Etsy’s affiliate program has recently gotten some extra attention, and a lot of questions about it have been posted in Facebook groups.
I’m an Etsy affiliate so I thought I’d write a guide to how it works for people who are curious.
The Etsy affiliate program is a way for people who qualify for the program to earn money by referring Etsy shops and listings to potential customers. If you give someone your affiliate link to shop on Etsy and they buy something, you receive a commission for the sale. You’re basically acting as Etsy’s salesperson and receiving a small percentage of the sale as a result.
Etsy has a good affiliate program, and there are a couple of versions of it depending on where you promote your listings.
If you’re not familiar with affiliate programs in general, read on for the specifics of what they are and how Etsy fits into the framework.
Table of Contents
- What is an affiliate program?
- How do affiliate programs work?
- How do I become an Etsy affiliate?
- How do I promote links?
- How do I get the affiliate links?
- How do affiliate programs pay you?
- What are the rules for promoting your own shop?
Some of the links in this article are affiliate links that will pay me a small commission if they’re used to purchase something. To see the entire affiliate policy click here.
What is an affiliate program?
An affiliate program is a way that people can earn a commission by sending people to a website to purchase a product or a service. By signing up to be an affiliate, you can place links in blog posts and on certain social media platforms, and if someone uses your link to purchase you’ll be paid a commission based on the rates that the program pays.
Every affiliate program has different terms and different application processes. You’ll have to apply to be an affiliate and you may or may not get in, depending on the requirements of each program.
Affiliate programs are commonly used by bloggers, so if you don’t have a blog some programs won’t accept you, but the Etsy program now has a version for people who use social media to promote products, so I’ll talk about that later.
Most affiliate programs are administered by larger affiliate networks, which are the companies that track the earnings and pay out the commissions.
There are many affiliate networks, so you need to sign up for the ones that have the companies that you want to work with.
The most well-known affiliate program is Amazon, but many companies have their own programs that pay a higher percentage if you go through them directly.
For example, you can sign up to be an Amazon affiliate and promote products from The Home Depot, but if you go directly to the Home Depot’s website you can apply to be an affiliate for them, and probably get a better commission.
Etsy’s affiliate program is administered through Awin, so if you have a blog and you want to be an Etsy affiliate, that’s where you would start.
How do affiliate programs work?
Affiliate programs let you create links that have your affiliate account number in them so that they can be tracked if someone clicks on them. This allows the program to identify the traffic that you’ve sent to the target link so that you can be credited for any sales that take place. The programs have specific parameters around how long the click is good for (the cookie period) and the percentage that you’ll earn from each sale.
The cookie period for each period is different, and some programs have longer cookies than others.
At the time that I write this, Etsy has a 30-day cookie, which means that if someone clicks on to Etsy using your affiliate link, then buys something in the next 30 days, you’ll get the credit for that sale.
However, if the customer clicks on a different affiliate’s link in that 30 days, the new link will get the credit for sales that follow.
So if someone clicks on your link, fills their cart but then leaves before buying, you won’t get credit for that.
If they come back to buy before 30 days is over, you’ll get the credit for it.
But if they click on a different affiliate link before going back to Etsy, that other affiliate will get credit for everything they put in their cart. That’s just how affiliate programs work.
Many affiliate programs have shorter cookie periods, some as short as 24 hours. So if someone clicks on a link that takes them to a site but they don’t buy within 24 hours, you’re out of luck.
The Etsy affiliate program has a good cookie period, so that’s a plus. It also pays a decent percentage, which can vary depending on where you live.
You can check the commission amount on Awin after you sign up using my affiliate link by clicking on this image (see what I did there?)
How do I become an Etsy affiliate?
If you primarily promote products using a blog:
To sign up for the Etsy affiliate program you need to go to Awin.com and apply there. The application process generally consists of filling out a form that has questions about your social media presence, website or blog names, and financial information. In general, you sign up for the network first, then you choose the programs to apply to.
After signing up on Awin, you’ll need to apply to the Etsy program. They’ll let you know whether you’ve been accepted via email.
The next thing that you need to know about affiliate links is that they need to be disclosed so that the reader knows that the link they’re clicking on might pay you something.
