There are different strategies to get the most from Google’s new Comparison Shopping Service (CSS), so if you’re a retailer it is important to carefully select the right partner for you.

To get you up to speed, following Google’s EU fine last year, an effort is being made by the multinational technology company to improve the current competition of the shopping auction. This has been implemented through training and certification process in order to identify key comparison shopping partners. And as one of Google’s CSS partners, we get asked a lot of questions from clients who have been given incorrect information. So, we’re here to put the record straight.


By speaking with clients interested in adopting CSS we’ve discovered there’s a lot of information out there that is conflicting and often inaccurate. This, partnered with the urgency of getting live, means we wanted to provide everything you need to know in one helpful place.


Why is CSS beneficial for retailers?

Jumping onboard with the CSS initiative means you can save up to 20% on your Google Shopping costs. Retailers are also able to get more traffic to their site for the same amount of money and enter categories into the auction that were previously too competitive or expensive. There’s no guarantee how long this will last so if retailers are wanting to see the benefits, those who act the quickest will ultimately be the biggest winners.


The CSS opportunity applies to the following countries:

Any retailer within the Europe Economic Area, countries including Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Ireland, The Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom. Official CSS partners should be able to offer their clients the in-depth knowledge of technical setups and streamlined campaign management to help businesses make the most of Google Shopping ads, reaching millions of potential customers each day.


Where will my CSS ads show on Google?

There is no change. Your Shopping ads placed through your CSS partner will appear on both Google shopping search and the shopping tab.

All CSS, including Google Shopping, have the same opportunities to place ads on your behalf on Google general search results pages. No ad space is reserved for any particular Comparison Shopping Site.

CSS Productcaster

The customer journey remains unchanged

Customers will go straight through to the product page of the retailer if they click anywhere on the Shopping ad. The only change is the link in Shopping ad, for example where it says ‘By Google’ this will change to ‘By Productcaster’ – (our comparison site brand name), if people click on this link as happens now they will be directed through to the Comparison Shopping Site in these examples either to the Google Shopping page or the Productcaster CSS website.

If customers click on the 'By Productcaster' link you are not charged for this.


Client CSS concerns answered

  • There’s no need to duplicate or create new Merchant Centre accounts, feeds or AdWords campaign.
  • There’s no need for retailers to give up control of their accounts or transfer their activity to the CSS partner.
  • Activity is tracked as normal, using your existing tracking implementation.
  • Launch times aren’t as long as you might expect - campaigns can be migrated and live within 48 hours and roll out cycles with Google ensure your ads are showing as soon as possible.


How do I get started?

Once you’ve chosen your CSS partner, your Google merchant centre is associated with your CSS partner’s merchant centre. Your products are then published to your partners CSS using your feed. You are guided by your CSS partners expert team in opting your campaigns into the CSS ad format. Your adverts now appear in Google Shopping with the amended message e.g. ads ‘By Productcaster.’



How do I get the most from my CSS partner?

Understand how long they suggest it will take to get you up and running on their CSS platform. Every day spent not accessing the benefits is money, traffic and customers you’re missing out on. The winning formula here is to work out who can offer you a fast, smooth and seamless migration allowing you to measure the positive effects on performance.

The Google ad space is competitive and dynamic and those that take a back-seat risk falling behind. Choosing a partner that has experience and offers transparency will give you the confidence to act quickly, and with a smooth setup, you’ll be reaping the rewards of the CSS initiative in no time.