What Is Etsy Explore And How Does It Work?

Etsy Explore is a new feature that lets customers watch short-form videos along with shopping on Etsy. In a recent investor presentation, Josh Silverman, the Etsy CEO, said that their goal is to make people think of Etsy as a website they can go to in order to browse and have fun so that they’ll stay on the site longer.

This might seem strange, but there’s been a slow but consistent blurring of the lines between social media and shopping in the past few years.

Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Tik Tok, and Youtube all give users ways to buy things while they’re on the platform, so it’s not unexpected that shopping sites should also start using video to keep people on the site longer.

Etsy already uses listing videos to help customers see the products from multiple angles, but Explore is meant to be for more “produced” videos that are more for entertainment purposes.

You can think of Explore videos as more of a way to get people to come to your shop, and listing videos as a way to show the details of a specific listing.

what is Etsy Explore and how does it work

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Who can use Etsy Explore?

Etsy Explore is designed to be used on the Etsy seller app, which is the new blue version of the seller app. Explore isn’t available to all sellers or buyers yet, but it’s being rolled out over time by account. If it shows up on your Seller app, it will also show up on your regular Etsy app.

If your account has access to Explore you’ll get a notification from Etsy by email or on your shop dashboard.

When you have access, Explore will show up as an option on the seller app dashboard, and you’ll be able to post videos.

So how do you post an Explore video, and what do they look like once they’re posted?

How to post an Etsy Explore video.

To post an Etsy Explore video, go to the Etsy seller app and look for the purple banner that says “check out Explore.” Click on the banner and the Explore app will open up.

Etsy explore dashboard
Etsy Explore dashboard

The first page is a quick summary of the number of likes and views your videos have received, and the total favorites that your shop has. That number is NOT the number of favorites that came from Explore, it’s the total overall!

The bottom section is a list of the types of posts that Etsy is suggesting for you to make, and a “create new post” button at the bottom. Click that to go to the next page.

etsy explore photo upload page
Video posting page.

On the next page, you’ll be able to post your video and add more information to it. Upload your video, then choose a post type by clicking on the pencil icon next to that section. Videos can be from 2 seconds to 3 minutes long.

Etsy explore post type options
Select video type.

On this page, choose the type of video that you’re posting. I assume that at some point people might be able to filter by the type of video, or Etsy might be using them to show specific categories to people based on what they favorite and watch more or less of.

I have no plans to post anything like a meme or skit, so I’ve just been choosing “other” and filling in “product” in the box.

etsy explore choose a listing
Choosing listings.

After choosing the video type, you’re sent back to the main page, where you can link up to 5 listings to your video.

The listings are in alphabetical order and at this point, there’s no search feature, so you just have to scroll through until you find the one you’re looking for.

Whichever ones you check off will be linked in the video when it shows up on the Etsy app, and people will be able to tap the photo to go directly to the listing.

etsy explore description section
Etsy Explore description box.

After you link some listings, you’ll return to the main page where it tells you to enter a description.

Apparently, you have to use at least 5 words or Etsy gives you a little message that short descriptions aren’t “fun,” so make sure to make it longer than 5 words.

There’s no guidance about SEO as far as these descriptions go, but I wouldn’t worry about it too much. This is a browse feature, so it’s going to work differently than search does.

As long as you describe what the video is about it should be fine.

There’s also a spot for hashtags, so this looks like another nightmare as far as things to figure out goes. Again, I’m not going to worry about this too much at this point.

After filling out those three sections, you’ll click the “submit post” on the main page and your post will be live.

Watch this video to see the process. It starts on the Seller app and goes to the Etsy app after I submit the post:

Posting a video on Etsy Explore.

What do Explore videos look like on Etsy?

Explore videos appear on the homepage of the shop on the Etsy app. It’s a large rectangle that takes up the top part of the page, and the shop by sections appears right below it. When you click on “view more posts” it takes you to a page that has all of that shop’s Explore posts.

Clicking on the individual videos there will open the full video. Until you do that, you only see a 1-2 second segment of the first part of the video that goes back and forth, so it’s a little dizzying.

At the bottom of each full video is a thumbnail that the viewer can top to go to the linked listing. You can also give the video a thumbs-up or follow the shop. There’s also a way to report a post, so if someone posts something that needs to be reported you can turn it in.

At the bottom of the Etsy app there’s a little Explore button that you can tap to see a feed that has videos from shops that you’ve favorited, and probably some that Etsy is adding in based on other things you’ve shown interest in.

Click to see the video

Should you use Etsy Explore?

Etsy Explore is another way to get your listings in front of people, so it’s probably a good idea to post some videos on it. The number of people who have access to it will be increasing, so there’s less competition at this point while it’s new. Posting videos when you have access to it will let you decide whether you want to use it or not while it’s still new.

I personally don’t like the way that it displays the videos so prominently in our shops, and I also don’t like the back-and-forth of the videos before you tap them. It’s pretty nauseating to watch all that movement bouncing around.

I do like the fact that people can go directly to the listing by tapping the thumbnail in the video, and I like that people can favorite the shop from the videos.

One thing I would say is that if you’re going to create short-form video content for a bunch of different apps, you should do it outside the app and upload it so that you can reuse content in multiple places and not have a specific platform’s watermark on it.

A lot of platforms let you download the short-form videos that you’ve made, but they’ll add their watermark, and if you upload that to different places the posts might not be shown as much.

In general, it’s better to post an unwatermarked video on each app so that it will have the best chance of being seen. Sometimes it matters and sometimes it doesn’t, but you never know.

To sum it up, Explore is an option if you want to create some short-form videos, but you need to think of these differently. These should be a video that will make people want to look into the listing more, or to favorite your shop.

Explore videos can be up to 3 minutes long, so you can get a lot more into them.

Listing videos should show off the listing’s qualities, and they’re only 15 seconds long or less. These are different types of videos, and like I mentioned before, the purpose of them is different.

Explore is probably going to operate through a browse algorithm, which works differently than a search algorithm does. Once Explore has been up for a while we’ll probably learn more about that!

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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