Affiliate marketing programs are a popular way for everyday people to monetize their blogs or websites.
With one or more affiliate programs on your side, you can write reviews, roundups, interviews, or other content posts; include affiliate links to specific products, and make some easy money when someone purchases through your link. But how does Etsy’s affiliate program stack up against other popular ones?
Etsy Affiliate Marketing Program is worth it as it offers a 4% commission and a 30-day affiliate cookie, lots of banners, trend reports, and an affiliate newsletter. It is also similar to affiliate programs in many other major sites, and for many bloggers, this is a great program.
The rest of this article will discuss the specifics of Etsy’s affiliate program: how to sign up and what benefits you can expect.
We’ll then compare those benefits to what you receive from other, similarly-structured affiliate programs to help you decide whether Etsy’s program is worthwhile for you (or not).
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What Is Etsy?
Etsy is a worldwide shopping site where people can sell pretty much anything, although the focus has always been on handcrafted goods. You can find clothing, jewelry, toys, home decor, and so much more from the many sellers who utilize Etsy for their products. You can also find vintage goods, repurposed items, craft supplies, and a wide variety of other items.
Etsy’s marketplace has an excellent search engine, but it’s also broken down into many clear, fantastically-organized sections.
You can search for specific items, themes, color schemes, or specific rooms in your house. It’s a great place to shop for all manner of artwork and home decor.
You can also search for items inspired by books, movies, TV shows, and video games. No matter what your interests are, whether mainstream or niche, classic or modern, chances are that Etsy will have someone selling a product that you’ll absolutely love.
Founded in 2005, Etsy currently features more than 70 million products and reaches more than 60 million active buyers every year. Countless people run successful small businesses via Etsy.
With more than $5 billion in sales in 2019, Etsy is generally a safe bet for buyers looking for unique goods and sellers looking for a wider market.
How Does Etsy’s Affiliate Program Work?
An internet affiliate marketing program is a type of revenue sharing system in which you gain a commission for referring customers to a specific website, which they then visit and make a purchase.
Essentially, you share information about one or more products and include an affiliate link from your website or blog. Your reader then visits that website (in this case, Etsy) through that affiliate link. A special “affiliate cookie” is placed on the reader’s computer.
If the reader then makes a purchase within a certain time period after clicking the link from your site, and if your affiliate link was the last one that particular customer used, you’ll receive a bit of money as a commission.
The size of the commission depends on the amount the customer spent and the commission percentage that a particular affiliate program offers.
With some affiliate programs, your commission is not based only on products you link to directly. If you share a certain pair of earrings, and your reader clicks through but ends up purchasing a completely different item instead, you could still get a commission. Your kickback is not always limited to just the items you personally share about.
Etsy’s affiliate program offers a 4% commission rate on most purchases and has a 30-day affiliate cookie.
This means that you’ll generally earn 4% when your readers purchase an item you referred them to, so long as they buy within 30 days of visiting Etsy via your affiliate link.
In order to be eligible for Etsy’s affiliate program, you must meet certain criteria. These include:
- Having a website with a distinct URL (in other words, you can’t just run a social media page or group and share links there), which Etsy must approve
- Having an “appropriate amount” of content on your site (a brand new website is not going to get approved; you need to have been around for a while and have a fair number of posts up already)
- Declaring any Etsy shops you own, or any that you are “closely related” to (such as those of a spouse or child; specifically, if you have a shared bank account or credit card with another Etsy shop, you must declare it; promoting a shop you’re connected to like this is a conflict of interest))
- Informing Etsy if you open a new shop after becoming an affiliate, or if you become financially involved in another shop (same logic as above)
- Agreeing to abide by all the terms and conditions of the affiliate program (be sure to read the full affiliate agreement before signing up)
Which sites are not eligible for Etsy’s affiliate program?
- Cashback/voucher sites, price comparison sites, forums, and advertising networks
- Any sites that use either pop-ups or pop-unders
- Any sites created solely to promote Etsy products
- Sites with content that Etsy deems too sexual, political, or otherwise sensitive/controversial
What are the other terms and conditions? You’ll want to read the full information yourself before submitting your application, but here are a few important things to note:
- You will not receive a commission if someone returns or cancels their order.
