Top Ten CSE’s Ranked – Q4 2011 Presented By CPC Strategy cpcstrategy.com/blog www.cpcstrategy.com
IntroductionLike the changing of the seasons, four times a year we at CPC Strategy release rankings of the top tenCSEs based on data gathered straight from our merchants.No quarter is bigger for merchants than Q4 of every year, which encompasses Black Friday, CyberMonday, and the entire holiday shopping season where Santa opens up his wallet and makes it rain onmerchants everywhere.Appropriately, by taking into account the 12 days of Christmas, this latest study marks the 12th edition ofour rankings as well.The Criteria (a.k.a. the fine print)For full details of how we measure the CSE’s check out our previous rankings:http://cpcstrategy.com/blog/the-top-ten-comparison-shopping-engines-compared-q3-2011/But in essence, we pull data from our 100+ clients, input all the data into our hamster powereddata analysis computer and spit it back out.In all we have millions of clicks accounting for tens of thousands of orders and tens of millionsin revenue to account for.Ready? Lets get started! Traffic
The trend from last quarter continues here, with Amazon and Shopzilla taking the top two spots, butNextag has surpassed Google to round out our top 3 traffic leaders.In fact the top six remain quite close to each other for a change, whereas last quarter after Google therewas a rather dramatic drop-off.Our theory as to why this is: With the CPC rate increases across the board, the CSEs (with the exceptionof Amazon) were able to buy more traffic than they generally able to during the rest of the year, and as aresult the increased spend resulted in increased traffic across the board as well. RevenueAgain, as was the case last quarter, despite falling a slot in traffic, Google more than makes up for it in itsrevenue return.Nextag is right behind it, while Amazon being our traffic leader, finishes in third here.Below the charts are broken into two parts, dark blue represents data from Q3 2011, andlight blue reflects data from the previous quarter, Q2 2011.
Conversion Rate % (orders/clicks)Google once again dominates this category, though the next eight spots are quite close to each other too.While 1st and 2nd place are separated by close to a full percentage point, 2nd place Pronto and 9th placeShopzilla are separated by just over 1/2 a percentage point. COS (Cost divided by Revenue) %Discounting the free CSEs, 4 of the 7 remaining saw a COS level that was worse off than in Q3, whereasBecome+Pronto saw dramatic improvements here.
Average CPC (Cost-per-click) RateAs was to be expected, and also perhaps the reason for the increase in traffic and a worse off cost of sale,CPC rates were up across the board with the exception of Become and Pronto--which perhapsuncoincidentally saw the best improvements in COS percentage above as well.Shopping Engine Responsiveness Rating (ranking from 1-10, 1 being best) 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10.Our account managers here are constantly in touch with the shopping engines in an attempt to optimizeour merchants’ accounts, and know first hand which engines are quickest to contact and who acts best.
Merchant Tools (ranking from 1-10, 1 being best) 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10.Along with homepage redesigns as mentioned earlier in the study, several shopping engines have redonetheir logins in order to better accommodate merchants taking a hands on approach to best optimize theiraccounts.ConclusionIn the end we ranked each shopping engine from each of our metrics from 1-10 and assigning a pointvalue for each category (higher being better).We doubled the COS % value making that out of a possible 20 points, and weighted traffic + revenue as 1.5each for a maximum of 15, summed it up, and got the following:
1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10.Similar to the Q3 finish, Google and Nextag finish 1/2 respectively, while Amazon gains a spot andfinishes at number three.Shopping.com also saw a big upswing coming in at 4, up from 7 previously, while Pricegrabber rounds outour top 5.Either way, with all the traffic and orders that Q4 offered our merchants, not maximizing your exposure topotential new sales wouldve been a mistake.Treat a customer properly once during the holiday season, and you may find yourself a repeat customer inthe new year--which is is about as good a present that any merchant could hope for.Fill out our short form to see how we can help your campaigns!http://www.cpcstrategy.com/evaluation/evaluationlf.html