Etsy Weekly Tip #9 Promoted Listings on Steroids

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Buckle up your seatbelt because I'm going to share everything I know about how to use and abuse Etsy promoted listings.

We love Etsy promoted listings!

When Etsy first introduced promoted listings, we were lucky enough to realize it's full potential right from the get-go.

How do promoted listings work?

Buckle up your seatbelt because I'm going to share everything I know about how to use and abuse Etsy promoted listings. 

(Disclaimer: no actual Etsy promoted listings were hurt during the filming of this blog post)

The Real Disclaimer: Read the post once, twice, maybe three times.  

Make sure you fully understand the advice put worth here.

Don't skim and implement unless you want to lose a lot of money.

Ok, let's start with the basics.

The Very Important Basics

Go to promoted listings and click on the 'Manage' button.

Turn off 'Advertise New Listings Automatically.'

You must follow these 3 rules.

  • Never Use Automated Bids, only use Customize Bid 
  • Never Use Advertise new listings automatically
  • check
    Ignore all Etsy bid suggestions

Which Listings to Promote?

This next piece of advice is going to go against what all the other Etsy gurus are going to tell you.

Promote All of your listings! Yes, I want you to promote all of your listings.


You must follow my exact instructions, read carefully.

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

How do you pick a bid? To understand bidding, you first have to understand sales conversions. (more information on sales conversions here)

If your item receives 100 views and you make 1 sale from those 100 views, your item converted 1%. If you made 2 sales from those 100 views, your item converted 2%.

2% of the views converted into sales.

The Good

You need to go through your entire shop and figure out the sales conversion numbers for every listing.

Yes, this does take a while, but you need this information to succeed.

The next bit of information you need, per item, is the profit margin. After all expenses, how much profit does an item make?

Profit * Sales Conversion = Max. bid

Example. If your profit margin on an item is $30 and it has a sales conversion of 1.25%, your maximum bid is 30*1.25%= 0.375 or 37.5 cents.

All items with sales conversions over 1% are in 'the good' category.

Place your focus on these items, with competitive bids up to but not over their individual maximum bid.

The Bad and the Ugly

For all items with sales conversions below 1%, we put them in the Bad/Ugly category.

Please note, if an item is converting less than 1%, you should spend time improving the listing, i.e., better pictures, etc.

Buckle up your seatbelt because I'm going to share everything I know about how to use and abuse Etsy promoted listings.

For all the items with sales conversions below 1%, use bids between 2 - 4 cents. i.e., Really low bids.


Because you will be shocked, over the course of a year, these listings will still bring you sales.

Example: In a one-year time span, this item of ours with a bid of 2 cents, cost $6, received 349 clicks and we made $600.

It doesn't take a genius to figure out that $6 to make $600 is an excellent ROI.

If an item, even with a super low bid still doesn't make sales after 1 year, maybe consider deactivating this listing.

Seasonal Business

You have to remember, shopping on Etsy is pretty seasonal.

You're promoted listing stats might not always look incredible. Your success using promoted listings shouldn't be solely measured by sales.


You also have to measure your brand exposure. Customers rarely buy products the very first time they are introduced to a new brand. They have no information to go on.

Do they like this brand? Does this company make high-quality items?

Promoted Listings is a great tool to introduce your shop to new customers.

Maybe you only break even, so what! Perhaps you don't make money this time, but you need to factor in possible repeat business down the road.

Snapshot of Our Last 12 Months

We use promoted listings religiously.

The competition gets harder every day, but it still converts for us, so we have no reason not to keep using this service.

Promoted Listings

Our last 12 months, for every $1 spent, $4.78 Revenue

If you have any questions, please leave them in the comments below.

Etsy Tips of the Week

Each Monday, we release our Etsy tip of the week. This series aims to teach Etsy sellers on how to improve their shops and sell more items.

Buckle up your seatbelt, I'm going to show you everything you need to use and abuse Etsy promoted listings. Learn How to Drive Traffic to your Etsy Shop! #promotedListings #etsy #etsySuccess #etsyTips Learn How we Generated over 90k in revenue from our Etsy Promoted Listings Campaigns in one year.
Kelly Fitzsimmons

In 2010, Kelly left the corporate world behind, sold all his stuff and hit the road. He settled in Chiang Mai, met his super-intelligent wife, Bibi and together, they created their thriving Etsy business. To keep the creative juices following, Bibi and Kelly have started side blogging projects aimed at helping others mimic their Etsy and blogging success.