Guest Post from Mike @ HandmadeIncome.com
Etsy Promoted Listings is a topic that fuels a lot of conversations in the Etsy forums, or pretty much anywhere people discuss Etsy. Experiences with Promoted Listings vary widely, as do overall opinions of this important tool.
I’ve spent a lot of time trying to understand Promoted Listings, and I’ve had pretty good success, so far. Here’s actual data from my Promoted Listings between mid-September 2014 and December 2014.
During this time, I spent just over $600 on Promoted Listings. I earned more than $3,000 in revenue as a direct result of the $600 investment!
In this article, I’ll show you how to get started with Etsy Promoted Listings, and I’ll share what’s working for me.
How do Promoted Listings Work?
When shoppers search for items on Etsy, the results of the search include both normal (non-paid) listings and Promoted Listings. In the example below, I searched for the phrase “burlap print”. Two listings from my shop, Busy Bee Burlap, appeared on the first page of the results.
The first result is a Promoted Listings. You can tell because the word “Ad” appears in the top left corner. The second listing appears in the third row as a normal listing.
Etsy Promoted Listings work on a Cost per Click (CPC) model. This means you pay based on how many times people click on your ads (Promoted Listing) in Etsy’s search results, not how many times your ads appear in the search results (known as ad impressions). So, regardless of how many times your listings appear as Promoted Listings, you’ll only pay when someone clicks on the ad.
You buy an ad by entering a “bid” amount for each listing you want to promote. This is the amount you’re willing to pay when someone clicks on your ad. You can let Etsy handle your bid amounts automatically (default setting), or you can manage your bids manually.
As a general rule of thumb, as more Promoted Listings qualify for a specific Etsy search, the price per click will increase. This is the nature of an auction system.
5 Easy Steps to Start
- Set a daily budget. The minimum is $1 a day. As people click on your ads, your daily budget decreases by the cost of the ad (more on this later). Once you spend your daily budget, Promoted Listings will stop until the next day. Your listings will continue to appear in Etsy search results – just not as ads.
- Set a maximum cost per click (optional). You can decide how much you’re willing to pay Etsy for a click on your Promoted Listings, or let Etsy decide the best bid amount (default setting).
- Choose the listings to promote. You can promote a single listing from your shop, all listings in your shop, or anywhere in between. You’re in control!
- Place a bid - you can use Etsy’s automated bid feature, or you can set a custom bid amount for any or all Promoted Listings.
- Start Promoting - once you’re ready, turn ‘em on! Your ads will start appearing in Etsy search results.
But, Before You Start…
To get the most out of Promoted Listings, you need to get your shop’s Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and your listing photos in shape before you start. Otherwise, you’re almost guaranteed to lose money on Promoted Listings.
SEO determines which listings appear in Etsy search results. It’s essential that listing titles, descriptions, and tags accurately reflect the item. Use words or phrases that people will likely search on to find your listing. Think like a customer.
Tip: Look at the “Traffic Sources on Etsy” under your Etsy Stats. If “Search” isn’t showing up in the top 3 results, revisit your listing titles, descriptions, and tags to make sure you’re using the best possible words and phrases.
Awesome photos are important because you’re competing with every listing that appears around your listing in the search results. Your photos need to entice people to click on your listing to take a closer look. If your photos are dull, unclear, or so busy that it’s difficult to tell what you’re selling, potential buyers will click elsewhere.
Now, let’s look at how to get started with Promoted Listings.
1. Set a Daily Budget
The “Daily Budget” is the max you will spend each day on Promoted Listings. Once you reach your daily budget, your Promoted Listings will stop running until the next day.
To adjust your daily budget, click on the green “Adjust Budget” button. Thanks, Captain Obvious.
You may not always spend your daily budget, but you should plan to reach that amount each day. I started around $7 a day and as sales increased through the busy shopping season in November and early December, I increased my budget to $10 a day. I adjusted my daily budget back to $7.50 in January, and I’ll continue to watch and adjust the budget to find the right balance.
2. Set a Maximum Cost per Click (Optional)
To optionally set a maximum cost per click that will apply to all of your Promoted Listings, (1) click on the little gear-looking wheel next to the “Adjust Budget” button, then (2) click the “Advanced Settings” link. You’ll see the pop-up box below.
Automatically Promote New Listings - this one is self-explanatory. Etsy enables this feature (checked) by default.
Maximum Cost Per Click - this feature needs more explanation. It only applies to listings in the automatic bid mode (covered later). If used, this is the most you’ll pay for an ad click. You might pay less, but you won’t pay more.
It sure seems simple enough…what’s so confusing about it?
Say you have 50 listings in your shop, and the prices range from $10 to $50. The automated bid amount recommended by Etsy may span a wide range for your listings. For example, the auto-bid amount could be $0.03 for some items, $0.26 for other items, and $0.33 and $0.42 for still other items.
Now, suppose you say, “The max I’m ever going to pay is $0.20 per click.” You check the “Add max CPC” box, enter “.20″, and click the “Save” button.
You’re all set now, right? Well, maybe. Then again, maybe not.
That $0.20 max CPC will work just fine for Promoted Listings with an automated bid amount that’s already less than $0.20 because you may pay less than that amount, but you’ll never pay more.
But what about ads where the automated bid amount exceeds your max CPC?
These Promoted Listings are now a “Low Bid.” These ads may not appear as often, or as high in the search results. Why? Because you’ll be “outbid” by other sellers that didn’t set a max CPC. This is why Etsy doesn’t recommend setting a max CPC – it can hurt your performance.
