The Ultimate Guide to the Google CSS program for Shopping Ad Campaigns

The Ultimate Guide to the Google CSS program for Shopping Ad Campaigns
Partnering with a Google Comparison Shopping Service (CSS) Partner is a strategic move for retailers looking to optimize their Google Shopping campaigns and broaden their audience reach effectively. These partnerships not only provide valuable insights and tools for improving Pay-Per-Click (PPC) campaigns and increasing visibility, click-through rates, and conversions but also offer a competitive edge through a 20% discount in the advertising auction, enabling merchants to tap into a broader audience and maximize their return on investment.

What is a Google Comparison Shopping Service (CSS) Partner?

If you're seeking to enhance your Google Shopping campaigns and maximize your ROI, teaming up with a Google Comparison Shopping Service (CSS) Partner can provide you with the tools and expertise necessary to optimize your Shopping ads and reach a broader audience effectively.

CSS Partners are companies that aid retailers in placing their products on Google Shopping. They offer valuable insights and strategies to improve your Pay-Per-Click (PPC) campaigns, lower risks with cost-per-action (CPA) models, and ultimately enhance campaign performance.

By collaborating with CSS Partners, retailers can benefit from a 20% discount in the advertising auction, giving them a competitive edge in reaching potential customers. These partnerships enable merchants to increase visibility, click-through rates, and conversions for their products.

Through CSS Partners, businesses can tap into a broader audience and maximize the full potential of Google Shopping ads, ensuring a significant return on investment.

The Emergence of Google CSS in Search

With the expansion of Comparison Shopping Services (CSS) in Google search, retailers now have increased opportunities to reach and engage with potential customers through targeted product offers. Google's auction system previously limited access to Google Shopping, but the emergence of CSS partners has opened up the platform to more competition.

This shift came about as a result of a €2.42bn antitrust fine faced by Google in 2017, prompting the company to allow more CSS providers to participate in the auction. The goal was to enhance competitiveness within Google's shopping service and provide retailers with additional avenues to connect with customers.

CSS partners in Europe offer valuable tools such as feed management and bid management, enabling retailers to optimize their presence on Google Shopping and improve their overall campaign performance. By leveraging these CSS partnerships, businesses can tap into a broader audience and maximize their return on investment through targeted advertising strategies.

Why use a Comparison Shopping Service?

Considering the benefits of partnering with a Comparison Shopping Service (CSS) can greatly enhance your Google Shopping campaigns. By utilizing a CSS, you can expand your reach to a broader audience and increase the visibility of your products on Google Shopping.

CSS partners have the expertise to optimize your product feeds, leading to improved campaign performance and a higher return on investment. These platforms operate on different costing models like cost per click (CPC) or cost per sale (CPA), offering flexibility in how you pay for advertising services.

Working with CSS partners can enhance your Pay-Per-Click (PPC) strategy, lower risks associated with cost-per-action (CPA) models, and provide valuable insights for campaign optimization. The motivation of CSS partners to deliver results assures that you receive the best service and achieve your advertising goals effectively.

The benefits of using a Google Comparison Shopping Service (CSS) partner

Partnering with a Google Comparison Shopping Service (CSS) can greatly enhance the performance of your Google Shopping campaigns. By teaming up with a CSS partner, you can benefit in several ways:

  • Increased Visibility: CSS partners can help increase the visibility of your products on Google Shopping, reaching a wider audience.
  • Cost Efficiency: Through the 20% discount on CPC charges, you can achieve better results with the same budget compared to running campaigns independently.
  • Competitive Advantage: Leveraging a CSS partner allows you to compete effectively with other retailers on Google Shopping while maintaining a lower cost per click.
  • Enhanced Campaign Optimization: CSS partners offer valuable insights and expertise to optimize your campaigns for better performance.
  • Improved ROI: Working with a CSS partner can lead to a significant return on investment by maximizing the effectiveness of your Google Shopping campaigns.

Partnering with a Google CSS provider like Order Legend enables you to tap into these benefits and elevate the success of your marketing acquisition strategies.

How advertising with Comparison Shopping Services works

Utilizing Comparison Shopping Services allows merchants to expand their reach and optimize product visibility on Google search results pages.

  • CSS websites collect product information and offers from online retailers to advertise on Google Shopping.
  • Merchants must work with at least one CSS to use Google Shopping. (Direct with Google is also considered as a CSS - with a hidden 20% mark up on bid amounts)
  • CSSs can bid to place Shopping ads on Google general search results pages on behalf of merchants they represent.
  • CSSs use a separate Merchant Center and ad account for each merchant they represent.
  • Shopping ads need to take users directly to a merchant's landing page where they can buy the advertised product.

When Shopping ads are displayed on Google's general search results pages within regions where the CSS program operates, the ads will indicate which CSS was responsible for the submission (noted by the 'By CSS' link at the ad's bottom). Clicking on this link redirects users to the respective CSS's website for further information.

Requirements for merchants to be eligible for the Google Comparison Shopping Service

To take advantage of the Google CSS program, stores must sell and ship to one of the following countries in Europe: Austria, Belgium, Czechia, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom.

