3 Lessons I Learned From Paying $2252 For Etsy Ads

Don't pay for ads until you read this.

Oren Cohen
Oren Cohen

I opened my shop in September 2020 and knew next to nothing about using ads or Etsy SEO. I paid so much money and had minimal results — I don’t want you to make the same mistake.

Etsy Ads hide improvements you need to make in your listings, give you a false sense of success, and should amplify views - not supply them. Below I explain more in-depth what that means. Don’t pay for ads until you read this!

Let’s dive right in!

Ads Hide Needed Improvements

Let’s face it: If you run Etsy Ads, you’ll make a few sales here and there.

But making a sale here and there while paying daily for ads means you’re not making a profit — you’re losing money.

Here are only a few examples of improvements you’re not doing because you’re getting sales:

  1. Improving your listings’ SEO.
  2. Doing serious keyword research.
  3. Investing time in your listing’s copy.

Let’s go over them quickly.

Improving Listing’s SEO

Etsy uses the first 156 characters of your listing as your metadata description for SEO. You need to optimize that paragraph for SEO and load it with keywords your target audience is searching on Etsy.

Your headline is also used as your SEO title, which means that only the first 50–60 characters are used for SEO on Google. Etsy said that the title doesn’t need to be loaded with keywords like sellers used to do in the past. Instead, just put your most important keyword at the beginning of the title.

Make sure that keyword appears in both your title and description of the listings.

In addition, don’t use the exact keywords you use in the title and description as part of your 13 tags. Use something else more unique.

All of this work takes some thinking and time, but you don’t do it when you’re getting sales.

Doing Keyword Research

In addition to optimizing for SEO, tools like Marmalead or Google’s keyword tool help you make serious keyword research.

When you’re getting sales, you don’t do research.

Think about the possibilities — instead of getting a sale once a week, you could be getting sales every day. You could achieve all of that by investing in keyword research in addition to optimizing your listings.

Investing Time In Your Listing’s Copy

One thing many Etsy Sellers don’t do is telling their product’s stories. If you’re selling something handmade — why not tell people what drove you to make it? Why not give some information about what who it’s for?

If you’re doing print on demand and created a t-shirt design — why not share the message you’re trying to convey by offering it for sale?

When you’re in the beginning, it’s easy to work like a robot and do things. But putting some heart into your store will go a long way with your customers.

Sell to your friends, not to strangers.

Ads Give You a False Sense of Success

By doing Etsy Ads, you’re getting sales, as we mentioned before. But one thing you’re not doing is keeping tabs on your profit.

Do you know whether you’re actually making money or not? Do you know whether you’re losing money? It’s easy to follow the notifications when sales happen.

Instead, think about creating a budget for Ads. Only start investing in Ads when you know you can afford them.

Ads should Amplify Not Supply

Finally, I want to share one last lesson — Ads should not replace your marketing on and off Etsy. You shouldn’t be doing only Ads. Make sure to invest in social media, SEO, and even word of mouth to make sure your store is getting sales without Ads.

Then, when your store is getting sales without Ads, that’s the perfect opportunity to amplify those results with ads that just put your products in front of more eyes — but with the same configuration. You will lose a lot of money if your tags are irrelevant to your listing and you promote that product.


In this article, we discussed why you shouldn’t be using Etsy Ads before doing a few things like optimizing for SEO, doing keyword research, and checking your actual profit instead of letting the rush of sales notifications propel your forward.

I have made all of these mistakes and lost a lot of money learning these things. Please — don’t make the same mistake.

Thank you for reading!


Oren Cohen

I'm a software engineer, blogger, and aspiring fantasy novelist. Helping geeks build online homes. Reach out! I don't bite :)


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