Alex Sperber: The first change, visible to consumers, is the way the ads appear on the results page. If an ad is placed by a CSS, this can be seen at the bottom of the respective ad. It doesn’t say “From Google”, but the name of the corresponding price comparison site.
When a user clicks the “By UnitedAds” link, they will be directed to the product search website. The percentage of users who click this link is minimal. Most consumers may not even notice the change. As more and more ads are being displayed using different CSS, displaying different price comparisons will become the norm anyway.
The decisive change is not visible and affects the auction around the ad spaces. In order to persuade competitors of the Google price comparison company Google Shopping to participate in the shopping auction, Google changed the rules of the game. For shopping ads in the European Economic Area that are based on Google Shopping, the CPC stored via Google Ads is split into two parts: the actual CPC and a margin.
The margin is a fixed percentage of the CPC set by Google. This margin is around 20 percent.
So if a retailer places a bid of € 1 via Google Shopping Europe (Google’s own price comparison), also known as GSE, about € 0.20 goes to Google as a margin and € 0.80 goes into the auction. If the retailer now uses a different CSS, he can reduce his bid to € 0.80 and is therefore still competitive in the auction against the ads imported by Google Shopping Europe.
The dealer can of course leave his bid at € 1 and thus win more auctions, i.e. achieve a greater range.