The Jam

How to Use Etsy Ads with Dave From AddToCart

Do you feel like you need a better understanding of Etsy Ads? Should you be taking out advertising on all of your listings? How much should you be spending? What are the key differences between Etsy Ads and the good old days of promoted listings? Hang on tight, because we’re talking to Dave DeNard from AdToCart about all things Etsy Ads and how this can help you find even more Etsy shop success

Who is Dave?

If you haven’t heard of Dave before or read/watched any of our episodes with him (which you can do here and here) let us introduce him! Dave DeNard is from AddToCart on YouTube. Dave also owns an Etsy shop, WoodlandZen. Dave makes courses, e-books and videos to help Etsy sellers make more money.

Jumping into Etsy Ads

Dave is jumping right in and breaking down Etsy Ads in general. It’s been about a year since Etsy Ads first came to be, but the changes have been pretty significant. With those changes have come a whole set of new issues and problems, which it seems everyone is experiencing across the board. 

Our question for Dave

We first asked Dave what’s actually going on with promoted listings? It seems like things are all over the board! There’s all kinds of stuff out there where people are saying, are ads even worth it? People that had success with promoted listings as they were before are now struggling with Etsy Ads. What are the challenges that he’s seeing people facing with the new Etsy Ads structure? 

The major changes from promoted listings to Etsy Ads

Page from Etsy's 2019 Q2 report: Etsy Ads will better enable us to optimize seller budgets
Etsy Ads vs Promoted Listings as explained by Etsy in their 2019 Q2 Report

These changes were actually pretty significant. The biggest change being we now have no control over cost per click. We can no longer do what was called auto bid or manual bid like we could with promoted listings. 

This of course takes a lot of power away from us as Etsy sellers, in terms of controlling our budget. The only thing we can really control now is what listings are advertised and how much we’re willing to spend daily on that. Previously with promoted listings (because of the control over cost per click) it helped us regulate how much of our budget was going towards each listing. Now, with this new simplified version of Etsy Ads, we have to implement different types of strategies in order to control our budget and remain profitable. 

Don’t spend too much

Without this control, it’s much easier for Etsy Ads to take your budget and just run with it. If you’re not paying attention, this can definitely lose you money. Spending too much is the number one thing you need to be careful of as an for Etsy seller.

For the folks who have been setting it and forgetting it, this can really get you into a lot of trouble. Dave says that when Etsy Ads first started, people contacted him and would tell him they hadn’t touched their ads in months since it changed, because they weren’t aware it had actually changed. This hurt a lot of people because they lost hundreds to thousands of dollars (depending on the shop). 

Screenshot of Etsy Ads high level statistics
Etsy provides high level stats to measure performance of an Etsy Ads campaign (source:

After a year

While things were rocky in the beginning, now after a year, we’ve formulated some strategies to help control and profit with your budget. It’s definitely not all doom and gloom! This isn’t to say that Etsy Ads is perfect, but there are definitely ways to succeed with it. 

So the number one thing is to keep an eye on your dashboard. Look at it and always make sure nothing is spending more than it should be. This is the number one sure fire way to not waste all your money with Etsy Ads! 

Increasing your daily budget

Something else Dave has noticed is that when folks want to increase their daily budget and make more money, it’s resulting in a much higher cost per click. It also can cause a drop in views. Dave’s explanation for this is that when you increase your budget, Etsy wants to go out and find more customers for you. With any ad algorithm, when you give it more money, it’s going to get more liberal with its targeting and expand more. It does this so that it can find you more customers. Theoretically this is what the algorithm is thinking. 

On paper, this sounds great! But it can result in issues like the cost per click skyrocketing etc., and it never comes back down or regulates itself out. This was a massive and widespread problem in the very beginning when Etsy was forcing sellers to use Google Ads along with Etsy Ads.

So what do you have control over now? 

The biggest things we have control over now are the daily budget and what listings are advertised. This is all inside the Etsy Ad dashboard. We have to formulate all of our strategies from those two actions. There is also one other thing that a lot of people don’t really think about and Dave talks about in his Etsy Ads course that will be releasing later this month.

Etsy ads benefits from Increase visits to your shop, make the most of your budget, say goodbye to guessword
Etsy Ads Benefits as described on

The biggest thing you need to realize

Your SEO is essentially your targeting. With other ad platforms like Facebook, Pinterest or whatever it may be, a lot of people will think about targeting. With Etsy Ads, we kinda stop thinking about the whole advertising mindset after the listing is created and we focus on what’s in the Etsy Ads dashboard. However, you need to realize that your SEO is your targeting. When you put money behind it, it’s forcing Etsy, the algorithm, and you to find out if that SEO is successful and if it’s putting your product in front of the right people. You’ll find out if it’s the right people or not because you’re going to lose money. 

If you’re following the strategies in the Etsy Ads course that’s coming out, you’ll be able to strategically eliminate the ones that have not worked out for you. You’ll then be able to only boost up the ones that HAVE worked for you. This is the biggest thing with advertising, period. You have to spend money to make money. And you want to make sure that you ARE making money. Anything you’re not making money on, you have to weed out. 

How much should you spend on Etsy Ads?

Dave says he gets this question all the time: how much should I spend on Etsy Ads? This is something that Dave says is not only a simple answer but also very empowering. He says you should spend as much as you can possibly afford. Whatever your industry is, whatever your business is, you should always spend as much as you can afford. You do this KNOWING that you’re making money.

