The Comparison Shopping Report Q3 2014
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:
- 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: Q3 2014
- Best Comparison Shopping Engine: Conversion Rate
- Best Comparison Shopping Engine: Cost Of Sale (COS)
- Best Comparison Shopping Engine: Traffic
- Best Comparison Shopping Engine: Revenue
- Best Comparison Shopping Engine: Responsiveness Rating
- Best Comparison Shopping Engine: Merchant Tools
- The Comparison Shopping Report Q3 2014: Top 10 CSEs
Conversion rates increased across the board in Q3 and, Bing Product Ads continues to improve with a conversion rate of 3.6% in Q3. Pronto made a dramatic improvement and stole the top spot with the best conversion rate, 3.64%, in Q3. Google Shopping’s conversion improved from Q2 and rose to 3.5%, with Become following closely at 3.49%.
Conversion Rate Changes From Q2 2014:
- Pronto’s conversion rate increased from .43% to 3.64%
- Shopzilla’s conversion rate remained stagnant increasing .05% to only 2.53%
- Bing Product Ads continues to grow increasing from 2.81% to 3.6%
Google PLAs maintained the lowest COS at 12.27% and Pricegrabber held the second lowest cost of sale at 16.75% for the second quarter in a row. Bing ousted Amazon for the third best COS at 16.93% with Amazon falling behind Shopping.com
Cost of Sale Changes From Q2 2014:
- Bing improved it’s COS to 16.93%, dropping 5% from Q2
- Google’s COS reversed their downward trend from Q2 and rose to 12.27%
- Pronto’s COS fell sharply to 22.6% compared to a COS of 33.99% in Q2
It should be no surprise that Google PLAs reigned supreme again over its shopping engine peers, driving the most traffic in Q3. Performance between the top three contenders. is largely unchanged during Q3 except Pricegrabber increasing it’s traffic over 20% during Q3.
Traffic Changes From Q2 2014:
- The eBay Commerce Network was narrowly pushed out of the top three, dropping to 4th place for traffic
- Amazon’s traffic recovered in Q3, increasing traffic by nearly 15%
- Become doubled traffic during Q3
Google PLAs generated the highest revenue in Q3 2014 and continues to prove itself as the best investment for ecommerce merchants. Pricegrabber maintained the 2nd highest revenue for the third quarter in a row with Shopzilla following suit in 3rd place.
Revenue Changes From Q2 2014:
- Bing continues to improve it’s revenue for the second paid quarter
- eBay Commerce Network revenue continued to fall another 5% during Q3
- Pronto’s revenue remained static for the third quarter in a row
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
|6. eBay Commerce Network (Shopping.com)|
The Retail Search Managers 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.
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
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||12||20||8||9||79|
*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.
Following the trend from Q2, Google has continued to dominate ecommerce with the highest numbers in nearly every category. Pricegrabber held onto 2nd place with Bing hot on it’s heels in 3rd place for Q3. Shopping.com fell behind the top 3 for the first time this year into 4th place.
The results clearly show Bing’s growth after the switch to a paid model at the end of Q1. As Bing continues to mature, merchants should keep an eye on Bing as a profitable channel during Q4.
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.