The UK cost of living crisis is in full swing. The war in Ukraine, COVID-19 battle scars, rising energy costs, spiraling inflation, rising interest rates… there’s no wonder that the consumer mindset is one of caution. 

This isn’t to say that people have stopped buying. Far from it, as a survey from Experian shows that although most consumers are mindful of the increase in costs, a ‘significant proportion’ of the population still intend to carry on spending as normal or only cut back slightly.

The key message seems to be that consumers are being more mindful of where they splash the cash, which means more research, more exploration, and less spontaneity. 

What does this mean for online retailers? 

This need to spend wisely means that there is a far longer path to purchase for retailers to negotiate. In Google-speak, there is a ‘messy middle’ of complicated touchpoints, where customers get into a loop of exploration and evaluation before popping out (at any point in the process) to purchase.  

Retailers need to capture and keep the attention of their customers throughout the whole process. Providing the right information, presented in an understandable way, and easy to find (i.e. great quality SEO optimised content) is vital to ensuring consumers pop out to purchase with you. 

While slow economic growth and rising prices have prompted many people to actively pause on large cost purchases, smaller luxury items like make-up are still selling, according to Murray Lambell, UK general manager at eBay. In addition, it is clear that there are still some categories that remain in demand. For example, as sustainability climbs the agenda, vintage furniture and secondhand clothing are in demand (RetailX Top 500 Report 2023). 

How do online retailers keep the attention of customers 

According to successive ONS Retail Sales reports, consumers are starting to return to the high street, thanks to the receding threat of the pandemic and the effect of industrial action on online deliveries. 

So, what actions do online retailers need to take to keep and grow their market share? 

The strategies behind the tactics 

Before we talk about the practical tactics, we need to understand the underpinning strategies that are going to guide business growth. 

1.Smart full-funnel strategy 

Marketing funnels traditionally start with the awareness stage at the top and end with conversion (purchase) at the bottom. Marketing funnels are linear, but customer journeys are not. The ‘messy middle’ means that many shoppers research, explore, evaluate, and discover all at the same time, across multiple channels. Build your content to engage with customers at their stage of the journey - blogs, display ads, sponsored content, remarketing. 

2. Create connections with consumers 

Authenticity has become a buzz word but doesn’t mean it’s any less important to your marketing strategy. With so much choice and competition in the online space, you need to create a strong brand in order to stand out and stop the online scroll in its tracks. People buy from people, so share your human side. Captivate with your content, inspire with your results, and be consistent with your values. 

3. Build trust first, sell later 

Focusing on building long lasting relationships and fostering brand loyalty is the key to increasing the lifetime value of customers and growing your business (The Consumer Trends Index 2023). Show consumers why they should shop with you and reward them for doing so - loyalty and affiliate programmes, personalised content, and offers. As 59% of consumers are prepared to pay more to purchase from their preferred brands, creating that loyalty is vital to increasing sales. 

Sell the way they want to shop 

We’ve already mentioned that delivery options can have a real impact on online shopper decision making, but how else can you move the needle in your favour? Selling to consumers the way they want to shop is the only way to grow 

1.Functional ecommerce sites for smartphones 

Mobile optimisation is essential for a frictionless user experience. Make it as easy as possible for consumers to find what they are looking for, without any design or functionality barriers getting in the way. Bigger buttons, smaller images, auto-fill forms, and relevant content optimised for SEO. 

2. Live commerce

Selling specific products through an online livestream broadcast can catapult consumers from the awareness stage to purchase. It gives consumers the opportunity to ask questions about the products, get to know the brand, and access to on-the-spot promotions. If it’s done well, it’s a great way of raising brand profile and awareness, and is a growing trend on platforms such as TikTok, as well as through retailers own websites. Analysis by McKinley indicates that live commerce could account for as much as 20% of all e-commerce by 2026. 

3. Easy to find and access 

Using Google Shopping ads is still one of the best ways of getting visibility for your products. There are over 3.5bn searches per day on Google, and Shopping Ads massively outpace standard search ads overall. And by using a 3rd party Comparison Shopping Service (CSS), like Productcaster, could help you save up to an additional 20% on your marketing spend (compared to PLAs serviced by Google), meaning you can invest in even more bid auctions.

