Publisher Spotlight: Solute
Can you briefly introduce yourself and Solute? What are your core business values?
My name is Karoline and I’m in charge of all affiliate partnerships at solute. It all started in 2004 with the foundation of solute GmbH. One year later, our well-known price comparison portal billiger.de went live. On billiger.de users are able to find their desired product for the cheapest price. In the years after that, the business of solute GmbH expanded so that after a while we took part in different events every year, developed other products, became a Google partner and were altogether a firm component of the ecommerce.
As one of the largest European price comparison portals, billiger.de is represented internationally by Mimanda.com. Mimanda has access to the Google Premium partner benefits of billiger.de (solute GmbH) to optimize campaigns even more successfully – advertisers can take advantage of our free offer, where we create specific Google Shopping Ads (CSS PLA Ads) as a CSS publisher for online shops.
What would you say are the biggest benefits for an advertiser working with solute?
We have a wide range of services for b2b customers in e-commerce. Through our own price comparison portals, advertisers can list their products on the portal and can increase their reach and traffic by using our Shopping Ads service, our newsletter reach, Push notification software or also through our partner portals. Advertisers have the opportunity to actively increase their sales through our solute network, while our SaaS solutions also offer online and offline merchants the right tools to create customer relationships and increase sales.
Tell us more about your audience and what types of advertisers do you work best with?
We offer our affiliate partners a so called full managed service. This service is an advantage for advertisers as they benefit from our CSS Shopping Ads without paying any additional fees. Our affiliate cooperations are offered by us as solute only outside the German market. Payment of the campaigns via CPA commission (which means payment as a percentage of the shopping cart value) gives us the opportunity to be more variable or flexible in bidding (effective click price) than with classic CPC models. In turn, we require a CSS approval from all affiliate partners.We make a few exceptions regarding national affiliate partnerships, if the shop is not able to apply the conventional CPC model and we nevertheless see performance-based potential in a partnership.
However, we don’t have a specific type of profile that we are looking for. Instead we check every shop individually. Our in-house team of experts has many years of experience and expertise. There are certain best-case product categories and established brands that perform particularly well on the market due to high demand and search volume. We would like to have a data feed which contains at least 1,000 offers and an attractive commission fee as CSS Shopping Ads means paid traffic with a full risk of costs on our side.
In general, advertisers should also be aware that a CSS cooperation is subject to the Google Merchant Center requirements. If, for example, no images or delivery time and shipping costs are included in the feed, this is a no-go criteria, which can only be resolved by the advertiser in the feed. The advertisers are also responsible for ensuring that their data feed is complete and regularly updated. For example, we consider stores to be unsuitable if they only update their data feed every 30 days and send us outdated or incomplete data.
What makes Solute an exciting company?
We create a unique shopping experience for online shoppers and bargain hunters. Creative people with lots of ideas work at solute GmbH to develop innovative products with extra value and to establish them on the market. Our motivation is to constantly expand and improve the portfolio of our products and services for our users, the online shop customers as well as for our partners.
Any exciting plans coming up in the next 12 months?
Solute’s plan for the future is to expand our existing machine learning and business intelligence technology in order to control and adjust our campaigns better and more efficiently. We plan on developing various output logics which should enable us to show appealing products to the user via all shops in comparison. This way we can achieve an ideal search result, for example by prioritizing best-price products. Another project is the expansion or rather the extension of the international CSS activities, the analysis and use of synergy effects between shopping ads and classic text ads as well as the automation of Google Merchant Promotions.
Where do you think is the Affiliate space heading to in the next year and what are the main market disruptions?
Affiliate marketing is one of the oldest tools in online marketing and is also an essential part of our marketing mix. 2019 and 2020 have been years of discussions about sales tracking and those will continue. But affiliate marketing will still remain a significant factor – especially for e-commerce. It will also remain a strong and growing market for us, which is why we are currently working on various topics, such as the expansion of our affiliate partner program. Our affiliates can also look forward to many new topics and ideas in 2021, which are currently being developed.
What is the most exciting time of year for you as a business?
We would say that the fourth quarter certainly is an exciting time of the year as we are busy with the Christmas business and work on getting the most out it. But also other seasons can be very exciting for us. In spring for example, products like bikes, tyres and motorcycle accessories or articles from hardware stores are very much in demand, which basically means that we always have to keep trends and seasonal requests in mind.
Is there anything else you’d like our advertisers to know?
In the event of the EU record competition fine of 2.42 billion euro against Google and due to pressure from the European Commission, price comparison portals (Comparison Shopping Services – CSS) now also have access to the popular and high-performance ad spaces in Google search throughout the EEA and Switzerland since September 2017. Price comparison portals (CSS partners) can place shopping ads on Google search results pages for retailers they represent. Google Shopping, just like any other price comparison portal, can therefore place offers on behalf of the represented merchants. A fully automated mechanism ensures that campaigns are initiated and that the shops offers are uploaded to the corresponding merchant center. A constantly growing team of specialists takes care of the optimization and control of the respective shopping campaigns. In addition to the product data supplied by the store, this data is also refined, enhanced and optimized with our internal data, which we own as one of the largest price comparison portals. This enables us to get the best possible results for our customers.
We often experience that some advertisers have concerns about joining a CSS cooperation, as they fear cannibalization effects with their own shopping campaigns. Previous results and the satisfaction of our customers have shown that additional CSS Shopping Ads increase the reach significantly. If you want to find out more about it, take a look at one of our biggest success stories.
A so-called raising of the click price of a merchant, meaning a store, in the Shopping Ads via Google and/or additional CSS providers does not take place. Together with selected customers we have carried out regular additivity tests. I can suggest the following YouTube video to all interested parties, in which Google explains the Shopping Ad Auction process in detail.
We are very excited to connect with new advertisers who think that a cooperation with solute could be a great fit. We would be happy to get in touch with you if you are interested to test a CSS cooperation or add solute as a CSS publisher to your existing network!
What is one fun fact about solute?
For those of you who want to master their small talk skills or excell with their knowledge about solute, we have prepared some trivia which will make you king of every conversation during coffee break. No matter if you want to break the ice with wit and grace or simply just want to make a soluteian smile when you meet one, you should read the following thoroughly:
- The performance marketing team drank 1 coffee per 170,000 impressions
- In total the performance marketing team generated about 2.500.000.000 CSS Shopping Ads Impressions for its customers and drank about 15.000 coffees since beginning of the year
- What is the magic word to wake up the whole performance marketing team? Cake – obviously! By the way, all other departments also react to this magic word
- Bullshit Bingo highlights of our meetings: “At the end of the day | Monetization | I have that on my radar | traffic quality | Renegotiation of CPA commission rate”
- And here you can see a screenshot from our daily business – analysis of a very sophisticated chart in our BI system:
Thank you, Karoline for the insights!