Do Etsy Promoted Listings Work?

Good advertising makes you money. Bad advertising loses you money.

If you don't set up Etsy Promoted Listings properly, then Etsy Ads will be a waste of money. If you promote items no one wants to buy, or if you overpay for advertising, or if you don't know what items on your Etsy Shop do well, then Etsy Promoted Listings is a waste.

But if you know which items are your best sellers, and if you know what your maximum "Cost Per Click" (CPC) is, then Etsy Ads can be very effective to get your items to show up high in an Etsy Search result. 

Here's how to make Etsy Ads & Promoted Listings work for you:

  • Find out what your best-selling items is. Ideally, your best sellers sell at least 3 times per month or more. Only promote items that actually sell, not brand new items.
  • Figure out how much you can afford to spend per listing. For instance, if your conversion rate is 1% on Etsy (1 Sale for every 100 Views), then you can calculate how much it will cost to promote your item. If your Etsy item is $20 USD, and you are spending $0.20 USD per click, then 100 clicks will cost you $20 USD in Etsy Ads just to sell one item for $20 USD, which means you will lose money. That's why it is important to find out what your normal conversion rate is (Sales per Views), and what you max CPC should be. 

That's pretty much all there is to it. Promote items that sell well, and promote items where you can actually afford to spend money on Ads. 

Set A Deadline For Your Etsy Customers

Most people need deadlines in order to take action. 

Imagine a business saying "We're offering 40% off all our products for the entire year of 2018!" 

Most people wouldn't jump on the offer, because they have an entire year to make a decision. 

Giving people a deadline on taking action is crucial to getting a sale. Whether it is on Etsy or in any other business. People take action when they are given a limited time to respond. 

That's why so many businesses say "Call Today" or "Shop Now" or "Get 30% off everything this weekend only." Because people need some urgency in order to make a decision. Otherwise, they'll put it off, even if it's an important decision they need to make. People just tend not to take action unless something is urgent. 

So when you are selling on Etsy, it is really important to constantly use deadlines and urgency to motivate people to buy from you. 

Typically, anything longer than 1 week, or 7 days, just feels to far away for most people to take action. So using calls like "Today Only" or "This Weekend Only" or "Ends Friday" or other deadlines within a 7 day timeframe are extremely effective to help your customers take action on your Etsy Shop. 

You may feel like you are being manipulative by doing it. But honestly, even if a customer really really wants to buy a product from you, they still may not prioritize it (such as place an order for Mother's Day by a certain day), unless you set a deadline for them to do it. 

So get into the habit of setting deadline when you sell on Etsy. You are almost certainly likely to see at least a little increase in sales.

What Should I Sell On Etsy in 2018?

Just as in any other season or year, you should be selling stuff that people are going to want to buy in the future, not what was popular in the past. So if you're selling stuff on your Etsy Shop that did well 4 years ago, it probably isn't that popular today in 2018. 

That's often times why New Etsy Sellers do better than Old Etsy Shops that have been on Etsy for several years. New Etsy Sellers think about new problems to solve, while older Etsy Sellers get stuck selling the same thing over and over and seeing their sales constantly drop. 

So when you are making new products on Etsy, consider these 3 principles:


1 Create designs you enjoy making
If you don't enjoy making it, and you're not passionate about the topic, your Etsy Shop will be a huge burden to your life. Make what you love doing, but also what other people are going to love as well.


2 Think about what's going to be popular in the future, not what was popular in the past
Again, Etsy Sellers have this tendency to stay stuck selling what they used to sell over and over. Instead, think about how you can solve upcoming problems in  June, July & August of 2018, instead of re-selling solutions that worked in the past. This means you will be constantly experimenting with new ideas and product designs, but that means more opportunity for more customers and more sales. 


3 Think about how you will solve your customers' problems
If you're just trying to sell stuff that you think people will buy, without solving a specific problem or helping people attain a particular mission or goal, you might get sales in Etsy, but not that much. Don't just do what everyone else is doing. Think about how your products or services can truly help other people solve their problems. It could be a matter of aesthetic, price, materials, quality, or something very useful or helpful. Whatever problems you are trying to solve for your customer, that should drive your product design, instead of just trying to sell things that other people seem to be making. 


Your Etsy Shop should be constantly growing & changing. Think of businesses that have gone out of business recently. Toys R' Us has barely changed their business model in 20 years, and went bankrupt. They didn't want to change their business model, they just relied on techniques that worked in the past and saw sales drop year after year. That's the same reason why Etsy Sellers see their sales drop. They keep doing the same thing over and over and expect Sales to just roll in like they used to.