With Google’s latest AI powered tech - PMax - you can increase your reach even further, getting in front of the right people at the right time, every time. 

How are we helping our clients 

What’s the good in having all these strategies and tactics in place if nobody can find you? At Summit and Productcaster, we are retail performance marketing experts. Our client roster currently includes 31 of the RetailX UK Top500 retailers, and we are both a Google Premium CSS Partner and Google Premier Partner agency, one of the only businesses in the UK to hold both accreditations.

It’s this close association with Google that has enabled us to get PMax up and running so quickly with so many of our clients. This optimisation of their shopping campaigns has created some amazing results, such as a 70% increase on ROI for an online jewellery retailer. 

We also have Productcaster CSS and FeedManager technology which ensures that our clients have the best, more efficient and effective tools at their disposal. Productcaster CSS is the largest in Europe with over 3bn products listed. We’re proud that ads served by Productcaster have had over 101m clicks in the last 30 days, and 12.1bn impressions, creating amazing ROI for our clients.

Want to be part of something bigger? To find out how you can switch your CSS and feed management to Productcaster, drop us an email to

It’s been a busy time for us as a business and we’ve welcomed a lot of new clients and partner agencies to Productcaster in the past few months. With so many new contacts, now seems like the perfect opportunity to reintroduce the people that make Productcaster the massive success that it is today.

We’re kicking off the introductions with Client Success Executive Jasmine (aka Jas). We asked her a few questions about her role, her experience, and herself. Take a read and get to know the face behind the name.

How long have you been at Productcaster and what did you do before working here?

I’ve been at Productcaster since August 2022. This is my first job since I left University, where I got a first in Modern Languages. I speak Spanish and Italian, having spent time living in both countries, and really enjoy using my language skills getting to know our mainland Europe-based clients.  

What’s your role at Productcaster?

I’m the newly appointed Client Success Executive, which means that I will be responsible for communicating with Productcaster clients when they have questions and issues, both in the UK and mainland Europe. I’ll also be helping to on-board our new clients, making sure that they have all the right information they need to make the best decisions – to use our tech for their CSS and feeds (via FeedManager)!  

What’s your work goal for the next 3 months?

Over the next 3 months I’ll be getting to grips with my new role, arranging meetings with lots of new retailers and brands who are looking to optimise their shopping campaigns. I’m really looking forward to using my language skills with more European clients – we’ve got some really exciting opportunities on the horizon and I’m really pleased to be a part of such an exciting team!  

Tell us a fascinating fact about yourself.

In 2022, I visited 6 different countries, spending around 6 months of the year abroad.

To join the growing Productcaster family of brands for CSS and FeedManager, please drop us an email to

Complaints about monopoly hold that ecommerce giants have on the marketplace, and the disadvantages that brings for smaller competitors have come to a head in the past five years. In Europe, the result is the proposed Digital Markets Act (DMA).

In this article, we’ll give you an overview of the regulation, and more importantly, what it could mean for your Google Shopping campaigns in the future.

What is the DMA?

The Digital Markets Act is a proposed European Union regulation. Its purpose is to regulate the behaviour of large online platforms, known as Gate Keepers, such as Google, Facebook, and Amazon.

One of the key areas of the act is the regulation of online marketplaces, like Google Shopping. The idea is that the bigger platforms will have to be more transparent in their business practices, with the aim of giving smaller businesses fairer access to the marketplace.

Despite being proposed in December 2020, the DMA is currently still under consideration by the European Union and it's not clear yet when the EU will agree on the final form – it needs to be ratified by all member states before it is adopted. Therefore, it's hard to predict an exact date for when the EU will pass the regulation to law.

Part of the initial legal challenge focused on the monopoly element around Google Shopping – namely that Google was both media owner and advertiser, which makes for a less competitive and less efficient environment for other CSS providers and consumers.

How is Productcaster involved in the DMA?

Productcaster’s CEO and owner, Martin Corcoran, was invited to Brussels in December 2022 to join 30 other key stakeholders (plus 1,500 joining online) to discuss the future of the search channel and feedback on Google’s plans to become compliant with EU, and likely UK, law.

His experience on the day and feedback was very clear – the Google Shopping channel will change substantially by March 2024.

