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The Truth About Etsy Offsite Ads | Are They Worth It?

Love them or hate them, Etsy offsite ads may actually be a benefit to selling on the Etsy marketplace. And while it’s true that ad fees might come with a bit of a sticker shock, they could be more worth it than you think. So, here’s the truth about the infamous Etsy offsite ads in all its glory.

When selling on a global marketplace like Etsy, you’re given access to millions of customers all over the world. Customers who probably don’t know anything about you or your brand, but they know and trust Etsy. And since your products are on Etsy — what the heck, they’re willing to give your shop a chance.

Well, one of the ways Etsy encourages global customers to visit your little Etsy shop is through — drumroll please, Etsy offsite ads. Not only does Etsy use this form of advertising to bring more attention to individual Etsy sellers, but they also do this to bring more brand recognition to their website in general.

But Etsy’s advertising strategy has come under fire, with many sellers saying that Etsy’s offsite ads fee has sucked up any profit from a sale. 

So what’s the deal? Are Etsy’s offsite ads worth it?

Let’s take a look. 

What are Etsy Offsite Ads?

Laptop sitting on kitchen table while displaying Google search engine results.

Etsy offsite ads are a simple concept. Basically, when someone searches the internet with a term relevant to the products you sell in your Etsy shop, Etsy pays for advertising on your behalf to advertise your product within search results.

In other words, if some random person somewhere Googles ‘handmade sunhat’ and you in fact sell handmade sunhats in your shop, there’s a chance that your listing could show up somewhere within search results for that person.

In a nutshell, this means that the person searching for a sunhat is more likely to see your product, click on it and buy it.

But it doesn’t stop there. Etsy uses its offsite ads program to place listing advertisements on social media, on popular blogging websites, and in other forms of internet media that align with Etsy’s target demographic.

Again, the main point of Etsy’s offsite ads program is twofold:

  1. Get your Etsy listings in front of interested shoppers.
  2. Increase Etsy’s overall brand recognition as an online shopping destination for handmade, vintage, and unique products.

How Offsite Ads Work

Before anybody clicks on an offsite ad, Etsy fronts the bill to pay for your advertisement to be displayed. In other words, Etsy pays to get your product seen by global shoppers. And you only pay Etsy when you make a sale due to a click on an advertisement for your listing.

Woman sitting on her bed surrounded by packaged listings sold through Etsy offsite ads.

With Etsy offsite ads, Etsy pays to have your listing advertised on:

  • Google Display Network
  • Facebook & Instagram
  • Pinterest
  • Bing
  • Buzzfeed
  • Martha Stewart
  • Real Simple
  • MyWedding
  • Better Homes and Gardens
  • Lyst
  • Shape
  • And over 2 million other sites, like Weather.com, AOL, Zillow, etc. 

If anyone visiting these sites sees an Etsy ad for your product, clicks on the advertisement then buys directly from your shop within 30 days of the click, you pay a maximum of 15% of the final sale price to Etsy.

The final price you pay for Etsy’s offsite ads is a little confusing and depends on a variety of factors. To find out your exact payment scenario, make sure you check Etsy’s Fees & Payment Policy.

How can I opt-out of Etsy offsite ads?

Etsy warning message: Are you sure you want to stop promoting your products through Etsy offsite ads?

Etsy automatically enrolls you in its offsite ads program. Yes, this is a little alarming to know that you might have to pay a 15% fee to Etsy, especially if your prices aren’t calculated for this kind of unforeseen cost.

This is why many sellers decide to opt-out of Etsy’s offsite ads. 

The only way to opt-out of Etsy’s offsite ads is if you made less than $10,000 USD on Etsy in the past 365 days.

If you meet this criteria, you can do the following to opt-out:

  • Go to your Shop Manager.
  • Click Settings.
  • Then click Offsite Ads.
  • Finally, click “Stop promoting my products.”
  • Confirm you want Etsy to Stop promoting my products.
  • Confirm Stop promoting my products.
Etsy warning message: You're about to stop promoting your products through Etsy offsite ads.

Once you follow the steps listed above, Etsy will stop promoting your products in their offsite ads program. If you ever want to restart offsite ads for your products, simply come back to this page and click Restart Offsite Ads.

