About Shopping Ads
Shopping Ads are Google sponsored ads displayed in a special, very visually oriented format (very similar to dynamic remarketing). These ads are based on product feeds (the inventory of an online shop) and are displayed in Google Search, Google Display and Youtube – but predominantly in Search.
Shopping Ads ads appear either above Google search results or on the side and contain more information than standard Google Ads, namely: product picture, name, price, store name, and other information. Precisely because the ads contain so much information about the products sold, they are considered very suitable for e-commerce. Potential buyers have access to more information, so clicks on ads are more relevant and can lead to more conversions.
Read more about Shopping Ads.
Advertisers can do Shopping Ads either directly by uploading their product feed to Google Merchant Center or through CSS (Comparison Shopping Service) partners.
What is Google CSS (Comparison Shopping Services)?
Google Comparison Shopping Services are product aggregator sites certified by Google to place Shopping Ads in Google on behalf of the online stores (hereafter referred to as advertisers) they work with.
What’s really interesting about CSS is that an online shop can (and is even recommended) to work with multiple CSS providers, including Google. Why? Because there is the possibility to receive multiple listings in the same search from different CSS partners, thus increasing their visibility. The more products displayed, the more chances of clicks and sales.
CSS partners bidding for the same advertiser do NOT compete with each other, only with CSS partners bidding for different advertisers.
Let’s say you have a dress shop and work with 2 different CSS partners. When someone Googles “day dresses” the 2 CSS partners you work with bid as follows: 0.5 lei/click and 0.7 lei/click. At the same time, 2 other CSS partners bid 0.5 lei/click and 0.6 lei/click respectively for the competing shop. Your CSS partner who bid 0.7 lei/click wins the auction, but pays 0.6 lei/click, i.e. the highest bid of the competing CSS partner:
|CSS Partner||Online Shop||Bid||Cost paid per click|
|CSS 1||Shop 1 (you)||0,5 lei/click|
|CSS 2 – Winner||Shop 1 (you)||0,7 lei/click||0,6 lei/click|
|CSS 3||Shop 2 (competitor)||0,5 lei/click|
|CSS 4||Shop 2 (competitor)||0,6 lei/click|
CSS payment models
CSS partners can work with advertisers using different payment models: flat rate, cost per display, cost per click or cost per sale (pay per conversion). Cost per sale is by far the most advantageous model used in affiliate marketing.
Why work with CSS partners through affiliation?
- CSS partners working on cost per conversion will avoid bidding on cost per click listings because it involves higher costs, so they won’t get clicks and positions from the source store.
- You pay per valid conversion, not per display or per click. So you are not taking any risk.
- CSS partners are Shopping Ads experts who receive certification from Google after undergoing special training. So you get access to the best specialists, which translates into increased performance for your ads and consequently more sales.
- CSS partners are specialists with technical backgrounds who have developed their own advanced display technologies versus Google Shopping CPC campaign management capabilities (advanced feed structure mapping, programmatic associations to maximize profitability, etc.). This means more views, more clicks, more sales.
- You can also get traffic from CSS partner sites. Like I said, CSS are product aggregator sites, which obviously also get organic traffic. Even if the Shopping Ads contain links directly to the advertiser’s website.
- You can work with multiple CSSs, without affecting your cost per click but gaining more visibility in return.
- Unlike search ads, with CSS the ad is generated 100% from the feed the advertiser provides.
Can I run other types of Google ads at the same time?
Answer: Yes, and the major benefit is that text ads in search can be displayed concurrently with Shopping Ads. So you can get double visibility, which will also increase your brand awareness.
In my affiliate program I don’t allow Google Ads promotion because I want to keep control of my brand messaging. Is Google CSS a better solution?
Answer: Yes, because Google CSS relies on the advertiser’s product feed. The affiliate (CSS partner) placing the ads does not modify or add text, so the ads displayed only contain the information from the feed. Thus the advertiser has full control over the branding.
In my affiliate program I do not allow Google Ads promotion for cost reasons. Is CSS a better solution?
Answer: We recommend accepting Google Ads promotion anyway and the very good results from PPC specialists on the platform support this recommendation. One of the advertisers in 2Performant has publicly stated that affiliate PPC increases their sales by at least 60%.
But we understand your reasoning and propose an alternative: promotion via Google CSS. When several affiliates, CSS partners, promote you through Shopping Ads, they are not competing against each other in the bidding, but all together they are competing against other shops’ CSS. We have exemplified above how such a bidding looks like and how you can win it more easily if you are promoted by several CSSs. In addition, you can occupy several positions in the same search.
How do I know if I’m right for collaboration with one or more CSSs?
- You already have a consistent volume of sales, so the business is validated. CSS affiliate partners are paid per sale and therefore only work with shops that have proven they can convert the traffic you send.
- You have a very well set up product feed, containing detailed product information, which updates automatically, preferably every hour.
- You sell products, not services. Shopping Ads are for online stores that sell physical products (the buying decision is a visual one).
And more answers about CSS & Google Shopping Ads, here – directly from some of the platform’s CSS partners who generate millions in sales for thousands of companies across Europe.
Next steps if you want to be promoted through Google Shopping Ads at cost per sale
- If you already allow Google Ads promotion in 2Performant
- Get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org to get in touch with Google CSS affiliate partners.
- If you are already promoted by them, contact them directly to discuss a possible extension of the collaboration.
- If you don’t allow Google Ads promotion through 2Performant
- Mention in your affiliate program description that you allow promotion through Google CSS and contact us at email@example.com so we can connect you with Google CSS affiliate partners.
Conclusion: Shopping Ads is gaining ground in ecommerce. Your competitors are out there and already making more sales by working with more CSS partners.
In addition, Black Friday is coming and Shopping Ads will certainly perform very well. People will be in buying mode and the images in Shopping Ads will help them make decisions faster. It’s up to you with how many products you want to show up in the search results.
Good luck with conversions!