Google buys product listing ads partner Channel Intelligence to boost Shopping

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Google is set to extend its Shopping search service after acquiring ecommerce solutions firm Channel Intelligence for $125m.

Google has worked closely with Channel Intelligence for several years: CI helped Google create its product listing ads and return on advertising spend products (ROAS).

CI announced the buy-out on its website. The statement said: "For over ten years, we have focused on making it easy for consumers to find and buy products online and help our clients grow their business. We've worked with Google for years, and look forward to the great things we will be able to do together."

Google is believed to have paid $125m cash for CI.

The company currently works in 31 countries, and provides ecommerce solutions to retailers like Target and Best Buy. CI helps retailers optimise their products for search visibility across a number of platforms, including Facebook and price comparison sites.

For Google, CI was involved in the creation of a solution allowing retailers to optimise their ROAS for product listing ads.

Google Shopping is about to change in the UK: from February 13, retailers will have to start paying to see their products included in Shopping search results.

CI's work on previous Google Shopping projects clearly had some bearing on the acquisition.

Tech blog Mashable ran a statement from Google on the acquisition. It said: "We want to help consumers save time and money by improving the online shopping experience. We think Channel Intelligence will help create a better shopping experience for users and help merchants increase sales across the web."

Some analysts feel Google is taking on Amazon with the move to monetise its Shopping results.

Mashable, BusinessInsider and Wired have all run editorials positing that Google could be looking to extend its online reach at the expense of Amazon and other e-tailers.

The acquisition of an ecommerce solutions provider seems to underpin predictions that Google Shopping could become a consumer destination in its own right.

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