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Everything you need to know about Google CSS Partners

March 25, 2019

If you’re an online retailer that advertises with Google Shopping, or wants to advertise with Google Shopping, you’ve probably already heard of working with Google CSS Partners. Maybe you’ve already gotten some offers or promises, but you don’t know where to start. No worries, in this blog we’ll tell you all about it and even give you some tips on how to embark on this Google CSS journey in a quick and easy way.

Everything you need to know about Google CSS Partners

As of 2017, vendors can also appear in the Google Shopping search results by registering at a comparison site that is approved as a Google CSS Partner. The Google CSS Partner program is especially for Comparison Shopping Services (comparison sites) and vendors that work with such comparison sites.

On the internet, you’re overwhelmed by blogs and articles when searching for the Google CSS Partner program. These search results include a lot of stories about why Google invented this program and why you should start with it “RIGHT NOW”, or blogs that are written by companies who are a Google CSS Partner themselves. At Channable, we’re striving to be neutral in this matter, so read on if you’re just interested in the Google CSS Partner program and want to know how to get started.

Why should I work with a Google CSS Partner?

Working with a Google CSS Partner comes with a few benefits:

  • You can rely on the expertise of the Google CSS Partners.
  • Your ads will be shown in the general search results pages of Google Shopping, in between the ‘regular’ Google Shopping ads.
  • Working with a Google CSS Partner can also be more profitable. Bigshopper gave an example of how this would work, “When advertisers offer €1 per click via Google, only 80 cents goes to the auction. With a Google CSS partner, 100% enters the auction. This leads to a natural bid increase of 20% without having to actually change the bids!”
  • The financial benefits of working with a CSS Partner can be used to increase the clicks and revenue of your Shopping campaigns. Producthero highlighted that this is possible because “after switching from the Merchant Center to a CSS Partner, an advertiser can choose to lower CPC bids for Shopping campaigns whilst getting the same amount of clicks and conversions. By using switching to the CSS program, we see advertisers make strong improvements in campaign ROI: same revenue results with lower ad cost. By not changing the CPC bids, the clicks and revenue tend to go up after switching to a CSS partner.”

What does it look like?

Advertisements delivered by a Google CSS Partner are shown the same as all other Google Shopping ads. However, instead of ‘By Google’ under the advertisement, you’ll now see ‘By + the name of the Google CSS Partner”. A more detailed overview of the ad can be found under the ‘Shopping’ tab in Google.

How do I choose the right Google CSS Partner?

The most important thing is that you work with an official partner that fits your marketing goals and is specialized in the products (e.g. apparel or electronics) you want to advertise. Next to that, make sure you know if the Google CSS Partner supports all your products, and if they charge an additional CPC and/or CPS.

It is important to know the pricing and terms can differ between the several Google CSS Partners you can choose from. For instance, some work with a flat fee per month while others charge on a performance basis. Producthero chose their pricing model because “It is a Google policy that all of a vendor’s products are advertised on the website of the CSS Partner. With Channable, it is possible to optimize feeds for CSS channels by optimizing the product catalogue that is advertised. Leaving out any products on the CSS website, which are in fact advertised in Google with this CSS Partner, would be a violation of this policy. Therefore, when developing our CSS, we saw that a fixed or performance-based fee to place all products on the CSS website works better for most advertisers than a CPC based model.”

In addition to business models and pricing, there can be many differences between Google CSS Partners including (cancellation) terms, active countries and additional agency services as many CSS Partners are part of a marketing agency.

How do I start advertising on Google Shopping with a Google CSS Partner?

Once you have chosen a CSS Partner that fits you, starting is quite easy. You just need to confirm in your Merchant Center that it can change its association from Google to the CSS Partner of your choice and then Google will do the rest.

Channable already supports connections to a few Google CSS Partners in the tool, and setting up the feed works the same as setting up a Google Shopping feed. Please contact us if you need more information or need help with setting up a feed.

Written by Lisa van Ginkel
Marketing Benelux