Are Etsy ads working?

Are Etsy ads working?

Are Etsy ads working? 150 150 Helen

Should you use Etsy ads? Maybe not, and here’s why.


I Spent $15000 on Etsy ads during 30 days, and guess what happened?!


It has been an expensive Etsy ads experiment, but it is worth the result. After reading this, you will never look at the Etsy ads the same way.


Fellow crafters, you asked for this experiment; here you have it without having you spend a dime!

I just got this weird thing happening on Etsy ads that I want to share with you before I forget. I am in a rush, so I am typing this quick. 

First, let me say something before you get confused by this topic. Etsy does work. Yes, you can make a good living out of Etsy. The secret? Add creations as much as you can, and try your best to make each project as beautiful as possible. Think of yourself as a top designer globally, not only in your city, and people worldwide will feel your passion for what you do. That attracts buyers on Etsy!

Let say you sell custom mugs. If you use a unique design, not something you purchase from a junk design website but from professional designers, you will sell a lot. Why? Because people hunt for high-quality stuff with a unique look. By the way, that’s the main reason why I am doing my best to create you amazing creations. If you sell, I know you will come back to get my new design, It’s a win-win situation, and everybody has a happy life. But today, I want to talk about something VERY interesting because most of us are using it. Etsy Ads and Fake ads click!?

Is it possible? Etsy seems to be a huge company, after all.

Well, let see.

I am not complaining, but since I have many IT people working next to my design office here in New York, I couldn’t resist asking them for their honest opinion, and we all end up with the same conclusion. If you compare google ads with Etsy ads, Etsy seems to have this inconstancy pay-per-click rate, making Etsy untrustworthy. (That’s only our opinion, not a fact.)

But first, let me explain why I used Etsy ads because I am not sure if I should recommend it or not and here’s why.

My background

I have been working for big companies as a freelancer in New York. Uniqlo, Nike, McDonalds, you name it, and I quit a few years ago because of the intense stress. I have always been working as a designer and a photographer; A perfect match in the design world if you ask me.

I have to admit, Etsy gave me an opportunity, and I thank Etsy for that. Sometimes, we need a drastic change in life, and Etsy gave me just that. 🙂

What happened?

I have been lucky enough to run two successful Etsy shops since two years.

But something happened to me two weeks ago.

Someone sent me a message through Etsy messaging. That person asked me to increase the price of my work, or something would happen to my shop. He could barely speak English, and he was using some Vietnamese sentences. (For those who may take it the wrong way, I have nothing against Vietnamese or anyone, I am just telling the story.)

My mistake; I answered, you go f*** yourself and get a life.

Usually, I am so polite and very kind, but that message was just too much. We all work so hard every day; we don’t deserve to have this kind of people on our path, right?

What do you think happened two days later?

Some of my items got deactivated by Etsy. Uh? Seriously?? What the ****!!

I knew it was because he reported my shop to Etsy.

Imagine you create beautiful artwork; it took you over two months, and suddenly, without warning, a stranger reported your own work to Etsy and the worst, Etsy put your work offline for a minimum of 3 weeks. (Thanks to the super quick Etsy reply, they replied to me two weeks later. I get faster customer service when I order a pizza…) 

And imagine if you’re selling during the Christmas holidays; Boom, in a matter of minutes, you just lost your biggest bonus of the year! And the worst, YOU CAN’T DO ANYTHING BECAUSE ETSY TAKE A MINIMUM OF TWO WEEKS TO SOLVE THE PROBLEM + another ten business days to put back your item online + another week for your item to rank back where it was before. Voila, you missed your shot, Merry Christmas!

The problem with Etsy is anyone can report you. A competitor, hangry customers, even your neighbour! All it takes is to testify you are not lying by checking that box on the infringement online form, and voila. You are offline!

Yesterday you were a joyful crafter, and today, you are a crafter and a marketing specialist, and you fight against false DMCA from your competitors. (Solution? Hello? Etsy, where are you? I thought we were partners?) Ok, I am so sorry. Maybe I am getting a bit rash today because of what I have been through recently, but that’s how I feel now. I quit my good job to go with Etsy, and I was expecting a little more protection from the Etsy company. 

I know some of you say, “Etsy is not responsible for DMCA reporting in any way.” I know, same as google, but with all the fees we are all paying as a seller, are we not deserving a minimum of protection with Etsy or some trust as a seller? Should DMCA reports include tangible proof more than checking a box on an online form? Anyway, that’s another debate ah ah 🙂

The Etsy ads experiment

Then, I decided to create a new similar design and this time; I used the Etsy ads PPC. It was the first time to use it because usually, I can rank on page one at the first position for unlimited time or until a competitor reports me (Yep, Etsy is getting out of control recently). 

