Monday, January 25, 2010

Does Renewing on Etsy Work? An Experiment.

It used to be that you could renew an item on Etsy and receive a bunch of views. Then they changed some things around in the caching process and Etsy got a lot more crowded. Maybe evil elves got involved. I don't know. Point is, views received from renewing went down. Way down. Does renewing still work? I had to find out.

First up, a little explanation. I am not a techie. Nor a great Etsy seller of astounding greatness and sales magnitude. Technical explanations tend to wash right over me like water off a duck that has been rolling in an oil slick on roller skates.
So. Not a techie, not an expert. Moving on.

Now, the parameters.
I decided I would renew, list something new, or relist totalling 10 times a day for 30 days.
- Why 10 times? Because it's a nice round number and easy to keep track of. Also, it seemed like a LOT. (I tend to list/relist/renew only once-four times a day normally.)
- Why 30 days? Because things take time.
- What defines the success of renewing? Ultimately, sales. Views and hearts are nice, but unless they lead to sales they're meaningless.

As you know, every time you renew something, it costs .20 US. It's really not much...unless you do it a lot. By comparison, a Showcase spot will run you $7/$15 a day. (In my experience, I've never got more than a handful of hearts and 50 views from doing that. No sales. Not great.)

I began on 12/28/09.
Here were my starting statistics:
On 12/28/09-
Total Sales: 261
Items in Shop: 245
Shop hearts 12/28: 1220
*GA Unique Visitors: 990
*Visits: 2,171
*Pageviews: 6,504
*Pages/visit: 3.00
Twitter followers: 3338
Fanpage: 168
Blog followers: 140

*These stats are for the past 24 days, to keep things matched up.

I was also featured in one Gift Guide. The item hasn't sold, and it had been there for awhile.

Traffic sources according to Google Analytics (top 5):
Direct (Etsy): 676
Google: 404
Twitter: 277 163 109

Field Notes:
12/29 - Listing/renewing 10 items a day is hard! Low views on the listings that don't make it onto Twitter. (I use TwitterFeed to automatically send one listing to Twitter every 12 hours.) I'm scared this won't work, but Dan encourages me to stick with it. Maybe there will be a cumulative effect.

12/30- Featured in a Chicken treasury. And then a Star Trek treasury later the same day. This after not being in any treasuries for months.

1/1 - Sold 6 items to a returning customer. Sweet!!

1/2 - Another sale, this time a (generally slow selling, just relisted 12/31.) Also in another treasury.

1/3 Another sale! Another new person.

1/4 - My South Bay hoodie guy gets featured in a Squidoo lens by someone I've never met before. Recently renewed items sometimes get new hearts. (Thanks,!) Older items do too, of course, but at a much slower rate.

1/5- Here comes a hiccup. I got word from the lovely lady of Regretsy that the pillows I made for the book were going to be featured on the site the next day. Listed 6 extra listings today for the Regretsy pillows, in anticipation of the article tomorrow.
STATS: 271 sales, 1251 shop hearts at end of day 1/5.

1/6- Regretsy article posted. 278 sales, 1268 shop hearts at end of the day.

1/7- Featured in a treasury...the item featured was just renewed, but it was also tweeted, and the treasury was made by a twitter person.
Also featured in another treasury about monsters. So 2 treasuries.The item in question was renewed 12/31.
ALSO: Made it onto the Etsy front page...with a Blythe hooded capelet, which was renewed 1/ was in a special Etsy made treasury.
ALSO, ALSO: My spreadsheets were featured in the Etsy Success email, huge traffic boost to my blog. And also my shop apparently. Lots of new hearts, but so far no direct sales (yet!). The image they used in the email was one of my dogs...which was renewed on 1/6.

So holy cow, did this experiment ever have some one stick their finger in the petri dish. Two amazing things happened, two days in a row. (And they had absolutely nothing to do with renewing.)

1/8- Small feature on an etsy blog that was new to me. Nice.

1/11-1/17- Sales slow to a crawl. Only 2 sales all week. 1 to a new person, 1 to an existing client.

1/18- Sold 2 items to a family member who I had just seen.

1/19- Sold 2 items...2 vintage items which were on the verge of expiring.

