Thumbnails: How to Improve Your Etsy Listings with One Small Change

Etsy listings stress me out. I’m constantly second guessing myself about the description, about the pictures, about the pricing—basically every part of the listing has me questioning myself. In this post, I want to talk about what I used to think was one of the most minor parts of the whole listing process, but I’ve come to change my mind about: thumbnails.

The thumbnail, for those unfamiliar, is the picture that the customers see when viewing multiple products, whether that be on your shop home page, in your sections, or (and maybe most importantly) in search results. This little picture is a big deal, and that’s because it the customer’s first impression. I think if there is one single thing (besides maybe your tags) that you’re going to second guess about a listing, it ought to be your thumbnail. There’s an option to adjust the listing thumbnail on the desktop/full internet version of Etsy (not on the app, unfortunately, but you can access it from your phone’s browser) and it can be found when you’re in the “edit listing” page for a given product.

It is located right beneath the spot where you add all your pictures with the button “adjust thumbnail.” When you click on it, a new window will pop up.


And from here, you can zoom in or drag the picture into a different position. The biggest problem that I’ve found with this, though, is that you can’t zoom out.

It may not sound like a big deal, but I have found personally that if the entirety of your product isn’t visible in the thumbnail (even if one edge is a little cropped out) it won’t sell as quickly. And honestly, after I thought about it, this totally makes sense. If the customer can’t see the full product right away, they might not even know what it is! This is especially problematic for my shop, because I sell art and other basically 2D items, but I’ve seen lots of jewelry, clothing, and toy listings that seem to suffer from this “slightly cropped” issue, too.


I don’t know why, but Etsy’s thumbnails aren’t square. I take most of my pictures on the square function of my iPhone camera, so the fact that the thumbnail is close to 4:3 instead of square is always an issue for me. If you run into the same problem, I have a possible solution for ya! I add my first product picture, the one that I want to become the thumbnail, to an iOS app called Over. It is available for iPhone and iPad and it is great for graphic design/minor photo editing. Once in the app, I select a white background and a 3:4 canvas size. Then, I add my picture, rotate it so there are now white margins on the sides of the picture, and save it.

Once I’ve added these margins on the side, I upload the new image as my first listing picture. Here is the before and after, with the only change being the addition of white margins to the image:

And while this looks like a minor difference, I think the new thumbnail makes it a lot more clear what I’m selling here!


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