Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Promoted Listings: Benefits Beyond the Ads

Brookyn Queens Expressway
Does your shop need more traffic?
Etsy's Promoted Listings are advertising, pure and simple. Enrolling in the program increases the visibility of your listings. (Here's how to set it up.)

However, there are benefits to Etsy's Promoted Listings besides the obvious.

A bump for your shop

Who doesn't need a bump in Esty relevancy? That's exactly what Promoted Listings give you. It happens because you get more clicks and favorites. Those extra clicks (albeit paid for) bump your items up in Etsy searches. The effect lasts beyond your campaign, too.

Increased visibility

Some sellers feel that having two slots on a page rather than one enhances your image to the shopper. You look like a more established shop somehow by being present twice. A shopper may see your item once and not click, but choose to investigate when they see it a second time.

Access to enhanced stats

Etsy's Promoted Listings Dashboard is a great source of additional statistical information. Where else can you see how many impressions you get? Some questions answered are:

  • When presented with your item image, what percentage of shoppers actually click on it? 
  • How active were shoppers on a given day? All factors being equal, fewer impressions mean less shoppers searching.

After a week or so we begin to receive access to more data about exact what search terms were used. On your "Manage" chart, we begin to see links to "searched terms."
common search terms
Open the link and you see a screen that provides some useful data, called "Listing Analytics."

If no terms are available, try one of two things:

1. Select another item. 
2. Expand the date range. You a week or more of data for the system to provide any data.

The screenshot below is an example of some keyword details from the Listing Analytics page:
etsy advertising benefits

You have unique access to exactly which search terms are more commonly used for your items. Use this information to refine your titles and tags. This is an opportunity to optimize your listings for commonly used keywords. Be sure to include some longer, less common phrases as well, called long tailed keywords. Here is some in-depth information about long-tailed keywords.

For example, I discovered that plurals are not necessary according to my data. So I can adjust my tags, perhaps squeezing more tags in those thirteen fields. (I am trying that out at least.)

I am still new to this program. I will learn more as time goes on. And I will be sharing it with you.

How have you benefited from your promoted advertising campaign? What have you learned?

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Promoted Listings: Step by Step

Manage Promoted Listings Advanced Settings
Select Advanced Settings to set your maximum bid
It is 2017. You have done some research and decided to go ahead with Etsy's Promoted Listings. Open the sign-up page. Go ahead, push the orange button. There, you are advertising!

Etsy seller advertising interface
Enter your maximum CPC right away. It can be as low as 1 cent
Set an overall maximum bid right away. Push the "Advanced Settings" button. (Right below "advertise new listings automatically.") Set a maximum bid (called Max CPC). Setting an upper cap on the price you pay for ads can avoid some expensive browsing... You big spenders can set it as low as 1 cent.

Click "manage" (illustrated below) and you see the big table with your listings. It asks if you want to advertise new listings. (I add mine manually but my reason for that is not a huge deal.)

You can advertise specific items and not others by toggling the orange buttons on and off. Likely some items for sale need more exposure, while others do not. 

Setting Bid Prices

After the initial set up, now it is the time to adjust bid prices. If your shop is small, it is easy. If your shop is large, this may take some time. Or you can just leave everything at the same bid.

When you set your low bid price for some items, you may see a little exclamation point. That indicates that the bid price virtually never reaches that (low) level. In that case, the item is unlikely to be seen for that bid, but it is not impossible.

You will be pleased to note that your bid for the advertising space can be lower than your maximum bid. For example, I have some jewelry items where my bid was 5 cents, but they only charged me 1 cent for a view. That indicates that the bidding process is like eBay where you put your max but what you pay can be less. If I put a lower number than they suggest I still can get some placement. Perhaps not at the top of the first page, but increased visibility nevertheless.

I am amazed that a competitive market like jewelry can have such a low bid price compared to post cards and photos. Odd. It has to be simply how much the sellers want to pay to advertise, how competitive Etsy's promoted listings are for that category, those keywords.

Reading the data

After a few days, open your advertising dashboard. A link is in your shop drop-down menu.

Your dashboard gives an overview of how the advertising campaign is going. Impressions each hour or each day give you an idea of the ups and downs of Etsy searching. Are searches up or down during the Super Bowl?

manage advertising campaign
Advertising dashboard. Manage button circled in red.
Has your campaign run out of money before the end of the day? Did you lift the cap, lower your bids, or just let it run out before 12 PM?

Push your Manage Promoted Listings button as shown. A chart or table of your items can be seen with all sorts of interesting information. We will discuss that in a future installment.

Friday, January 27, 2017

Etsy's Paid Advertising Options

Your shop is up and running. Inventory is listed and well photographed. Your listings are optimized for key words used during Etsy searches and search engine queries. You have even made a few sales.

Your shop is all ready, all ready to ship great vintage items. But it's very quiet. 

How do you turbo-charge your business to the next level? The same way that businesses have for 180 years: pay for advertising.

Two types of paid advertising are available through Etsy's Advertising Dashboard:

  • Promoted Listings
  • Google Shopping Ads.

