digitaldoodlebug
Community Member

Etsy PL different? Now not relevant

Have the ads changed? Is it because they are getting the system changed to combine PL and google shopping? I just did a search that had 46 pages of results, 12 of the ads on page one were irrelevant. More pages have similar results. Now I'm wondering if etsy has changed the algorithm or if they're trying to get as many views on ads as possible. Yet I know there are relevant ads that can be shown. Now only because it's such a large search but I have some that could be there and aren't. Are they trying to spread the love more, or is it a new form of buyer advertising like putting shortcakes next to strawberries?

Is anyone else seeing things like this? 

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artbyjocelyn
Community Member

Re: Etsy PL different? Now not relevant

Yes, noticed this as well. A lot of the ads I see returned in search are way off the mark for the specific search terms I used.

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cindylouwho2
Community Member

Re: Etsy PL different? Now not relevant

They've been adding irrelevant items for some time. Usually the items are missing one word from the query but it can get worse than that. 

The top two search terms for impressions in my SEO shop are 

"how to make a gingerbread"  - shown for the words "how to"

and

"the handbook of world pottery" - shown for "handbook"

and according to Etsy, both have high click rates 🙄

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digitaldoodlebug
Community Member

Re: Etsy PL different? Now not relevant

It's so frustrating as a buyer and a seller. I did notice a while back search terms on my ads that didn't match at all, perhaps matching 1 word or worse just a number. But I figured that was for small searches. So one more thing that's ruined. My ad cost went up last year and this year, yet income is going down from them. Have less than half the sales this year vs last year from them, but already passed ad cost. 

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MouseGarden
Community Member

Re: Etsy PL different? Now not relevant

Looking at the search 'cabinet cards', at first the ads seem relevant, but as you go down the page they get more and more off track.  It is the same on page 2, the top row is relevant, then lower down I have filing cabinet handles and children's educational flash cards. ( I also see a non PL listing for dried mushrooms on page 2?)

The other thing people complained about is that some listings have been showing up as not available after they were clicked.  This is some kind of listing bug that Etsy has not really addressed.

PLs used to be reasonably predictable.  It seems to me that Etsy has broken them.

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BloomingVioletStudio
Community Member

Re: Etsy PL different? Now not relevant

I noticed this too.  Recently, when I put in pretty specific search terms, many listings and ADs came up that were not related to my search, as well as duplicates of listings.  I'm speculating, but Is this a strategy to engage impulse buyers by veering them off of their original search? Tangential marketing?  I don't know, but I'm not a fan of it.  I want to see only items that specifically relate to my search, because there's no way to filter the unrelated listings out of your search.   

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digitaldoodlebug
Community Member

Re: Etsy PL different? Now not relevant

That's what I suspect. Given how big the search results were in what I looked at, I think it is a type of marketing to impulse buyers. Showing people things they didn't know the wanted. Sure is frustrating though when 12 out of 16 ads on the page 1 aren't relevant. Not to mention how are the sellers who have relevant ads supposed to be seen by these buyers?

I was looking on ebay today and had it sorted from cheapest first (what I usually do on ebay only). Several times an expensive item was shown and I almost stopped browsing because I thought I had hit the high price range. Turns out it was a PL. I wish sites would show buyers what they want instead of what they think we want. 

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BLaudineEminence
Community Member

Re: Etsy PL different? Now not relevant

I think it's about more than just impulse shoppers ... I think the goal is simply to display more PL, and thereby to make more money from PL.

It used to be that if there weren't any PL that matched the current search parameters, then no PL would be displayed. Now they just find a PL that "almost matches" the search parameters and display it.

But it's going to 'poison the well' for sellers ... sellers aren't making money from these mismatched PL listings, and if they don't make money they'll stop using PL.

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BLaudineEminence
Community Member

Re: Etsy PL different? Now not relevant

Yeah I noticed the irrelevancy of the PL a while back. And coincidentally (or not!) my returns from PL have sharply decreased.

I don't know how it's affected other types of products, but for costume jewelry, they've become pretty useless. I stopped using them a few months ago ... and just started again a couple of weeks ago, and yep they're still useless. But I'm rebooting my shop, so figured it was worth experimenting.

I'm not sure why Etsy is still making so much money on PL ... either the irrelevancy hasn't affected other products as much, or most people are waiting for PL to miraculously start working again.

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digitaldoodlebug
Community Member

Re: Etsy PL different? Now not relevant

Yep my % of income from paid listings has been dropping all year. Now down to under 9%. If it keeps up I'll turn them off and spend more on my website. 

