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Etsy to Invest in Google Shopping Traffic

Marketplace will buy Google Product Listing Ads on behalf of its sellers.

With Google Product Search moving next week to a paid model known as Google Shopping, Etsy is investing heavily to make sure its sellers won’t lose traffic with the change.

Previously, Google Product Search was a free service and drove a lot of traffic for online sellers. However, that service will retire and Google Shopping, a paid service, will take its place on Oct. 1. To make sure sellers don’t see a huge drop in traffic when the change happens, Etsy will buy Google Product Listing Ads, ads that display in Google Shopping, on behalf of its sellers starting Oct. 2, reports Adam Brown, Etsy’s press manager.

“We will be investing more than a quarter of a million dollars through the end of 2012 to make sure sellers aren’t negatively affected during the holiday season,” he adds. “Etsy sellers with at least one active listing will automatically be included in relevant Google Product Listing Ads—free of charge.”

In all, about 15 million listings will be included in Google Shopping through the ads, Brown notes, adding that sellers do not have to do anything to be included. However, they can opt out if they don’t want to be on Google Product Listing Ads. He adds that sellers will be able to see stats on the traffic the ads generate for them in their stats dashboard.

“We’ll be looking at the data to evaluate whether these purchased ads are successful in driving sales”

Just U.S. sellers, for now

Frank Harris, a product manager at Etsy, says Etsy will only include U.S. Etsy sellers in the ads it buys because of Google’s country-specific restrictions.

“However we will monitor the expansion of Google Shopping to other countries in the event that we continue these ads next year, to make sure our international sellers are represented,” he notes in a blog post. “…Since this is a large investment for Etsy, we’ll be looking at the data to evaluate whether these purchased ads are successful in driving sales and bringing new members to Etsy.”

Harris explains that right now, more than half of the shoppers who arrive on listing pages via Google Product Ads leave quickly. Etsy wants to change that, so it will experiment with listing pages that shoppers reach via the ads.

However, items will always be “front and center,” he assures sellers.

Doing a ‘happy dance’

Sellers on an Etsy thread about the announcement were happy about the news, though some wished ads would be available for international sellers. Still, many noted they were doing a “happy dance.” Others posted a simple “Thank you” to Etsy.

“Last month, the Etsy community had its biggest month of sales ever, selling close to 4 million items,” Brown notes. “We are committed to helping sellers gain the visitors and visibility to continue to grow monthly sales at more than 70 percent year-over-year, especially leading into the holidays, and to run their creative businesses successfully.”

About the author

Olga Munoz
Olga Munoz is editor of In addition to writing news and feature articles about e-commerce, selling trends, online marketing and other topics of interest to online sellers, Olga manages the site's social media efforts. A journalism graduate of Chico State, Olga says her favorite part of being a journalist is learning interesting facts that help put stories into perspective, attending industry events and meeting interesting people "that leave you smiling, even in tough situations." Opinions expressed here may not be shared by The Online Seller and/or its principals.

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