Both are set up so that you only pay if someone clicks on your item. Your dashboard will provide the following information:
  1. Impressions (your item showed up at the top of someone's search)
  2. Clicks
  3. Cost per click
  4. Buys (within a certain period of time after they clicked using your ad)
  5. Revenue (how much buyers spent on your items)

In each case, the cost, your advertising budget, can be set as low as approx $1 per day. What you pay can be less than that. Etsy has set an upper limit of $10/day.

Etsy's Promoted Listings

These are ads within Etsy. You've seen them when searching and shopping on Etsy. They discreetly say the word "ad" on them. On a PC, the ads are all lined up and I pretty much ignore them.

Promoted listing placement
When buyers use the Etsy App, ads are harder to ignore
However, on a mobile device using the app, the ads are better blended in, seemingly unpredictable. That's a game-changer for me, as they can't easily be ignored on the app, which many buyers now use.

This paid advertising service is very easy to set up. Basically, you set up your daily budget, a click or two, and it is good to go.

Once you activate Promoted Listings, you will be able to view a dashboard for managing them. There you can toggle individual listings off. You can target which items get advertised and which do not. You can also adjust how much you spend per click.

Promoted Listings use your Etsy listing titles and tags. It is a good idea to optimize these before enrolling. If you are not sure, check your stats for Etsy traffic. Be sure that "Search" is among the first three traffic sources. If not, tweak your listings.

Promoted listings provide benefits beyond just the ads. More advanced information is here.

Google Shopping Ads

All Etsy sellers receive some exposure through Google Shopping ads. Etsy enrolls every shop in a basic program of paid ads. Since Etsy added the paid version, I have seen the stats for my Google Shopping numbers steadily decreasing. That means to me that Etsy has cut back on their "free" advertising.

Google Shopping ads in 2016
My views from "free" Google Shopping Ads have been heading downward
These paid ads are found in a couple of places on shopping engines. One place is at the top of searches. Another place on the Google search engine is Google Shopping Ads. When you search on Google, there are tabs and choices on the top for Images, Maps, News and Shopping.

In reality, the Paid shopping engine ads include more than just Google. Have you heard of Bing, ShopStyle or Facebook? They can all be part of Etsy's advertising network.

It takes at least a week to optimize your bids. You will want to run your shopping engine campaign for at least one month before doing a hard evaluation.

Here is an important caveat: Shopping Engine Ads are subject to the terms and policies for each individual shopping engine (here are Google's policies) which may be different than Etsy's. I haven't heard of it being an issue, but it could be.

I have had an Etsy shop for several years. Is it necessary to advertise?

Advertising increases the exposure of your listings to shoppers. You can choose to do this on Etsy, Shopping Engines or both.

Advertising cannot guarantee sales, only exposure. Your products must sell themselves. Ads only work if you have a salable product that need more exposure. Items that will sell themselves if they could just get seen.

We all must pay for the privilege of increased exposure. Etsy is now a publicly traded company. "Pay to play" advertising is one way for them to show a higher profit for their shareholders. It is just a fact of life.

If you sell in saturated categories, paid ads may be the only way he get adequate visibility within Etsy searches. Sometimes it appears to me that shops could do some work on their SEO and photos, and bump themselves up rather than pay for ads. However, that's a personal business decision made by shop owners every day.

Have you tried Etsy's paid advertising? Did it work for you?

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

How can a tablet help my vintage Etsy business?

Manage Etsy business with electronic tablet
Is a tablet the best choice for your vintage selling business?
Perhaps you are holding back from getting a device. Too difficult to learn. Too expensive.

Do you own a smart phone already? Have you tried using that for your business? How does its size work? Once you wear bifocals, you may prefer a tablet. There are mini tablets that are a little smaller which may be another option.

When my husband and I decided to buy a tablet, we were not sure how much use we would really get out of it. Hence, we bought a basic model without cellular service.

After we found out we really liked it and can use it, we purchased another one, a basic one with cellular service. Finally now we own one with maximum storage, thin size and portability along with cellular service.

My experience 

As far as recommendations, I only have experience with the Apple iPad. It is very intuitive. I have a full-sized one so I can see it with my over-50 eyes.

Because I take a lot of photos, we eventually purchased an iPad with the most memory available and an upgraded iSight camera. A "mini" is also available, which some prefer.

Etsy shop update for VintageMaineia
Shop Update photo using a rustic Filters app
Models with cellular service are more expensive up front. Additionally, you will have to pay for monthly data. We already had a cell phone with a local carrier and we bundled the cellular service with that.

If you don't purchase cellular data, you will only be able to use your device at home (if you have WiFi) and in other locations with WiFi. There are many places with free WiFi like fast-food restaurants, malls and libraries.

Our most extreme need for WiFi was a vacation we took in a remote location on the Canadian border. There was no US data. In order to view my emails, we had to cross the border and go to a little town office in Quebec. That is an unusual situation.

We purchased our iPads through the local carrier so that they would work with the local carrier. A savvy millennial would no doubt be able to do it cheaper.

