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Price comparison websites as a traffic provider - how to use their potential and not lose on cooperation?

TrafficWatchdog team

10.02.2021 r.

price comparison websites, traffic provider, cooperation

Price comparison websites as a traffic provider - how to use their potential and not lose on cooperation?

source: own elaboration

Price comparison are websites or applications that enable users to compare prices of a given product in many e-stores at once. As a result, customers can find the most advantageous offer from their point of view, and stores can attract new customers. Of course, the presence of a given website in such price comparison is usually paid - most of them display only the offers of the stores that have decided to cooperate. But is it worth investing in this promotion channel from the point of view of e-commerce businesses?

How do price comparison websites work?

Each price comparison engine must initially create its database, and therefore collect special product feeds from the stores integrated with it. These are files (usually in XML or CSV format) containing a list of products available in the store and their special features (such as price, description, additional equipment, etc.). Virtually every e-commerce platform (including Magento, Prestashop, Woocommerce), as well as SaaS solutions (such as Shoper, Shoplo or IdoSell) allows you to create a product feed. Of course, a correctly generated product feed is constantly updated in real time. As a result, the comparison engine receives information on the actual condition of products and their current prices in a given store on an ongoing basis. Then, in response to an internet user’s query, a special algorithm searches the database and compiles information obtained from various stores, creating a list of results and presenting it in accordance with the criterion set by the user (usually from the cheapest to the most expensive).

Fees for presence in the price comparison engine

Of course, every product price comparison website has its own policy regarding fees, and our task in this text isn’t to present them in detail or to compare them with each other. If you are interested in the offer of a specific website, please contact its representative. However, we can safely say that virtually each of the comparison websites charges its partners with at least one (and some of them with all) of the fees listed below:

  • Initial fee – a one-time amount paid by the e-shop at the beginning of cooperation, in return for integrating the systems and adding selected offers to the comparison engine, it will most often depend on the number of products that the store wants to show in the comparison engine;
  • Fee for each click – a fixed fee set in the PPC (pay per click) model. We deal with it when a given store pays for each entry from the comparison engine to the product page, regardless of whether the user buys the product or not;
  • Commission for generated sales – some comparison websites allow you to make a purchase directly (without having to go to a specific page), of course charging a fixed commission. In this case, we are dealing with settlements in the CPS (cost per sale) model. Most often it will be a percentage of the value of generated sale, but it can also be a predetermined amount.

Price comparison websites - for whom?

Presence in price comparison websites may, and in many cases should, be a very important element of the marketing strategy. The benefits that may result from this are: greater recognition of the store, building a positive image by showing it as better than the competition, higher conversion level (and therefore also sales) and acquiring new, loyal customers. Research shows that users are also more likely to trust the brand, which is visible in well-known price comparison websites, and its presence in them inspires their trust. However, it won’t be a good solution for every e-shop. Purchasing platforms cooperating with price comparison websites should:

  • offer specific products, price comparison websites won’t be a suitable solution for stores offering unique products, such as works of art, handicrafts, collectors’ items, etc.;

  • conduct an appropriate pricing policy, i.e., divide the products on offer into Traffic Builder (popular products sold at low margins, whose task is to bring the customer to a given online store), Product Standard (those offered to customers at prices that ensure a margin at a normal level) and Profit Generator (a category containing products sold at high margins) segments in accordance with their product role;
  • have purchase prices enabling them to compete with other stores, at least to some extent;
  • use solutions thanks to which they can constantly check the quality of traffic obtained from the comparison engine.

Check if cooperation with the comparison engine is beneficial for you!

If you have decided to work with a comparison engine or price comparison websites, you should carefully check whether this source actually generates profit for you. Of course, if you use several websites of this type, you should consider each of them individually. So, before you approve the invoice issued by a given comparison engine, you must carefully check what you are paying for. Both when it comes to clicks and generated sales.

If you pay for each click, be sure to check whether the number of clicks for which the comparison engine charges you - is consistent with the facts.

They may not match - and without your website’s click control, you can pay the price comparison more than you should. Therefore, it is important that you use appropriate tools that will monitor the number of clicks from the comparison engine for you - unfortunately you won’t check it in Google Analytics (but it is monitored, for example, by our system).

If you have the right tools, try to trace the entire attribution path of a specific click. It may turn out that the comparison engine doesn’t attract new customers for you, but only provides those who already visit your website. So, it’s worth checking whether you are actually paying several times for the same click.

Additionally, monitor what products are actually selling through a specific comparison engine and to which segment they belong (preferably they should be products from the Profit Generator group, worst if they are only products from the Traffic Builder segment). A given source may generate high-level sales for you, but in practice you may lose out on such cooperation - it will be the case if customers buy only products with a minimum margin, and you additionally pay a given comparison engine a commission. Also remember that in order to minimize the risk of abuse, the agreed sale fee should be paid only after the time to return the product has passed.

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