Etsy search ads simply don’t work. There is no need to sugar coat it, or say something nice about how Etsy “can bring you more customers or views with their ads” (or so they lead you to believe).

A while back, I mentioned how I took the leap into the Etsy world. Completely paralyzed by fear, it took forever to do. I saw traction on my store page, received sales, received “likes,” and people were “favoriting” items. Hey, I was on the road to etsy success, or so I thought.

Etsy has great forums and blogs for the public. They suggested I join teams and network, so I joined Etsy Atx (Austin)—they’re great people who love crafts and vintage. We share all types of information. However, in the last couple of weeks, we ALL noticed a decline in views and sales in our shops. As a group, we tried to figure out what was going on.

Then, several of us noticed how Etsy started adding pushy “Search Ad Sales.” We understand that Etsy makes money off it, but it wasn’t indirect positioning. In almost every webinar or forum post in regards to marketing your store they talk about how it’s supposed to reach millions of users.

The base of the program is that you pay a weekly amount for impressions on the site. When you are on Etsy, they display items at the top of the page, but if you are searching for a particular item, the people who pay for Etsy Search Ad’s items are displayed at the top. Every time someone searches, you get an impression (not when they click but when they search). You as a business owner select your keywords and items to promote for the impressions.

Here is where the problem lies: Etsy is a community of millions made up of both sellers and buyers. You are not the only shop owner selling a particular item. The real problem with competition, they are  searching to see where their items appear in a search, and every time they search for that keyword, it adds volume and popularity to that keyword. This breeds false popularity to a keyword that might not be what potential buyers are looking for. So I am getting impressions from competitors not customers.

With my experiences with them, impressions did not lead to a single sale or spike any site views. I received the same traction without paying a weekly fee. Etsy is a million dollar company that is brilliant at marketing what they want and promoting what they want. Look at the featured shop owners, and you will see that some of their stories have been featured multiple times, which is unnecessary when they have millions of sellers to choose from.

Etsy is a place that can reach new customers, just like Ebay is. However, as third party platforms, they both have their own agendas to make money. My suggestion is to have an etsy page, and your own site. Use social media marketing to your advantage. Buy vendor space at local events. Etsy shouldn’t be the crutch for your business–it’s an added perk, but you still need to promote on your own.

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Imperfect Concepts is the premier destination for the creative women business owners looking for how to guides, tips, motivation & inspiration.

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