We have 2 GB of cellular data per month, which works for us. With 1 GB, I had to continually check our data use in "settings." With 2 I am good as long as I don't do any streaming or uploading photos.

If you live in an area with a lot of carriers, you will have more choices. I live in a rural area. We need reliable data service in that area, so we used the best local carrier. I am sure that there are better deals out there.

15 ways to use a tablet in your vintage Etsy business

How do I use my device? How do I love thee? Let me count the ways:
Sutton purse holding tablet
My Coach Sutton purse for auctions
  1. At auction to look up prices 
  2. At auction to photograph items. 
  3. While bidding at auction, refer to the pictures. (In my case so I know which tray lot I am bidding on.)
  4. I delete the photos that I don't use. The auction photos I save and record the price I paid for the item right on it for tax records.
  5. Taking listing photos. 
  6. Editing listing photos.
  7. Enhancing photos. (Example: an app called Filters which makes items look textured and/or vintage colored)
  8. Storing photos either on my tablet or in cloud storage.
  9. Shop dashboard. The new Etsy Shop Manager for the Sell on Etsy app is even better than the new interface for the PC. Our views and favorites are better showcased in my opinion.
  10. Composing listings. The app has been glitchy, so I often just use the regular web browser.
  11. Shop updates. (I even have used my auction photos.)
  12. Inventory management. I use Numbers on the iPad.
    numbers program vintage books
    Tablet used for inventory management
  13. While packing orders, I play movies with my device.
  14. Social media. I don't do much besides blogging. Even off line, I composed blog postings using Notes. (Blogger doesn't work well with a tablet.)
  15. Financial management. There are free and low-cost spreadsheet programs available. 

Apps for our tablets

Spreadsheet - Numbers
Camera - comes with the device (called Photos), also Yamera
Photo Editing - Photos, plus Photo Editor
Photo Enhancing (Filters and Vintage Coloring) - Photos, plus Filters
Adding Text and/or Graphics to Photos -  Photos, Canva, Photo Editor
Social Media - I'm not an expert
ITTT - If This Then That - free app to create chains of simple conditional statements that accomplish things.
DropBox - store, sync and share files
Cloud Storage - iCloud, OneDrive
Sell On Etsy app. Has been unreliable. Mostly use the website via Safari. Hopefully it has been improved with the new site improvement rollouts of February, 2017.

Accessories for Work

    Selling vintage using modern technology
  1. Absolutely buy a case. I have dropped my iPads numerous times. I have broken three cases, but not the tablets.
  2. Carrying one around. I use a vintage Coach bag. I have also used various other crossbody style bags.
  3. Camera lenses. Inexpensive on eBay. Close-up and fish-eye.
  4. Tripod adapter. Take another look at my setup for inventory management. My older iPad is attached to a tripod with an adapter that is available on eBay.
Internet service. If you use cloud storage such as iCloud or OneDrive, your photos will be uploaded and stored. That is a good thing. However, the process can take up a lot of bandwidth, slowing down your Internet WiFi service. We have just upgraded our Internet service at home from 3 to 25 mbps. That allows for streaming video on multiple devices.

We also pay for some extra cloud storage. Apple's is 99 cents per month.

So, have you been inspired at all to try out a tablet? I enjoy mine much more than I expected to: reading and working while we travel. Streaming movies while folding laundry. Video chatting with friends and family. Playing Spider Solitaire at bedtime...

Are you using a tablet to help run your Etsy business? Does it work well?

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Changes for 2017: What is in store for our Etsy stores?

Here are a couple of things to keep in mind for our Etsy shops as we start 2017:

US postal rate increase
page screen shot

US postal rates will go up on January 17, 2017. Here is a detailed chart. If you use Etsy's calculated shipping, you won't have to do anything. That's the true beauty of calculated shipping.

Avoid keyword stuffing

Etsy recently said that keyword stuffing will no longer be rewarded in search.  Here is more information about what it is and how to avoid it.

Look for more changes to search

A search for "vintage photograph" yielded 44,425 results.
Etsy has purchased Blackbird Technologies, a company specializing in artificial intelligence. They will surely be tweaking search.

They already have, in fact. Here is Etsy's announcement about spelling improvements. There is no longer any reason to purposely misspell common words in order to get found.

More specialized terms like "enamelware" versus "enamel ware" you must still test to see. I just tested "wood" and "wooden" and still find differences at this point. There is no way to know which word our buyer will use while searching. So we must still include both words in order to be found.

Test searches are necessary.

How do you perform a test search? 

screen shot search word "photo"
The same search with the word "photo" had 120,049 hits.
Using another example, search using the word "photo" and note the number of results. Then perform the exact same search, but use instead the word "photograph." Was there a different number of listings available for each? If so, then the words are not treated the same. Both must be included in your tags.

Only time will tell what changes will happen in Etsy land this year. Keep checking back for more help for your shop.

Thanks for your support for my blogging journey. Happy sales in 2017!

Selling vintage in uncertain times

With coronavirus, we have seen supply chain disruptions, stock market fluctuations, even companies temporarily stopping business. The news s...