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Everything You Should Know About Etsy Offsite Ads

Etsy Offsite ads have a bad reputation - plenty of sellers shout about how little they like them. But are they really that bad? Get the facts here.

There’s perhaps no feature on Etsy quite so controversial as Etsy’s offsite ads. Some people love them, but they certainly aren’t in the majority. If you’re new to Etsy or advertising through Etsy, you may wonder what’s to hate - after all, they’re helping you reach more eyes and more potential customers.

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Today, we want to offer you the facts about exactly what offsite ads are, how Etsy handles offsite ads, and the pros and cons of using Etsy offsite ads, so you can draw your own opinion and then get on with what you do best - making your products and running your business.

Get the lowdown on all of Etsy’s fees, including offsite fees, so you can price your products better and make more money - download our free Complete Guide to Etsy Fees eBook here →

What are offsite ads?

One of the reasons you likely chose to use Etsy is because it promotes your products to a customer base you otherwise wouldn’t be able to access. Offsite ads take this a step further; with offsite ads, Etsy advertises your products on display advertising and other types of ads across the web. That means a customer may be browsing on a blog, see your product, click through, and purchase your item.

Offsite ads may display your products on:

  • Google & Bing
  • Blogs and Websites through Etsy partner sites and Google’s display network
  • Pinterest
  • Facebook
  • Instagram

Unlike other ad platforms, you aren’t charged per click, instead, you’re charged per sale. While this sounds like a good thing (no sale, no fee), Etsy charges a percentage of the entire transaction instead.

How much does Etsy charge for offsite ads?

Etsy charges you 15% of the entire transaction if you’ve sold less than $10,000 worth of items on Etsy in the last 12 months. If you’ve earned more, they charge 12% of the entire transaction. These fees are on top of all other Etsy fees (including the 6.5% transaction fee).

The maximum charge is $100 per transaction.

When are you opted-in for offsite ads?

You are automatically opted-in for Etsy offsite ads when you:

  • Reach more than $10,000 in sales in any 12-month period -this is the most controversial aspect of offsite ads, as you cannot opt-out.
  • When you set up your account offsite ads are on automatically, and you’ll need to opt-out if you don’t want them activated.

You can also opt-in at any time through your account settings. If you’ve earned less than $10,000 in the past 12 months, you can also opt-out at any time.

Are offsite ads right for me?

If you’ve spent time on Etsy forums or talking to other Etsy sellers, you’ll know that offsite ads aren’t exactly held in high esteem. Some sellers downright hate them, while others love them for the additional traffic they bring their shop. Here are the reasons why some sellers love offsite ads, and why others hate them.

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Why some sellers love offsite ads

  • It manages ads for you - if you’ve never dealt with another ads platform, such as Facebook Ads Manager, you probably don’t know just what a pain in the you-know-what setting up and managing your own ads can be. Besides setting up the audience and targeting parameters, you also have to design and test the ads to ensure they convert. It’s time-consuming and often not all that cheap until the ads are optimized to convert highly. With Etsy’s offsite ads, you don’t have to do any of it. You don’t even have to choose which product to promote - Etsy’s experts and algorithms do it all for you, making sure your product is shown to the right prospects at the right time.
  • You don’t have to deal with other ad platforms - as mentioned above, other ads platforms aren’t often intuitive to use and they change all the time. Saying that learning to use ads on any other platform is a learning curve is often an understatement - it will also eat hours of your time each week as you manage them.
  • It increases your visibility and traffic - no one can buy from you if they don’t know you exist. Etsy is a great platform, but it’s certainly not short of sellers and products. One search for “macrame hanging planter” generated 8,418 search results - that’s a lot of competition on one platform. Your business needs to get out there in front of new eyes, and offsite ads are a great way to do that.

Related: How to Improve your Etsy SEO »

Why some sellers hate offsite ads

  • Some sellers are forced to use them. If you’ve made over $10,000 in the past 12 months, you have no choice - offsite ads will be applied to your store and you’ll have to swallow the 12% transaction fee when you make a sale through an offsite ad.

    Being forced into giving away more of your profit isn’t exactly going to put you in a good mood, no matter how much you’re making. It also makes it difficult to predict your profit margin because you don’t know how many of your sales are going to come through offsite ads.

  • It can become difficult to be profitable. Whether you’re in the $10K club or not, opting into offsite ads means that all of your products need a profit margin of 25% just to swallow Etsy’s fees - that’s a pretty staggering figure, even if you believe in the benefits of offsite advertising. You need to have your eyes open about your pricing and have accurate figures or you may make next-to-nothing on your sales. (Craftybase’s pricing guidance feature is essential here.)
  • If you’re also doing your own ads, you may end up bidding against yourself. If you’re also doing ads for your products on your own website, you may end up bidding against yourself, driving up the cost of_your_ ads. Again, this is another thing that will eat into your profit and in this case, unnecessarily so.

Whether you love or hate offsite ads, there’s one thing you need to do to get the most out of them: optimize your pricing and make sure you stay profitable, even when being charged 12-15% of the transaction on top of all the other fees. (Read 5 Etsy Pricing Hacks That Can Help You Make More Today for more on staying profitable.)

This can quickly become confusing, so we highly recommend you use the power of Craftybase’s pricing tools to help you price appropriately. Craftybase has built-in Pricing Guidance tools that allow you to see at-a-glance your exact costs and suggested retail price.

To try Craftybase for yourself, sign up for our 14-day no-strings-attached free trial here →.

Nicole Pascoe Nicole Pascoe - Profile

Written by Nicole Pascoe

Nicole is the co-founder of Craftybase, inventory and manufacturing software designed for small manufacturers. She has been working with, and writing articles for, small manufacturing businesses for the last 12 years. Her passion is to help makers to become more successful with their online endeavors by empowering them with the knowledge they need to take their business to the next level.