Holiday Season Approaching: Watch Out for Falling CPCs??

October 6, 2008

As the holidays approach there are many things we all look
forward to –  holiday decorations,
parties, and gifts (which hopefully means traffic to our retail websites) – but with
it comes many things that we usually do not look forward to – long lines,
traffic, air travel, and higher marketing CPC rates… or do we?

This year, in a departure from the norm, Shopping.com released
their holiday rate card with lower rates for some traditional gift categories…
lower rates?, that’s new! Don’t worry
the sky is not falling and Shopping.com is not completely losing it, instead
they are only lowering rates for a handful of categories (25 to be exact), keeping rates the same for over 160 categories, and raising rates (per usual) for the
rest. Still this is not typical behaviour
for a Comparison Shopping Engine and thus begs the question – is something else
at play? While I cannot speak for any
engine, Shopping.com included, I do know that Shopping.com has a new CEO who is
obviously looking to shake things up in the industry. He is a believer that lower CPC rates will
help retailers increase their ROI on the site and, I presume, in turn may convince
retailers to sell other products through Shopping.com… the breadcrumb trail always
comes back. But is that it?

Sure, this adaptation could also signal that Shopping.com
expects the current economy to impact their traditionally profitable Q4 and
they are trying to add and keep retailers by using incentives. Or they could be reacting to a decline of retailers that sell in these 25 categories, either now or during past Q4s. Or some completely different reason beyond the
understanding of anyone not within Shopping.com. Still, whatever the reason, Comparison
Shopping Engines are an important holiday marketing tool and if the site serves
a demographic you are interested in reaching and they are offering a discount
to your rates, I would suggest you consider it strongly.

Shopping.com has played their [rate] card – will others
follow suit?