1/20- Honestly, not much has happened since the Regretsy/Etsy Finds email week. Renewing/listing 10x a day is a chore. I feel like I'm chained to the computer, as I need to renewed something basically every hour. Which means I have to stop whatever I'm doing, come back over here, and renew. And likely get distracted by something or other. And at 1 item every hour, I am totally chained to the computer ALL DAY. My productivity is way down. My internet shopping is way up. My Twittering is way down. (As are the hits coming in from it.) I am really not sure that this is working, and I am terrified to look at the bill. EXPERIMENT OVER! EXPERIMENT OVER!


On 1/20/10-
Total Sales: 290
Items in Shop: 268
Shop hearts 1/20: 1380
GA Visitors: 2,084
Visits: 7,639
Pageviews: 26,409
Pages/visit: 3.46
Twitter followers: 3,529
Fanpage: 206
Blog followers: 258

Traffic sources (top 5): - 2,379
(direct) - 1,356
bronto (etsy success email) - 1,040
google - 662
twitter - 400

Sales not definitely from Regretsy/Etsy finds/other known source: 8
Now let's look at some charts.
Here's the view of the month o' renewing. The blue line represents this month's traffic, the green line shows last month's. Click on the images to actually be able to read them.

And here's looking at an entire year:

Does renewing work to increase sales?
For the first 9 days, it really seemed to. I was in treasuries! Sales from new people! After that (taking away the Regretsy/Etsy Finds days of debacle), things seemed to fall off entirely. This month wound up being far from average. Even if you take away the Regretsy & Etsy Finds numbers, views went up a little. Was this due to Twitter, blog posts, or other normal marketing efforts? It's very possible. I do those things every day, and have been for a long time. Looking at my Google Analytics data for the past year, I can see views very, very slowly picking up. If I squint.
Interestingly, views coming in from Google itself went up by about 200. That's got to be directly related to renewing. Over time (more time than a month!), that could really be something.
Bottom line: If your goal is to get into treasuries, then renewing works. Then again, so does hanging out in the forums and joining treasury teams. If your goal is increased sales...renewing constantly may help a little. But it's going to cost you.
I listed/renewed a total of 212 times. (That's $42.40. Uh, ouch.) (Listings: 55. Renews: 157)
Honestly, you can get better views on your items if you promote them yourself. You'd be better off spending your time and money developing a solid social network and marketing. Renewing alone is likely to be a disappointment.

Renewing frequently as a short term marketing blitz might still be a nice injection of views and energy to your shop, however. Think of it as running an ad- seeing the same ad over and over and over again makes you block it out, if not actively hate it. On the other hand, a cleverly crafted ad run once in awhile for short bursts can make you pay attention.

If you decide you want to try your own renewing rampage, go for it! And let me know how it works for you.

Best wishes for you and your Etsy shop!


photographer Jim said...

Thank you for this great information about relisting on Etsy. I never believed in relisting except when a item is expiring.

I feel that it is a waste of money.

Now you proved that relisting is not worth doing.

Burnt Mill Candles and Soap said...

very interesting thanks for sharing

Red Ruby Rose said...

Very interesting, well done for sticking with it for (nearly) a month! I think that relisting used to be much more effective on Etsy but not so much anymore as the categories are so fast moving.

crochetgal said...

Very interesting! Its nice to see someone who feels like I do... that constant renewing really isn't worth the money!

Sam said...

Very interesting info here - thank you! I think perhaps outside/off site advertising might be a better way to specn ones money rather than on renewing? Food for thought!

Zazu said...

Thanks for the almost-scientific experiment and taking out the guesswork of whether renewing was helping or not. This will save me a lot of $$$ - costly for me even at $0.20 because of the exhange rates.

Ditsy Bird Designs said...

Thanks for this! I was contemplating a similar experiment glad I didn't.
I think I'll stick to listing for new items only with a little self promo on Twitter and my Facebook fan page.
Really useful!

ArtTales said...

I always wondered if the price we pay to renew will ever even out in sales in the end.

But I agree with you, while renewing can get you those sales, spending the time to interact with the community is probably your best shot.

Wonderful experiment :)

Leal @ BnBbyGilliauna said...

