Etsy Affiliate Program Review 2021 – Can you make Money with Etsy?

The affiliate marketing space can feel pretty crowded at times.

The most popular affiliate programs seem to be dominated by high DA sites.

So you’re left wondering how to compete.

If only you could find an affiliate program that was broad enough to cover most niches?

Where you can find products that aren’t available anywhere else on the Internet.

In that case, Etsy might be just what you’re looking for.

But you’ll know for certain by the time you’ve finished reading our in-depth Etsy affiliate program review.

Let’s get moving.

Etsy

Etsy Homepage

If you’re not familiar with Etsy, it’s an online marketplace where crafters and vintage retailers can set up an online store. 

This allows them to become a business “owner” without having to set up a website.

The genesis of Etsy took place in a New York City apartment when three friends spotted a gap in the market.

And Etsy was born.

What does the brand name mean?

Nothing.

They made it up.

By the time 2007 rolled around Etsy had already generated over $1.5 million in sales.

And crafters and vintage sellers were flocking to the site as its name spread along the grapevine.

Etsy has gone from strength to strength since, including a successful IPO in 2015.

Etsy Stock Prices

This platform is also popular with the affiliate marketing crowd too.

Let’s find out why that’s the case.

What products can you promote?

Etsy products are focused on two key areas:

  • Handmade crafts
  • Vintage items

Now that might lead you to believe that it’s like a kind of online thrift store that only sells craft gifts and jewelry.

But we’re talking about real vintage items.

And lots more besides.

On the handmade side of things Etsy are fond of breaking their own rules by allowing mass-produced items to be sold on the site.

The good news is they’re the exception rather than the rule.

And they do kick out the obvious offenders i.e. stuff made in sweatshops.

 Anyways, it’s time to take a look at the different primary categories of products you’ll have to work with:

Jewellery & AccessoriesClothing & ShoesHome & LivingWedding & Party
Toys & EntertainmentCraft Supplies & ToolsArt & CollectiblesVintage

That might seem like a limited range of products to work with, but there are sub-categories within each primary category.

Here’s what ‘Craft Supplies & Tools” looks like:

Etsy Product Subcategories

Our more observant readers might have noticed the ‘Electronics & Circuits’ sub-category.

Crafters buy and sell their tools here.

As well as items like this:

Etsy Products

Which would be perfect for a nerd or movie site.

Or if you look at their ‘Vintage’ category you’ll find a whole other sub-category of consumer electronics – vintage cameras.

Long story short, Etsy is about far more than party decorations and novel wedding gifts. 

One common question is, “Can I be an Etsy affiliate if I already operate a store on their platform?”

The answer is “Yes”.

The only condition is that you won’t earn any commissions on items bought from your own store.

Which is more than fair.

How does the Etsy affiliate program work?

Etsy Afiliate Program Signup

This part is mercifully straightforward.

Etsy’s affiliate program is managed by Awin for North America, Europe and the rest of the world.

US publishers can also apply through the FlexOffers affiliate marketing network if you happen to get declined.

But apart from that you only ever have to deal with Awin.

So the first thing you need to know there is that this particular affiliate network charges a refundable $5 fee to join up.

I get that they do this to keep spammers out, but it’s still annoying.

Thankfully the rest of their application process isn’t. 

Etsy Affiliate Commissions

Just make sure you sign up to the correct version of the affiliate marketing program for your region.

Creatives

Awin is one of the bigger affiliate networks out there.

So they know the easier it is for affiliates to add text affiliate links or banner ads to their site, the fewer support emails they’ll have to deal with.

The layout is actually very similar to the one used by CJ Affiliate:

Etsy Affiliate Creatives

But they’ve made the process as easy as possible by adding the ‘Copy Code’ function to the frontend of their creatives:

Etsy Affiliate Creatives Copy Link

Not having to click in, click ‘Highlight code’ and then go back out is a minor headache avoided.

And it saves time.

It’s a shame more affiliate programs don’t adopt this approach.

Affiliate payments

The only thing more annoying than delayed payments is not receiving payment at all.

But if you decide to promote Etsy products via their affiliate program you can look forward to being paid on time.

Twice a month in fact – on the 1st and 15th.

Obviously, you need to have validated sales to get paid for them, so don’t expect to receive any commissions for the first 30 days, at least.

But after that you can look forward to receiving payment every 2 weeks, or monthly if you prefer.

In terms of actually getting paid by Etsy’s affiliate program you have several options available to you:

  • Check
  • International wire
  • Payment to bank account via ACH
Etsy Affiliate Payments

There are no options for PayPal or cryptocurrencies yet, but I expect that to change.

Your payout threshold is US$20 minimum but can be increased all the way up US$10,000 for the big hitters out there.

