The Comparison Shopping Report: Q3 2013

Author | Tien

What is the best Comparison Shopping Engine?

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

To answer the question “What is the best Comparison Shopping Engine?” 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 effects all reporting variables. 

– Numbers and strategy vary across categories, so  for certain category retailers, COS numbers are lower or higher.

Google Note: Like the previous quarter, we separated free and paid Google numbers.


Best Comparison Shopping Engine: Q3 2013

To answer the question “What is the best Comparison Shopping Engine?”  for online merchants this quarter (Q3 2013), check out the comparison shopping report below.

Best Comparison Shopping Engine: Conversion Rate

Best Comparison Shopping Engine: Cost Of Sale (COS)

Best Comparison Shopping Engine: Traffic

Best Comparison Shopping Engine: Revenue

Best Comparison Shopping Engine: Responsiveness Rating

Best Comparison Shopping Engine: Merchant Tools

The Comparison Shopping Report Q3 2013: Top 10 CSEs


Best Comparison Shopping Engine: Conversion Rate

Q3 2013 Conversion rate CSEs

Amazon Product Ads swept the competition this online sales quarter, with 2.78% Conversion rate .37% higher than Google Shopping.

Google seems to be losing some steam with conversion rate, while Amazon is picking up the reigns and then some. Bing and Become seem to have switched places from Q2 to Q3.

Conversion Rate Changes From Q2 2013:

  •  Google Shopping took a significant step down for conversion rate, from 3.41% during Q2 to 2.41 over Q3 2013, from the top converting CSE to the third  highest.
  • Amazon Product Ads rocketed from 7th best converting CSE with 2.12% conversion rate during Q2 2013 to the highest converting comparison shopping engine for Q3, a .66% increase quarter to quarter.
  • Bing  saw a significant decrease for conversion rate, from 3.33% during Q2 (2nd highest converting CSE) to 1.32% during Q3 2013.


Best Comparison Shopping Engine: Cost Of Sale (COS)

Q3 2013 best CSE COS

Comparison Shopping Engines with no CPC rates continue to be the best Cost of Sale for online merchants, however both engines are limiting for sellers. Free Google traffic continues to dwindle, (and even dissapear), while Bing Shopping is no longer a free option for online merchants.

Across the board COS decreased among all of the CSEs, with the highest COS decreasing from 28% to 21%.

With more paid Google Shopping traffic, and Google competition Google’s COS has increased significantly, higher than the majority of comparison engines available to online retailers.

Conversion Rate Changes From Q2 2013:

  • Google COS rose from 12% during Q2 to 16% this quarter.
  • While Amazon is still the fourth lowest COS CSE, the engine decreased from 20% to 15% COS from Q2 to Q3 2013.

Best Comparison Shopping Engine: Traffic

Q3 2103 best traffic CSE

Since the beginning, Google has reigned champion for CSE traffic. Q3 traffic for Product Listing Ads is no exception, although the gap between the second highest traffic generating engine has shrunk significantly this quarter from 63 to 50 clicks. 

Traffic Changes From Q2 2013:

  • Amazon saw a significant decrease in click volume during Q3, down from 32 in Q2.
  • For Q3 2013, Pricegrabber bumped Nextag out of second place for click traffic, moving up from the 5th higherst volume engine during Q2.
  • Formerly the second highest click volume engine, Nextag lost its footing during Q3 slipping from 37 to 35 clicks as the fourth highest clicked CSE.
  • Although still the third highest click traffic generating engine, Ebay Commerce Network (formerly increased click volume from 32 during Q2 to 43 during Q3.

Best Comparison Shopping Engine: Revenue

Q3 2013 best revenue CSE

Again, Google is the best investment for online merchants as the highest revenue generating online shopping engine. Like last quarter, Nextag is the second best choice with half of Google’s revenue.

Across the board, online revenue increased for all Comparison Shopping Engines

Revenue Changes From Q2 2013:

  •  Although still the second highest revenue generating CSE, Nextag increased retailer revenue during Q3, up from 30 during Q2.
  • Despite an significant increase in revenue (15 to 39) Amazon Product Ads lost its third place for revenue generating CSE during Q2, down to 5th for Q3.
  • For almost every engine except Google, CSE revenue has more than doubled for Q3.

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. Pricegrabber
3. Nextag
4. Amazon Product Ads
5. Shopzilla
6. Pronto
7. Ebay Commerce Network (Shopping)
8. Bing
9. Google 

The Account Managers 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 repsonses 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 
2. Pricegrabber
3. Shopzilla
4. Nextag
5. Become
6. Ebay Commerce Network (Shopping)
7. Pronto
8. Amazon Product Ads
9. Bing 

The Comparison Shopping Report Q3 2013: Top 10 CSEs

The top comparison shopping engines are rated based on the number of products we’re sending for each engine compared to the previous year and Google.

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 6 1 9 58
Nextag 5.33 7.55 10.5 14 7 6 50.38
Pricegrabber 7.42 6.55 1 16 8 8 46.97
Shopzilla 3.94 6.45 9 12 5 7 43.39
Amazon 4.34 5.91 15 8 6 2 41.25
Free Google 1.93 0.64 6 20 1 9 38.56
Become 2.68 2.59 13.5 4 9 5 36.77
Ebay Commerce Nework (Shopping) 6.45 5.41 4.5 10 3 4 33.36
Bing 0.88 0.41 3 20 2 1 27.29
Pronto 0.50 0.29 7.5 2 4 3 17.29

*Traffic and revenue are 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.

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

Google is on top here but it is close all the way around.

The most notable takeaway is that in terms of Cost of Sale Google drops down a bit, which is a combination of increasing click costs and our refining management strategies to keep the COS lower for the other CSEs.

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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