Etsy is tapping into its artisanal roots with a new “Stand With Small” campaign, reminding consumers that small businesses are especially in need of support during the COVID-19 crisis.
The new ads, featuring a beer-glass blower, a children’s clothing artist and a furniture maker, are intended to support its 2.7 million sellers. They serve to remind people that behind every Etsy shop, there’s a personal backstory.
“While brick-and-mortar stores remain closed, our shops are open for business with 65 million items available in the Etsy marketplace, many of which are unique and can’t be found anywhere else,” the company says in announcing the new campaign. “Every purchase on Etsy champions real people who are weathering the uncertainty of this moment just like all of us.”
The Brooklyn-based company says it is promoting the campaign on its site, as well as through email, social and paid marketing channels. A spokesperson says Etsy created the ads in-house.
Etsy is also waiving $5 million in advertising fees for its sellers in the month ahead, to help in “keeping the lights on over our virtual Main Street so that even in this time of social distancing, human-to-human connection and commerce can remain alive and well.”
That move addresses a recent controversy sparked when the company changed its policy in February, introducing a program called Offsite Ads. The new program advertises sellers’ wares on Google, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and Bing. If the ad results in a sale, it then charges the sellers an ad fee.
At the time, Mashable reported widespread seller fury. Before, sellers could set their own ad budget. Offsite Ads can automatically take 15%, on top of the shipping, transaction and payments fees it already levies on sellers. And those selling more than $10,000 in a 12-month period earning aren’t allowed to opt out.
While sellers may not like the program, “we see it as a significant improvement,” wrote Ygal Arounian, who follows the company for Wedbush Securities, at the time of the announcement. “The increased spend on performance marketing can increase sales driven through paid channels, and lift overall sales.”