Jewelry market here, definitely over-saturated market. We also did a similar experiment lately (although not quite as organized as yours) with a very similar result.

It increased views and helped jump-start the lull that we were experiencing just a bit, but it wasn't a financially viable solution for every day.

SteamPunkGlass said...

Fascinating experiment, and thank you for taking the time (and expense!) Makes sense as you say to put time and energy into promotion rather than relistings.

I can see why Etsy would like to keep the re-listing idea going so people are giving them more listing fees!

Bees And Me said...

Thanks a lot for this post. I will come back and re-read it a few times.
Thanks again.

Alison said...

This is a great post! Not only informative, but also well-written and enjoyable to read. Your sense-of-humor makes me laugh. :)

Aisle 3 said...

thank you so So SO much!

Janine/FoxtailCreekStudio said...

Great information (and I love your writing style!); thanks for taking the time to lay it all out like this. I agree with you about the "short-burst" advertising, it's always made more sense to me than constant renewing & relisting.

SilkArtFromBrazil said...

Excellent post. Thanks for doing it.

Cari said...

Thanks for all the info. I don't renew unless there's less than a week left.

Papery Girl said...

What an awesome informative post! Thank you!

maya | springtree road said...


well, from my extremely informal testing, i've found that it works better to relist 2-4 things at a time so that your items are in a row on the search page - that grabs attention more than just one item. of course that gets really expensive so i'll do that 1-3x/day, depending on if i have anything new to list and other factors.

i know relisting costs money and that i have 1200+ twitter followers (@springtree) + other social networking options, but relisting exposes me to the all-important *new people,* who likely haven't seen my shop before and i think relisting is a good way to reach them. they're obviously on etsy, shopping or browsing for exactly what i'm selling (handspun yarn), as opposed to an ad somewhere else that someone *might* happen to see and who knows if they're in the mood to shop or if they have heard of etsy, etc.

while i'm hoping that as time goes on i won't have to renew as often, and i'm doing other things to get the word out about my shop, right now i feel that relisting has definitely worked for me.

great post!

Felicia said...

If these hard numbers aren't enough to convince the masses that renewing is not the only nor best option to being found, then I point you to the recent Etsy experiment of their new relevance searching:

Etsy also has a long running thread on alternatives to renewing:

And from my own personal experience with a Handmade shop with 569 sales a Vintage shop with 149 sales and a Supply shop with 40 sales (that's a total of 758 Etsy sales), I say that renewing is far from the only way to be found and appreciated by customers. It's going after your customer demographic that matters. I could go on and on about your customer demographic but then blogger will cut me off for using up too many characters :) Suffice it to say that if you don't believe me then look at the numbers. They don't lie. Thanks for sharing, Clare!

Susan said...

I like that you ommited the regretsy/etsy finds views/sales from your overall opinion. They are really anomolies that skew results. The geek in me would love to see this experiment go on and compare Nov to Feb to exclude holiday and regretsy differences.
Interesting results though

Salzanos said...

Thank you for taking the time to document this test. For me the renewing does not work either, but then I have limited money to invest in that. Very limited. I believe in the old hard and longer taking way to gain new customers slowly by word of mouth, and personal service. It is really all I can do.
Again, I really appreciated your post. Nice job! Helps me gain more knowledge too.

amarshall said...

Good info and you write with a really fun 'voice' so I enjoyed reading about your experiment!

Mary said...

Thanks for sharing and being a guinea pig. I am far too cheap to renew!

Absolutely Small said...

Wow. I am totally blown away by the number of comments here. Thank you, everyone who commented! I'm glad I could help shed some light on things/confirm what you already knew. :)

Kelley said...

Great post. I love how you went about it with a scientific attitude, even if the Etsy/Regretsy feature threw things off a bit. Congrats on all the sales!

Shana said...

that is a lot of info! thanks for sharing! i will continue to renew because i am happy to come up in searches if say someone is looking for 'small stud earrings', then mine will come up within a few pages. but i wish i could get on some treasuries too, haven't figured this out, but so seems to help!

thanks again -shana

The Curious Pug said...

wow what an interesting experiment! and great information. thank you! :) i have a hard time with relisting because over time it does add up and i'm not making any money to pay for that in itself. though i suppose it takes money to make money :) thanks for a great post!

