How do Google’s Comparison Listing ads work?

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Google opened up its Shopping platform to European price comparison engines with the launch of its Comparison Shopping Services (CSS) program in 2017. In March 2019, the US giant upgraded its offer by announcing a new advertising space: Comparison Listing ads (CLAs). What are CLAs and how do they work? What opportunities do they open up to merchants? We break down everything you need to know about this new service which is currently available in beta version.

Comparison Listing ads (CLAs)

Google’s Shopping platform has upgraded. In addition to the traditional carousel of Shopping ads, a new format of Shopping ads is now displayed on a second tab containing price comparison ads.

Named ‘Comparison Listing ads’ (CLAs), this new shopping experience aims to highlight price comparison platforms and promote online retailers’ products from in a new way from the Google search results.

Now, when a buyer searches on Google, they have two views displayed in the Shopping area:
– ‘Products’, with the Shopping ads,
– ‘Comparison sites’, with price comparison ads.

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‘Product Listing ads’ (PLAs), also known as Google Shopping ads, allow internet users to click through visuals and product details before landing on the merchant site to finalise their purchase.

‘Comparison Listing ads’ display product groups corresponding to the internet user’s initial search. After having looked through the product suggestions and made their choice, the searcher can then compare the price through partner price comparison websites affiliated to the Comparison Shopping Service (CSS) program.

“CLA means online retailers can benefit from a new source of qualified traffic, exclusively accessible from a CSS. This is a new opportunity for merchants to increase their visibility and acquire new customers. Kelkoo Group’s network of sites such as Kelkoo.fr, LeGuide.com or Webmarchand.com is eligible for the CLA program and we’re already providing our merchants with this new qualified traffic.”, explains Cyril Bouskila, Sales Director at Kelkoo Group.

Google’s CSS program enables price comparison platforms to display Shopping ads on Google on behalf of European e-merchants. The program was set up by Google, following a judgment by the EU Competition Commission in June 2017 that the US giant took advantage of its market dominance.

Google Comparison Listing ads mean the purchase decision moves from the search results page to the CSS program’s partner sites. Currently available in beta version, CLAs are currently reserved for certain CSS partners selected by Google (available on Lengow via comparators such as Le Guide or Connexity) depending on the size of their product base, and the associated content and services.

What new opportunities do CLAs create for online retailers?

Google brings e-merchants a new lever for visibility, growth and customer acquisition with this new service. In addition to the Shopping platform, retailers can now promote their offer via the CSS program’s partner comparison sites.

“”Google’s comparison ads require a perfect customer journey. If the customer is redirected to the CSS partner’s website, this website must be sophisticated. Connexity has done this with Shopzilla and is constantly working to improve the website’s content. As the volume of impressions and clicks increases, it is important for merchants to consider that if a significant proportion of users no longer click on “products” but on “comparison sites”, the volume of clicks that would otherwise go directly to the merchant will be undermined. So they should take precautions and test various CSS,” explains Jon Lord, VP of Sales at Connexity.

CLAs offer an enhanced product research experience and a new shopping experience to online shoppers depending on their consumption habits.

If you want to start selling your products on price comparison sites, request a free demo!

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Image : Google.

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Naomi Botting

Communications Project Manager - UK/NORDICS