Etsy Ads in 2020

Last year, I wrote a chitty-chatty post about the new Etsy Ads platform. You can read it here. That post also covers all the changes that were made with the transition.

Some things have changed since then, and long story short, it’s a worse system than it was, unfortunately.

Etsy Ads in 2020

Back then, I was optimistic about the changes that were implemented, because that’s just how I am. I wanted to stay positive and see what the results would be like, without pre-judging the new system.

I was sad about losing control over CPC (maximum cost per click), and it turns out, this has been the biggest sore point for most Etsy sellers who use Ads (and used to use Promoted Listings).

After the change to Ads, we were told that Etsy Ads would also include offsite ads – and we couldn’t control where our ad dollars would be spent. This was later fixed in February  2020, when Etsy launched a separate off-site ads program. Under Off-site ads, Etsy promotes our items outside of Etsy (on places like Google and Facebook), and takes a fixed cut from any resultant sale.

I was happy about this division, because I really didn’t want to put any money into advertising my Etsy listings outside of Etsy (as I also have my own website – this website!).

I was also happy that we were charged only when a sale was made. Now, this might mean adjusting pricing to ensure that such an extra fee doesn’t eat into profits, but it’s better than what Etsy Ads is as of today.

I don’t meant to be negative, but Etsy Ads today seems to be a depressing place!

When I could control my maximum CPC, I was getting 8-10x return on ad spend.

After the switch to Etsy Ads, and having Etsy control the cost per click, my return is way lower. Like WAY LOWER. It’s been averaging 2-3x, and some times not even that.

There are days when my ad budget is entirely spent, and there have been NO SALES from said ads.

So clearly, whatever it is Etsy is doing by managing our Ads for us, is not working too well (for me, and for the many other Etsy sellers out there grappling with this system – just Google “Etsy Ads 2020” and you’ll see what I’m talking about!).

On the new platform, Etsy has also taken away the ability to quickly toggle between switching off and on ads on products – this is another big pain point with the new system. Although, the biggest pain point is the super low or nil returns on investment. It’s just a waste of money if your ad spend doesn’t get you a decent return!


What I’m doing now is manually controlling my ad budget on a daily basis, to try and make sure that I don’t lose money on Ads!

Until there are some changes to Etsy Ads – particularly getting back the ability to set maximum Cost Per Click – I don’t think I’m going to be too happy with the returns. Let’s see!

I have no advice to give as of now, as I’m still watching and learning. If you came here for advice, the only thing I can offer you is this: Set a low daily budget (like 1-2$), and WATCH it like a hawk. Set only your top seller items on ads, and have only a few of them with ads turned on (like 3-4 items on the budget I mentioned). And WATCH it, and keep tweaking. Turn it off if you’re not getting a good return. Only you can tell what is a “good return” on investment is for you because only you know your costs.

How has Etsy Ads been working for you?

P.S.: In case you are planning on opening an Etsy Shop, you can use this link to set your shop up & receive 40 free listings to get started.

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Etsy ads in 2020



What do you think?