Author Archives: Frederic Abrard

Shopping ads support jobs and business growth in Europe

Shopping ads on Google are designed to help people find the products they are looking for quickly and easily. And, with the help of Comparison Shopping Services, Shopping ads also help merchants to reach potential customers.

As e-commerce continues to accelerate, supporting job growth and small businesses across Europe, we wanted to take a look at the growth of Comparison Shopping Services (CSSs) in Europe, and their work to connect merchants with even more shoppers.

Merchants are attracting more customers

When consumers search for products on Google — like a toaster — they may see a series of ads showing products to buy. These ads are placed by CSSs and shoppers can then either click through to the merchant to buy or visit the CSS to compare more.

People find these results helpful and traffic to these ads has continuously increased over time (in 2021, consumers clicked on 30% more shopping ads from CSSs than in 2020). And almost all CSSs have increased the number of merchants they work with or increased their activity with existing merchants.

European businesses are expanding

In 2021, the number of CSS businesses advertising on Google grew by more than 20% alone and many of these are hiring new employees, or expanding into new countries or markets.

In total, there were more than 350 active Comparison Shopping Services groups in Europe who advertise on shopping ads at the end of 2021. Together, they operate more than 800 CSS websites across multiple countries in Europe, creating new business opportunities and job growth.

The majority of offers uploaded to Google in the EEA are from CSSs, and the number of merchants using CSSs like Kelkoo, Redbrain, Connexity, Solute, Smarketer, and Smarter e-commerce to place ads grew by more than 30% in 2021.

Google is supporting the CSS industry

Since 2017, Google has developed tools and invested in dedicated support for Comparison Shopping services. This includes the CSS Partner Program, an official recognition from Google who meet additional quality criteria based on minimum number of merchants, knowledge of Shopping ads, and other indicators. To date more than 100 CSSs have been certified. The programme also provides access to technical specialists, and customized training sessions.

Additional training programmes, educational events and tools have been developed, including the CSS Center which helps CSSs manage hundreds or thousands of associated merchant accounts efficiently.

We look forward to continuing to invest in and support the growth of Comparison Shopping Services in Europe, and to ensure that our users can continue to find the most relevant offers and answers.

Supporting retail through Comparison Shopping Services

In 2020, people around the globe benefited from digital services more than ever. Internet usage has increased by 60 percent. E-commerce trade across the European Union has posted double-digit percentage growth since last year. Searches for the phrase “how to buy online” have jumped 200 percent worldwide.

Retailers are trying to adapt and meet evolving customer demands amidst the challenges brought on by the pandemic. At Google, we care deeply about helping retailers and providing our users with the most relevant information when they search for products. This sector alone accounts for more than nine percent of jobs in the European Union and is set to play a pivotal role in the region’s economic recovery.

Google’s Accelerating Retail initiative provides a range of useful technology, relevant insights, tools and training to bring retailers closer to their customers. So far we’ve engaged with more than 13,000 retailers across Europe, the Middle East, and Africa (EMEA).

In Europe, our commitment to the retail sector extends to another group: Comparison Shopping Services (CSSs). These are websites that help retailers showcase their products online. They collect product offers from online retailers, surface them to shoppers and send prospective buyers directly to retailers’ websites to make their purchases. 

Shopping for home fragrances

A demonstration of how CSSs connect shoppers with retailers on the Google Search results page, using Shopping ads. In Europe, retailers participate in Shopping ads by partnering with one or several CSSs.

As part of our efforts to support and strengthen the overall retail ecosystem, we have also expanded our offerings for Comparison Shopping Services. Our free resources and tools available through the CSS Program assist them in several areas of their business operations, including: 

  • Managing product inventory from retailers at scale 

  • Receiving comprehensive support to optimize the performance of their Shopping ads

  • A bespoke online Google platform providing up-to-date training, market data, and product optimization tips.

The program currently helps 700 active participants, representing tens of thousands of retailers. Within our CSS Program, we have a Comparison Shopping Partners program, which gives  certified CSSs access to additional benefits. This includes direct collaboration with Google experts on the most advanced technical topics related to Shopping ads.

Merchants are seeing the value of these initiatives across the region. For example, Rituals Cosmetics, a luxury bath and body brand active in 28 countries, was looking for a partner to help them improve their performance marketing. They turned to their CSS, Producthero, for help. Together, Rituals and Producthero scaled Shopping ads with smart bidding and other advanced features. Combined with Producthero's own product feed optimization tool, Rituals achieved a triple-digit turnover increase in online sales within their spend targets.
Together with Producthero, we have completely changed our overall Shopping ads strategy. This was valuable not only for the performance marketing team but also for Rituals as a company. Martijn van der Zee, Chief Digital Officer, Ritual

We know that technology can help retailers reach a broad customer base as shoppers increasingly browse and buy online. Google is committed to continue investing in the retail industry through the CSS program and other tools and products designed especially for retailers. We want to help the industry adapt, grow, and achieve success with relevant ads that bring them closer to their customers.