But time is money, so I didn’t want to wait to get ranked.

And this is what I want to share with you because there is something strange that “we” can’t explain in the Etsy ads.

Let me show you what I did, and you can make your conclusion.

Here’s a screenshot two hours after I started the Etsy ads:

An hour after I started the Etsy ads. Look at the Clicks.


And, this is another screenshot 10 minutes later:

10 minutes after.


What do we see now? Within 10 minutes, there are 7 new orders with 35 new paid clicks. 

Thirty-five new clicks in only 10 minutes is a lot to me, but maybe I am super famous (Being Sarcastic). What is strange is the number of paid clicks from the moment I started the campaign (Over a thousand clicks in a very short time) vs the 10 minutes test when i checked live. It doesn’t match the 10 minutes test.

When I advertise on google ads, the click seems to be pretty consistent, but when I refresh on the Etsy ads panel, sometimes, it goes from 10 to 100 in only a few minutes. It’s not consistent, and it’s ok ONLY if that is an actual number. (Nobody can prove it, and that’s the whole problem with any ads platform, Etsy, Google, Pinterest…)

I want to show you something, but unfortunately, I can’t show my sales of that specific item because Etsy deactivated it. But suppose I compared the sales two weeks ago (the item before it got deactivated) versus today. In that case, (The similar item that I just created), the new item is ranking on the same position and the same page as the one that has been deactivated. However, the deactivated design was selling more without the ads, and the sales were consistent. Probably a sales per minute.

Again, both designs were positioned on the same page on the same spot with the exact keywords, but the one not on ads was selling triple. How’s that? 

So two possibilities:

  1. Etsy is generating fake clicks (Who knows, why would it be that impossible? We are millions of sellers using the ads each day, it’s a big chunk of money for Etsy if you ask me.)
  2. Or competitors are clicking over and over. The problem with this hypothesis is when you think of Google. They use a unique IP checker. That prevents someone on the same IP from counting a click twice the same day.

Believe it or not, there has been a moment when I refreshed the Etsy ads panel, and I saw the click number increasing slowly, like 1,2,3,4, as if someone was clicking right under my nose! And no, my internet is not slow ah ah. 😉

I am sure you think I am crazy, but I never thought google ads were tricked in any way, but I got this impression with Etsy ads.

I hope I am wrong because we are all spending a tremendous amount of money on Etsy ads! And we “want” to trust Etsy as much as a business partner. It would be heartbreaking to discover there is something fishy in their ads system.

Another problem is if you google “Etsy Ads CPC Sudden Increase Since Risk-Free Ads Announcement,” you will get a lot of people complaining about a similar issue on Etsy, so I am not the only one thinking something is wrong.


Ok, that’s crazier than I thought. Look at this:


I increase the item by 3x times the previous price and look what is happening. I am getting more paid click with fewer orders (Which make sense), but the profit stays with the same ratio!! I can’t believe it! Whatever I do, these ads will give me the same small profit while Etsy’s profit is increasing quickly. How weird is that, you tell me!

And again, the item is on the same spot on the same first page. No difference, but the price is. All the other items around mine are almost four times cheaper. So it raises the question,” WHY WOULD PEOPLE CLICK ON MY ITEM WHEN IT’S 4 TIMES THE PRICE OF THE OTHERS AROUND?

Oh, and I forgot to mention, my item is surrounded by the exact copy of my work on the search result. Remember those scammers stealing work from Etsy sellers? Those are all next to mine and have the same thumbnails as mine but with four times lower prices than mine. Nobody would click on my items; come on.

So, Is Etsy’s clicks algorithm fair and honest or, is it the other scammers clicking on my ads over and over. Does it mean Etsy doesn’t count unique IPs? If so, that’s a huge problem, and it’s like having a hole in the wallet.

“Normally, a computer can use fake Ip address with software (NorthVPN by example), but most colossal website’s company like Google can bypass this kind of software easily. However, what works is using a router with a different IP to centralize all the computers in the room. If that’s the case, it means those scammers on Etsy are using many routers; it is surprising and costly. In any way, It’s super easy for Etsy to stop this.



I am not against Etsy ads, but as long as it works!

Currently, I strongly feel Etsy earns more than I do. (Listing fees, renewal fees, Pay per click ads feel … It doesn’t stop. Does it still worth being on Etsy? Yes, it does, but all these fees give useless stress that could be avoided if you ask me. 