- You will not receive a commission on gift card purchases.
- It bears repeating here: you cannot promote either your own Etsy shop(s) or any shops you have close connections to. This is an absolute conflict of interest and will result in you being removed as an affiliate. And it’s not just an issue with regards to your own shop; if you try to promote your spouse’s shop, you will eventually get caught and kicked out of the program.
- You include an affiliate disclosure on your site and individual posts when/where required by law to do so.
- Pay careful attention to where you’re posting affiliate links. You’re good to share links on your own personal site. However, not all social media websites are cool with direct linking to products in your posts there, and it is your responsibility to know a site’s rules before using your affiliate links there.
As of this writing, affiliate links are allowed on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Affiliate links are not allowed on Pinterest or Tumblr but you can link back to your own website, where readers can then stumble upon your affiliate links.
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How to Sign Up
Etsy runs its affiliate program through a platform called Awin. You must sign up directly through Awin via Etsy; if you try to join via a third-party affiliate-locating site, you will get rejected.
You can also access the signup page from the very bottom of any page on the Etsy site. Under “Sell,” go to the page titled “Affiliates” and go from there.
You will be asked to provide all the information mentioned earlier regarding yourself, your website, and any Etsy shop disclosures. At some point, you will have to pay a $5 fee to join Awin (which is highly unusual for affiliate programs; more on that later).
This fee should be credited back to your commissions’ earnings almost immediately, and when you’ll receive it back with your first payout.
The Etsy affiliate program seems to have a high acceptance rating, and you’ll likely get approved within a week or so. If you are rejected, you can request feedback on why and then make any necessary changes to your site or application before reapplying.
Many people have reported being able to make small changes to their website or add more or specifically targeted content, and then be accepted upon reapplying.
Once you’re in the program, you’ll gain full access to all of the affiliate program resources. You can go back and add affiliate links to previous posts and incorporate them in tasteful banner ads where appropriate.
And you can start dreaming up lots and lots of new content that can utilize the many products Etsy shops have to offer.
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Benefits of Etsy’s Affiliate Program
What benefits do you get from becoming an Etsy affiliate? How does it compare to the affiliate programs at other major websites? Let’s take a look at some of the most important benefits that come with being a member of this particular affiliate platform.
This is the biggest incentive for most people to sign up for an affiliate program: the money. As of this writing, Etsy has a 4% commission rate on purchases, which seems to be well within the standard commission range for many mainstream retail affiliate programs, if perhaps on the lower end. For comparison:
- Amazon: 1-10%
- eBay: 1-4%
- Target: 1-5% for the average user (but up to 8% for extremely high traffic)
- Walmart: up to 4%
- Wayfair: up to 7%
- Petsmart: 2%
- Plant Therapy essential oils: 7.5%
- The Vitamin Shoppe: up to 10%
It’s easy to disparage 4% as being a relatively low commission rate, even though it’s not too far off from what many other affiliate programs offer.
But it’s important to remember that as a site that specializes in handmade products, many of the items for sale on Etsy can be pricey.
Depending on what you promote and what your readers ultimately purchase, that commission can add up fast. For an item that costs hundreds of dollars, a 4% commission can mean a decent profit for you.
Affiliate programs only work when online shoppers accept cookies, since the use of an “affiliate cookie” is necessary to track when someone visits a site (and makes a purchase) via your link.
These affiliate cookies last different lengths of time depending on the site, and in order for you to get your commission, your link has to be the last one that particular shopper used to access the site.
There is a wide range of normal when it comes to how long these cookies work. With a 30 day cookie period, Etsy comes out ahead of many other affiliate programs. For comparison:
- Amazon: 24 hours
- eBay: 24 hours
- Target: 7 days
- Walmart: 3 days
- Wayfair: 7 days
- Petsmart: 15 days
- Plant Therapy: 14 days
- The Vitamin Shoppe: 7 days
The longer affiliate cookie is generally a good thing; if your link was the last one a customer used to access Etsy, you’re going to get the commission even if it’s been three weeks since they last visited your website.
