If you consider yourself an online retailer, you most likely are familiar with the major pay-per-click (PPC) search-advertising providers: Google, Yahoo! Search Marketing, and MSN. Advertising on these search engines can bring sales to your site. However, you may be missing out on a lot of sales if you have not considered getting listed in the shopping search engines. Let’s take a look at shopping search engines and see what each of them has to offer.
NexTag is a comparison-shopping site. Sellers can “pay-per-performance,” meaning that you will pay-per-click depending on how much you bid for each click. Minimum bid prices are already set, and there is a rather large minimum CPC (cost per click) by category chart on the site. The minimum CPCs range anywhere from $.15 per click (books, movies and music) to $1 per click (printer supplies, plasma and LCD TVs). The homes and real estate category is currently set at $.01 per click for a minimum bid. Based on my organic SEO experience, I have learned that NexTag is one of those sites that ranks very well in the organic search results for many specific products. This can be helpful, as being listed in NexTag can bring visitors to your site who have already done their homework and are ready to buy, as they know the product make and model number for the specific product they’re looking to buy.
Registering on NexTag is free and offers several benefits, including tracking your price alerts, the ability to save your shopping list, view your product reviews, post seller reviews, get leads to your store and the ability to advertise your store.
Shopzilla is also a comparison shopping site that really is comprised of four different sites – Shopzilla.com, Shopzilla.co.uk, Shopzilla.fr, and Shopzilla.de. As a merchant registered with Shopzilla, you get several benefits, including being listed in its directory of online stores and being able to participate in its “Customer Certified Ratings and Review Program.” You also get access to its merchant services website and the opportunity to participate in the CPC program.
PriceGrabber has the motto of “Comparison Shopping Beyond Compare.” PriceGrabber also lists products on a CPC basis, where the rates run from $.15 for the auto parts category to $.80 for the jewelry and watches category. PriceGrabber has an option to add your logo for an additional $.10. There is a separate link if you are selling products in the books and magazines, movies, music, technology, video games, office products or adult products categories.
Shopping.com is owned by eBay and claims to have an average of 20 million unique visitors per month. CPC rates depend on the category and range anywhere from $.05 for sports and outdoors to $1.00 for certain electronics categories. The merchant reviews come from Epinions.com.
Yahoo! Shopping is different than the Yahoo! Search Marketing program. If you have a Yahoo! Store or Merchant Solutions account, you’ll save 20 percent. The minimum prices also vary, just like the other shopping sites. Prices range from $.15 for books to $1.00 minimum for jewelry and the gifts and occasions category. The main Yahoo! Shopping portal is at Shopping.yahoo.com and is accessible from the home page of Yahoo! Yahoo! Shopping has a deal with Consumer Reports to provide results based on the best product reviews from Consumer Reports.
The MSN network is a great place to test. You can start with Microsoft Digital Advertising Solutions, which combines all of its advertising options into one place. So, everything from autos, the MSN home page, Windows Messenger, Live Search, MSN Money, Yellow Pages and the online shopping category is all in one place. This also includes advertising on Windows Mobile and on Facebook, a social networking site. More information is available at Advertising.microsoft.com/home/home. There also is a specific area for MSN Shopping at Advertising.microsoft.com/shopping. Microsoft goes a little further than a lot of the networks and allows you to have your ad show up based on demographic data. More information about the demographic of MSN Shopping is at Advertising.microsoft.com/shopping?tab=profile. One interesting fact is that MSN Shopping’s visitors are 70 percent female. So, if your ideal customer is female you might want to take a look at MSN Shopping.
These six shopping search engines are just the beginning. There are others, including Amazon.com’s Clickriver, Dealtime (part of the Shopping.com network), Kelkoo, MySimon (part of the CNET Networks), and Google Base (formerly the Froogle product search). By testing each of these networks with your highest-margin items and a basic budget, you’ll soon learn which of them produce the most return.