Google Ads for Etsy (How Effective Is That?)

Google Ads for Etsy

Etsy is big! If you want to buy amazing novelty items, Etsy is a good place to search. Its seller base is millions-strong, and so is the buyer-base.

But, can you combine the potential of Google Ads with Etsy?

Obviously, Google Ads is one of the best ways to promote an online business fast. Etsy happened to realize this potential a long time back.

As a result, over the years, they forged different integration strategies with Google Ads.

However, these steps also raised a great deal of noise from Etsy sellers! So, where do things stand as of now? How can you make the most of Google Ads to grow your business? Is Etsy a viable option to utilize Google Ads?

Etsy as a smart bidding case study

Google Ads has two key formats for campaign management. You can either choose the smart campaign mode or opt for the manual system.

Smart campaigns imply that you let Google Ads do all the heavy lifting. Just set a budget and provide Google Ads with certain keyword themes, and you are ready in 15 minutes.

As for manual campaigns, you need to use the ‘Expert mode.’

Google guides all new marketers by default to smart campaigns. You can use the Expert mode instead, but that will restrict you from using the smart mode.

On the other hand, people starting with smart campaigns can switch anytime to the Expert mode for manual campaigns.

Google Ads actively promotes smart campaigns. In fact, Etsy featured as one of its case studies for the success of smart bidding.

However, most marketers agree that it is more profitable to run a manual campaign.

  • You have no control over your spending in smart campaigns
  • Google Ads may increase or decrease the bid amount without explanation
  • The manual mode allows granular control over campaign settings

Can you run a manual campaign for the products listed on your Etsy shop?

Let’s try to find an answer.

What are the Google Ads marketplace rules?

Arbitrarily, Etsy products are best eligible for Google Shopping Ads. These are those that appear on the very top of SERPs.

Sometimes they also show up on the right-hand side of SERPs. They show the product image along with brief seller info.

Etsy being a marketplace, comes under Google’s Merchant Center. This advertising tool mainly focuses on Shopping Ads, and has several strict rules. These rules cover the following situations.

  • Individual sellers on a marketplace
  • The marketplace employs you to manage seller advertising
  • You are a third-party agency managing seller on a marketplace

Individual sellers may find the Expert mode on Google Ads complex at first. Choosing a third-party agency is the best way to run Shopping Ads.

So, as long as the marketplace allows it, you can go ahead with manual campaigns. Let’s find out whether it is possible in Etsy.

Mandatory Google Ads integration for top Etsy sellers

Etsy explains the system in its advertising policies. Their ‘Offsite Ads’ category includes not only Google Ads but also Facebook, Bing, Instagram, Pinterest, and partner sites.

The Google Display Network gets a separate mention apart from the regular Google Shopping Ads.

However, it appears that sellers have little control over how to manage the ‘Offsite Ads’ integration. Those who registered sales less than $10,000 in the last 12 months have the option to switch off ‘Offsite Ads.’

However, using ‘Offsite Ads’ is lifetime mandatory for sellers who made more than $10,000 in the last 365 days.

In the non-mandatory category, Etsy will deduct 15% of the sale amount as fees. Lifetime users will have to oblige with a 12% deduction of their sale amount.

However, Etsy does not deduct anything from your account if there are no sales. You don’t pay anything if the buyer clicked on a different Etsy ad but bought from your store after some searching.

Etsy very specifically states that the ‘Offsite Ads‘ system is managed by their in-house team of advertising experts. Sellers don’t have to do anything for ad management.

Etsy sellers are not happy

Actually, at first, Etsy did not include Google Ads in the ‘Offsite Ads’ category. This resulted in a major backlash from sellers, and the company decided to partially unbundle Google Ads.

To put it into perspective, most internet users don’t like losing control. This is especially true for paid online services.

There’s still a lot of resentment towards the mandatory lifetime Google Ads bundling. People particularly resented the clandestine nature of offsite ad management.

Most are of the view that it is but a blatant marketing ploy at the expense of sellers. So much so, many people even footed the idea of ditching Etsy altogether.

Partnering with an agency for Etsy Google Ads

Let’s be clear. You have no hand in managing the Google Ads Etsy campaign (except paying for it). Neither can a third-party agency manage the campaign for you.

Yes, your Etsy ad may come to feature as a Google Shopping Ad or in the GDN, but it is not up to you to decide that.

The bottom line: if you want to use Google Ads, set up an independent website. This might as well be the next big leap of growth for your online business.

Migrating out of Etsy

It entirely depends on you. Have you been trying to sell on Etsy for a long time but not without much success? Do you think that marketplace alternatives will be better at using the potential of Google Ads? Are you considering the digital logistics of setting up your own website?

Obviously, you can have a website and an Etsy store both.

Etsy definitely has a niche market for handmade products, fresh from the creator’s studio. It is also ideal when you are selling in a relatively low price range. But, at the same time, it is not the only option out there.

Make an informed choice. You can always consult a good Google Ads expert for unbiased opinions.

Etsy sellers also offer Google Ads resources

Here’s a very interesting twist to the story. As it happens, the Etsy store is also a great place to buy Google Ads resources. Experienced digital marketers offer tips on how to make Google Ads work.

This niche market is actually one of the best places to get unofficial Google Ads help. You can get practical and proven resources not available elsewhere. So, if you do want to use Google Ads manually, Etsy can still be of help.


Let’s sum up. Etsy allows you to use Google Ads, but you do not have much say in it. This facility is available in its Offsite Ads category.

If you have a well-to-do store, making more than $10,000 yearly, it is mandatory to use Offsite Ads. But, Etsy will be taking a 12% slice off your sales made via Google Ads.

Smaller sellers will have to pay 15% of their sales made via Google Ads. The whole system is quite opaque, and you cannot see your Etsy campaign in a Google Ads account. Also, you will have to trust Etsy fully on the Offsite Ads data.

We don’t blame you if you want to look beyond Etsy to use Google Ads.

If you want me to manage your Google ads account, contact me through the Contact page and I would be always happy to help you in growing your business 🙂 !!!

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