Google Shopping is one of the most effective marketing channels for online shops.
The competition for the best places in the search results is correspondingly high. Cooperation with a price comparison (also CSS for Comparison Shopping Service) can be a decisive competitive advantage here.
Price comparison portals can submit bids to place shopping ads for retailers they represent on Google search results pages. Google Shopping bids on behalf of the merchants it represents in the same way as any other price comparison website.
Price comparison portals use a separate Merchant Center account for each retailer they represent. With the respective account, they can upload inventory for a retailer and run shopping campaigns on their behalf.
All campaigns must adhere to the same shopping ad guidelines and product data requirements. This means, for example, that shopping ads must lead users directly to the retailer’s landing page where the advertised product can be purchased.
The shopping ads on general Google search results pages in countries in which the price comparison portal program is available also shows which price comparison portal was used to upload the offer (see link “From price comparison portal” at the end of the ad). When users click on this link, they will be redirected to the price comparison portal website.
Work with a price comparison portal
Price comparison portals and retailers can work together in different ways. Some price comparison portals can also offer several service models or adapt the services to your specific needs.
CSS full service
In this case, the price comparison portal creates a Merchant Center and a Google Ads account on your behalf. You provide the price comparison portal with your product data and the portal staff optimize your feed, upload it to Google and manage your campaigns. Some price comparison portals also use your product data to generate leads for you from other channels.
The price comparison portals pay Google for clicks on the ads that are placed on your behalf. The price Google charges the portal depends on the result of the ad auction. You in turn pay the price comparison portal. The pricing model depends on the agreement you have made with the price comparison portal. For example, some portals charge a fixed price per click, with others the price per click depends on the category and still others charge a commission if a click leads to a sale.
Typically, the price comparison portal will also provide you with reports on the performance of the ads it has placed and the associated costs, which reports may relate to one or more of the portal’s channels. With this model, you typically don’t have access to the Merchant Center and Google Ads accounts that the portal manages on your behalf, but you may have access to tools that the price comparison portal provides.
CSS self service
If so, the price comparison portal will create a Merchant Center and Google Ads accounts on your behalf and give you access to these accounts. Another alternative is to migrate your existing account from one price comparison portal to another (see below). You manage your feeds and campaigns yourself.
The price comparison portals pay Google for clicks on the ads that are placed on your behalf. The price Google charges the portal depends on the result of the ad auction. You in turn pay the price comparison portal. The pricing model depends on the agreement you have made with the portal. With this model, the portal usually calculates a fixed percentage of the CPC paid at the Google auction. However, there are also other pricing models. Some price comparison portals offer merchants the option of paying their Google Ads bill directly and having the portal’s services charged separately.
You usually have direct access to reports in Merchant Center and Google Ads. The price comparison portal can provide additional reports on the performance of the campaigns and the associated costs. Some portals offer advisory services to help you with your shopping ads.
CSS hybrid model
These models combine components of the “managed service” and “self-management” models. For example, the price comparison portal might manage and optimize your product data feed, but you will manage the campaigns. Or vice versa: You manage your feed yourself, while the portal is responsible for campaign management.
There are variants of these hybrid models in which the price comparison portal creates a new Merchant Center account on your behalf, which you then link to an existing Google Ads account. You can use your existing Google Ads account to manage ads and free listings placed through the portal.
With other variants, Google will bill you directly for ads that are placed by a price comparison portal. This can be more useful if you manage your shopping campaigns yourself. In these cases you will usually receive a separate invoice from the price comparison portal.
In addition to the services described above, some price comparison portals may also offer other services.