Even if their eventual Etsy purchase is completely unrelated to whatever post of yours they read and access your affiliate link from, if your cookie is the last one on their system, you’re going to be the one getting paid.
Affiliate Platform: Links, Banners, and More
Etsy’s affiliate program platform offers a wide range of helpful tools to help you get started with earning commissions. There are tools to help you create personalized affiliate links, which contain your affiliate ID to give you proper credit for bringing in customers, and lots of images and banners that you can incorporate into your page to help catch your readers’ attention.
Etsy does update these tools occasionally, and they specifically request that you don’t hardcode any links into your site; that way, the links can be updated automatically.
This is fantastic because it helps limit any broken or outdated links in your posts. Readers will ideally always be able to click their way through to Etsy using your affiliate links, and you’ll benefit from that.
The many images and banners they provide can help make your website more visually appealing to readers and easily link people through to Etsy via your affiliate link.
Tools like these are constantly being updated and added to. Etsy does require that you leave the banners as they’ve created them, though; if you modify the images Etsy provides, you may be violating the terms of the affiliate program.
Convert-A-Link also converts any preexisting Etsy links for you. If you’ve ever linked to Etsy in the past for any reason, this tool will automatically fix old posts so that you don’t have to.
Finally, if you are working on Google Chrome, you can download the “MyAwin” extension to your browser, which further simplifies the affiliate marketing process.
This extension can help you quickly and easily create affiliate links to specific Etsy products to use on your blog or website, and can even directly post your affiliate links to social media sites that allow it.
One specific tool they offer for affiliates is the “Etsy Inspiration” curated pages. These curated pages are a virtual goldmine of inspiration, featuring various product categories and a dozen or more items within each category.
These pages can be used to gain a sense of what’s trending in Etsy’s various shops, and from there give you some inspiration for what kinds of things you might want to feature on your own site.
You can use these pages as a starting point for all kinds of post ideas and either start with their product suggestions or jump off in a new direction depending on where your imagination–and their search bar–takes you.
While technically not exclusive to the affiliate platform, Etsy strongly encourages you to regularly look at their blog, otherwise known as the Etsy Journal, for ideas and inspiration for your affiliate marketing efforts.
While you obviously don’t want to straight copy any of their post ideas, reading about trends items related to various holidays or occasions will surely provide you with some ideas of your own, which you can then launch into your own posts that will bring in readers and build your commission income.
Endless Content Ideas
One major benefit of becoming an affiliate for a diverse marketplace website like Etsy is that there are literally endless ideas and opportunities to create content for your own website.
Because such a wide range of goods are available on Etsy, it’s easy to brainstorm up posts that will both draw in web traffic and make you money off commissions.
One idea is to spend time simply studying the product categories on the site itself and use what you find to create roundup-style posts full of unique and beautiful products that your readers will (hopefully) adore. Weddings, baby showers, back-to-school season, birthdays, and other important days and holidays could all inspire fun posts.
Or you could create lists of specific items and showcase some of the many variations available across the site: personalized nursery decor, jewelry for animal lovers, literature-themed art, pop culture keychains. The possibilities are limitless.
Another idea is to find popular shops that produce goods that you think might resonate with your readers and conduct an interview with the seller. This is a win-win; the shop owner gets some publicity and, hopefully, some sales, and you make some commission money with every purchase.
Check Out My Free High Ticket Affiliate Marketing Masterclass
There are a few other things you might want to think about before filling out that application. As mentioned earlier, signing up with Etsy’s affiliate program requires you to pay a $5 fee to Awin, which helps them verify your bank info and reduce fraud. You will be refunded this fee when you receive your first commission payment.
In the grand scheme of things, $5 is not very much, especially since you get it back. Sometimes you have to pay a little to earn more back, right?
However, it is highly unusual; Etsy is one of the biggest sites to require what’s essentially a sign-up fee to become an affiliate.
