Etsy Offsite Ad Charges When The Customer Didn’t Click On An Ad?

If you’re an Etsy seller, you might think that you shouldn’t have been charged for an offsite ads fee, but there’s usually one reason why you were, and it boils down to the 30-day cookie window.


offsite ads if the customer didn't click an ad

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Why Does Etsy Charge an Offsite Ads Fee?

The confusion of seeing a message about being charged an offsite ads fee for a customer who insists they didn’t click on any ads can be explained by the 30-day cookie system.

The Etsy offsite ad cookie sticks for 30 days, meaning that if a customer clicked on an offsite ad and visited your Etsy shop within that period, you’ll be charged the offsite ads fee when they make a purchase.

At the same time, if they click on another ad in that time, the cookie period restarts.

So you could have someone click on an ad on day 29 and restart the whole ads cookie period where you’ll be charged for sales.




People don’t remember what they did online.

The reality is that people often struggle to recall their online activities, especially after more than a day or so, if that long.

I can barely remember what I did yesterday, so if someone asked me if I clicked on an offsite ad 29 days ago I definitely wouldn’t be able to answer for sure.

I’ve heard a lot of sellers say that they asked their customer if they clicked on an ad to find them, and the customer always says no.

But really, there’s no way to tell, and the reality is that if they are “cookied” then they probably did click an ad even if they don’t think they did.


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Google Searches and Ad Clicks.

One common scenario contributing to this issue is customers searching for Etsy shops on Google.

Etsy makes it really hard to find people and shops by using Etsy search, so people will go to Google to find the shop name they want, then click over to Etsy.

They might click on an ad, visit your shop, and purchase an item.

But if they don’t buy right away then they’re still in the cookie system, so if they buy something later, they’ll still have the offsite ad cookie attached to that purchase.

And I guarantee that they won’t remember clicking on an ad at any time in the past.



People aren’t reliable.

Asking customers whether they clicked on an ad is not reliable in any way.

Most people wouldn’t even recognize an Etsy ad since a lot of them look like regular shopping results.

I try not to click on ads myself because I know that people have to pay for those clicks. But every now and then I do by accident because I don’t realize it’s an ad until the last minute.

So If I get fooled when I’m actually thinking about it, I have no doubt that people who don’t go around thinking about ads will click on them a lot more often than I do.

I’ve seen sellers get irate and blame Etsy for ripping them off, but I guarantee that your customers DO NOT REMEMBER whether they clicked on an ad or not.



What Can Sellers Do?

If Etsy sellers want to avoid offsite ads fees, you need to opt out of the program. If you’re stuck in it because you made more than the $10,000 limit, there’s nothing that you can do other than to accept the situation.

If you’re a seller in an EU country that has laws about allowing sellers to opt out of offsite ads, DO IT!!! I would opt out if I could, but there’s no way to do that.

If you can’t opt out, you can increase your prices to offset the offsite ads fees that you have to pay, but you’ll have to decide for yourself how much that increase would need to be.

If you don’t get many sales through offsite ads, you probably don’t need to worry about it. But if you get a lot of offsite ad sales, those fees can add up and you should adjust prices up.

You should probably charge an additional fee for custom orders, too, since the customer might be in an offsite ad cookie window when they pay for the listing And if they are, you won’t know it until it’s too late.

Basically, you should charge enough to begin with, and you won’t need to worry about it too much!

Kara Buntin

Kara Buntin has run a profitable home-based business since 1999, and has a background in art, theater design, and cake decorating. She's a top Etsy seller with over 51,000 sales on Etsy and her own website, and helps other home-based business owners with their business goals and SEO. She founded the Artisan Shopping Directory website to promote the artisans who are members of her EShop Success marketing program.

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