Some people (including me in a few cases) use “Low Bid” as part of their strategy. So it isn’t necessarily a bad thing, just something you need to understand.
So, what should you do?
It depends largely on your budget and your strategy.
If you have a max daily budget of $1.00, then a max CPC of $0.02 to 0.03 might make sense. You’ll still get ad impressions, though the “Low Bid” ads may not show-up as high in the search results. However, you also won’t spend your daily budget as quick.
Here’s an example.
- $1/day budget with an auto-bid amount of $0.05 means your Promoted Listings will stop for the day once 20 people click on your ads (assuming the auto-bid amount doesn’t fluctuate).
- $1/day budget with an auto-bid amount of $0.05 but a max CPC of $0.02 means your Promoted Listings will stop for the day once 50 people click on your ads, assuming you pay the max CPC each time.
So, it seems like setting a max CPC of $0.02 is a great solution if you have a $1/day budget, right? After all, you’ll get more clicks before your money runs out for the day.
Yes, you could get more than twice the number of clicks with a max CPC of $0.02, which increases your chances of selling that item. However, the lower CPC also means your ads won’t appear as high in the results, so you may not get as many clicks. Still, this strategy may work well if you have a small budget. I’ve seen several people say this works well for them.
Another option is enter a custom bid at the individual listing level instead of setting a max CPC. This option gives you more flexibility, but it’s time-consuming if you have a lot of listings to change.
Before you set a max CPC, I recommend that you first watch your impressions, clicks, and conversions for a while to see how your ads perform with the automated bid amount.
While I do use custom bid amounts at the individual listing setting, I do not use the max CPC setting. However, I can understand why many sellers do.
3. Choose the Listings to Promote
You can easily select the listings you want to promote or stop promoting. Two methods to start or stop listings are below.
1. Select Multiple Listings to “Promote” or “Don’t Promote”
To change the status on multiple listings, check the box to the left of the listing you want to change, then click the “Promote” or “Don’t Promote” button (see image below), depending on the change you want to make.
2. Quickly Change the Status on Single Listings
The little green bullhorn symbol next to a listing means the listing is promoting. You can quickly switch back and forth between ”Promote” and “Don’t Promote” by clicking on the little bullhorn.
To decide which listings to promote initially, I downloaded my Etsy sales history and found my top 25 listings in terms of total sales. Those are the listings I decided to promote. I chose this strategy over promoting all listings because I wanted to get my most popular listings in the search results as often as possible. I also figured that if someone clicked on my Promoted Listing and visited my shop, they’d see my other listings.
I then watched to see which Promoted Listings performed the best. Those that were costing me money but not bringing in sales – I either stopped promoting or I entered a “Low Bid” to reduce my cost while still promoting.
4. Step Right Up…Place Your Bids!
Like any auction, a bid is the amount you are willing to pay for the item. In this case, the item up for auction is the ad space in Etsy’s search results. Your bid is the most you will pay Etsy when someone clicks on your Promoted Listing.
There are two types of bids – automated and custom.
Automated Bids - Etsy decides the best bid price for the Promoted Listing. This amount varies by listing.
For example, the automatic bid amount for some of my Promoted Listings are only $0.07 while others are $0.38.
So, if you have a small budget, pay close attention to the automated bid amounts just a few clicks could spend your daily budget!
Here’s an example of an automated bid.
Custom Bids - You don’t have to use Etsy’s Automated Bid tool. You can set your own bid amount for any or all Promoted Listings.
If you set it higher than the automated bid amount, your Promoted Listing may show more often and higher in the search results, but you’ll pay more for each click.
You can also set an amount lower than the automated bid amount (a “Low Bid”). I covered the “Low Bid” concept earlier in this article.
Here’s an example of a custom bid. In this case, I’m setting the bid amount slightly higher than the automated bid amount.
Sometimes, I’ll bid lower than the automated amount (“Low Bid”) because I’ll still get impressions with the listings, but they won’t appear as high in the results. I do this for listings that have a high automated click amount (say, $0.30 and higher), but aren’t converting well.
Promoted Listings Revenue
The “Overview” section shows the overall performance of your campaign. The image below shows my results from the month of December 2014.
- The “View All Promoted Listings Revenue” link will take you to a page that shows the details of your revenue. You’ll see exactly which Promoted Listings led to a sale, and which item the customer ultimately bought.
- The “Revenue” tab shows the amount you earned as a direct result of someone clicking on your ad. The bars show the revenue by day, or if you have the timeline set to “Today” or “Yesterday”, it will show when you earned the revenue during the day.
Etsy calculates Promoted Listings in two ways.
So, as long as a customer buys the Promoted Listing item within 30 days, or they buy any item in your shop within 24 hours after clicking on your ad, the revenue counts toward that Promoted Listing.
5. Get Started
When you’re ready to start promoting, click on the settings cog (wheel-looking doohickey next to the “Adjust Budget” button), and then click “Turn on Promoted Listings”.
Keep in Mind…
Turning on Promoted Listings is just the starting point. You need to experiment to see which strategies and settings work best for your shop.
Don’t forget to take great photos and to use listing titles, descriptions and tags that people are likely to search on when looking for your items. Think like a potential buyer when you create your tags and listing titles.
If you have more tips or strategies, please share them in the comments. We’re all looking for ways to get the absolute most out of our Promoted Listings campaign. I’d love to hear what works for you!