Google CSS Partners: The ultimate guide

Google itself does not provide much communication on the Google CSS program. Producthero is an early partner and one of the few parties which have published anything much on this topic. We created this ultimate reference work from our extensive experience with the Google CSS program. We include how everything works and what you should pay attention to. The content has been compiled as independently as possible. We have now and again listed separately how it is arranged at Producthero or what we would recommend. Do you have any questions? [email protected]

About the Google CSS program

What is the Google CSS program?
In 2017, after a lengthy procedure, Google received a record fine of 2.4 billion Euro by the European Commission for abuse of power. What Google did was considered 'illegal under EU competition rules' in accordance with this ruling. Google created a platform for advertising with shopping ads on its search results page, which was only accessible to web shops, hereby depriving other parties (comparison sites) of the opportunity to compete fairly. The opinions in the industry differ on whether this statement is justified or not, but at least Google was very keen to change this. If Google did not implement major steps towards embracing comparison sites, the fine would have been increased by around 5% of its worldwide revenue per year. Google then initiated those steps with the launch of the Google CSS program.

About advertising via a Google CSS partner

How does advertising via a CSS partner work?

CSS partners can place Shopping adverts on behalf of the vendors they represent. It is currently possible to run advertising campaigns through other Comparison Shopping Services other than those from Google. Using multiple CSSs simultaneously is possible. There are then several merchant centers and associated campaigns which advertise on behalf of the merchant.

The bidding advantage via a CSS partner

The 20% discount on the CPC, how does this work?

A CSS partner receives a 20% discount on the CPC (cost-per-click) charge to be able to “compete” against Google Shopping compared to Google CSS. Shopping campaigns work just like Google AdWords through an auction in which the advertiser can bid on the cost-per-click that he wishes to pay.
In practice, this means the following: a bid of €0.80 via Producthero CSS has the same value as a bid of €1.00 via Google Shopping CSS. This means that an advertiser has to bid 25% more via Google Shopping to match a bid via a CSS partner.

The switching to or connecting to a CSS partner

How can I switch to a CSS partner?

The following two processes must be implemented to advertise via a CSS partner:

  1. The Merchant Center which is being used must be associated with the CSS partner.
  2. All products advertised must be on the CSS partner's comparison site.

A new merchant can be created by the CSS partner, although if you want to convert your existing campaigns, the association of the current Merchant Center must be switched to the CSS partner. The advantage of this approach is in allowing you to simply continue your existing campaigns and for the Ad Rank (the quality score of products stored in the Merchant Center) to be maintained.

What about Producthero?
It is extremely easy to convert a merchant center to Producthero as well as to place products on our site. You can do this here:

About Producthero

How does switching to Producthero CSS work?

Joining Producthero CSS is extremely easy and can be done entirely online. Go to You can easily register there. We need your Merchant Center ID to submit a switch request to Google. Converting your Merchant Center to Producthero CSS takes no more than a week after you have submitted the request to us.