Google Shopping vs. Amazon Advertising

Two of the world’s most powerful online brands are preparing for battle, but who will come out on top in the advertising space?

20 Madeline Ralph

In light of data scandals, fake news stories and a surge of untrusting Facebook users, Google are enjoying a more comfortable sit on their online advertising throne. But with Amazon, the second fastest growing advertising company (second only to Snapchat) set to give them a run for their money in 2018, how long can Google reign?

Unsurprisingly, Google have an unrivalled understanding of consumer search behaviour and have historically always been the sole platform for researching anything and everything online. They are consistently re-working their Google Shopping offering and now encourage customers to buy products without ever even leaving Google. Their hope to own every touchpoint of the sales cycle is rivalled only by Amazon, who were reported last year as the most popular starting point for those looking to buy products online.

Consumer-Focused Advertising on Amazon

Amazon have been ramping up their advertising offering over recent years, and with great success. The brand’s consumer-centric approach powers their advertising business: for everything that Google knows about search, Amazon’s knows about exactly what and how people buy. In fact, just last week Amazon hit headlines for announcing its Prime membership scheme hit the 100-million members mark. For e-commerce retailers, advertising via Amazon is more appealing than ever but does this mean you should abandon your Google Shopping campaign?

In short, no. Advertising in today’s digital marketing landscape is less about which platforms to use and more about understanding where to invest your resources depending on what you’re selling and how much you’re willing to invest.

Amazon shopping online

The Similarities Between Amazon & Google

Amazon’s advertising platforms share many similarities with Google’s own tried and tested AdWords structure. From Ad Groups, keyword search data and pay-per-click ads that appear in search results, most advertisers will already have a sufficient understanding and experience to get them started on Amazon. A key benefit for retailers looking at Amazon is the lure of lower average CPCs. In fact, Amazon’s CPCs are around 38% lower on average than AdWords. Over the last 17 years, AdWords’ CPCs have risen in line with an increased popularity amongst advertisers and it is likely Amazon will follow suit, so it’s advisable for retailers to get in there early and benefit from lower costs whilst they last.

However, last year was huge for Google Shopping and their advertising offering for retailers is now looking stronger than ever. Most recently, they launched ‘Shopping Actions’ with a cost-per-sale pricing model, which supports greater ROI for retailers over their traditional pay-per-click ads. Cost-per-sale pricing mimics that of Amazon’s own model and was reported by as some as a direct retaliation against their competitor.

Google Advertising mobile and laptop

The Battle Continues

In addition, Google are future-proofing for shopping via voice search with a universal cart initiative that integrates shopping across mobile, desktop and voice-enabled devices, such as Google Home and Google Assistant. Again, this bites back at Amazon’s own voice-powered shopping initiatives with Amazon Alexa.

As Google seriously prepares for battle, advertisers are welcoming the shopping platform updates, which continue to drive advertising effectiveness. The ultimate goal for both Google and Amazon is to win the customer’s purchase intent but fortunately, they also have to win our advertising spend along the way.