What’s The Top Comparison Shopping Engine?

The Comparison Shopping Report – Q4 2011

Author | Tien

Like the changing of the seasons, four times a year we at CPC Strategy release our comparison shopping report of the top ten  CSE’s based on data gathered straight from our merchants.

No quarter is bigger for merchants than Q4 of every year, which encompasses Black Friday, Cyber  Monday, and the entire holiday shopping season where Santa opens up his wallet and makes it rain on  merchants everywhere.

Appropriately, by taking into account the 12 days of Christmas, this latest comparison shopping report marks the 12th edition of our rankings as well.

The Criteria (a.k.a. the fine print)

We essentially pull data from our 100+ clients, input all the data into our hamster-powered data analysis computer, and spit it back out.

In all we have millions of clicks accounting for tens of thousands of orders and tens of millions in revenue to account for.

Ready? Let’s get started!



The trend from last quarter continues here, with Amazon and Shopzilla taking the top two spots, but Nextag has surpassed Google to round out our top 3 traffic leaders.

In fact the top six remain quite close to each other for a change, whereas last quarter after Google there was a rather dramatic drop-off.

Our theory as to why this is: With the CPC rate increases across the board, the comparison shopping engines (with the exception of Amazon) were able to buy more traffic than they generally able to during the rest of the year, and as a result the increased spend resulted in increased traffic across the board as well.



Again, as was the case last quarter, despite falling a slot in traffic, Google more than makes up for it in its revenue return.

Nextag is right behind it, while Amazon being our comparison shopping traffic leader, finishes in third here.

Below the charts are broken into two parts, dark blue represents data from Q3 2011, and light blue reflects data from the previous quarter, Q2 2011.

Conversion Rate % (orders/clicks)


Google once again dominates this category, though the next eight spots are quite close to each other too. While 1st and 2nd place are separated by close to a full percentage point, 2nd place Pronto and 9th place Shopzilla are separated by just over 1/2 a percentage point.

COS (Cost divided by Revenue) %


Discounting the free comparison shopping sites, 4 of the 7 remaining saw a COS level that was worse off than in Q3, whereas Become+Pronto saw dramatic improvements here.

Average CPC (Cost-per-click) Rate


As was to be expected, and also perhaps the reason for the increase in traffic and a worse off cost of sale, CPC rates were up across the board with the exception of Become and Pronto–which perhaps not coincidentally saw the best improvements in COS percentage above as well.

Responsiveness Rating (ranking from 1-10, 1 being best)


Our account managers here are constantly in touch with the comparison shopping sites in an attempt to optimize our merchants’ accounts, and know first hand which engines are quickest to contact and who acts best.

Merchant Tools (ranking from 1-10, 1 being best)


Along with homepage redesigns as mentioned earlier in the comparison shopping report, several shopping engines have redone their logins in order to better accommodate merchants taking a hands on approach to best optimize their accounts.


In the end we ranked each shopping engine from each of our metrics from 1-10 and assigning a point value for each category (higher being better).

We doubled the COS % value making that out of a possible 20 points, and weighted traffic + revenue as 1.5 each for a maximum of 15, summed it up, and got the following:


Similar to the Q3 finish, Google and Nextag finish 1/2 respectively, while Amazon gains a spot and finishes at number three.

Shopping.com also saw a big upswing coming in at 4, up from 7 previously, while Pricegrabber rounds out
our top 5.

Either way, with all the traffic and orders that Q4 offered our merchants, not maximizing your exposure to potential new sales would’ve been a mistake.

Treat a customer properly once during the holiday season, and you may find yourself a repeat customer in the new year–which is is about as good a present that any merchant could hope for.

If you want to check out the comparison shopping engines for themselves, take a look at their sites here:


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