Sign Up for the Right Program
It’s important to note that Etsy technically has affiliate programs based in multiple countries. But while you need to sign up for the program specific to your country, your commissions are not exclusive to that location. If you have a US-based blog and a reader in Australia uses your affiliate link, you’ll still get paid for their purchases.
Be Careful Where You Post Your Affiliate Links
We mentioned this briefly earlier, but it bears repeating: be careful about where you post and how you share your affiliate links.
Many social media sites are cool with you sharing affiliate links in your direct posts, but it’s your responsibility as the affiliate member and site owner to be aware of who is okay with it and who isn’t.
When you do share affiliate links on social media sites like Facebook or Twitter (as of this writing, both are okay with affiliate links), you can only do so from an account directly associated with your website.
Do not share your affiliate links to your personal accounts. However, you can share posts from your website on your personal social media pages, and those posts can then contain your affiliate links.
Likewise, some websites expressly prohibit you from posting direct affiliate links (as of this writing, Pinterest and Tumblr are two such sites).
You can share blog posts or artist interviews, or other pages from your website, which can then contain affiliate links, but you can’t include the affiliate link directly in your posts on these social media sites.
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Is Etsy’s Affiliate Program Worthwhile?
This is a question that will have a different answer for everyone, but for many, Etsy’s affiliate program could indeed be worth joining.
If you currently run a website featuring content that could be tied into products that Etsy sells, then this affiliate program might be a good fit.
Perhaps you enjoy profiling small business owners; Etsy is full of small businesses, and there’s literally no end to the interesting businesses, artists, and other individuals you could write about.
If your website currently focuses on a specific subject or genre, Etsy could be a great fit. If you write about weddings, there’s no end to the amount of content you could create that touches on items sold on Etsy.
If you write about jewelry or fashion trends, the products and makers on Etsy could inspire roundups or posts on new trends.
Even if your website isn’t specifically geared towards marketing in any way, Etsy could still be a great fit. Perhaps you write about video games; consider including the occasional post on hand-crocheted video game stuffies, or stickers, or enamel pins, or any of several other goods related to recent game crazes.
Or maybe you’re passionate about animals and conversation. There are many products on Etsy that are designed to raise awareness about environmental problems or animal issues, and you could work these types of products into things you write for your website.
And of course, if you’re into any type of crafting, Etsy is a natural affiliate fit. You can not only link to products, but individual shops sometimes sell patterns and individual crafting supplies.
You can write craft tutorials and link them to the supplies in your post. You can highlight individual creators and the unique crafts they produce. Plenty of great options here!
Becoming an Affiliate Marketer
If you are looking to get into affiliate marketing in the first place, Etsy can be a great place to start. The very nature of Etsy, the wide variety of products they offer means that you could easily create tons of interesting, varied content with plenty of affiliate links (and therefore hopefully plenty of eventual commission payments!).
Remember that with any type of blog or website, time and effort should eventually translate into a larger readership. This is even more true and important for affiliate marketing.
While it might be slow to build your web presence at first, the more thought you put into constructing interesting, inspirational posts filled with unique items, the more your income will eventually grow.
Partnering as an affiliate with Etsy also has a certain feel-good quality to it. When you link to products from a big-name, big-box type site, you’re making a tiny bit of money and ultimately making rich people richer.
But when you promote handmade, unique products on Etsy, you’re making a respectable commission while also encouraging your readers to shop small and support individuals and families. That’s a wonderful feeling.
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Those are all the biggest factors at play when you are considering joining Etsy’s affiliate program. If the commission seems big enough to you, and the likelihood of getting that commission (due to the length of the affiliate cookie) seems high enough, it’s probably a good partnership.
There are many mixed opinions out there on Etsy’s affiliate program. Some feel the commission is way too low; others feel it’s average and worthwhile. Some struggle with the terms and conditions Etsy lays out; others feel their rules are fair.
For many blogs and websites that focus on discussing products, Etsy’s affiliate platform is a great bet with lots of opportunities for income and growth.