The post will get loaded into Tailwind and I’ll utilize Tailwind Tribes the same as with other posts. After that, the former budget I had for my Promoted Listings will be spent on Pinterest promoted pins.

The benefits of this method:
  • Controls my content
  • Control my CPC again and budget
  • An additional bonus of driving more traffic to my blog
Cons of this method:
  • More work – Let’s be real here. This is going to take more time than setting a CPC in Etsy and calling it a day.

I’ll update this post later on with my tests. But if you’re wondering how to handle Etsy Ads during Q4 and feel like you’re stuck, this could be one way to circumvent the clusterfluff that is Googe Shopping and your budget.

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