Advertising on CSEs is not for everyone. Below are some of the things that you should consider when making the decision to use this channel.
- Customers shopping on CSEs usually are looking for new products, not refurbished or used. However, if you are selling products that are not new, just be sure to correctly populate the "Condition" field in the feed template.
- Products should not be one-offs, i.e. handmade. Customizable or configurable products are fine, but the price in the feed should reflect the price of what is described. By this, I mean your should not advertise a fully loaded model of a product but list the base price. There is no way to say "starting at $X", so advertising the base price when a fully loaded product is described will hurt conversions. This is also true for kits, ie, single offerings that are an amalgamation of other products. In addition, messaging the fact that a product is customizable or configurable can be challenging.
- Because CPCs on CSEs are relatively high, sellers with low average product prices are not a good fit. We usually filter out products under a certain price point. That point can vary but any products under $20 are generally removed unless the volume and conversion rate are expected to be significant.
- Price is definitely a factor in most consumers' decision-making processes but price does not have to be the lowest on the internet as long as there is value in your offer and it is being communicated effectively. If your offer is one of the most expensive, your brand is not well known and your survey scores are poor, you are unlikely to succeed.
- Many CSEs display shipping prices and/or include them in a total price calculation, so they must be reasonable and can play a key role in the decision making process for users. Also, expect the absence or presence of sales tax information to affect conversion and volume.
- The nature of CSEs is such that conversion rate is a critical piece of making the economics work. If the merchant's site is poor, especially the product detail pages, conversion may be low and it will be more difficult to reach goals on efficiency metrics such as ERS/ROAS.
- Not surprisingly, branded products generally drive much larger volumes than non-branded products on CSEs. Many queries include a product brand.
- Merchant brand recognition can have a significant impact in the buying process on CSEs, especially for catalog products. It can compensate for a slightly higher price relative to competitors.