Google Shopping CSS is the most efficient way to place Shopping ads. CSS stands for Comparison Shopping Service and relates to the main search on the Google homepage. Until now, Google used the search results page exclusively for its own: Google Shopping price comparison. Other price comparators only appeared in the search results much later. The European Commission recognized this as unfair competition.
In order to create equal opportunities, Google relaunched the advertising platform under the name Google Shopping Europe (GSE) as a price comparison platform and opened it up to external price comparison sites, the so-called Google CSS partners. As a result, all Shopping ads that appear in Google’s main search results are part of a Comparison Shopping Service (CSS).
Google Shopping itself also acts as a CSS (“From Google”), participates in the bidding auction like the other price comparison platforms and competes with other CSSs that place bids on behalf of retailers. However, Google retains around 20% of the maximum CPC bid as a margin in order to use its own price comparison in an EU-compliant manner. This means that your bids in the Google Shopping auction are always reduced by around 20% if you use Google Shopping Europe as CSS. If you use a Google CSS partner for your Google Shopping ads, there is no margin.
For Google users, the difference is hardly noticeable, the only visible change is the added line “From ….” at the bottom of the display.
In which countries are there Google CSS Partners?
Price comparison portals can place shopping ads and free product listings on behalf of merchants in the following countries: Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden and United Kingdom.
How do Google CSS Partners work?
Price comparison portals can submit bids to place shopping ads for retailers they represent on Google search results pages. Google Shopping, just like any other price comparison portal, can therefore place bids on behalf of the retailers it represents.
This means that you as a retailer can use the Shopping ads on the general Google search results page in different ways: You can specify your product data for any price comparison portal, including Google Shopping. But you can also use several price comparison portals at the same time.
Google Shopping CSS partners use a separate Merchant Center account for each merchant they represent. With the respective account, they can upload inventory for a retailer and run shopping campaigns on their behalf. You can also add products via the product editor in Google My Business.
All Shopping campaigns must comply with the same guidelines for Shopping ads 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 where the program for price comparison portals is available also show from which price comparison portal the offer was uploaded (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.