Q1 2013 CSE Rankings

Update 5/7/2013: We just released the most awesome Product Listing Ads Guide ever. At more than 15,000 words it’s the most comprehensive guide on the planet. Best of all it’s completely free. 

Intro

As an eCommerce retailer advertising online can often feel like stepping into a huge poker room.

You’re surrounded by a bunch of people of varying skill levels who all have one goal in mind: turning their hard earned money into much greater amounts. And if you don’t have a good strategy coming in, you’ll likely be going home with empty pockets and broken dreams.

Also as the saying goes, if you can’t spot the one who has no idea what they’re doing, then it’s probably you.

In the last edition of the rankings we saw that the second place CSE provide less than 2/3s the amount of traffic to each merchant as Google did, and all the others drive a fraction of the revenue that Google did.

Would this trend continue?

We’ll find out in the 17th edition of our quarterly rankings below.

The Study

For full details of how we measure the CSE’s check out our previous rankings’ page: http://cpcstrategy.com/blog/the-top-ten-comparison-shopping-engines-compared-q3-2011/

How We Measured Google

We repeated what we did last time and separated free and paid traffic out to demonstrate the differences between not only the amount of traffic of free vs paid traffic a merchant was getting, but the performance between the two as well.

So let’s get started.

Traffic


 

Last quarter the closest CSE to Google in terms of traffic drove about 60% of what Google did. This time around it’s Shopping.com driving just a hair over half the amount of traffic that Google did.

As we noticed last quarter, Shopping.com, Pricegrabber, and Nextag are close to each other in traffic because they are listing products their on Google PLAs, whereas Shopzilla is not. Amazon Product Ads manages to sneak its way in the group as well.

The gap between paid Google traffic and free Google traffic has widened this quarter as well.


Revenue

The gap between Google and number two, Amazon Product Ads is shortened up here, but the others fall further behind when it comes to revenue driven.

Free Google traffic is near the bottom.


Conversion Rate % (orders/clicks)

We see here just how qualified paid Google traffic can be with a conversion rate that’s 1/2 a percent higher than its next highest competitor, Nextag.

Amazon Product Ads barely trails it and Shopping.com not far behind.


COS (Cost divided by Revenue) %

 

Google PLAs once again is the best here when it comes to the paid shopping engines, with Amazon Product Ads not far behind.


Shopping Engine Responsiveness Rating (ranking from 1-9, 1 being best)

    1.  
    2.  
    3.   
    4.   

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 1-9, 1 being best)


Conclusion

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:

1.  (paid)

2. 
3.
4.
4.
6. (free)
7. 
8. 
9. 
10.

While there were initial concerns that removing free Google traffic would hurt a retailer’s bottom line, it actually now has the potential become more profitable than ever before since so much more is possible now in terms of strategy.

As a result they remain our top CSE with the amount of traffic and revenue that it drives, while being of very high quality.

Nextag and Amazon Product Ads round out the top 3, and Pricegrabber + Shopping.com finish out our top half.

One should note however, that unlike before Google is only a viable channel through proper management and is no longer a set it and forget it type of channel.

Make sure you have the strategies in place to take advantage of all that Google can provide you and your bottom line.

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.