Since September 2017, comparison sites are visible in the Google Shopping results. These results are only visible on Google’s search results page (and not when users click in Google on the “Shopping” tab). Google has implemented this adjustment in connection with a fine (imposed by the European Union). Advertising through a CSS (for example via AdResults’ own CSS) has considerable financial benefits.
Google CSS: how does it work?
This is a short video explaining CSS, this video is published by Google itself:
In June 2017 it was announced that the European Union would impose a high fine on Google (of 2.4 billion euros) if Google Shopping would not be changed.
According to the EU, there is an improper abuse of power by Google because it makes Google’s own Google Shopping comparison site more prominent than other price comparisons.
Meanwhile, Google has changed its Google Shopping service to prevent more fines from the EU: price comparison sites (such as Bigshopper.com) are now also visible at the Shopping results within Google Search (within the “Shopping” tab in Google these comparison sites are not visible).
There are 2 results visible from Google and one from a CSS (in this case the CSS Bigshopper). This change increases competition in Google Shopping.
Google CSS pros and cons
It is possible to transfer an existing Google Merchant Center from Google to a CSS (Comparison Shopping Partner). In terms of look and feel nothing changes: it is possible to keep an existing merchant center (including all history). The only thing that changes is that under each product advertisement there is no longer “By Google” visible, but the name of the CSS. AdResults is using the price comparison tool Bigshopper.nl for its customers, (and also Bigshopper.com for other countries in Europe). If we connect a customer, there will be “By Bigshopper” under the product advertisements (see also the example in the image above).
Google CSS disadvantages
There is one disadvantage and that is that other CSS partners (possibly other comparison sites) are no longer visible in the Merchant Center. You can solve this by creating a new Ads account. However, there are also many advantages to CSS.
Google CSS benefits
The biggest advantage is that there is a financial discount. Google calculates a margin of 20% according to various sources. It normally goes with the auction. This means that a bid via non-CSS (the standard situation in which Google Shopping is advertised) is 20% lower than that actually required: 80% of the bid goes into the auction, 20% goes directly to Google. If a merchant center is connected through a CSS, the full bid will go into the auction. This means higher bids / positions with constant CPCs or a cost reduction.
From the 1st of Januari 2019, no more cashback will be given by Google. Still, the margin profit of 20% will stay. Every 1.000 euros that is spend in Shopping through a CSS on the search result page of Google, will give a discount of 200 euros on the click prices. This margin is not visible in Google Ads, but is immediately taken into account in the bidding. Advertising through Google means that for every 1 euro bid, only 80 cents will go into the auction (for Shopping Ads visible on the search result pages), with a CSS 1 euro will go into the auction (a bid raise of 25%).
Google CSS in practice
Google sees CSS Partners as competitors of Google. This has shown Google schematically in this way:
This means in practice that there is nothing different: the current Ads account and the current Google Merchant center can remain, the only thing that Google adapts is a change in the background that the Merchant account runs through the CSS and not through Google itself. The change ensures that there is a link to the CSS under each product, instead of a link to the Google Shopping tab. The transfer and direct benefit of the financial benefits can therefore be done easily and quickly. Our experience is that the transfer does not have a negative impact on the Shopping campaigns and even after the transfer, it shows a better result (given the margin advantage).