Lonesome Road Studio said...

I figured that this would be the end result - thanks for confirming it with all your hard work (and money).
here's to self-promotion and not relisting!

ellen said...

thanks for the info. nice to know i can sort of cross renewing off my list as a strategy and focus on other options...

shop66 said...

for Shop 66, any kind of "bulk" activity, whether it be just relisting, listing + relisting, or lots of new listings works... but i do this with a combination other activity... more or less i'm trying to get my existing fans/patrons to see there's activity, while baiting new ones.

my opinion - relisting does help some but if you work relisting+, it ='s even better results

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for your post. I have been wondering about renewing or relisting if it really works. I find that every time I renew or put up a new item within the first hour or so I get 22 to 26 hits tops 32. On every single item. I wonder if they have people about 30 of them sitting clicking on the relisted or new items.
thanks again for taking the time to do this study and sharing it .

Absolutely Small said...

Again, I am just bowled over by the sheer volume of comments on this post. (And you're all so nice!) Thank you all! ^-^

Shana & Shop66- I adore your shops! I'd really like to see this experiment conducted in a variety of shop styles. I sell plushies...and I couldn't help but wonder if things would have been different if I sold jewelry, or vintage goodies, or clothing, or...
So thanks for the insight! :)

22 to 26 every time? You are doing something right! Your photos must be top notch. Do you list at certain times, or just whenever? Nosy minds want to know!

Studio6or7 said...

Great analysis- thanks so much! I almost never renew but had been wondering if I was really off track by not doing so. Thanks for the info!


Scrivener's Retreat said...

Holy crap! That is a huge spike in traffic! I can't even remember how I found you know, but I know it was during your experiment.

calcedonia said...

formerly annon
Well, I wrote up this whole thing and it didn't post. I posted something today and again 23 views. Do you think this is normal .. ???
I post from what Google analytic says my best viewing time is. It shows top spot is 11:ooam and second is 8pm. That is when I try to post.

VISART - DaLi Designs said...

Thanks for sharing, very interesting

Tokyoinspired said...

Both informative and entertainingly written. Thank you!

Monkey Mind Design said...

wow that is some dedication! Thanks for taking on the experiment. Lots of helpful information.

kimbuktu said...

I enjoyed your post, I've been doing some relisting experimenting myself. Thanks for the info.

Absolutely Small said...

Calcedonia: That's awesome! I need to check out your shop. Personally, I never get those sorts of numbers on an item from relisting alone. But then again, I sell plushies. That may have something to do with it. :)

Thank you for the sweet comments, everyone! I'm so glad you're all finding this helpful.

Karin said...

Thanks for sharing this information. I'm new to Etsy, and have been so busy trying to get my shop up and running, I've neglected my blog. I need to get back to it before I lose some good relationships there.

fairtradefamily said...

thanks for sharing :)

Uneekdolldesigns said...

I feel as you do- not much help at all to constantly renew all day long...I am of the mindset that it's better to list something new and only renew if you want to keep something in your shop that is about to expire...:)

Cokie Pop Paper said...

Wonderful stats and info. Thanks for sharing with us!

Angie said...

This is such a great post. I was honestly dreading the end where I was sure you would say "Yes, you should renew 10x a day every day" because, well, I don't have that kind of time or money :)

I have to admit I'm relieved it isn't the miracle marketing tool it's made out to be. I'm also relieved I'm not the one that did the experiment.

Now, go relax, drink some hot cocoa, and veg in front of the TV for a few days after all that extra work! Congrats on all the positives that came out of the experiment though :)

Absolutely Small said...

You're welcome, everyone! ^-^ Thank you all for commenting! It's really great to know that this is actually helping people out a little.

TheJoyofColor said...

WOW what an experiment.
I also do 10-9 renewall a day but dot them 3 at a tiem 3 times a day
Also lately it seems like it does'nt really matters. What worked was being in Etsy new letter and such.
Thanks for the analytics.

Absolutely Small said...

You're welcome!

Lollyflower said...

Wow, Okay, so I feel like a latecomer... but thank you so very much for all of the info! and Cute creations BTW.

Absolutely Small said...

You're very welcome!


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