So, what will the DMA mean for your Google Shopping campaigns?

Google knows that it needs to change and comply quickly, but how is yet to be decided. There have been calls for the Google Shopping boxes to be removed completely, citing them as economically ineffective as they supposedly limit choice for the consumer and competition.

We don’t think that this is likely to happen.

What is more probable is that CSS such as Productcaster will continue to work with Google to develop the existing Google Shopping Channel and drive better performance across the board. Which can only result in better service for businesses running Shopping campaigns and the end user.

Everyone wins.

What if you’re still using Google as your CSS?

As a leader in the CSS industry, we are very clear on this – we firmly believe that all brands should be using a 3rd party CSS. Brands that develop Google Shopping campaigns through an independent, marketing focussed CSS, like Productcaster find that they are more effective.

Not only that but working with a CSS like Productcaster saves businesses like yours up to 20% with each click (the fee charged by Google to use their service). We know this saving is real because we already represent 1,000s of brands across Europe – just look at Wayfair, New Balance, Ann Summers, Cult Beauty, La Redoute, Jo Jo Mama Bebe, Aldi – all saving money using Productcaster.

Switching to Productcaster is so simple and causes no disruption or downtime to your Shopping campaigns. And if you do have any issues, our first-class support team is on-hand to talk you through a solution quickly and efficiently.

If you'd like to find out more about switching your Google Shopping campaigns to Productcaster, either visit our FAQ section or drop us an email at



Who are Bigvits?

Bigvits is an online retailer of food supplements and multi-vitamins, supplying premium US vitamin products to the UK and European markets. They offer a vast range of products, providing their customers with an extensive choice that they simply wouldn’t find elsewhere.

With such a wide range of products available online, it’s not surprising that Google Shopping is an essential part of their marketing activity. Bigvits allocates significant spend through the channel, so the team were very open to conversations with Productcaster about significant cost savings and campaign performance improvement.

What was the trial objective?

Simply put, Bigvits wanted to understand how far campaign performance could be improved, and what cost efficiencies could be made by moving away from Google’s own CSS to partner with Productcaster.

If performance improved and savings were made across the campaigns, the team could then either keep the budget savings and move it to the bottom line or choose to reinvest the cash into the Shopping campaign to drive sales.

So, how did we prove it?

The Productcaster team knew we had to deliver a fair test that would show the financial impact that Productcaster has on Shopping campaigns when compared directly with Google CSS.

The test was simple but effective:  For the duration of the four week trial period, we collected data on the key metrics of success according to the business

This data was then compared to the previous four weeks to observe the key differences and provide sound results.  In addition, to ensure we removed the effect of seasonality, we also compared this eight-week data period with the same period from the previous year, where Google had been the sole CSS provider.

What were the results?

The results were very encouraging to say the least.  The key results were:

In the words of our client

Ian Simmons, Bigvits’ Head of Ecommerce said, “Given our business model, it’s not surprising we rely heavily on Google Shopping to deliver a significant proportion of sales. So, any budget savings we make can have a major impact.

“The team at Productcaster approached me because they’d noticed that we were running campaigns through Google’s own CSS. They put together a trial that allowed us to test the impact Productcaster could have, and the results made the decision to switch a very easy one.

“I was quite surprised at how easy it was to move to Productcaster. I assumed it would be a lengthy integration process, or there’d be some advertising downtime, or both.  But we were up and running within an hour or two.

“The trial ran without any hitches – the only difference you could see was that our PLAs were now serving by Productcaster. And the end analysis demonstrated great results, which were qualified by the uplifts we’d seen.

“For me this has been a real eye opener, it’s not every day you can find savings like that in your marketing budget. The savings we’ve made are being reinvested into more activity, qualifying us for more auctions and delivering more traffic. That traffic gives us more opportunities to sell, which ultimately helps our bottom line.”

What’s the next step?

Bigvits continue to partner with Productcaster. As the UK has been a successful test bed for the switch, the Vyta Health Group are now looking at its European portfolio to see where Productcaster could offer similar improvements. And we’re delighted to have them onboard.

For more information on the benefits of partnering with the Google accredited Productcaster CSS, take a look at our FAQ section. Or to discuss your swap to Productcaster, just drop us an email at

Google recently announced the launch of Comparison Listing Ads (CLAs), a new shopping ad feature for Comparison Shopping Services (CSS).