Make Money With Etsy Ads - Etsy Ads Master Secrets course graphic from Dave DeNard
Dave DeNard’s Etsy Ads Master Secrets course

This is what the Etsy Ads Master Secrets course is all about! It’s about ENSURING that you PROFIT with your Etsy Ads. It’s about ensuring that this isn’t a gamble, but a calculated investment where you’re sure of the results. When you approach it strategically with strategies to eliminate what’s not working and boost up what is, it won’t be a matter of “if” you make money. It will be a matter of when you’ll make money, how you’ll make it and how much you’ll bring in. 

Dave has had clients from all places, some having no limit to the money they want to make and some only wanting to make a certain amount because their shop is simply a side hustle. There’s nothing wrong with either of these and anything in between. The point for Dave is that you’re making what you want to and this is what he’s helped his clients achieve. 

If you haven’t had success in the past

If you’re coming from a bad experience with Etsy Ads, it can stink to hear someone say “spend as much as you can”. And there are definitely a few industries that Dave would not recommend use Etsy Ads. The biggest one to not use Etsy Ads are those selling digital downloads where the products are priced extremely low.

Dave has definitely spoken with people who have had success with digital downloads and using Etsy Ads, however, this has been a rare occurrence. Does this mean you shouldn’t try? No! Definitely give it a shot because you’ll never know unless you try it yourself. It’s definitely worth trying, especially if you can go into it with strategies that have been proven to generate results. 

Are my keywords holding me back or my Etsy Ads budget? 

This is something that sellers fail to do and it does result in losing money. You definitely need to calculate a few things. First, in the Etsy Ads dashboard, you can see the budget spent and the money made. These two metrics are obviously the most important ones to look at. You want to see if it’s making more than its spending. If it is, you can move on to the next point. If it’s not, then you have to turn it off there and look at the statistics for it. 

Etsy Ads gives you statistics and then there’s the organic listings statistics. You want to compare and contrast both of them to spot any outliers and keywords that were bringing in a lot of traffic. If a keyword brought in a lot of traffic, this can mean a couple different things. It can mean that this traffic wasted your money or it means that traffic is making you a lot of money. It depends on the performance of the ad. 

Screenshot of Etsy stats showing overall performance for the last 30 days
Compare your organic Etsy stats with your Etsy Ads stats to better understand the performance of your ads. (source:

Just a little money

So let’s say it’s making just a little money. You need to calculate what’s called your cost per conversion. How much money did you have to spend to get that customer? After that you’d look at the material costs, Etsy fees, etc. After all of this, if you’re profiting it’s up to you if you want to keep that ad running. This is one of the things Dave talks about in his course, how to calculate that cost per conversion and weigh all of your options as well, like if a particular ad is really worth it. There are situations where you look at those two numbers, you see that it’s making you money, but you don’t know if it’s making you enough money to continue advertising that specific listing. 

Other things Dave recommends sellers do to have the MOST control over their ads

The first thing is to not turn ads on and off. You really needs to keep it on. You can change your budget around etc, but don’t turn off your entire campaign. Why? Because Etsy Ads has an algorithm as well. When you turn off your campaign and turning off all your listings, you’re essentially losing your ranking in all of the ads spots. 

When you remove them all from the ranking, it doesn’t matter if your listings are super awesome or not. There’s likely someone right behind you that has a better conversion/click through rate. If you turn off all your ads, then theirs will take your spot and might continue to sell really well. So once you turn your ad campaign back on, you might not get that spot back. What you do want to be controlling is what listings are advertised. That’s what you want to control. Not the entire global setting of your entire budget.

Outside of the ads

Other things you want to control are things outside of the ads. Getting back to the basics with SEO and your thumbnail image. Sellers can tend to get tunnel vision with SEO and will completely forget about their click through rate. Dave has personally had listings where, just when he changed the image, they start doing really well with the same SEO. This just goes to show that your click through rate definitely raises you up because Etsy looks at everything about a listing and your shop. 

A/B split testing showing two separate images and their performance
It’s important to make sure your product thumbnail images are dialed in. Sometimes making a change to your product thumbnails can have more impact than keyword/budget changes toward your ads’ success.

Don’t forget

If you’ve been really getting down on yourself about Etsy ads and the loss of control, etc., a big thing to keep in mind is that Etsy does make money from Etsy Ads, yes, however, they want to make money from Etsy Ads AND make money from that sale. They don’t want to just take whoever’s money and put them on the front page and get a million clicks. They want to take whoever’s selling the most and put those on the front page. They ultimately want conversions as well as ad money. 

Final thoughts

Etsy wants to make money from sales and not just ad clicks. The thing to remember is that if you have a converting listing with fantastic SEO, etc., it’s not a matter of if, it’s a matter of when you will profit from Etsy Ads. But you have to follow good strategies and have a plan in place. 

You don’t want to shoot in the dark with no plan. This can lead to falling into the pit that we hear other sellers talk about in Facebook groups. 

What the Etsy Ads Master Secret course offers is this:

1.) In depth explanation of advertising concepts that will not only allow you to profit and succeed with Etsy Ads, but also on other platforms. 

2.) Solid strategies to make more money with Etsy Ads. What to do if “this” happens, what to do if “that” happens and exactly how to do it. 

The course is an extremely in-depth dive into what to do with your Etsy Ads and how to profit with them. If you follow these strategies, it’s not a matter of if but when you’ll profit with Etsy Ads. Be sure to sign up for Dave’s email list to be notified when this awesome course will be released (hint, it’s later this month)! 

If you’re interested in getting touch with Dave, signing up for his email list, joining his Facebook group or checking out his YouTube channel, click the links below!

Email List


Facebook Group


Happy selling, everyone!

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