eCommerce Insiders

Google Shopping: From CSE to Paid Search

Retailers are reeling from the Google bombshell announced on May 31st. Google Product Search is being demolished. In it’s place Google has built Google Shopping. To the consumer, the change will be virtually indistinguishable. But everything is changing for retailers.

Of the CSE’s Google Product Search was the largest. And it was free. Talk about a boon to retailers. It was the largest gimme of any channel of traffic.

Compared with paid search, comparison shopping engines (CSE’s) have traditionally been separate domains with distinct optimization strategies.

Google was a search engine AND a comparison shopping engine. Retailers had to optimize Google traffic in three distinct ways:

  1. SEO for organic listings
  2. AdWords PPC for sponsored listings
  3. Shopping feed optimization for Google Product Search CSE

Google is merging #2 and #3. Well, actually, there is no more CSE with Google. It is now all paid search. (The transformation won’t be complete until October 1st. Your Product Search feed will die a slow, painful death in the meantime.)

Your CSE strategies won’t cut it. AdWords is a fully mature platform with a tremendous amount of levers to pull.

  • Bidding strategies
  • Bid prices
  • Negative keywords
  • Audience targeting
  • Promotional text
  • Split testing
  • Ad groups
  • Budgets
  • Remarketing

As such, your Google Shopping rightly belongs in the domain of your paid search program, not your CSE program. Just make sure you fully understand Product Listing Ads — this is the Google Shopping targeting mechanism within AdWords. An immature PLA build-out won’t cut it. Product Listing Ads will soon become the dominant ad format within AdWords for all retailers.

Chris Crompton

Chris Crompton is the Group Marketing Manager at ROI Revolution, a retail-focused digital marketing agency.


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