In this article, we take a look at what this entirely new advertising format means for both Productcaster, our CSS partners and consumers.

What are Comparison Listing Ads?

Comparison Listing Ads allow CSS providers to advertise a group of products in the Google Shopping auction from the CSS website.

Designed to drive additional traffic to CSS providers, Comparison Listing Ads consist of images related to the user’s search, displaying a collection of similar or related products that are available on the respective CSS platform.

Comparison Listing Ads

The CLA format will give consumers greater choice by being able to compare product prices across a number of retailers.

Where will CLAs appear?

An additional tab within the usual shopping results will indicate the presence of ‘comparison sites’. Consumers will be able to switch between both a product view and the new comparison site view.

The CLAs will appear in a second carousel for relevant searches, below the traditional Google Shopping carousel. The CLA carousel will show the user a collection of products available, allowing them to click through to view and compare on the CSS provider’s site.

However, it is worth noting that Comparison Listing Ads will only trigger when there are enough relevant ads available for a given query, currently understood to be three.

What does this mean for current Shopping results?

Comparison Listing Ads and their visibility is entirely separate to traditional Google Shopping results, and does not impact on the Shopping carousel served when a user makes a search.

The impact on the traffic available to those Shopping results as a result of consumers clicking through CLAs is not known at this stage as the ad format is still in beta. However, we will be working with our partners to understand this impact, and more so the wider opportunity that this new format presents.

Will CLAs be available on Productcaster?

Yes, Productcaster will offer CLAs.

As a Google Premium Partner, we were approached to be a part of the initial beta group and will be testing the new format prior to us launching it fully to ensure our approach really does add value both to our CSS partners and their customers.

To learn more about how you can benefit from CLAs and CSS, contact us today via email or phone +44 (0)203 910 7026.

Are you a brand or agency who wants to learn how to save up to 75% on your feed management solution? Join us for our 45-minute webinar to find out how you can do exactly that.

Register for the webinar here.

The webinar will be hosted by Commercial Director of Productcaster, John Readman, and Managing Director of Marketing Technology for Summit, Dave Trolle.

Here’s what the webinar will cover:

The value of feed driven marketing

Feed driven marketing drives up to 60% of brand’s online revenue. Over recent years there has been exponential growth in channels which are primarily dependent on product feeds. We take a look at the opportunity for brands and agencies to better grow their feed driven marketing strategy.

How you can immediately profit from Feed Manager

Discover how to unlock the hidden value and gain insight into how you can profit from using a trusted feed management solution. This is an essential step that you must get right in order to maximise ROI on your feed driven marketing.

The simplicity and sophistication of our software as a service platform

Take a look at our Feed Manager solution including, publishing, optimisation, enrichment and diagnostics.

The success of brand and agencies using Productcaster

Listen to real-life case studies from brands and agencies and learn how using Productcaster has improved their online marketing strategy to drive success.

Interactive live Q&A

At the end of the webinar, you’ll be given the opportunity to learn, discuss and debate with like-minded peers and industry specialists.

Register for the webinar here.

In the meantime, why not sign up for your own FREE feed report to reveal missed opportunities, and improve the efficiency and revenue from your feed driven marketing.

Ensuring you keep your feed well optimised is one of the most important areas of your Shopping Campaigns. In fact, it’s key to their success. Making sure all the parts come together harmoniously to entice shoppers to click on your product will result in more revenue and engagement.

There are, however, there are numerous opportunities that agencies and brands miss when it comes to product feeds. In this article, we share our thoughts on what some of those opportunities are and how to make the most of them.

Poorly Structured Titles

Google has been kind enough to give a decent character count for your titles, so utilise it. It’s important to list any relevant product details as well as the brand, if the item is a branded product of course. The first 45 characters should include the most important attributes with the last 25 including other relevant information like product colour and size.

Titles should always be unique to the product you are marketing. If it’s a product variant, make sure you add something unique into the title to differentiate them from one another. Avoid keyword stuffing however and leave out block capital letters. Promotional text that discusses price and sale dates should be left out of your titles and added to the product descriptions.