Cookies

The Etsy affiliate program comes with a 30-day cookie, which is pretty much standard for the better affiliate programs out there.

It also gives Etsy plenty of time to convert traffic to those Etsy shops into sales. 

This cookie also operates on “last click” attribution so make sure to only send warm traffic to Etsy content and offers.

Affiliate tools

These tools aren’t native to the Etsy affiliate program, but rather to the Awin network itself.

Awin Affiliate Tools

But that doesn’t make them any less useful.

The ‘Link Builder’ allows you to create deep links to products anywhere on the Etsy store.

One really nice Etsy affiliate tool is the ‘MyAwin Chrome Extension”.

This allows you to simply go to the Etsy site, browse around until you find something you like.

And then just click on the extension button to create an affiliate link right there.

Being able to create text links this way isn’t exactly revolutionary, but it does make the life of an affiliate marketer that bit easier.

Commission rates

And now we get to the really important bit – how much you get paid for adding Etsy affiliate links to your content.

In the case of the Etsy affiliate program you will receive a commission of 4% for “standard publisher” referrals and 2% per sale for referrals generated by user generated content (UGC).

Etsy Affiliate Commission Structure

“Standard publisher” sales are those that come directly from an Etsy affiliate link or banner ad.

“UGC” sales are those generated by content posted on social media platforms i.e. images, videos, etc.

Basically, it’s just safer and more profitable to use standard Etsy affiliate links.

Something else to watch out for in the Etsy affiliate program is zero commission rates based on the payment method used by a customer.

Etsy purchases made by check, money order or anything other than a credit or debit card will earn you exactly nothing.

Gift card purchases by a customer are also zero commission rate items within the Etsy affiliate program.

Now you see why I’m always banging on about reading the fine print when it comes to making money.

It’s also worth mentioning that Etsy will also pay your affiliate commission no matter what country the referral came from.

Does the 4% commission rate put you off?

Probably because you’re thinking, “How can I possibly make money as an Etsy affiliate getting 4% per sale of whatever handmade gifts cost?”

You’re right – you probably can’t.

But how about if you post affiliate links on your site that link to a vintage typewriter worth $600?

Etsy Products

Or a vintage tea set worth almost $1,000?

Etsy Products

There’s money to be made here once you stop thinking “…Etsy is just for gift ideas”.

You just have to – and I hate myself for saying this – think outside the box when it comes to Etsy offers.

If you’re willing to do that, Etsy can be an absolute gold mine of ideas. 

Support

Let’s take a look at how much support you can expect from Etsy.

Newer affiliates tend to have more questions than answers so it’s nice to see, as part of their Awin affiliate program, Etsy provides lots of support via their affiliate team/manager.

You get access to helpful videos, a Wiki, a contact form for submitting questions and even a live chat support function.

That gives you the human connection missing from most support programs.

So the information you need is never more than a few clicks away on their website.

That’s about as comprehensive as you could hope for when it comes to affiliate programs. 

Weighing it up

Still not sure how you feel about the Etsy affiliate program?

Let’s break down the obvious advantages and disadvantages to help you make your mind about whether or not you should become an Etsy affiliate. 

Pros

  • 4% commission is just about enough to make it worthwhile
  • They’re a market leader in the vintage and craft niche – Etsy is one of a kind
  • There’s enough variety of products to suit most niches
  • Each Etsy product you sell helps a small business
  • Managed by Awin, so your commissions are safe
  • Etsy has unique products that you won’t find anywhere else
  • You get a 30-day cookie
  • Lots of marketing tools and creatives to work with
  • Etsy is a company with very strong upward growth (IPO)


Cons

  • ‘Net 30’ is really more like ‘Net 60’ 
  • A 4% affiliate commission rate is still pretty mean
  • Etsy has developed a reputation for focusing more on business than their creators
  • You have to pay a refundable $5 application fee to join (Awin, not Etsy itself)

URL: Etsy affiliate program

Commission: 2% – 4%

Payment schedule: Fortnightly/Monthly

Payment threshold: $20

Cookie duration: 30 days

Summary

So is it worth your time to join the Etsy affiliate program?

Yes.

I genuinely like the Etsy marketplace and what it has to offer Etsy affiliates.  

But you have to go beyond surface-level thinking when you evaluate it.

There are tons of unique products here to suit everything from the wedding niche and home decor to the nerd audience.

Plus, retro/vintage is really popular right now.

The commission rate could be a whole lot better, but we could say that of almost any affiliate program.

It’s also a great place to research potential niches for your own sites.

And that’s also something we can help you with.

In fact, you can attend a 2-hour web class that shows you how to set up your first profitable niche site.

A site that could make money for you and your family for years to come.

And the class is 100 % Free.

No credit card required. 

The only thing you have to do is make the choice to show up.

Which you can do here.

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