Rember, if your Etsy shop made more than $10,000 USD in the past 365 days, you’re required to stay enrolled in Etsy’s offsite ads program. Whether you like it or not, unfortunately.

Offsite ad attribution

In your Shop Manager, you have a detailed breakdown of where the traffic to your store comes from. 

Some traffic may come from offsite ads, but it’s essential to know how Etsy decides that traffic is from an offsite ad. 

Two people pointing at Etsy offsite ad displayed on their smartphone.

If a buyer clicks on any offsite ad and lands on your listing page, that’s obviously traffic from an offsite ad. But if that person then buys from your Etsy shop (that specific product or any other product of yours) within 30 days, the attribution still goes to the offsite ads. And you will be charged the commission fee. 

However, if that shopper lands on your product through an offsite ad click, but buys another seller’s product, you do not pay the fee. 

It’s also important to know that every subsequent purchase from that specific customer within the 30-day window of their ad click is attributed to offsite ads, and the commission fee is charged on each sale. 

Etsy offsite ads fee breakdown

The exact fee percentage you’re charged depends on the revenue you’ve made in the last 365 days. 

  • If you’ve made less than $10,000 USD in the last 365 days, you’re charged 15% of each order attributed to offsite ads. 
  • If you’ve made more than $10,000 USD in the last 365 days, you’re charged 12% and offsite ads are mandatory.

Other important notes:

  • The offsite ads fee is capped at $100 USD per order. 
  • Ad fees are calculated and paid monthly. 
  • Fees are charged on the total order amount.

Great – but are they worth it?

Vintage, rustic ad signs on the side of a wooden barn.

It’s important to remember that Etsy’s offsite ads program isn’t something that Etsy seemingly launched overnight. 

Etsy has been paying for ads in various locations all over the internet since it first started. It’s done this to spread the Etsy name and cement its position as a marketplace to buy unique items by artisans. 

But now that Etsy is arguably the behemoth of the artisan world, it’s still using your products to push its brand name – at your expense. 

Several Marmalead users who sell digital downloads for single digits say that offsite ads chewed up most of their profit. So it’s safe to say that an example of where offsite ads works are if your cheapest product is around the $35-$40 mark. 

Some of our customers have shared their frustration that offsite ads are implemented from the start – meaning, you have to opt-out rather than opt-in. This can be startling for a newer Etsy seller to find out they have to pay more fees to Etsy than they originally planned when setting their prices.

Some sellers have gone so far as to say that offsite ads being mandatory for those making more than $10K in a year is “absolutely horrendous.” 

It’s easy to see why Etsy makes offsite ads for those earning more than $10K mandatory – they’re the big fish. These sellers bring in a lot of traffic, and if they suddenly opt-out of ads, Etsy would in fact lose a lot of traffic. 

Only you can decide whether offsite ads work for you. If they don’t work, turn them off if you can. If they do work, re-adjust your pricing strategy accordingly. 

The bottom line

Group of women reviewing business graphs and documentation.

Whether on-site or offsite, Etsy ads aren’t the savior of your business. 

No amount of paid advertising will result in a sale if your listing isn’t optimized correctly. Our advice is to keep it simple. Turn off offsite ads, optimize your listing, do thorough keyword research, focus on Etsy SEO, and improve your product photos, descriptions, and shipping services.

Squeeze as much as you can out of what you control, and then see how your store performs organically.

Once you know your listing is looking the best it can, then it’s time to start experimenting with Etsy’s offsite ads.

What do you think of Etsy’s offsite ads? Let us know in the comments below.


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2 replies on “The Truth About Etsy Offsite Ads | Are They Worth It?”

“The Truth About Etsy Offsite Ads | Are They Worth It?” Yes, for ETSY! If they were such a great deal for sellers, they wouldn’t have to force anyone to use them. If I could opt out, I would in a heart beat.

Etsy’s offsite ads are just part of doing business. Think about if you owned a franchise of a major fast food supplier. They have required marketing spends they must make per month. I think the bottom line is you gotta spend money to make money. And Etsy offsite ads takes a lot of the work out of the process, spreads the reach further than you can do on your own and then some. We’re paying Etsy to make us global. It’s worth it in our opinion. =)

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