Google Shopping Ads or Amazon Ads; Which One Should You Choose?
My chair just broke. My living room is too dark. My winter boots are lost. My laptop is old and really really slow. My nephew's birthday is coming up. My pet deserves a new toy. My pencils are out of ink. My hand mixer is smoking - for real.
There are millions of reasons people are buying new things every single day - you should go and visit one of the shopping malls here in Istanbul; oh boy, crazy! You will be surprised how many people fit inside. When you look at the entrance, the flow of new people entering the mall just doesn’t seem to be stopping, and then I am not even talking about the waiting lines at the cash registers, wooa.
Although I love shopping and I do visit the malls from time to time, it can frustrate me a lot, too. Sometimes shopping online is just perfect - I can find everything I need fast, I don’t need to wait in line to pay, and I don’t have to walk around with heavy bags while fighting my way through the mall. When it comes to searching for the products I’d like to buy online, I generally use Google - perfect for starting a research, getting familiar with the many options, and eventually find the product at the online stores. Now, a few weeks ago Turkey welcomed a new player into the online-shopping market; Amazon. Amazon is world’s largest online retailer, selling over 120 million (!) products. Umbrellas, hot-tubs, bread toasters, lipstick - with so many items in a variety of categories, it isn’t strange that a lot of people are using Amazon as their first destination to search for products.
Google Ads vs. Amazon Ads
I see you thinking; as a retailer, what should I do now? - should I start focussing on promoting my products on Amazon; the largest marketplace in the world, or stick with Google; the largest search engine in the world? Let me help you out - let’s go over both Google Shopping Ads and Amazon Sponsored Ads, and figure out what works well for you.
Now this blog may have a bit of a cat theme going on - sorry for the ones who don’t like ‘em - but that’s only because my puffy little friend really-really wanted to help me out. So - here we go.
The Google Ads Platform
Google Ads (previously called AdWords) is Google’s online advertising platform (and the largest online advertising platform in the world). I would even dare to say that it's one of the best ways to reach new customers and grow your business. Every day, millions of businesses spend millions of dollars to get their message across their potential customers - and with success!
When advertising on Google, your ads can either be shown at the top of the search results, the bottom, or you can choose to display your products and services through banners on the many sites within the Google network; 2 million to be precise. Included in the Google display network are YouTube, Google Play Store, Gmail - to name a few.
Google Shopping Ads
Google shopping ads (aka product listing ads, aka PLA’s) pop up at the very top (or top-right) position of the Google search results when searching for a product. They are visual search ads - they are Google’s paid shopping campaigns and are just perfect to promote, display and advertise your products. For me, Google shopping ads are way more interesting to click on compared to the regular search ads as I get to see the price, image, seller’s name, reviews, special offers, shipping info - so, click! And it’s not just me; about 85% of the clicks go straight to the shopping ads.
To show you an example, let’s say I am (almost) out of cat food. I want to stick with the brand my cat currently eats so I make a search directly on the specific brand - you can say that it would look something like this: cat food royal canin.
Look at that - Google found the product I was searching for and shows it directly to me at the top of the page, above the search ads and organic listings. Great! But .. I still can’t see the one I’d like to buy. By clicking the arrow at the right side, a lot more products are being displayed so I scroll-scroll-scroll until I find the one that I want.
If it’s still not there, the “view all” button at the end of the row will definitely do the trick. When clicking, Google takes me to the shopping tab where I can see all products listed once more, but this time I can apply some filters to show the products within the right category and within a certain price range. I know it costs somewhere between 100 - 200 Turkish Lira, so that’s what I select.
Found it. When I click on the product, I can select the seller since I have the option to choose between multiple, will be redirected to the seller’s landing page and place my order. Voila - both of us happy.
To get to the point; whether I search for a brand or any random product of which the brand isn’t so important (or maybe I am still in the phase of researching my brand options), the shopping ads help me a lot by finding the things I am looking for. Instead of needing to visit different sites and compare prices on these sites, compare shipping rates and delivery times, compare reviews of the seller and what more, I can get all these bits of information fast through the Google shopping ads. Definitely a plus for Google - but before I start handing out any more plus points, let’s first check what Amazon ads are all about.
The Amazon Advertising Platform
If you are already familiar with Google ads, it’s simple; Amazon ads are working the same - when you search for a product, the first results that pop up are the ads. Almost any product can be advertised on Amazon - almost, because you can only advertise products from the categories specified by Amazon; to let you know, adult, used and refurbished products can not be advertised here. Comparing it to Google where ads can appear in the search results and on Google’s network, Amazon ads also can appear on Amazon’s search results and on its very own network of Amazon-owned sites and apps, called Amazon DSP (the “Amazon’s Demand Side Platform”).
Looking at the pricing, we again see some similarities; both use a pay-per-click model and you can start advertising with a smaller budget. The keywords that you use in your Amazon advertising campaign, can also help you boost your organic rankings. Great!
