Maximize Your ROI On Comparison Shopping Engines

Comparison Shopping Engines (CSE) are a great marketing channel to promote the products you are selling. Most CSEs work on a pay per click model with rates varying by category. Because the CSE gets paid per click they try to drive as much traffic as possible and for most part it is targeted traffic. However, when you have a large product feed you will have a lot of products with many clicks and no return on investment (ROI). There are several thing you can do to rectify this.

Competitive Analysis:

The first thing to keep in mind is that people go to Comparison Shopping Engines to… Compare Prices! You will want to map out your competitive landscape and ensure that you are priced competitively. An item priced a penny cheaper than the competition will show up much higher on the page. Some websites will advertise the same product significantly cheaper just to lure the customer in and then tack on a ‘shipping/handling/processing’ charge. Make you your price looks competitive from the first glance on the CSEs.

Consumer Ratings:

Another thing consumers compare on CSEs ar your store ratings. Those little stars can make the difference between night and day. When a consumer sees 4 or 5 stars, they feel comfortable purchasing from you even though they never heard of you before. You should always push your happy customers to leave reviews for you because as a general rule of thumb, only pissed off customers go out of there way to leave reviews about their shopping experience. One additional reason to strive for positive reviews (aside from having happy customers) is that most CSEs incorporate store reviews into their ranking algorithms and will display your products higher on the page because of it.


Always make sure that your products show up in the correct categories. When an item is not categorized properly you will start receiving unwanted clicks that will not convert into sales. On the flip side, if your items are categorized properly you will receive much more qualified traffic and it will have a much better ROI. However you generate your feeds it will be in your best interests to map your sites category structure to each CSE.

Kill Reports:

When you have a large number of products in your feed it becomes imperative to run Kill Reports on a constant basis. A Kill Report is a performance report from any tracking software that contains the following columns:

  • SKU (Identifying ID)
  • Amount of Clicks
  • Cost
  • Amount of Orders
  • Revenue
  • Brand Name (optional)

What you will now need to do is analyze which items are not worth the cost based on a threshold that you define. For example any item with more that 50 clicks and no revenue, or any item with a cost of more than 50% of revenue produced. Once you come up with a magic formula that works for your business, you should run a Kill Report once or twice a month and exclude those items from future feeds. Something to keep in mind, is that if you see a specific brand performing poorly consistently over time you may want to exclude all that brands products from your feed. Results vary from CSE to CSE so I would suggest running a separate report for each CSE.