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Etsy Ads or Etsy SEO: Which is More Effective?

Updated: Jun 21, 2021


How do Etsy ads work?

Etsy is inundated with a variety shops, some of the most popular being jewelry shops, drinkware, apparel, and party & paper supplies. To break it down a bit more for you, there are:

- 22 million search results for "Jewelry"

- 7.4 million results for "Women's Clothing"

- 7 million for "Party Supplies"

- 2.3 million for "Drinkware"

So how can you possibly compete?


With Etsy ads you can place your listings in a better position in the search system, even when there's high competition level. Etsy likes to refer to their paid ads system as an "auction system", meaning that you're competing against other shops on a few different factors. These factors are: listing quality (how likely a shopper is to click on your particular listings), likelihood of making a sale, relevance to the shoppers search, and bid amount. I'm going to break each down for you below.


- Listing quality: Etsy gives every listing a quality score (which is unbeknownst to you), that reflects how likely a customer is to purchase that listing. Etsy wants to make money, and they're going to prioritize listings that give them a better chance at doing so. This listing quality is based on listing and shop history (good reviews, if you've made prior sales, getting your orders out on time), and strong listing titles and tags.

- Likelihood of making a sale: Etsy also looks at factors about the shopper that may increase the likelihood of a sale for your listings, like their search query, the time of day, and even the device that they’re using. This is benefitting you because this ensures that you're spending your money in the right place - Etsy is going to try to only show your listing to someone with a high likelihood of making a purchase.

- Relevance to shopper's search: Etsy will look at how closely your listing’s title or tags match the shopper’s search terms. They also take into account any filters they've applied, so if your listing doesn't ship to the shopper’s location or fall in their selected price range, they won't show it. Again, this is a huge benefit to you and your advertising budget.


Last but not least, the big one - The bid amount:

The bid amount is important because, again, Etsy wants to make money. The bid amount is the highest that you'll pay to get your listing seen by shoppers. So while the above factors are important, if your bid amount isn't high enough, there's still a chance you won't get seen.