Comparing Google AdWords and Amazon Marketing Services (AMS)

Chances are high that you’ve heard of Amazon’s self-service marketing platform, Amazon Marketing Services (AMS). Like Google AdWords, AMS allows marketers to promote products through paid search advertising campaigns. Brands should be using the search engines that are central to Google and Amazon because the data and traffic they provide are critical to a brand’s online marketing strategy.

Google AdWords and Amazon Marketing Services

In this blog post, we’ll cover some key strategy differences between Google AdWords and Amazon Marketing Services.

Different Advertiser Goals on Google AdWords and Amazon Marketing Services

Advertisers on Google have various goals for their Google Adwords campaigns. Campaign managers use Google Adwords to do things like obtain audience information, increase sign-ups for a program/newsletter, or buy a product.

On Amazon, all ads are focused on influencing the customer to click on an ad and ultimately the “add to cart” button. Unlike the widely-used Google search engine, visitors to Amazon have a narrower goal: to search for products to purchase.

Different Keyword Limitations for Campaigns

The maximum number of keywords you can use in a campaign add groups also differs between Google and Amazon. On Google Adwords, the maximum number of keywords is 5,000 but for Amazon Marketing Services Sponsored Products and Headline Search campaign ad groups have a maximum of 1,000 keywords.

However, ad campaign managers who want to use Google Adwords and Amazon Marketing Services effectively shouldn’t use 1,000 keywords in a single campaign.

Competition and Cost Per Click (CPC) 

Google AdWords launched in 2000 and has become a paid search advertising juggernaut—an essential tool for the paid search strategies of many companies. The user base of Google AdWords is massive: both B2B and B2C companies use Google AdWords to drive site traffic.

Amazon Marketing Services is relatively new. Amazon launched AMS in 2012 and the platform hasn’t developed a massive advertiser user base… yet. Because there is less competition with AMS, there is a lower CPC compared to Google AdWords. But CPCs are expected to rise on AMS as more advertisers are embracing the platform. Brands need to take advantage of these low CPC opportunities now before they rise.

The Pros and Cons of Automatic Campaigns

Automatic targeted campaigns allow advertisers to rely on search engines to target their ads to relevant searchers based on product information, specific to the way customers shop. Unlike Google AdWords, where automatic campaigns are often huge budget-wasters, automatic campaigns in AMS have proven to be effective, though not as effective as continually optimized manually managed AMS campaigns. Automatic targeting in AMS has another function: to provide brands with keywords by leveraging Amazon’s extensive e-commerce knowledge.

Amazon is on track to become a major player in online advertising and, based on what we’ve seen so far, it will only be a matter of time before AMS becomes as important to consumer brands as Google Adwords. If you’re looking for experts to help manage your PPC campaigns, contact us for a consultation to see how we can help increase the effectiveness of your advertising efforts.