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ThePurplePuppy
Community Member

Re: Etsy PL different? Now not relevant

I sometimes do a search of my own tags--partly to see where my items are (even tho I know this may not be relevant) but also to see my competitors prices.

 

Seeing as to what I sell you would not believe what sometimes comes up!!!  Some things I am SMH as old as I am I did not know they existed!  I guess there is nothing that can be imagined that cannot be made!  Some things are just so off the mark as to be unbelieveable--I mean what does a valentine card have to do with a dog diaper!

 

I really hate to see sellers PL ads wasted in this way.  The valentine card I "might" look at--some of the other stuff--ummm--nope!

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ZehOriginalArt
Community Member

Re: Etsy PL different? Now not relevant

Oh yes, I just checked from this shop and my other one and the ads are way off - not even half the ads are relevant to the search terms and some of the non-relevant ads appear to have nothing at all to do with the words typed in.

An interesting note is that the first rows of non-ads (which are relevant, btw) are not reserved for free shipping in my view from either account. Free shipping listings are scattered about on the pages as they normally would be. This is a search for art prints.

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cindylouwho2
Community Member

Re: Etsy PL different? Now not relevant

@ZehOriginalArt   When I search "art prints" the first 24 items are free shipping, although some are digital downloads, so it isn't evident until you click on them.  Item 25 is a physical item without shipping, so that follows the normal pattern. 

If you have a moment, can you please send me a whole page screenshot? I use Awesome Screenshot for full pages, but there are other ways to do it as well. 

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ZehOriginalArt
Community Member

Re: Etsy PL different? Now not relevant

@cindylouwho2 

Done! Should have been more precise as the search was for Great Blue Heron print. When I searched again now everything but the ads was different. Ads still the same and many irrelevant. And you are right, this time I checked the first few lines and the listings not showing free shipping or GFS are digital. However the first times I searched, there were only a few free shipping or GFS on the first lines at all. Maybe they were all downloads? Wish I'd made a screenshot of that.

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FrenchPastTimes
Community Member

Re: Etsy PL different? Now not relevant

it doesn't inspire confidence in them managing the combined Google and Etsy promotions, does it?!  I turned mine off a few days ago as whereas they once worked really well for me, they are now getting far fewer clicks and far fewer sales, in fact, not one single sale resulting from them this month, and my visits and sales are disastrous.

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FuzzyFoxDesigns
Community Member

Re: Etsy PL different? Now not relevant

I turned them off last week for the same reason. I sell cross stitch patterns, so I need people to be able to search for a "Pelican cross stitch pattern" for example. Search will match for 3 out of 4 terms for PLs and doesn't prioritise the 'pelican' in any way, so the pattern shown in PLs is most often not what the buyer is looking for. Since they changed the algorithm it's been a fight to maintain my ROI and I've decided now it's impossible so for the first time in 3 years have turned them off completely. 

I do a fair bit of shopping on Etsy, and I find the unrelated ads extremely jarring in search - they certainly don't to anything for the buyer experience. 

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SpottedOctopusShop
Community Member

Re: Etsy PL different? Now not relevant

I've been noticing many sellers outside of the USA are having their items surfaced. I've also been noticing that promoted listings are showing items from competing shops at the bottom of the page of the item promoted. My promoted listings have declined in success lately,  as have my sales. That has caused me to lower my spend on promoted listings because I'm not interested in paying for a promoted item that gives another shop the purchase. Some days when I look at the favorites of somebody who's favorited something in my shop, I will see they've also favorited like items from competing shops and some days when I look at favorites I see unique items from non competing shops in their favorites. I can tell I'm going to have a lousy day when competing shops/items are being shown along with my shop/items favorited items.  A few months ago more expensive items were being surfaced. Now it looks like international items are being surfaced. I can add more expensive items but I can't be an international shop so I hope this will end soon though I think it might not because I'm recalling the CEO mentioned lately that international shops are going to get more exposure in the USA. To me, that along with the upcoming recession has me feeling insecure about the future here. It's more affordable for people from several other countries to make and ship the products I sell. When the recession hits buyers will go to those countries for their goods. In 2008 when the USA was in recession, Etsy was known for being the leader of the handmade movement and people were willing to spend more for handmade goods even though we were in recession. Now people will be purchasing handmade from countries that can provide merchandise cheaper. It will be bad for US sellers who have made a living here, not so bad for Etsy and international sellers who can undercut US prices. I can't go much lower than I am now, as we are being "encouraged" to discount goods through multiple sales events as well as offer free shipping.

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ColoredInStone
Community Member

Re: Etsy PL different? Now not relevant

@SpottedOctopusShop 

I find your assessment to be "spot on". And given the recent U.S. report on consumer spending, it's the discounters that are doing well...i.e. Walmart, Amazon, Dollar Store, Costco...It is clear to Wall Street and retail analysts, that consumers want value and have no desire to pay full price for anything.

