Digital Marketing Report, Q3 2013: CSEs

Get the latest research and insight on the comparison shopping engine landscape from Matt Mierzejewski, Executive Vice President of PPC here at RKG.

You can get even more valuable research in our full Digital Marketing Report from Q3 2013 by downloading it here.




Matt Mierzejewski: Hi, I'm Matt Mierzejewski, and I'm here today to talk about comparison shopping engines, CSEs. The first is to define, inside of CSEs, that we are excluding product listing ads, Google's PLAs from our discussion in these topics.  Those have really transitioned into a paid search product and really what we're focused on inside of CSEs are the marketplaces of comparative product engines.

So, inside of that, there are really two titans that exist right now from our most recent quarterly analysis.  One is the eBay Commerce Network which was formerly and the other is Shopzilla Bizrate.  Now, of those two they're receiving the most traffic volume but importantly, eBay Commerce Network is reigning supreme, holds the pole position as for as ROI is considered.  And that's important to us as we're figuring out where to put more and more of the funds that we have for our clients inside of the comparison shopping engines.

Now, also it's not just against Shopzilla.  eBay actually holds that position in this last quarter in Q3 of 2013 amongst all comparison shopping engines, so that's important to note.  I really believe that's because of three reasons.  One, the CPC pricing on the eBay Commerce Network is advantageous.  Number two, the network quality is better, and number three, the functionality is superior compared to other comparison shopping engines.  So they're really raising the bar.

If we look at two other trends in comparison shopping engines, one important one to note is that the Bing Shopping Ad Network is on the decline.  For the past six quarters we have seen that traffic volume shrink and, in fact, it's going to be almost non-existent coming into the next quarter.  And that's because Bing is moving towards a similar Google model in product listing ads, bringing those listings to the SERP and changing the shopping dynamics on Bing altogether.  And that's a positive change, but it will change the comparison shopping engine landscape altogether.

The other area is Amazon Product Ads.  And that's a really interesting space to watch because these ads, unlike anything else on Amazon, take users away from and to the external advertisers’ website.  Now, that's advantageous for Amazon because there's a lot of money to be had in gaining that revenue share directly from the advertisers.  But they have to balance that, and it's something that we'll be watching, with how much traffic they're sending away from their site and giving to the advertisers directly.  Obviously the advertisers, that's in their benefit.  They get to own the customer experience, the customer data, the packaging, and everything within their core ecosystem on their website.

But Amazon, interestingly, are they watching what areas products are leaving, or users are leaving their site because they're not finding those products on and can that be a tell to them of areas where they might want to increase their product supply, their product lines and so forth to compete directly on those items.  We have not seen that share increase substantially in Amazon Product Ads. We believe the eyeballs are there for it to really skyrocket if Amazon chose to serve more and more product ads within that environment.

And to that end, thank you for joining me today.  And there’s lots more content to be had on  You can read our blog.  You can also download this Digital Marketing Report that we're putting out quarterly as well as get digital copies of our Dossier.  So please check us out and we look forward to seeing you again soon.