Learn more about selling on Etsy Every Week

Should I Use Etsy Forums?

If you're just getting started on Etsy, there is often a temptation to sit on their forums and talk with other sellers to see how they're doing. But there are major problems with doing this if you want to grow you Etsy Shop and work towards eventually leaving your day job to run your own business:

  1. Most people on the Etsy Forums are not experienced sellers. They might have 200 Sales in the last 2 years, but most are hobbyists. If you're getting advice from hobbyists, you'll simply stay as an Hobby Shop, and not a business. Listen to and learn from people who are successful on Etsy that can show you the right pathway forwards.
  2. Most people on Etsy Forums discuss silly things and complain, such as "Why am I not getting any Sales" or other discussions which drag your focus down and blame your failures solely on Etsy, without taking responsibility for your own problems. For instance, you must sell things that people want to buy, instead of make things that only you like. And you need to understand how Etsy Keywords work. 
  3. Etsy Forums aren't focused clearly on topics, and are not moderated. So the information is jumbled and confusing. It doesn't help you find important information you really need to know in order to grow your business.

Start learning how to grow your Etsy Shop and plan to leave your day job.

Etsy Sales Down In 2018

One of the most common things that successful Etsy Sellers say is that their Etsy Sales have gone down drastically. We've experienced the same exact thing as well. In some of our Etsy Shops, our sales of gone done. But in others (especially the newest Etsy shops we have), our sales have gone up in 2018. 

If you're Etsy Sales are Down in 2018, here are some things to consider:

  1. Make new stuff. If you have been selling the same things as 2015, 2016 and 2017 as now, one of the reasons your sales are likely down is because you have not changed strategies and starting selling other kinds of products that people want in 2018. You must always continue to be ahead of the curve and develop new things that people want, but not a lot of other people are making.
  2. Don't rely on Etsy's Algorithms. Etsy Algorithms seem to change like crazy more than ever, and not in a good way. Their unreliable algorithms cause instability in the day-to-day searches of customers. The best way around this is to sell products that have high demand and low supply. It's hard to figure this out, but doing a lot of research on selling products and focusing on niche, under-served keywords is the best way to keep getting a lot of visibility on Etsy.
  3. Take control of your own Marketing. Think about building your own website and doing your own marketing. Etsy is the best place ever to start a new business and get sales quickly. But once you hit 1000 sales, you should start thinking about how to create monthly stability, and that's by taking control of your own marketing, collecting email addresses with, building your own website on, and drive business to you instead of rely solely on Etsy. 

There is so much opportunity on Etsy, but you have to do it right. Don't sell what everyone else sells. Instead, stay ahead of the game a be a leader in your niche market. 

Sign up for our free weekly Etsy Newsletter to get more Etsy Advice

Why Does Etsy Keep Changing Their Algorithms?

This is a common Etsy Seller question: Why do Etsy's Algorithms change so much?

There is a lot of talk about how Etsy changes it's Algorithms all the time.

After reviewing data on the 6 different shops we have on Etsy, I do believe that Etsy does a crazy amount of changes to its Algorithms, some times on a daily basis, and often times with the strangest and illogical results.

It seems as though they are frantically testing out new ideas on how to organize search results in order to increase the overall sales on Etsy in general, but not necessarily your own Etsy Shop specifically.

This means that good Etsy Sellers that have a track-record of doing well on Etsy can easily be hurt by these rapid changes in Algorithms.

That's why it is so important to have a long-term plan of building businesses on Etsy but then thinking about how to start your own website, collect email addresses, do other marketing online and so on.

What can you do about Etsy's Algorithm changes?

Honestly, not a lot. You are on Etsy's platform, and it's their choice to make changes. While I find Google's SEO changes logical, Etsy doesn't seem to have the same levelheaded approach to showing search results in a methodical way. 

What should you do instead?

First, focus on making great products for your customers, and pairing them with practical keywords. There is still a lot of opportunity to use Etsy as a place to prove your business concept and hit your first 1000 Sales. Once you hit 1000 Sales, you can start thinking about building a website & doing other online marketing to grow your business on your own terms, with more control. 

But until you get to reaching 1000 Etsy Sales, just know that you are at the whim of Etsy making lots of changes to their search result systems, and that the future of your own business is in your hands. Continue to learn about business principles, and educate yourself as much as possible so that your income doesn't solely rely on Etsy.