The Top Ten Comparison Shopping Engines Compared – Q3 2010

 

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The purpose of the study is to compare the major comparison shopping engines and see how they rank.

What’s New

  1. Bing Shopping completely switched from a CPA (cost per acquisition) model to a free one at the end of July. Our rankings gathered data during both the pre and post transition period, since July represented a month of Q3.
  2. New to these rankings are the inclusion of a CSE that’s been getting a lot of buzz lately: TheFind. It’s a free CSE like Google Product Search (and more recently Bing Shopping) that gets its data via data scraping or merchant submitted data feeds.
  3. Amazon Product Ads moved up two spots as the third best overall shopping engine, taking over the top spot for highest revenue-driving engine.

For a more in-depth look at our methodology please take a look at our original rankings which provide further details into the sections below.

Here are the criteria we use to rank the CSE’s:

• overall traffic driven
• average amount of revenue generated
conversion rate
• COS (Cost of Sale) % or return on spend
• average CPC (cost-per-click) rates
• responsiveness rate among the engines
• quality of merchant tools

For the first two categories, the results are based on an index of 100, with the rest expressed as a percentage of the leader.

Also new to the rankings are the inclusion of the past quarter’s data, outlined in light blue whereas the current quarter’s data is in dark blue.


Traffic

TheFind debuts here at #9, even though it is ranked by Comscore as the #2 comparison shopping engine in traffic. The massive number of total clients on the engine means its volume per client is much more lower than the other engines. In other words, the pie, big as it is, is being divided into so many pieces that each individual client won’t see the benefits that the other engines can provide.

Amazon Product Ads was the biggest gainer here as well, slowly closing its way into being one of the most trafficked paid CSE’s in the market.


Revenue

Last quarter, Amazon surprised many of us by being the #3 driver in revenue, but now has leapfrogged all engines and solidifies its spot as the #1 revenue driver.

Nextag has also gained to the #2 spot, followed by Google.


Conversion Rate % (orders/clicks)

Bing Shopping was already a high converting engine due to its Cashback incentives, but this quarter there was a higher volume of consumers wanting to take advantage of the offers in its final days since there won’t likely be a program like it in the foreseeable future.

Amazon remains the best paid engine in terms of conversions. It’s also interesting to note that of the top 5, three are from non-CPC sources.


COS (Cost divided by Revenue) %

The three non-CPC based engines take the lead here, and Amazon’s high conversion rate helps offsets its high CPC-rates to be the best performing paid shopping engine.


Average CPC (Cost-per-click) Rate

You get what you pay for, and Amazon’s charges the most for its qualified traffic overall. Though it’ll be interesting to see how their new bidding model will affect their rates in the next rankings.


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

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Become retains the highest spot as the most responsive engine. Their account managers are not only helpful with requests, but proactive with account optimization tips. PriceGrabber, Shopzilla, and NexTag continue their commitment to merchant services with high marks as well.

Shopping.com took great strides to obtain the #5 spot with the inclusion of a new merchant call center available Monday – Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. PST. The number: (650) 616-6700


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

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Google Product Search retains the top spot with Google Analytics as a comprehensive merchant tool. Shopzilla was a close second with the addition faster reporting tools and a revamp of their bidding system.


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:

Google remains the leader with Nextag taking the spot as the best paid CSE, with Amazon taking a leap to #3 followed by Shopping.com and Shopzilla which were in a dead heat for 4th place, showing the race toward the top is a very tight and close one.

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