In a nutshell, view your ads from the consumer’s perspective. If something isn’t obvious from the product image, then try to put this information at the beginning of your title so that it becomes obvious to your customers.

Tommy Hilfiger Poor Title Structure Ad

Short & Dull Product Descriptions

If you are selling a couch, should you call it a couch, a sofa or a settee? The right keywords are paramount in both your title and description. In this instance, sofa has a higher search volume than the other two, but that doesn’t mean you wouldn’t use those words elsewhere. Add sofa to the title and expand your reach by including settee and couch in the description.

On the subject of keywords, it’s important not to overwhelm your description by stuffing search terms in there. Try to make it sound as natural as possible while providing all the relevant information in engaging and attractive copy. You have up to 5,000 characters to play with, but users will need to click to expand a longer description, so it’s worth bearing that in mind.

Stock Availability Discrepancies

It is important to keep your availability information up to date. Imagine it from a consumer perspective: you see a stylish table lamp for sale at a great price and even better, it’s in stock.

Naturally, you click through to buy the product only to be told it’s out of stock. Not only is this frustrating but it reduces the chance of you buying from that brand again, and brand loyalty is especially important in the current retail climate.

Ensuring that the availability attribute in your product data matches that of your landing page will mean users shouldn’t try to buy a product that you don’t have in stock.

Pricing Issues

A common oversight brands and agencies often make is relying on a site scrape alone to update their pricing. Although not an issue if the site is relevant and up to date, challenges may arise if the site does not align with promotions and frequent pricing changes.

A more reliable process would include a feed management solution which accounts for numerous price changes per day. This is particularly important for retailers who change promotions or are in sales.

Missing/Incorrect Unique Product Identifiers

Unique product identifiers do pretty much what they say on the tin. They define the product that you are selling within the global marketplace. Common examples of UPIs include Global Trade Item Numbers (GTINs), Manufacturer Part Numbers (MPNs) and brand names.

Unique Product Identifiers

The purpose of including UPIs is to simply make your ads richer and easier for users to find. When it comes to GTINs however, not all products have one assigned, meaning there is no need to submit one. It’s important though that if an item does have a GTIN, it is submitted as the product could be disapproved if you don’t. Some examples of products that may not have an assigned GTIN include:

It’s important to note that the GTIN/EAN number must be valid and match what is in Google’s own database. If the number isn’t valid, it will be flagged by Google in the Merchant Centre.

Those are just a few of the opportunities that agencies and brands can miss in their product feeds. If you’d like to find out more about how Productcaster can help you unlock the hidden value in your feed and beyond, get in touch with the team today by calling +44 (0)203 910 7026 or email

Google announced back in December 2018, changes to the criteria to the minimum requirements as a Google Comparison-Shopping Services (CSS) partner. The purpose of this was to raise the bar to becoming a partner, enhancing the customer experience on the partner comparison sites. This included the following requirements:

From today, February 21st 2019, Google will enforce these requirements across all partners.  The number of official CSS partners on the Google CSS partner finder page has dropped from over 130 to just 48 across Europe - we are pleased to say we remain an official partner.

What this means for retailers?

If you already have an existing CSS and they are no longer eligible to advertise in your territories, all ads for those countries will be disapproved. Some may have been aware since earlier this month, an ongoing red alert flag in the Merchant Center, highlighted as a warning, will now become error messages if no action is taken. Explore what your current CSS partners strategy is and how they plan to adhere to the most recent Google update. As a fully compliant partner across EU markets, we are here to support you if you are not happy with the answers to your questions.

What this means for partners?

For those CSS who are eligible with the merchant count of 50 territories, service remains unchanged. In the instance where this threshold is not met, we have options to enable CSS partners to provide continuous service and support for their existing clients whilst remaining a valuable service for their own agency.

These include:


The benefits of the Productcaster platform


As early adopters of the CSS initiative, our continued service and support to the development of the Productcaster platform enables us to offer the following benefits for our clients:


Product integration:


User experience:


Technical infrastructure:


Our goal into 2019 and beyond is to ensure retailers and agencies have continued support and service. If you would like to find out more about how we can work together, contact a member of our CSS team on or call +44 (0)203 910 7026

As marketers find themselves already in the full swing of 2019, it is easy to move ahead with plans and activity without reflection on key learnings from the previous 12 months. Measurement and analysis are a key part of any smart marketer’s marketing protocol in order to look forward. So, when it comes to highlighting some of the significant marketing events of 2018, the introduction of the Comparison Shopping Services (CSS) via the Google Partner Programme tops the leader board.

