Etsy How-to With a Twist

Taking the Perfect Etsy Listing Photo

The perfect Etsy listing photo demands the attention of interested shoppers while showcasing your product in all its glory. With one simple product thumbnail, you can paint a picture of your brand and inspire action in your Etsy shop. In short, a better listing photo will help you sell more products.

In today’s episode of With A Twist, Lisa and Jade answer another question submitted by one of our subscribers, Maria Matei.

Maria says she’s so happy she found us on YouTube — and we’re so glad she did too! However, Maria has a question about taking better listing photos, so let’s see if we can help her out.

She asks:

“What does the perfect thumbnail look like? And if you change your thumbnail, does it affect the algorithm?”

Great question, and thank you for submitting it to us! Before we take a look at some tips to improve your Etsy listing photos, let’s address the second part of your question:

“Does it affect the algorithm if you change the thumbnail?”

And the short answer to that question is no – not technically.

How does your listing photo affect Etsy’s algorithm?

Just like your listing price doesn’t directly affect Etsy’s algorithm, neither does your listing photo. No evidence suggests Etsy’s algorithm will boost or throttle your listing based on your listing photo, file name, or alt text.

However, your primary listing photo does have an indirect effect on your ranking in Etsy search. That’s because a better listing photo may entice more shoppers to click on your listing. And the more engagement with your listing through favorites or sales, Etsy’s algorithm will favor your listing in related search results.

The better your photos across all of your Etsy listings, the more Etsy’s algorithm will favor your shop due to increased engagement and conversions as a direct result of your listing photos.

Now back to the first part of Maria’s question.

Why it’s essential to upload an excellent listing thumbnail on Etsy

So first off, Maria asks what the perfect listing photo looks like. She called it a thumbnail, and we like that she did that. Because your primary listing photo is just that – a thumbnail for your listing!

Your primary listing photo is the first image shoppers see while searching for products on Etsy. So you want it to be highly clickable and demand their attention. Which can be harder than you think.

Creating clickable thumbnails

Think of your primary listing photo as if it were a video thumbnail on YouTube.

When you’re scrolling through YouTube for something to watch – what catches your attention? For that matter, why did you click on this article that you’re reading right now?

Usually, it’s because either the title or thumbnail grabbed your attention – or a little bit of both.

Well, Etsy is no different. Your listing title and primary listing photo need to work together to stand out from all the other listings in search results.

So, how do you do that?

Is there one template for the perfect Etsy listing photo?

No. There isn’t really one right way to take the perfect Etsy listing photo. The truth is that one photo template doesn’t work for all products. It’s not like YouTube in that you can just slap on a super surprised face and get more clicks for your video…

In other words — there’s not really a way to make “clickbait” with your Etsy listing photo — not that you should try that anyway.

However, there are some best practices you should keep in mind when taking and editing your primary listing photos.

So let’s take a look at what these best practices are.

Take the perfect Etsy listing photo before you upload it to Etsy

When you upload your primary listing photo to your Etsy listing, you’re allowed to adjust your thumbnail so it’s exactly how you want it to look for Etsy shoppers.

But by the time your listing photo is uploaded, there’s not a whole lot of additional editing you can do. So you need to ensure you’re getting everything right from the start, which means taking a good product photo BEFORE uploading.

Here’s what you need to keep in mind:

Best practices for a great Etsy listing photo

One of the tried and true methods to improve your Etsy product photos is through a method called AIDA.

AIDA stands for Attention, Interest, Decision, and Action. And it sets the foundation for the perfect Etsy listing photo.

We’ve talked about AIDA before, so if you want a detailed overview check out this previous podcast 😀

Why is AIDA so important for your Etsy listing photos?

AIDA cannot go understated. In a nutshell, your listing photo needs to convey these four things. If it does, you’ve got a good listing photo that will work effectively for you.

But if your listing stats prove otherwise, it’s probably time to go back to the drawing board.

We’re not going to go into too much detail on AIDA since we’ve talked about it in the past, and there’s a lot of good information out there already.

But here’s how it relates to your Etsy listing photos.

A – Attention

Does your listing photo demand your shopper’s attention?

When they’re scrolling through countless Etsy listing photos, does yours stand out from the rest? Every listing next to yours in Etsy search results competes to get that shopper’s attention first. And if your title and prices are relatively the same, your listing photo is going to be what set’s you apart.