Germany is considered to be in a recession as economists believe that the U.K. is right behind. And when the U.S. economy fizzles out, which is already showing in manufacturing data, I'm afraid Etsy will become a leading source for cheap mass produced merchandise that will indeed undercut most sellers.

I've had the luxury of selling newly listed pieces quickly, however, now with newly enforced internet taxes and a slowing economy, I told my husband last night, that this Fall/holiday season could be the "peak" for my shop as next year could become difficult.

The writing is on the wall. Etsy will do whatever it takes to keep things going and CEO Silverman had the luxury of stepping onto Etsy as the economy was in full expansion

Expect to continue to be squeezed as economic data turns south. 

 

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BlackSheepDyeworks
Community Member

Re: Etsy PL different? Now not relevant

Yes, I've been seeing this for some time now, and recently it has been getting worse.  For example, one of my PL listings (a yarn set with 'choose from 35 colors' in the title) has a high click through rate for 'hilo crystal in various colors', matching only 'colors'.  Another one (a black 4 ply yarn) does well for 'set of 4 black place mats.'

I'm seeing the extent of PL irrelevance vary by the search, among those I check often.  A more general search for 'hand dyed yarn' has mostly relevant PLs.  But 'hand dyed sock yarn' has lots of socks, and hand dyed anything (scarves, pillows, flags).  Some days it seems worse than others.

I agree with @FuzzyFoxDesigns , the PL algo has been so watered down, it's missing which words signal specificity, and failing to more accurately represent the categories that have the bulk of the listings. In other words, if 95% of listings returned for 'hand dyed sock yarn' are actually in the yarn category, I'd like to see close to 95% of the ads be yarn (even if not sock, or hand dyed), rather than things from unrelated categories, assuming enough PL listings in yarn.  And as far as specificity, for the place mat example, I'd rather it return other place mats (even if not sets of 4) rather than sets of 4 anything, or black 4 ply yarn.

Like everyone else posting here, my ROI has gone down.  It's still acceptable, so I leave PLs running for now, but they were much more profitable before these changes.

As a shopper, I'm really turned off by all the irrelevant ads.  I just give up searching that much more quickly rather than soldiering on through.

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GemmaxMontreal
Community Member

Re: Etsy PL different? Now not relevant

 About : Now I'm wondering if etsy has changed the algorithm ?  Here is what I once read  : What makes machine learning incredibly impactful in search engine marketing, is the fact that it doesn't necessarily need supervision to function.

Reading that, I understand that parameters are entered and then, the machine work alone. In fact I also read that it is a couple of two machines working together.

Recently, I also got arround 5% Strange searches in my shop. May be the algorythm present some of the listings to : people that looked for those items also look for… no matter what they were looking for. I am positive and in my thoughts, the AI would not loose it's time if he had no success doing so.

I rarely make searches to find my listings ranking. But this Week I made a search to see if there was many of the item I had just listed. I was surprised to see that there was only 15 listings. There was only 2 free delivery (one was mine) and they were not at the begining. And there was no ads at all. Finally, there was only one unrelated listing. So that search was very relevant in my mind. Each search is different.

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Spunglasses
Community Member

Re: Etsy PL different? Now not relevant

my ads are not working at all. I noticed red banners the past two days. On my end this happened 2 days ago 1am ct

I went from 25k paid ad impressions to zero and etsy said they were stumped as my account was active and in good standing.

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SpottedOctopusShop
Community Member

Re: Etsy PL different? Now not relevant

I've been seeing those red banners too.

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Spunglasses
Community Member

Re: Etsy PL different? Now not relevant

I would also like to ad my etsy shop is not even coming up within etsy search index  at all but I made sales from people who just were looking us up .com directed or from other routes.

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ZehOriginalArt
Community Member

Re: Etsy PL different? Now not relevant

@Spunglasses 

Your shop is not indexed, for some reason. So search is not finding your items at all. You can test this by doing a search from the search bar in your own shop's home page. Enter a search term that is in one of your titles. When you search it, you get no results.

You must contact Etsy and let them know your shop is not indexed and you need them to add it!

This is really terrible - usually it happens with new shops, not established shops. Now I'm going to be checking my shop every day. Yikes.

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hbhill
Community Member

Re: Etsy PL different? Now not relevant

I'm ready to turn PL off since it has been costing more. I used to spend about 1% of revenue from PL sales, but it is now costing around 3%. I'm already offering free shipping $35 & over. Not sure how much I'll be penalized if I drop PL.  

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