This isn’t an optional step, so make sure that you’re doing your disclosures correctly!
If you primarily promote products using your social media accounts:
The Etsy Creator Co program is designed for Etsy sellers who don’t have a blog so that they can still earn affiliate commissions.
If you don’t have a blog, apply for the Creator Co portion of the affiliate program since social media would be your primary way to drive traffic to your shop.
You’ll still be able to promote other people’s products as well as promoting your own, so it’s a good opportunity to offset some of your Etsy fees.
How do I promote links?
To promote affiliate links, you need to follow the rules of each platform that you’re posting on, and the laws regarding affiliate link disclosures in your country. Because of consumer protection laws, all affiliate links must be “clearly and conspicuously” marked above the posted links. A tiny statement at the end of a blog article isn’t sufficient to follow the laws about affiliate linking.
It has to be clear to the consumer that the link is something that you might be paid for.
When you’re posting affiliate links on social media, you need to make sure that the platform does allow affiliate links.
Even if the platform allows it, you might not be allowed to post in private groups that don’t allow links.
(I don’t allow any links in my Facebook group because people go nuts with affiliate links and it gets really spammy.)
A lot of programs have more requirements about how you have to post your disclosures, and if you don’t follow their specific language you can get kicked out of the program.
Amazon is one that’s very specific about how you have to phrase their affiliate disclosure.
In general, it’s not a good idea to post affiliate links in other people’s groups.
Some groups let you post links to your products, but the group owner makes you use their affiliate link so that they’ll get a commission if someone clicks on the link.
If you limit posting your links to websites and accounts that you own, you’ll be less likely to get kicked out of groups for being a spammer.
For websites and blog posts, you can usually post your disclosure in the sidebar of the page, then again in the article itself, somewhere above the first link.
As long as you have those disclosures in place you don’t need to put #ad after each link.
On social media, you need to add the #ad or clearly say “this is my affiliate link” when you post a link that you could be paid for.
You need to be totally clear about this and not try to be sneaky about it.
A lot of people don’t post their affiliate disclosures correctly, but if you don’t you could be kicked out of the program.
Worse, you could be fined for violating consumer laws, so make sure that you post your disclosures.
People aren’t put off by this anymore because they’re used to seeing ads everywhere, so don’t worry about putting #ad next to a link, it won’t phase anyone at all.
How do I get the affiliate links?
To get affiliate links to post, you need to go to the listing that you want to promote, then either go to the Awin website’s Link Generator, or use their Chrome browser extension that creates the affiliate link. The link creator will make a link that has your affiliate account number in it that you can post on blogs or on social media platforms that allow it.
Getting affiliate links is a pretty simple process, but the Chrome browser extension is the best way to get a quick, shorter link that will work well for social media posts.
The video above shows the process of going to the Awin site to get the link. The following one shows how to use the browser extension:
How do affiliate programs pay you?
As a general rule, most affiliate programs have a minimum payout amount, and you won’t be paid until your account reaches that amount. The payments are usually issued a month or so after the closing date of each pay period. Some programs have longer payout periods, so check the terms of the programs that you apply for to make sure that you understand when you’ll be paid and how much your account minimum balance has to be before you’re paid.
When you sign up for affiliate programs you’ll be required to give them your financial information so that they can pay you.
Because of this, you need to make sure that you’re signing up with a reputable company.
Some programs also require that you deposit a small amount into your account that they’ll pay you back when your account reached the minimum payout balance.
So don’t worry if they ask you to put $5 or so in your account, that’s just to make sure that the bank account you provided was valid.
What are the rules for promoting your own shop?
Most affiliate programs don’t let you earn a commission on your own products, but Etsy lets affiliates earn with links to their own shops. That means that we can use affiliate links to send people to our own shops and then earn a commission if those people buy something.
This is a really good feature because if you’re sending traffic to your own shop anyway, you can now earn the affiliate commission if you use your own links.
So you canEtsy listing fee to 2.5%.
The caveat to this is that if you have your own website, you should still be driving all of your social media traffic to your site, not to other platforms!
The fee on your site is 0%, so that’s better than an affiliate commission.
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