We all know Etsy will never lower their fees because it’s all about profit and not about sellers, but Etsy should charge for a “Pay per sales from clicks” instead of a “Pay per click.” We would both win and make people happier! 

And I still find it very strange to see this inconsistent click rate, something I didn’t feel when I was not paying ads.

Should you use Etsy ads?

It depends. In my case, I am selling artwork under $10 each, so designers like me have no choice to be aggressive with their price strategy, but if you sell something under $5, I don’t think it is worth the risk.

It might be worth it if you are selling items over $30, but I would stop if you notice you are losing money on the first day. 

Plenty of people claim that you should invest an entire month of paid ads to see the result. I am not part of that strategy; it’s too risky. 

I am more the aggressive type of person, and if something is not selling by using paid ads, it means people don’t like it as much as I would like to because your ads are placed on the best spot, so you get a real and honest reaction from buyers. You make the decision after.

Common question

How much do Etsy ads cost per click?

Yes, that’s probably “the” essential factor for your Etsy ads strategy. You will pay between $0.08 to $0.50 per click.

How much should I spend on Etsy ads?

I will answer with my experience. To test the market with your product, I would start with $25 per day, and if it goes well, I would increase the amount until it’s not worthing anymore. But, it is super important to check this:

You need to compare the “Revenue from ads” vs the “You spent.”

As you can see on my ads report, I am almost losing money, so I might stop it soon if it keeps going this way. 

A lot of people only check the revenue, which is a big mistake 🙂

How to stop Etsy ads?

Click on the “Other Options” and scroll down to “Turn Off Ads.”

I hope my story will help you in making the right decision with Etsy ads. It might work for you, but I strongly recommend paying attention to numbers every few hours to prevent you from losing money.

Good luck and happy crafting!

  • novo pet at

    Now all is clear, many thanks for the information.

  • JD Fabric Creations at

    If you know who is possibly doing fraud clicking, report it to Etsy. Give them all information you have. This is considered as interference and is against the house rules. Seller Policy – Our House Rules | Etsy

    Let Etsy handle it. They will investigate, and if the other is found to be participating in click fraud, Etsy will take care of it.

  • LiLi Shop at

    Ads are a costly game. Think of google ads, Facebook ads, same with Etsy ads! If you know how to play, you will win.

  • martin at

    I think Amanda is right. I got some success on Etsy with my shop with ads. I am still selling very well but only with ads. Let me explain why. I am selling a custom name on a wooden sign. Beautiful, by the way, but I sell each of them for around $65, so if I only sell one, it covers a lot of days of ads because I put a maximum of $3 of ads per day, and it seems to be enough in my case.

    I didn’t lose money so fat, finger cross! If i make only 1 sale from ads, i am getting even, but if I make 2 sales from ads, i make a good profit so why not. Sell higher if you don’t want to lose on the ads game on etsy.

  • Eric from Canada at

    I lost tons of money on my ads campaign. I incested over 5K last summer, and I lost more money than made profit—fake click? Who knows. Etsy is extremely good at making money on fees and ads. I am not sure if they even care about us sellers. Actually, let’s think about it. Etsy is not a sole proprietor owner. It’s managed by investors and a staff that, in my opinion, don’t care at all about us. I heard many times they hung up on the phone like they didn’t care, and even in my case, when I contacted their support for a listing-related issue, I got a reply a month later, and even a few times, I never got any response and, my support ticket was closed without answering me. What the heck! But when I asked support about ads, strangely, I got a very quick reply… I am not spending on their ads anymore. Etsy is good when it works, but it drained all my energy. The worst is that none of the Etsy staff ever read comments from the web; I am sure about it because I read similar comments for over 7 years. How can they improve if they never listen to us, sellers?

    • Amanda at

      I know it sounds unfair for many, but I got more sales using ads in my case. And i think i know why. I was charging over 50$ per item, which means my marge was bigger for mistakes from ads. If you sell at a low price on Etsy using ads, you will lose money guaranteed. Just my two cents 😉

      • Eric at

        Have you ever heard of bots on Etsy?

        Because I know some big websites are using it to manipulate ads and click, I wouldn’t be surprised Etsy uses bots. Why does it sound so impossible? It’s all about making money after all, isn’t it true?

  • Elyse at

    Something else happened to me. Someone clicked multiple times on my listing and maybe it happened to you as well. I also change the ad on my listing but scammer again find them and do fake clicks. I am worried about it and i hope now etsy will do something and solve this issue.

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