"Merchants Wanted: Pay Per Click Advertising with Comparison Search Engines"Anyone who advertises on the Internet knows about pay-per-click search engines like Google Adwords and Yahoo Search Marketing. But did you know that if you sell products online there's a tool out there specifically for you?
A different form of pay-per-click that uses "comparison search engines". These are actually search engines just for products. Searchers use this type of search engine when searching to purchase a specific product. With the information this type of engine provides, shoppers can locate the cheapest price by comparing prices for a variety of stores all in one place. It's an easy way of doing research before making a purchase and helps the buyer to make more informed shopping decisions. One example of this type of site is Shopping.com
Search results generally include a small picture and sometimes customer comments, or ratings. If you're searching for something online these search engines really are a must to ensure you're not paying too much for your intended purchase.
So, now you know what a shopping search engine is and why they're good for consumers. Let's talk about why they're also a good thing for merchants, and why you'll want to include them in your online advertising campaigns.
The first major factor is "less competition". If you've been advertising with Google or Yahoo, which most online advertisers use, you will notice that since comparison search engines are only for products, there are less players in the game. Thus you'll stand a better chance of standing out in the crowd and obtaining a good ranking.
All vendors do appear in the search results, but ranking for each shopping search engine is usually based on multiple factors: bid relevancy, popularity, bid amount. Each uses different criteria when deciding who's going to appear at the top.
So how do these search engines get paid, and what's in it for them? I thought you'd never ask. Most engines allow you to submit your products for free and only charge merchants for actual click-throughs. Some make money on any actual sales that are made using their sites.
The traffic you'll receive from this type of specialty search engine is considered to be more "qualified". As these browsers are actively searching for a product to purchase they are in "shopping mode" and are "spend ready". More qualified traffic means higher conversions for you.
Every comparison search engine has different rules for submitting your products, but the majority are all the same. They ask for merchants to upload their products in the form of a "data feed" which is usually in TXT, CSV, or XML format. This is essentially a list of all the products the merchant wants included in the search results. It consists of pictures and short descriptions.
Now that I've got your interest, let's take a look at some of these shopping search engines and where you can go to submit your products.
1) Yahoo: "Product Submit" Shopping.Yahoo.com
This is Yahoo's product submission page. Minimum bids vary depending on which category you select. The amount you bid per click will determine your ranking.
2) Froogle: google.com/base/help/sellongoogle.html
My personal favorite when I'm in "shopping mode". Froogle is Google's shopping engine. No fees to list your products and no fees for click-throughs to your website. If submitting more than ten items, Google suggests you upload a data feed.
3) MySimon- www.MySimon.com
Their non-tech listings are powered by Shopping.com. Their tech listings are powered by CNET. To list your tech products go to shopper.cnet.com/4002-5_9-1008724.html
4) Shopping.com- www.Shopping.com
An Ebay company which lists thousands of products from online stores. Twenty million unique visitors per month. Merchants can list products for free and only pay for clicks. The cost per click amount depends on the category chosen. To be listed in the top three search results is called "featured store placement" and is based on the top three bids.
5) PriceGrabber.com- www.PriceGrabber.com
With over 26 million unique monthly visitors, PriceGrabber is a strong contender in the shopping search engine arena. You only pay for clicks to your store. Merchants can choose to enhance their presence through logos and what they call "Featured Merchant Product Listings". There are additional charges for these services.
6) Shopzilla: www.ShopZilla.com
No set up fees to list your products and you only pay for clicks. When opening your account you'll need to fund it with 50.00 which gets applied to click-throughs as needed. Your product listings will also appear in Shopzilla's other sites such as Bizrate, AOL's Instore.com, etc.
7) Become.com- www.Become.com
Founded in 2004, you'll find no set up fees to submit your products. You'll only be charged for clicks to your site. Each category has a minimum cost per click. Your ranking is based on three factors: relevance, bid amount and popularity.
There is no doubt that comparison search engines can send additional traffic to your online store. If you haven't been using them because you didn't know what they were, or how to include them, now you know. You no longer have any excuses for not adding them to your online marketing arsenal.
For additional information on this subject see these sites:
cumbrowski.com/comparisonengines.asp Additional links and resources.
www.LoveYourFeed.com A blog about data feed optimization for the shopping search engines.
Goecart.com/Comparison-Engine-Datafeeds-Guide.asp Offering information and reviews on comparison search engines.
www.SingleFeed.com Helps online retailers submit, manage and optimize product listings on top shopping search engines via a single data feed.
All things considered, shopping search engines are not only an excellent tool for online shoppers, they're also a dream come true for merchants who are trying to increase their store front traffic. If you haven't used them in the past, now's your chance to get your products in front of millions of online shoppers. And who knows, you might have just what they're looking for!