The Top Ten Comparison Shopping Engines Compared – Q1 2012

The new year that seemingly began yesterday is already over a quarter way through.

With ecommerce coming off yet another record breaking quarter, merchants are preparing for things to heat up again as summer comes along–and what better way to prepare than to get the latest in the world of comparison shopping?

Below you’ll find the latest, and 13th overall edition of the top 10 comparison shopping engines ranked.

Like we did with our rankings each of the past two quarters, we’ve split up the rankings into 4 specific categories (free registration required):

Home & Garden
Sporting Goods

For full details of how we measure the CSE’s check out our previous rankings’ page:

But in essence: we train our chimps to pull data from our 100+ clients, input the ~4.2MM (million) clicks, $1MM+ in spend and close to $8MM in revenue that the CSE’s drove to them into our hamster powered computer for analysis, and finally a team of expert Excel using sloths compiled the charts you’ll see below.

So let’s get started.


Amazon is our traffic leader here with Google close behind followed by the other four CSE’s that we consider to be in the top-tier.

This marks the 4th straight quarter that Amazon has topped our rankings in traffic, and it shouldn’t be terribly surprising that the largest ecommerce company (Amazon) and search engine in the world (Google) are also the two that send our merchants the most traffic.


While Amazon was our traffic leader for the 4th straight quarter, Google emerges as our revenue leader for the 6th straight quarter, a feat it has claimed since Q4 2010.

Nextag isn’t far behind while Amazon,, Pricegrabber and Shopzilla round out the top 6 spots.

Below the charts are broken into two parts, dark blue represents data from Q1 2012, and light blue reflects data from the previous quarter, Q4 2011.

Conversion Rate % (orders/clicks)

Google is once again in a class of its own, with the results very closely align in terms of ranking to what we saw during the last quarter, with slight drop offs since we’re out of the Q4 shopping season where buyers are the most motivated to purchase compared to any other quarter.

Still the decreases are minimal, with Pricegrabber actually seeing an increase of 0.11%, and Shopzilla edging over last quarter’s results by 0.02%.

COS (Cost divided by Revenue) %

Pricegrabber is our leader here amongst the paid CSE’s, while Nextag finishes in 2nd again.

The CSE’s here alternate between their performances last quarter, with three out of the 7 actually seeing a decrease in COS %.

Average CPC (Cost-per-click) Rate

Bing Shopping – Free

Google Product Search – Free

The Find – Free

Pricegrabber – 26 cents average CPC – 32 cents average CPC

Amazon Product Ads – 33 cents average CPC

Shopzilla – 34 cents average CPC

Become – 37 cents average CPC

Pronto – 41 cents average CPC

Nextag – 42 cents average CPC

Being out of Q4 we see a decrease in CPC rates aside from a couple of CSE’s.

Pricegrabber saw the lowest CPC rates, which is due in large part to our ability to bid below rate cards, a very valuable feature for CSE management, and a good alternative to suppressing products.

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


Our account managers here are constantly in touch with the shopping engines 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)


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:



Google is our leader again but the battle for second was close, as Nextag edges Pricegrabber by a point. and Amazon round out the top half of the list, with Shopzilla finishing in 6th.

Breaking Down the Rankings by Category

Through special demand by our readers asking us to break down the CSE’s by specific categories, we have created separate studies that concentrate on apparel, electronics, home & garden, and sporting goods.


About the AuthorTien Nguyen is a co-founder of CPC Strategy and deals with data feeds in his waking hours and often in his sleep. He spends his free time with Rubik's cubes while rooting for the underachieving Raiders and UCLA sports teams where he graduated with a mathematics/economics degree. See all posts by this author here.