All campaigns, regardless of their specific strategies, are required to adhere to the established Shopping ads policies and product data specifications. This ensures, among other things, that Shopping ads must direct users straight to the merchant's website, facilitating an immediate purchase opportunity for the advertised product.

Running your own campaigns in parallel to CSS campaigns

You can run your own campaigns alongside CSS campaigns without creating a bidding war between campaigns. Google is smart enough to know that you're working with a CSS partner for your domain, ensuring the cheapest bid that beats the competition will win the auction and subsequent ad placement. With that said, running your own campaigns in parallel to a CSS campaign can provide additional control over your advertising strategy and help you maximize your online retail presence. By running parallel campaigns, you can tailor specific aspects of each campaign to different target audiences or test varying ad creatives and bidding strategies. This approach allows you to experiment with different keywords, products, or promotional offers without impacting the performance of your CSS campaigns. Additionally, having your campaigns running concurrently gives you the flexibility to allocate budgets according to your priorities and adjust settings in real-time based on performance data.

Moreover, running your own campaigns alongside CSS initiatives enables you to diversify your advertising channels and reach a broader audience. While CSS partnerships can boost your visibility on Google Shopping, supplementing them with your campaigns across other platforms or channels can enhance your overall marketing reach and engagement. This dual campaign strategy empowers you to leverage the strengths of both approaches to drive more traffic, conversions, and revenue for your online store. All whilst ensuring you get the most bang for your buck thanks to the 20% discount. If you're not working with a CSS already, you're already behind any competitors that do run with a CSS.

Order Legend, the Cost-Per-Acquisition CSS for Shopify stores

Utilizing Order Legend as a Cost-Per-Acquisition CSS for Shopify stores can streamline your ad campaigns and boost your online store's performance effortlessly. Here are some key points to take into account:

  • Order Legend operates as a Google CSS
  • Order Legend leverages an automated system, simplifying the setup process for store owners to a couple of clicks.
  • The default commission rate is set at 12% on the value of orders, which can be adjusted to suit specific requirements, just let us know!
  • Setting up Order Legend typically takes around 1 week for sub-accounts on Google to be established and approved.
  • Order Legend runs Google Shopping campaigns alongside your existing campaigns, expanding your reach.
  • With Order Legend funding the ads and only getting paid on generated orders, you benefit from a zero-risk model.
  • Order Legend is aligned to your success, as we only get paid when you get orders.

With Order Legend operating on a CPA basis (pay-only-on-results model), we operate in the margin between ad spend and commission earnings. This means we can run more performant campaigns than you can directly through Google alone, whilst still being cheaper thanks to the 20% bid discount. This discount gives us some room to operate, run more aggressive campaigns and net you more orders, customers and revenue.

Alternatives to Order Legend Google CSS

Considering the options beyond Order Legend CSS for your Shopify store, our parent company, emerges as a good alternative operating on the same pure Cost-Per-Acquisition model. Redbrain functions through affiliate networks like Awin and CJ rather than directly via a Shopify app. We'd recommend trying Redbrain if you're not running your store on Shopify by getting set up on one of the many affiliate networks (Redbrain works through pretty much all of them).

In 2023, Redbrain generated over £1 billion of incremental revenue for merchants, with more than £400 million for eBay. Unlike Order Legend, Redbrain operates on a similar CPA model, ensuring a performance-based approach to your advertising spend.

By leveraging Redbrain's platform, you can tap into a network that has proven success in driving revenue for merchants. This CSS provider offers a compelling option for businesses looking to maximize their ROI and expand their reach in the Google Shopping Carousel.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Do I Optimize My Google Shopping Campaign?

Optimize your Google Shopping campaign by partnering with CSS providers for a 20% discount, enhancing bidding power, visibility, and conversions. Boost ROAS targets post-switch for increased profitability, revenue, and campaign success.

What Are the Benefits of CSS Shopping?

To understand the benefits of CSS shopping, you'll notice a 20% discount on CPC charges. This advantage boosts your bidding power by 25% compared to Google CSS, leading to increased visibility, more clicks, and better positioning for your ads.

Is Google CSS Worth It?

Using Google CSS can be worthwhile for you. With a 20% discount and increased bidding power, you can enhance your product visibility and reach more customers. Consider partnering with a CSS for improved campaign performance.

How Do I Boost My Google Shopping Ads?

To boost your Google Shopping ads, optimize bids with a Google CSS partner for a 20% discount advantage. Increase visibility, clicks, and conversions without raising costs. Maximize ROI by leveraging CSS expertise to enhance your campaign performance.


To sum up, teaming up with a Google CSS service like Order Legend can truly revolutionize your shopping campaigns and maximize your ROI.

By utilizing the knowledge and tools offered by CSS partners, you can enhance your campaigns, reach a wider audience, and achieve better outcomes for your online retail business.

Don't overlook the chance to enhance your Google Shopping ads and advance your success with the strength of CSS partnerships. Begin experiencing substantial returns on your investment today and give our risk-free app a try!

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Adam Sturrock
Adam Sturrock
Order Legend