Etsy Tests Competing Ads In Shops, Sellers Notice Strange Ad Spend Fluctuations

Liz Morton
Liz Morton


Sellers report seeing competings ads displayed on shop homepages and odd fluctuations in ad spend as part of suspected Etsy testing.

Etsy seller and ecommerce consultant Cindy Baldassi shared screenshots of the shop page ads test on her blog, noting that while the listings are labeled as coming from "other sellers", it could be easy for buyers to miss that fact and become confused thinking the items are made by the same shop they were originally browsing.

While the listings are marked as “More from other sellers”, it’s easy to imagine some shoppers not noticing that, given that the listings appear right below the shop ones, and above feedback. Depending on how similar the photo styles are the fact this is a different shop could be missed.

Some sellers also say they are seeing strange ad spend trends in the last few days, with reports showing significant ups and downs as if ads are being turned on and off at particular times and/or much higher than usual cost per click rates.

For example, one post in the r/EtsySellers subreddit showed cpc rates going from $0.50 t0 $1.50 and back again.

Just the last week or so ive been experiencing something very strange with Etsy Ads

For the record Ive kept ad spend constant throughout this period.

One day the CPC is $0.50 (which is normal for the products I promote), then the next day the CPC goes to $1.25-$1.50, then the next day it goes back to $0.50, then the day after $1.50 again, this strange pattern has been going on for over a week now and is really affecting my sales.

Graph of alternating CPCs

Other sellers chimed in, saying they are seeing the same kind of pattern, though the exact rate fluct.

Absolutely happening to me too including it alternating days. Yesterday was a “high day”. I had a listing get one click and it cost $1.98… for one click.

The cpc for a best seller more than triples on a “high day”. To make things worse… more clicks and lower conversion too…. So charging more and getting worse results.

My budget is set ridiculously high at $1k per day so it just runs. Before the latest, max daily spend was $30 to $35. Now I’ve had several $100+ days.

This is happening to me too for the past week. Cost per click costs double on ‘high day” and much lower conversion rate.

On “normal days” CPC is about 0.50 to 0.60, recently some days it go up to almost $2 PER CLICK as well. What the heck Etsy? Is there a cap for these cost per click? What’s stopping Etsy from charging anything they want per click?

I've been experiencing this too! I believe Etsy is doing some kind of experiment with its ads algorithm.

In my case, on "experiment" days, the cost per click is way down, but I also get fewer views, fewer clicks, and (it seems) fewer sales per click. On a normal day my cost per click is about $0.33, but on "experiment" days it is around $0.08.

While it's unclear if these issues are related, it would appear Etsy is definitely doing testing around ad spend and placements.

Are you seeing competing items advertised on your shop homepage or strange fluctuations in Etsy ad spend? Let us know in the comments below!


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Liz Morton is a seasoned ecommerce pro with 17 years of online marketplace sales experience, providing commentary, analysis & news about eBay, Etsy, Amazon, Shopify & more at Value Added Resource!

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