Amazon Sponsored Ads
All right, let’s have a look at my cat’s tiny needs. We bought him a bed when he was a kitten but he never used it and we gave the bed (more like a ugly pillow) away. Now he’s 1.5 years old, never got a new cat bed from us but recently I start to think that he might be into cat-beds now - he’s been looking for replacements (or he just likes the laundry basket):
So as a potential cat-bed customer I write my query straight away on Amazon. I have no clue about cat bed brands, models, don’t have a specific color in mind, so I do a general search - say any bed will do. After I wrote my keywords in the Amazon search box and hit enter, I see this:
In this picture, two types of sponsored ads are hidden; you can either show up as sponsored products or sponsored brands (used to be called headline search ads). Let’s have a look at both:
- Show up as Sponsored Brands,
Ok, so first up are the sponsored brands - they are the ones that appear at the very top of the search results page and they the ones that work really well if you want to increase brand awareness; they cover the entire first row! These ads are triggered by keywords - and though my keyword is cat and they show images of beds with dogs in it, they are tiny dogs so it could be perfect for cats, too - I forgive them.
As you see, the sponsored brand-ads includes a brand logo (brand: Best Friends by Sheri), a headline (the pet bed trusted by owners), and 3 different products from the collection. When I decide to click on one of these three products in the ad, I am redirected to that products’ detail page, and when I click on the “shop now” link, the headline itself or on the logo, I visit the seller’s page and see all products selected to be featured by the seller - something that looks like this:
With this I really get a good overview of the brand and what products it sells or how its collection look likes, and at the same time I get to see the prices and can visit the detail pages of all these products easily. I think I found myself a nice cat (pet) bed-brand!
- Or show up as Sponsored Products.
Now the products you see in the second row of the search results page, are sponsored, sponsored and (guess what) sponsored - exactly, these are the sponsored products we’re referring to. They are from different sellers and just focus on a particular product they’d like to promote.
To me, these ads just look like regular listings and I can imagine people might even overlook the whole “sponsored” tag. Again these ads are triggered by keywords, focus on a cost-per-click model, and when I decide to click on one of those ads I am redirected to the products’ detail page.
But hold on - there is more to the sponsored products.
Aside from appearing at the second row of the search results page, your ads may also appear in-between the organic listings or even on the product detail pages of other sellers’ products (your competitors perhaps). What I mean with that, is that when I click on one of the beds (sponsored or not) and I land on the products’ detail page, your product might be showing up there as an ad, too! Look, right there in the sponsored products related to this item section - wooa. High chance that your product is being found over and over and over again!
So, Which One To Choose?
Google Shopping Ads or Amazon Sponsored Ads?
Yes - let’s get to the point now. Both Google and Amazon offer great opportunities for you as a retailer. They do have some similarities, like allowing sellers to display images, prices, descriptions, star ratings and shipping details in an ad, ads are appearing at the top of the search results, and also the Google shopping ads and Amazon sponsored ads both use a cost-per-click based model in terms of pricing, but; there are some differences, too. These differences could be the make-or-break factor when it comes to deciding which online advertising platform to choose. Let’s go over them:
- When focussing on brand awareness,
Google directs buyers to the landing page of the seller’s own website, and Amazon directs them to the product detail page within Amazon - thus never leaves the site.
Directing buyers to your own website has advantages as you hereby boost your website traffic and have a chance to increase purchasing value. With increasing purchasing value I mean that you can display your other products to the ones visiting your site, and so increase awareness.
Yes, you can also grow your brand awareness with the sponsored brand-ads through Amazon, however there is one thing: when a visitor does not make a purchase on Amazon, he or she will leave and possibly forget about your brand. But when the visitor does not make a purchase on your site (clicked through from your Google ad), he or she might be still signing up with your newsletter (for example) to stay in touch - in terms of brand awareness, that’s what you want!
- When focusing on reach & traffic quality,
Amazon sponsored ads are available in 10 countries.
Google shopping ads are available in 43 countries.
Though Amazon is present in a lot less countries compared to Google, the intent of buying on Amazon is much higher. When searching on Google, people are looking for more information or are researching things, but when searching on Amazon, they are (most probably) looking for products to buy straight away. Amazon is a marketplace, that means the people are searching there with a reason.
- When focusing on pricing,
In terms of pricing, both Amazon and Google work with a CPC model. But since, for example, service-related advertisers (let’s say a cat groomer) on Google can bid on general keywords and classifies keywords like “cat” as a broad match, the competition for these keyword becomes huge and so increases the CPC as a result. Amazon is an online retailer for products (not services), so the CPCs can be significantly lower as well.
- When focusing on measurement,
Both Amazon and Google give you insights on things like impressions, clicks, conversions, CTRs, revenue, on a campaign, ad group, ad, product and even keyword-level. However, Google also allows you to learn a lot more about the ad-performances through Google Ads or Google Analytics - you can look up how long they’ve spent on your site, which pages they visited, and a lot more; helping you enormously when optimizing your campaigns. That’s something Amazon does not offer you.
- & when focusing on competition.
Google is huge! Every seller with his own site can create a Google shopping campaign. Amazon, on the other hand, is still relatively new - go sellers on Amazon Turkey, GO.
Made Your Choice?
Of course - advertising on both at the same time would be perfect! If you want to choose either one of them, it’s hard for us to say which advertising platform works best for you. It really depends on what you want to achieve - we support you either way! Best of luck.
& a paw from Pamuk.
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