Oct 9, 2011

search ads vs. relevance

Etsy's had all this info about "search ads" up in my grill since mid-September, they seem like a pretty affordable way to get some exposure so I decided to give it a shot. With search ads you can advertise single items, a section of your shop, or your whole shop; when a shopper searches a term relevant to your item(s) one of your listings appears in a row of other search ads at the very top of the search results. It looks like this ➷ (the listings in the blue box are search ads).

I chose to advertise the BLOCK PRiNTS section of my shop, I went for the broke-and-just-experimenting plan and bought 5000 impressions for $5 over the course of a week. One day into my week of search ads I had a sale. "Jeepers!" I thought, "they really work!" And I rushed to my stats to verify that search ads got me this sale... but no, apparently search ads could not take credit. In fact I'd only raked in a view or two from search ads at that point. "What they hey?" I say.

Now, right around the same time that I signed up for search ads I started to pay more attention to the relevancy of my listings. Etsy recently changed the search results default from "recently listed" to "most relevant," meaning that instead of furiously relisting to appear at the top of search results, Etsy sellers are maniacally shoving hot keywords into their titles and tags to appear most relevant. (I won't go into the details of all this but if you want to know more there are lots of articles out and about.) So anyway, I had just spent some time rehashing the titles and tags on my block print listings so they'd appear within the first few pages of search results and THAT is what I think got me the sale.

Lets look at some stats for further illustration. The first set of stats are from my search ad campaign: 25 views, 1 favorite, no sales. (Pause for a moment to differentiate between "impressions" and "views" -- an impression is when your listing pops up in the blue box on the search page, a view is when a shopper clicks on that listing to view your item.)

This second set of stats is for my shop overall, little more than a week into October and I've been favorited 12 times (only one of those from search ads) - that's as many favorites as I received in the entire month of September! Interesting.

The search ad stats are great because I can see exactly what sort of traffic I'm getting from them, if there's a simultaneous increase in traffic and it's not from the ads then I know it must be from something else. In this case, I think it's from my work on relevancy. My listings are showing up sooner in search results and getting more views, and as I think the favorites show they are getting more views from people who are interested in them. Excellent!

I think Etsy search ads are alright, I just think time and effort spent on your listings' relevance is more worthwhile and effective. It does take quite a bit of time and effort though, and some real brainstorming skills. I found several EXTREMELY helpful articles at Handmadeology, probably couldn't have done it without these honestly.

If you care to share, I'd love to hear about your marketing adventures and experiments and what you've learned from them.

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