The Comparison Shopping Report Q1 2014

The Comparison Shopping Report: Q2 2013

Author | Tien

What is the best Comparison Shopping Engine?

What’s the best Comparison Shopping Engine (CSE)? It’s an important question for online merchants looking to increase online orders, drive traffic, and rank high on search.

We study performance on each of the comparison engines and rank them based on:

  • Traffic
  • Revenue
  • Conversion Rate
  • Cost of sale (COS)
  • Shopping Engine Responsiveness (gives retailers, marketers and agencies an indication of how helpful each data feed marketing channel is with merchant support)
  • Merchant Tools (gives retailers, marketers and agencies an indication of how easy each data feed marketing platform is to use)

How We Rank The Comparison Shopping Engines

*Please note that the rankings below are based on CPC Strategy clients results on the CSEs. That means how we’re managing the comparison shopping engines directly affects the numbers we report, and doesn’t necessarily reflect the results you’ll get if you were to list on them.

Here’s how we manage CSEs:

  • ROI is a focus. Retailers have razor thin margins and we’re expected to hit them, so we cut fat wherever possible.
  • Our product feeds follow best practices and are custom-built.
  • Our Data Analysts adjust bids on a daily basis, which affects all reporting variables.
  • Numbers and strategy vary across categories, so for certain category retailers, COS numbers are lower or higher.

Google Note: Free Google traffic is basically negligible this quarter, so for the first time in our Rankings history, it has been removed.

Bing Note: Bing Product Ads launced in late March, too late to be considered in this round of Rankings. The Bing referenced here is the free engine.

Best Comparison Shopping Engine: Q1 2014

Best Comparison Shopping Engine: Conversion Rate


As Q1 of 2014 has come to a close, there has been an upset in the rankings from last quarter. Shopzilla steals the top spot from Bing with a 3.83% conversion rate. Pronto follows closely in 2nd with a conversion rate of 3.51%. This quarter, Shopzilla and Pronto are the only two CSEs to get above a 3% conversion rate. Google Shopping holds onto a 2.81% conversion rate in Q1, allowing Google to slot into 3rd place this quarter.

Conversion Rate Changes From Q4 2013:

  • Google Shopping conversion rate falls below 3% after the holiday rush of Q4.
  • Amazon Product Ads falls from a 3.48% conversion rate during Q4 to only 2.05%
  • Bing’s performance seems to be mimicking Q1 for 2013 with a 1.47% conversion rate for Q1 2014. This is a drastic change from it’s 4.58% conversion rate from Q4 2013.
  • Shopzilla continues to rise in Q1, raising CR from 3.12% in Q4 to 3.83% this quarter

Best Comparison Shopping Engine: Cost Of Sale (COS)


Q1 marks the last free quarter for Bing and the disappearance of Google’s free option. Excluding Bing, cost of sale percentages were again noticeably higher across the board in Q1 for the top rankers from Q4. Despite that, Google PLAs maintain their top spot of the lowest COS with 14.27%. Pricegrabber also manages to get the second lowest cost of sale at 15.52%.

Cost of Sale Changes From Q4 2013:

  • Google PLA COS rose from 13.15% in Q4 2013 to 14.27% into Q1
  • Amazon COS rose 14.26%, losing it’s high ranking from Q4
  • Pricegrabber and Shopzilla’s COS fell significantly from Q4, both seeing nearly a 10% reduction in COS
  • Become saw the largest decrease in COS, dropping from over 33.65% to 18.84%

Best Comparison Shopping Engine: Traffic


It should be no surprise that Google PLAs once again reign supreme over its shopping engine peers, driving the most traffic in Q1. eBay Commerce Network ( maintains 2nd place and increases its overall traffic for Q1. Pricegrabber also makes a strong move and increases its traffic to secure 3rd place.

Traffic Changes From Q4 2013:

  • The gap between Google and 2nd place shrinks for Q1 of 2014
  • Amazon’s clicks increase significantly in Q1 bringing them up to 4th place
  • Pricegrabber’s traffic for Q1 doubled from Q4 rising to 3rd place
  • Nextag’s traffic fell to significantly this quarter

Best Comparison Shopping Engine: Revenue


Google PLAs dominate for revenue yet again, solidifying itself as the best investment for ecommerce merchants. Pricegrabber comes in 2nd with just about half of Google’s revenue and doubling from Q4 2013. Shopzilla and both make impressive gains reaching 3rd & 4th place respectively.

Revenue Changes From Q4 2013:

  • Amazon makes made a solid gain for Q1 coming out of Q4
  • Pronto continues to fall behind only making a small gain in Q1

Best Comparison Shopping Engine: Responsiveness Rating

Comparison shopping engine responsiveness is rated on a scale of 1-9, 1 being the most responsive comparison engine, and 9 being the least responsive.

Comparison Shopping Engine Responsiveness

1. Become
2. Amazon
3. Shopzilla
4. Pricegrabber
5. Nextag
6. Pronto
7. eBay Commerce Network (
8. Bing
9. Google PLA

The Retail Search Analysts at CPC consult with the shopping engines, and support daily in order to troubleshoot campaign issues and optimize strategy. They know first hand which engines are quickest to respond and how helpful those responses are.

In general (and with AdWords Support), persistence pays off.

Best Comparison Shopping Engine: Merchant Tools

Comparison shopping engine merchant tools are rated on a scale of 1-9, 1 being the shopping engine with the best merchant tools, and 9 being the comparison engine with the least helpful tools.

Comparison Shopping Engine Merchant Tools

1. Google PLA
2. Pricegrabber
3. Shopzilla
4. Nextag
5. Ebay Commerce Network (
6. Become
7. Pronto
8. Amazon
9. Bing

The Comparison Shopping Report Q1 2014: Top 10 Shopping Engines

The top comparison shopping engines are rated based on the number of products we’re sending for each engine compared to the previous year. A perfect score this quarter would be an 83.

Comparison Shopping Engine Traffic* Revenue* Conversion Rate (%)* Cost of Sale (COS)** Comparison Engine Responsiveness Comparison Engine Tools Total
Google Product Listing Ads 15 15 12 18 1 9 70
Shopzilla 5.27 6.79 15 14 7 7 55.06
Pricegrabber 9.4 7.66 6 16 6 8 53.06
Amazon 4.2 3.59 7.5 12 8 2 37.29
Shopping 10.03 6.63 4.5 8 3 5 37.16
Become 1.12 1.3 9 10 9 4 34.51
Nextag 2.25 2.48 10.5 6 5 6 32.23
Bing 1.96 1.49 3 20 2 1 29.45
Pronto 0.12 0.12 13.5 4 4 3 24.74

*Based out of a total of 15 maximum points. The leader in each category gets 15 points, while the rest are weighted based on a percentage of the leader.

**Based out of 20 maximum points, with 20 being achievable for only the free-click CSEs (Google’s remaining free clicks and Bing).

e.g. If CSE1 got the top spot with 100 clicks and CSE2 got 50 clicks, CSE1 would get 15 points and CSE2 would get 7.5 points.

The results again show Google to be the dominating force in eCommerce. However, during the post holiday rush, Q1 has shown Shopzilla and Pricegrabber to be fighting close for 2nd and that they are still lucrative channels. Amazon slips into 4th place, just barely above this quarter. The biggest transition for Q2 will be Bing Product Ads. With the free option gone, Q2 will have all eyes on Bing as their offering develops.

So whether your goal is to increase traffic/order volume, or to cut costs and make the most efficient use out of your spend, there’s a strategy in place for you and a need for each of the CSEs that will work.


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