The Comparison Shopping Report – Q3 2010




Author | Tien

The Comparison Shopping Report is designed to compare the major comparison shopping engines and see how they measure up.

Q3 2010: What’s New

  1. Bing Shopping 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. This quarter we’ve included 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 comparison shopping report which provides further details into the sections below.

Here are the criteria we use to compile our comparison shopping report:

  • Overall traffic driven
  • Average revenue generated
  • Conversion rate
  • COS (Cost of Sale) % or return on spend
  • Average CPC (cost-per-click)
  • Responsiveness rate among the engines
  • Merchant tools quality

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

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


Traffic

comparison-shopping-traffic-q32010

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 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

comparison-shopping-revenue-q32010

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

Nextag also moved up to the #2 spot, followed by Google.


Conversion Rate % (orders/clicks)

comparison-shopping-cr-q32010

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

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


Cost of Sale (COS: Cost divided by Revenue) %

comparison-shopping-cos-q32010

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

comparison-shopping-cpc-q32010

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.


Responsiveness Rating (ranking from 1-10, 1 being the CSE with the best customer service)

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Become retains the most responsive comparison shopping 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 faster reporting tools and a revamp of their bidding system.


Conclusion

In the end we ranked each comparison shopping engine based on the above metrics 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, to conclude the following:

Google remains the number one shopping channel, with Nextag taking the spot as the top paid CSE. Amazon leapt up to the third spot, followed by Shopping.com and Shopzilla which were in a dead heat for 4th place.

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