Google Shopping’s How Product Listing Ads (PLAs) Stole Christmas

Yesterday we released our comparison shopping engine rankings for Q4 2012, compiling merchant data to determine the number one comparison shopping engine based on variables like revenue, cost of sale (COS) and conversion rate.

Update 5/7/2013: We just released the most awesome Product Listing Ads Guide ever. At more than 15,000 words it’s the most comprehensive guide on the planet. Best of all it’s completely free. 

Where Google Shopping Won Christmas

Despite Google Shopping’s recent switch to a paid cost per click service, Google throttled the other comparison shopping engines, almost completely across the board.

Christmas Traffic for Google Shopping

Google Shopping Holiday 2012 Traffic

PLAs drove the most traffic of all of the CSEs for Q4 2012, far outshining even its closes rival Pricegrabber by 61%.

Despite the initial hullabaloo, Google Shopping dominated traffic generation for Q4, indicating that consumers still find Google a dependable source for online shopping. Since Google is continually refining and expediting the user experience with user centered features such as Google catalogs, Google Trusted Stores and Google Wallet, this doesn’t come as a huge surprise.

Google Shopping Christmas Revenue

Best CSE: Google Shopping Revenue for Christmas 2012

Where there is more traffic, there tends to be more revenue, if the traffic is qualified. This is something which Google Shopping does very well, as we can see from the Q4 revenue associated with PLAs.

Google Shopping Christmas Cost of Sale (COS)

Cost of sale (cost/revenue) is another category which Google Shopping won for Q4 2012. Although Google Shopping is a higher COS than the former free Google Product Search, it is still the best bang for the merchant buck among the comparison shopping engines.

Google Shopping Christmas Merchant Tools

Google is by far the most comprehensive engine when it comes to free tools, both for merchants and users. With resources like Google Analytics and the flexibility of metrics you can monitor in Google AdWords, there really is no comparison with the other comparison shopping engines.

Stay tuned for our 15 Tips for Google Shopping guide to learn about neat things to track for PLAs such as day of the week metrics.

Where Google Shopping Lost Christmas

While Google won the Christmas war, there are some definite battles which Google Shopping lost for Q4 2012.

Christmas Conversion Rate

Best CSE for Q4 2012: Google Shopping CR

Google Shopping’s main contender Amazon Product Ads won out for conversion rate this past quarter. Amazon shoppers are nothing if not loyal, and generally lean more towards the end of the conversion funnel than Google shoppers.

It should be interesting to see who wins out next quarter in terms of conversion rate and COS, as both Amazon and Google Shopping are close contenders in both categories.

Christmas CSE Responsiveness

While Google has some amazing merchant resources, their support team is far from noteworthy. Among all of the comparison shopping engines, Google Shopping has the slowest and least helpful support team.

Average cost per click (CPC)

Since many of the CSEs generate traffic through Google Shopping, cost per click metrics were higher for Q4 for all of the comparison shopping engines.

 

What is your take on the performance metrics for paid Google Shopping? Hit us up in the comments.

 

About the AuthorMary Weinstein is the Director of Content at CPC Strategy, and an expert in Retail Search, Google Shopping and Digital Marketing. A NY native, Mary spends her time educating online merchants, hiking and drinking copious amounts of coffee. You can also find her work on SEW, SEMRush, MOZ and Practical Ecommerce. See all posts by this author here.