{Business Tips} Etsy Search Ads

Anchor Bottle Cap by Pir8t

Back at the beginning of July Etsy introduced the “Sort by Revelancy” option.  Lori of OneShadeGreener helped demystify the whole Relevancy vs. Recency deal.  According to a post written on the Etsy blog by  Natalie Schwartz,

“Even when viewing search results sorted by relevancy, recency of the item matters, especially when searches are broad and return a lot of results. When a broad search (like “dress”) returns over 100,000 results, we give some priority to the most recently posted items. We also have a “most recent” section at the top of the search results where we will display the top 4 most recent items.”

Every one scrambled to improve their listings by fixing item titles and tags and making sure to develop a renewal plan for our items. As we were starting to wrap our little heads around this new search option, Etsy introduced “Search Ads” at the end of September.

Search Ads were introduced with some great videos where we learned that in order to get started with search ads you only had to:

  • Select the products you wanted to promote. Your options are: Entire Shop, A Shop Section, or Specific Items from your shop;
  • Choose your keywords.  These are Keywords suggested by Etsy.  You are limited to suggested keywords and you cannot add your own keywords; finally
  • Set your budget.  Here you can choose to run a campaign for  $5, $10, or other dollar amount.
Ads run for one week and you can choose to have your ads auto-renew at the end of the week.  You get the basics.
Over the past few weeks since Search Ads went live, I began testing.  I started off with a $25 budget right off the back and I choose to promote my entire shop. I decreased my budget to $10 and then $5 each week and changed from entire shop to specific items. The results weren’t bad, but not very impressive. Check out my search ad stats below:
HerbanLuxe Search Ad Results

HerbanLuxe Search Ad Results

I only had two sales and 237 extra views based on my paid search ads and only 2 sales which thankfully were close to covering the cost of the ads I ran over 3 weeks.  Based on just free shop optimization without search ads, I had over 3,000 shop views and 23 orders over the exact same period of time.  I got better results by optimizing my shop than I did with search ads.  Plus, search ads do not affect whether or not your shop will show up in a Google search; it is strictly Etsy-based.
My results may not be typical, so I set out to get feedback from fellow EcoEtsy Team members on their experiences with search ads.  We had a lively conversation in our forum and with their permission, here is what three of our EcoEtsy Team members shared:
brasspaperclip rose clip

Rose clip by BrassPaperCip


“In general, I think the search ad was disappointing.  I did have 3 sales the first week I ran the ad – which was actually 5 items – but I couldn’t directly attribute the sales to the ad.  That’s why I decided to try again and see if it was just the exposure I needed to bump up traffic.  So far this week I have only had one sale and that is on top of my Halloween related search ad, being in a FP treasury AND listing about 8 new items this week.  Sad results to say the least.  😉
Not sure it did much for me. I ran the $5.00 ad for a week to promote my new jewelry line…just 9 items. I had a pathetic 12 views (which I believe are click-through to the listing from the ads) out of 3739 impressions and no direct sales. I am a little confused as to why I didn’t get the full 5000 impressions that I signed up for, but they didn’t charge me the full $5.00 either…the final cost of my ad was $4.73.So to evaluate, I’m not sure if it is the ad that didn’t work for me or just the jewelry that people didn’t like…it’s a brand new product for me, so maybe I should have tried something more tested/trusted to see what would happen. I did see a slight lift in shop views, but my listing views were all over the place…very hard to know if it was from the ad or not. What was really eye-opening was the keyword results…it was great to see which words brought the most traffic…that will help with future tagging.All this aside, I did have three sales during the ad period, which was pretty good for me for this time of year, so maybe it’s just an exposure thing. I know so much of Etsy is a numbers game…if enough people see a listing it will eventually sell. Haven’t decided whether or not to try another ad with a different set of items.
Remainewicked Felted Wool Wristlet

Felted Wool Wristlet by Remainewicked


I only had 17 views over the week, no favorites and no sales :(
I did find the search words very interesting, though. Unfortunately I can’t seem to access the results, now that my week is over. At first, I had my whole shop listed, but after two days of no views, I changed it to just bags and purses. I started to get some hits, but I don’t think it was worth it. Although, I did see more overall activity in my shop, so maybe it did help some? On the other hand, I also purchased a showcase. This started the day after the ads. I saw a huge influx of activity and favorites. Of course this costs more and lasts for only one day. I haven’t gotten any sales from the showcase either, but like I said – I got a bunch of favorites from people who aren’t on my teams. So my fingers are crossed, that they’ll come back.


oneshadegreener bookmark with wine cork

Bookmark with Wine Cork by OneShadeGreener


I ran the $5.00 option (charged $4.89) focusing on two items in my shop – a set of wine charms and a keychain.  Overall, I had 3457 impressions and 39 views.  So, my click-through rate was 1.1% and my cost per click was $0.13.  Compared to the averages that looks good.  However, I received “0” favorites and “0” sales…..not good.  The wine charms had 27 of the views and the keychain received the other 12.

What I don’t know is how Etsy counts the views and favorites.  From the way things are worded, I don’t think they count the person if they click on your shop name (vs. the image of the product) in your “ad”.  That could explain why more traffic was seen in the shop overall, but not counted on the ad performance.  If I compare the week of the ad to the week prior in Google analytics, my traffic was up about 15%.  I also noticed I was in several more treasuries this week than before and the two items I featured were often the ones selected. OK….just figured something else out.  The favorites measure on the Etsy stats page under ads is JUST if they favorited your item in the ad – clicked on the little heart.  I went to Craftopolis and checked my item hearts for that week and the keychain received 3 hearts and the wine charms received 5 hearts for a total of eight.  Maybe I did get some interest/leads!

So, overall, I’m mixed on the performance.  With my awareness lens on, I think it worked and was cost-effective for me.  The next step for me is to figure out how to convert the increased traffic into leads and sales!  I see more testing and learning in my future :)


During my Search Ads experimentation, I also began using SellSimp.ly, a site that let’s you turn Twitter into a Marketplace. I imported my best-selling products from Etsy to my SellSimp.ly Twitter Shop and within 24-hours had 2 orders.  The majority of my shop views and orders do result from general Etsy searches and fabulous Youtube Reviews.

Although I don’t think it’s possible to place a final verdict on the effectiveness of search ads, I think that it’s a nice tool which can be used by shops who really need to increase their traffic.

If you’ve been using search ads, we’d love to hear your thoughts and experiences. Join in the conversation today by leaving a comment below.

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About Myra @ HerbanLuxe

Myra is an Etsian with an MBA. The art of business and technology are her two obsessions. She has been writing EcoEtsy Business Tips since 2010. Myra grew up in Puerto Rico with grandparents who were a head of their time and didn't know it - living what we would call today, "a simple green life." Her love of learning and teaching are the key drivers in almost everything she does.


  1. This is really interesting, thanks for sharing, it’s good to hear other people’s opinions.
    I have tried search ads twice, two $5 batches, the first for my whole shop and the second for just my vintage fabric cushion covers. They bought it quite a bit of traffic, but no sales. It’s a shame as my store has been pretty quiet recently…will have to think about a showcase, or carry on with social networking which seems to work quite well for me.
    There’s quite alot of online talk about etsy search ads, this is just one review:

  2. Thanks for doing all this research, its nice to get first hand knowledge of how the experience went for a variety of different types of shops. I’m likely going to hold off for a while before diving into this particular marketing / promoting option based on the feedback. Thanks for the honest account of its effectiveness for all of you!