19 August 2021
You've probably heard of Google CSS (Comparison Shopping Service), but what exactly is it? And why is it important you join a CSS partner when you advertise with Google Ads? We have listed 7 frequently asked questions and, of course, we also give you the answers.
1. What exactly is Google Comparison Shopping Service?
A few years ago, Google was fined 2.4 billion euros by the European Commission for abuse of power. Because Google suppressed a comparison site such as Beslist.nl with Google Shopping, the Commission ruled that there had been an abuse of power.
In addition to the fine, the Commission demanded that Google also provide comparison sites with more options to use the search result. If not, the next fine would be 5 percent of the total, worldwide annual sales of Google. So you won’t be surprised to hear that Google has given space to comparison sites in the search results since then. And as a garden centre, you can benefit from this.
Please bear in mind that this relates to the entire EU and UK only.
2. What is a Google CSS Partner?
A Google CSS partner is a comparison website. You probably know sites like Kelkoo and Pricerunner, but there are many more. Comparison sites help consumers to compare prices, delivery times and other information after which they send online shoppers to webshops to finalise the order. Google Shopping has partly taken over that role.
Until the decision of the European Commission, a comparison site could not buy ads from Google Shopping, but that has changed. Comparison sites can now advertise in the Google Shopping search results. The only difference is that you will see who the CSS partner is under the ad:
All advertisements in the example above link to the relevant webshop. No link refers to the comparison website. The advantage is that CSS partners receive a discount on the advertising costs.
3. Discount? I’m in!
To ensure fair competition in Google Shopping ads, Google offers comparison sites a 20% discount on the cost per click. But you will not get that 20% back into your bank account. We'll explain it to you with an example.
Suppose two webshops both offer £0.10 for a click. One webshop advertises directly, the other through a CSS partner. The CSS partner's bid is increased by 20% by Google, so that will be virtually £0.12.
So you get more and better visitors for the same amount of money. If the webshop that does not use a CSS partner wants to outbid, it must therefore bid £0.13. An additional cost of 30%.
By using a Google CSS Partner you can indirectly get a 20% discount. And that works pretty well, because all campaigns that we manage and are linked to a CSS Partner, score better results than independent campaigns.
4. How can you advertise through a CSS partner?
Advertising through a CSS partner is very simple. All you need to do is sign up for a subscription with one of the CSS partners. With this subscription, your Google Ads account is linked to the CSS partner's shopping feed.
Is that something to get nervous about? No, it is only a practical link. The CSS partner cannot view, edit or analyse your campaigns. You just have to indicate that you want to hitch a ride on the discount of the CSS partner.
Some CSS partners make a nice story out of it, but this is really all you have to do to use that 20% discount.
5. How does this work in practice?
We are not a CSS partner ourselves and therefore work together with Producthero.com. Because this only costs a few tenners per month, this is a no-brainer because you can easily cover this with the extra buying power on Google Ads. If you spend more than €150 per month on Google Shopping, you are already improving your results by linking with a Google CSS partner.
You can set up and arrange this yourself, but we can also do this for you for free of charge if you have granted us the management of your Google Ads campaigns.
In addition to making the link as explained above, nothing changes at all: not for you, not for us and also not for the consumer who clicks on your ad.
6. What’s the result?
Depending on your strategy, this result will be a higher turnover or a better return on your investment..
If you choose to keep your own budget the same, you will get more and better visitors. After all, you have 20% more to spend so that should translate into a higher turnover.
You can also choose to lower your budget slightly. You then keep the number of visitors you have now, but you have to spend less on it. So the result is better profitability.
7. Is this a magic trick?
Unfortunately, magic tricks do not exist and joining a Google CSS partner is not a magic trick either. But it is a useful way to make your campaigns more profitable.
We recommend everyone who uses Google Shopping to sign up because it gives campaigns a big boost. Beyond that, it remains important to monitor & optimize your campaigns as you already do.
Want to take advantage of Google CSS?
You now understand what Google CSS is and how it works. If you also advertise your on Google, we can advise you to use a CSS partner. As explained above, we have a collaboration with Producthero. It works at home and abroad.
If you register with Producthero through us, you will also receive a substantial discount on the monthly costs, so let us know if you want to use it and we’ll get you started.
This article is written by:Robert Payne
Account Manager UK
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