CSS took much of the limelight from as early as spring last year following Google’s EU fine for taking advantage of their position in the Google Shopping market. As a result, they were ordered to open up the competition in the Shopping auction to help other CSS appear in the prime spot in search results.

As one of the key players in the CSS landscape, Productcaster has been instrumental in one of the most significant changes Google Shopping has seen in recent years. However, the story doesn’t end there. Google announced in December 2018, the requirements for the CSS programme were to change again. They stated that:

But following CSS requirements being asked to change once more, one question remained for many. Is CSS still worth it?

CSS: Part of Your Marketing Tool Kit in 2019

Following the conclusion of the Google ad incentive scheme at the end of December 2018, many retailers and agencies raised concern whether CSS should remain a key part of their online marketing strategy for the year ahead. In some cases, an uncertainty grew around whether the benefits were strong enough to keep them using the incentivised model positioned by Google.

Results from Productcaster clients who have switched to a Google only test are now reverting back to using CSS after seeing stronger results in both CPCs and impression share. In one instance, a client in January 2019 saw a 29% drop in impressions by reverting their Shopping activity back to Google for 2 weeks, as a result of running a controlled A/B test in collaboration with the Productcaster team.

Productcaster's Commitment to CSS

With over 80 million products on the Productcaster Comparison Shopping site across all territories, our own research shows that although many retailers used the ad credit incentive for short-term gains, the real winners are those that are continuing with their CSS reaping the most benefits. Productcaster continues to successfully onboard new clients every week and help retailers and agencies understand the performance benefits available to them. Find out more by contacting or call +44 (0)203 910 7026

To catch up on our webinar which covers why CSS is for life and not just for Christmas, watch back here.


In 2019, retailers’ product data feed is expected to become the core of a successful paid marketing activity. A feed, which in basic terminology consists of a list of products and their defined attributes, must reflect a systematic and detailed product management approach in order to provide the best results.

The quality of the feed dictates the success of Shopping Ads on Google and Bing, along with Marketplace listings on Amazon and eBay, and consequently, many sellers are rethinking how best to optimise their data in order to best reach their customers.


Speaking your customer’s language

As the way we shop continues to evolve, retailers must be savvy about various touchpoints in a customer’s journey to keep up with ever-changing landscape and persistent competition. So much can now be achieved at the touch of a button - from ordering a taxi to booking a reservation at your favourite restaurant – and technology is continually evolving to make our lives (and shopping habits) easier.

Retailers must not only think of their data feed but also the way in which consumers search. Learning to speak your customers’ language is a useful tactic to keep ahead of the competition.

Although Google has consistently dominated the digital space, over recent years other partner networks have provided retailers with an opportunity to give their products further visibility. Bing, Amazon, Facebook and more all require their own unique feed attributes which are critical to retailers’ campaign performance. Missing information reduces impression volume, which in turn can translate to a loss in revenue. The importance of a well optimised, rich data feed is now more important than ever to ensure customers are reached on multiple platforms at a variety of touchpoints during their purchasing journey.


Common product data feed mistakes

Through years of experience our product data experts have identified a number of common mistakes that can jeopardise the success of a retailer’s feed. These include:

These issues are all easily resolvable and can have a drastic impact on sales and revenue.


How to best optimise your product feed

Feed optimisation and enrichment is important so that the best feed is provided to your partners, meaning better ads and improved click-through-rates, conversion rates and ROI.

Feed optimisation is complex, but there are a few key recommendations that can improve performance:

Be sure to look out for our short downloadable guide on feed optimisation tips coming soon on the Productcaster site.


Choosing the right data feed management platform

Data without the correct management can be detrimental to a business. Both time and revenue can be lost dealing with overwhelming amounts of feed data, which can seem like an impossible task without the correct support and guidance.

When choosing your feed manager platform, choose one which allows you to:

To find out more about some of the best ways to optimise your feed and maximise your performance, get in touch with a member of our team today at