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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:

  • CSS sites must offer basic functionalities such as correct currency, wide selection and filtering options.
  • CSS sites must show offers from at least 50 distinct merchant domains for every country in which they target Shopping ads.

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 cssteam@productcaster.com 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.