Friday, 5 April 2013

HOW TO: Get on the Etsy Front Page

Presenting a pseudo-scientific color guide for Etsy sellers aka image processing fun in MATLAB...

If you own an Etsy shop, chances are you have wondered (and most likely Googled), "Just how does one get on the Etsy Front Page?!" You know what I am talking about - that amazing, magical hour, during which your item is featured brings the kind of traffic you can only dream about. Making it ever so elusive, how Etsy picks the winning treasury list is also kind of a mystery. The hilarious Regretsy likens this selection process to "throwing corn on a keyboard, and going with whatever the chicken pecks out". 

Yup, it does feel that way. But is it? It surely hasn't stopped people from trying to figure it out. And I love that. However, it's not a total black box. Many people have noticed that the rule-of-thumb seems to involve photos with white/light backgrounds that create "a muted selection of desaturated creaminess". So in this post, I am going to try to verify this observation and explore other trends. 

Data is Everything
First, I downloaded 366 Front Page screenshots from Craft Cult - what a wonderful site for data lovers! Each image is taken at around 9 PM everyday in 2012. Like this one with a Fiber Lab Mint Bubble contributing to a collection of romantic spring hues. 
Hey, mint Bubble! You fit right in.

Now, why did I pick 9 PM? Tim Layton attempted to analyze the best time to list on Etsy, and it turns out to be around 9:30 AM and PM. (And I've been doing it all wrong. Oh well.) So, being on the Front Page during that time is the ultimate jackpot, right? 

Pixels Organized Neatly
Then I used MATLAB, a numerical computing software, to sort each pixel into color circles. Each ring shows a main color in the treasury list. The ring size is proportional to the amount of pixels in that color group.
Woah, hypnotic. 

This looks really cool and pretty, but not entirely useful at revealing any color trends. After trying out several ways to represent these color data, I decided to plotted each ring as circles on a color wheel.


The colors don't always match the color wheel due to variations in saturation. Front Page worthy pixels are usually less saturated. 

The straight line across the middle indicates the most dominant color pair, in this case, peach and mint. Repeating this method for every treasury that I have collected. The following are the monthly results. 
Jan / Feb
Mar / Apr
May / Jun
Jul / Aug
Sept / Oct
Nov / Dec

Do You See It?
So, I think it's safe to say that the observations are spot-on. You have the best chance if you go with whites with warm and earthy undertones. Sometimes pairing them with the complementary blue hues works. And honestly, don't even try to be creative and bother with the purples and bright greens. Apparently nobody likes them. There is little variation in what is popular throughout the year. Somewhat disappointing, as I was really hoping to see brighter colors in the summer and duller ones in the winter. Wouldn't that be a really cool trend?

Learning is Fun
Is there a point to this? Probably not a whole lot, but I learned a few tricks while playing in MATLAB. That is the important thing, and I am totally enjoying these pretty circles. If you want to know more about how these are generated, please let me know. Thanks for reading!

1 comment:

  1. Honestly: This is a great post! I think it's useful information for everybody having an online-shop. And yeah, as you said it; you tried something new :)

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