I – Interest

Once a shopper scans Etsy listing results and your products show up, why would they be interested in yours over the rest?

You’ve already got their attention. So their eyes are already looking closely at your listing photo — so what makes your Etsy listing photo interesting enough for shoppers to click on it?

D – Desire

What makes your products desirable?

Is there a particular lifestyle that you expect your ideal customer to have? What are the hopes and dreams of your perfect customer? Does your listing photo portray that your product can help these dreams come true?

A – Action

This is the goal.

You want your shoppers to make the purchase, favorite your listing, or share it with a friend. One way to do this is by setting cut-off dates, limited-time sales, or mentioning that you have limited quantities.

At the very least, you need to establish some sense of urgency to purchase your product.

Can you safely say that your primary listing photo answers these questions?

If not, here are some tips to help you out:

Follow Etsy’s recommendations for your primary listing photo

Before you do anything else, make sure you follow Etsy’s recommendations for your primary listing photo.

Landscape or portrait?

Your primary listing photo should be shot in landscape so Etsy’s thumbnail crop doesn’t distract buyers from the focus of your product. So if you’re taking your listing photos with your phone, make sure you hold the phone horizontally 😉

What size should my Etsy photos be?

The recommended size for listing images is 2000px for the shortest side of the image and has a resolution of 72 ppi. If you use a smartphone to take your listing photos, you’re probably already getting a good enough resolution.

There are also tons of free programs out there to resize your image if you need to. 

How close should I get with my photos?

Don’t get too close to your product when taking your primary listing photo.

When you upload your photo to Etsy, the thumbnail crop will allow you to zoom in to get it exactly how you want. But if your image starts out too close, there’s no zooming out.

How to set up your Etsy listing photo

There are two schools of thought when setting up a shot for your Etsy listing photo. First, you can use a simple background (like a lightbox, blank wall, or photoshop).

Or you can take a lifestyle photo that helps tell a story about your product (with models, props, etc.).

Using a blank background for your Etsy listing photos

A blank background ensures no distractions take away from your product (your product being the focal point of your thumbnail).

Via DianellaJewelryStore on Etsy

Using a blank background looks clean and puts your product front and center. But it can also be a little boring, especially if your product isn’t necessarily eye-catching.

Via AbbysJewelsShop on Etsy

With a blank background, your product must do all the work to get shoppers’ attention. This can be a good thing if your product is attention-grabbing.

Via PondokWoodCarving on Etsy

The bottom line is that your product almost needs to sell itself when using a blank background. Within a few seconds of looking at these product photos, your shopper should understand what they’re getting.

Using lifestyle photos for your Etsy product photography

Via AtitlanLEATHER on Etsy

A lifestyle photo, like one that puts your product in a specific setting, helps convey the lifestyle you want your buyers to experience when purchasing your product.

Via CopperFoxCompany on Etsy

Just keep in mind that these types of photos can sometimes be a little too busy and distracting from your product. So don’t overdo it.

But they’re great for selling an atmosphere and feeling around your product and work well with products that wouldn’t get a lot of attention on a blank canvas.

Via sweetwaterdecor on Etsy

Taking the perfect Etsy listing photo by blending lifestyle with a blank canvas

Via MiracleShirts on Etsy

Once you get the hang of taking good-quality background photos and lifestyle photos separately, you can begin to blend the two photo styles together.

Via BigStuffed on Etsy

For these photos, you could include small lifestyle touches around your product, ultimately with your product against a simple background.

Via ShopAMASOUK on Etsy

Keep track of what works for your Etsy shop

It’s important to remember that you should be using all combinations of these photos for your Etsy product listings. And whichever image you choose to use for your primary listing photo, it’s not the end all be all.

Try experimenting with each example and keep an eye on your listing stats to see which performs best for your product. 

Get creative and be as experimental as you want.

And remember, you can never go wrong with a high-quality image with good lighting, clearly showing your product for exactly what it is.

Over to you

If shoppers like how your product looks and your listing photos speak to them, they’ll be interested enough to click on your listing. And if everything else with your listing is desirable for that buyer, then they just might take action to buy your product.

If you found this article helpful, subscribe to our newsletter for more help with your Etsy shop!

And if you want to see your questions featured on a future episode of With A Twist, drop your Etsy questions down in the comments below!

What drink should we try next time? Let us know! 

As always, happy selling!

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