The Comparison Shopping Report Q2 2014

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.

Best Comparison Shopping Engine: Q1 2014

Best Comparison Shopping Engine: Conversion Rate


For Q2 2014 conversion rates, Bing Product Ads made a major move and stole the top spot with a conversion rate of 2.81% in Q2 while Amazon followed closely with a conversion rate of 2.6%. Google Shopping’s conversion rate fell to 2.48%, which allowed Google to tie with Shopzilla.

This quarter, no CSEs achieved a conversion rate above 3%. 

Conversion Rate Changes From Q1 2014:

  • Pronto’s conversion rate dropped significantly from 3.51% to only 0.43%
  • Shopzilla’s upward conversion rate trend from Q1 has stalled with Q2 conversion rate falling from 3.83% to 2.48%
  • Bing Product Ads exhibited strong growth with an improved conversion rate of 2.81%

Best Comparison Shopping Engine: Cost Of Sale (COS)


Following Q1’s upward cost of sale trend, Q2 cost of sale percentages similarly increased across the board. Google PLAs maintained the top spot with the lowest COS at 9.82% and Pricegrabber held the second lowest cost of sale at 13.92%. Despite being the 3rd lowest cost of sale across the shopping channels, Amazon’s cost of sale increased almost 1%.

Cost of Sale Changes From Q1 2014:

  • Google PLA COS dropped from 14.27% in Q1 2014 to 9.82% in Q2
  • Pronto’s COS rose nearly 10% making it the only CSE with a COS above 30%
  • Pricegrabber’s COS fell slightly from 15.52% to 13.91% in Q2

Best Comparison Shopping Engine: Traffic


It should be no surprise that Google PLAs reigned supreme over its shopping engine peers, driving the most traffic in Q2. Despite generating the second highest traffic for Q1, eBay Commerce Network (formerly dropped to 3rd place this quarter. Pricegrabber’s traffic increased to 2nd highest overall, improving from the 3rd place spot.

Traffic Changes From Q1 2014:

  • The difference between the highest traffic generator, Google, and second place click volume continued to grow in Q2
  • Amazon’s clicks decreased in Q2 dropping them to 5th highest for traffic
  • Following Bing’s March paid switch, Bing Product Ads traffic grew in Q2 compared to the formerly free option

Best Comparison Shopping Engine: Revenue


Google PLAs generated the highest revenue in Q2 2014, solidifying itself as the best investment for ecommerce merchants. Pricegrabber produced the 2nd highest revenue, roughly half of Google’s revenue, for the second quarter in a row.

Revenue Changes From Q1 2014:

  • eBay Commerce Network revenue fell 23% during Q2
  • Bing’ Product Ads revenue doubled from Q1 to Q2
  • Shopzilla revenue fell drastically, 40% compared to Q1 2014

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

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. Bing
7. Amazon
8. Pronto
9. Become

The Comparison Shopping Report Q2 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.

Comparison Shopping Engine Traffic* Revenue* Conversion Rate (%)* Cost of Sale (COS)** Comparison Engine Responsiveness Comparison Engine Tools Total
Google Product Listing Ads 15 15 10.5 20 8 9 77.5
Pricegrabber 6.16 3.36 4.5 18 5 8 45.02
Shopzilla 4.1 2.8 12 10 7 7 42.9
Amazon 4.2 3.59 13.5 16 2 3 40.15
Nextag 3.03 2.17 7.5 14 6 6 38.7
eBay Commerce Network 5.14 2.75 6 12 4 5 34.89
Bing 2.45 1.38 15 8 3 4 33.83
Become 1.51 0.58 9 6 9 1 27.09
Pronto 0.74 0.23 3 4 1 2 10.97

*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.

According to the study, Google dominated ecommerce during Q2 with the highest numbers across the board. Pricegrabber and Shopzilla continue to fight for 2nd place and emphasizing the continued profitability of those channels for retailers. Amazon held onto 4th place, just above Nextag this quarter.

Similar to Google’s paid switch in 2012, Bing Product Ads paid switch has increased the channels impact for online merchants. As Bing continues to mature their platform, merchants should keep an eye on Bing during Q3.

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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