Welcome to the duel of the giants: Introducing first, the reigning, defending champion, the most visited site in the world, the heavyweight among search engines, the Goliath of Internet traffic: Gooo-gle! But now the challenger steps into the ring: The titan of online mail order, risen from the books, the colossus of Bezos: Here comes A-ma-zooon! Today it’s all about nothing less than the question, “Which shopping platform will win the battle for e-commerce marketing? Google Ads or Amazon Advertising: Who is the super-champion to drive your e-commerce business forward?
Round 1: Campaign types and placement
The following campaign types are available in Google Ads:
- Search network campaigns
- Campaigns in the display network
- Shopping campaigns
- Video campaigns
- Discovery campaigns
The most relevant campaigns for this comparison are the shopping campaigns. Their advertisements can in turn be divided into: Product shopping, showcase shopping and ads with local inventory. The ads appear in the “Shopping” tab of Google Search, next to the search results, with search network partners and in the Google Display network (including YouTube, Gmail and Google Discover).
With Amazon Advertising, you can choose from the following campaign types:
- Sponsored Products (the “Google Shopping from Amazon”)
- Sponsored Brands
- Sponsored Display (still in beta phase)
Here, too, we now refer primarily to the sponsored products which come closest to the Google shopping campaigns. Nevertheless, it is a good idea to use the brand campaign in addition to the sponsored products. In this way, you can prevent competitors from stealing searches off for your own brand with third-party ads.
Sponsored Products ads appear both at the top and in the middle of search results on Amazon or on the product pages.
In Round 1, Google Ads scored a hit with its more diverse campaign repertoire and ad formats.
Round 2: Effectiveness, Costs, ROAS, SEO
In round 2 Amazon Advertising starts with a hard blow: Even though Google is the most used website in the world, Amazon is the place-to-be when it comes to online shopping. This means that users who see your sponsored products on Amazon have a more solid buying intention than is the case on the Google network.
A study, that compared the same keywords for the same products in Google Ads and Amazon respectively, came to the following conclusion: “Although the keywords searched for on Amazon received 2.5 times more clicks and traffic and a 70 percent higher conversion rate at around 65 percent lower costs-per-click. But: The value of the average shopping cart was 55 percent lower at Amazon”. This means that the Return on Advertising Spend (ROAS) at Amazon is many times higher than at Google. The performance figures are likely to be correspondingly higher if you can act as a prime provider.
Another difference between the two platforms: On Google, paid ads have – if any – only a very small impact on the organic ranking, and only indirectly (for example through additional traffic on the site, which in turn sends out more link signals by splitting or linking the pages). At Amazon, on the other hand, ads on the product pages also increase the organic search results of the product page at Amazon itself through increased conversions on the product pages. The latter in turn even affects the organic results at Google – although unfortunately only for the Amazon product page.
Amazon is fiercely competing against Google in this round, almost achieving a lucky punch with the much better conversion rate. Google is hit hard, staggers, and barely makes it to the next round.
Round 3: Handling and optimization possibilities
Google is striking back: Because an immensely important point is the landing page. For Amazon Sponsored Products, this is the Amazon product page. With Google, this is your own page. You can optimize the latter as you wish. For example, you can draw attention to further promotions or call for a visit to a shop. In addition, you can collect user data on your own website (of course only in compliance with GDPR) and use this data for your own newsletter, for example.
Furthermore, Amazon offers only a very limited analysis of user behaviour: For example, you will not receive any information on the length of stay or other key figures that could help you to optimise the ads. Furthermore, Amazon does not allow you to target the campaigns geographically. Also a time control like with the Google advertising scheduler or a bid adjustment by device type is not possible with Amazon. What we also lack in Amazon Advertising is an equivalent to the Google Keyword Planner. In order to research keywords for Amazon you have to take a detour via non-platform tools or start with automatic campaigns.
The counterattack: In this round, Google has given its challenger a lightning-quick, pounding hook. Because brands that want to offer their customers a comprehensive shopping experience cannot at Amazon. It is difficult to integrate added value such as blog articles, chatbot, newsletter etc. Moreover, companies that know their target group very well and want to fine-tune their media budget, can only use these options at Google.
And the Winner is…
Due to the more diverse optimization possibilities, targeting options and analyses of user behaviour, Google Ads is the clear winner. Nevertheless, we do not generally advise against Amazon Advertising. Especially e-commerce companies that are still in their infancy can get their operations up and running at a lower cost, as Amazon users are more willing to buy. Online shops that have already built up a well-known brand or that sell high-priced products should at best rely on a marketing mix and thus on both platforms.