May 3, 2012, 1:51 PM

Why Google converts best among comparison shopping sites

Google operates the comparison shopping site with the highest conversion rate in the first quarter of 2012.

Paul Demery

Managing Editor, B2B E-commerce

Lead Photo

Google Inc. isn’t just the leading Internet search engine. Google also operates the comparison shopping site with the highest conversion rate in the first quarter of  2012, according to a new study by CPC Strategy, a company that helps online retailers sell through comparison shopping engines.

The study, which lists the 10 largest sites online consumers use to compare prices, is based on a survey of 113 e-commerce clients of CPC Strategy. It notes that product listings in Google’s comparison shopping engine, Google Product Search, converted ad clicks to orders at a rate of 2.78% in the first quarter, followed by second-ranked Nextag at 2.06%. Coming in a distant sixth was Amazon Product Ads, at 1.60%, even though Amazon Product Ads produced the most traffic to retailers’ sites of the 10 shopping sites in the study. Amazon Products Ads appear in search results and on other pages on, and drive traffic to the advertiser’s site to complete the purchase. Inc. is No. 1 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide. CPC did not provide total traffic figures for each comparison shopping engine in the study.

The study covered more than 4 million clicks that resulted in $1.16 million in advertising spend, and nearly 83,000 online orders that generated $7.87 million in sales for the advertisers.

Google’s reputation as a starting point for searching the web appears to be a main reason why Google Product Search scores high as a comparison search engine, coming in second to Amazon Product Ads in traffic but first in conversion rate, CPC Strategy says. “People are just comfortable with Google,” says Andrew Davis, CPC Strategy’s director of marketing.

Also helping to drive up conversion rates on Google Product Search is Google’s requirement that advertisers include information on sales tax and shipping fees in each product ad, Davis says. He adds that, to boost their conversion rates, some advertisers appear to be indicating shipping is free when that’s not necessarily the case for all of the products featured in an ad.

CPC hasn’t quantified how many advertisers have listed questionable free-shipping notices, he says. Google didn’t immediately reply to a request for comment.

Adding to Google’s appeal for advertisers is that it does not charge for clicks from Google Product Search. Nor does rival search engine Bing charge for clicks from its shopping portal, and many clicks from comparison shopping site TheFind also are free.

Following are the Q1 conversion rates, and corresponding cost-per-click rates where applicable, for the comparison shopping engines listed in the study:

● Google, 2.78%

● Nextag, 2.06%, $0.43;

● Pronto, 1.97%, $0.45;

● PriceGrabber, 1.75%, $0.27;

●, 1.71%, $0.34;

● Amazon Product Ads, 1.60%, $0.35;

● Become, 1.57%, $0.45;

● Shopzilla, 1.43%, $0.35;

● Bing, 1.35%

● TheFind, 0.71%

Comments | 3 Responses

  • I am actually surprised that Amazon is not ranked higher. I suspect part of it is because people want to find the best price and although Amazon does this for the carried products it is not relevant to all other websites. I was lucky to find a FREE service that has saved me tons of time and money. The service is called Personalized Concierge Services provided by You provide the product you want to purchase and they find the lowest price online and send you a link. Another neat thing about the service is that Cheapometer donates a portion of every sale to St. Judes Children's hospital. Thanks for informative article. Your website is among the top in my mind.

  • I’m writing this letter to you in reference to the recent change with Google and the ***** up that is still not fixed and how the business I work for,, is going out of business. Since the new system for shop and comparison was set up all beauty and health websites have taken a huge blow to the business. is an online store that provides quality, brand name health supplements at a reasonable price. Imedmart presents products and processes orders online, avoiding a retail set-up and passing on all the savings to our customers. With an inventory of over 20,000 products consumer has a vast selection option. is a privately owned company, which has managed a business by providing best product quality and customer satisfaction in the industry. In April and May of this year we were bringing in $138,000 in sales. Then in July after the new system was implemented we only brought in $39,000. That is a loss of $100,000 all because Google messed up and hasn’t made any changes to try and fix anything. We cannot get a hold of anyone for answers and now our company is no longer surviving and everyone has lost their jobs because of it. I was just informed today that the company can no longer afford me, their last standing employee. Just to give you a little idea of how bad the Google shopping is now if you go to Google shopping page and type in ‘vitamins’ nothing comes up! ls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&client=firefox-a#q=vitamins&hl=en& lient=firefox-a&hs=xEP&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&prmd=imvns source=lnms&tbm=shop&sa=X&ei=pCUtUMi5L6HsmAXgi4DwAg&ved=0CA8Q_AU BQ&bav=on.2,or.r_gc.r_pw.r_qf.&fp=6a764c6dba737dd5&biw=1286&bih= 07 I am hoping that this letter reaches the right hands and that we can get some answers and I can get my job back. Google is in complete control of the market that we thrive on everyday. I will be forwarding this email to as many people in the article network to get the message out there that jobs are being cut because of Google’s wrongdoing.

  • In response to linnie127, unfortunately it is happening to a lot of small businesses that have depended on google shopping for so long. My website has seen a huge drop-off in sales because of the new format. Yes, I am aware that if you want to be competitive you need to spend money, but when you are a small business bidding for clicks against ebay and the big boys isn't cost effective. I have been working very hard with other alternatives hoping that it will work or we will also have to shut down shop.

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