For years, Google has been the dominant force in product searches, controlling nearly 70% of the global search engine market share. But recently, Amazon has emerged as the go-to search engine for products, and now over 55% of product inquiries start on the Amazon – more than Google and Bing combined.
Many brands can no longer view Google Shopping Ads to be more advantageous than listing with Amazon. Although both platforms are heavily used in the research phase, listing your products directly at the point of sale on Amazon gives users a smoother path to purchase than with Google Shopping, which takes users to the seller’s website to buy.
Amazon Offers Strategic Ad Placements
When customers search on Amazon, the first three to four results, as well as the last three to four results on the search engine results page (SERP), are Sponsored Product Ads, with all the organic search results displayed in-between. Amazon has also started testing outputting these ads in the middle of the SERP.
The top of the page also displays a big Sponsored Brand ads, giving advertisers prime real estate on the page. This past month, Amazon also started placing smaller Sponsored Brand ads on the left side and at the bottom of the SERP, giving brands even more space to showcase their products. When someone clicks on your Sponsored Brand, you can choose to have them go to a custom landing page, showcasing specific products of your choosing, or to an Amazon Store that you create. Think of this as your own website on Amazon, that allows you to showcase your brand.
Lastly, there are Product Display Ads. These show up on products detail pages and can be used to target your own ASINs for cross-selling, competitor ASINs for conquesting, and/or specific shopper interests, such as beverages or clothing.
The different ad types within Amazon give brands the ability to achieve multiple goals at the same time, such as gaining impression share and building brand awareness. Amazon’s variety of ad types and placements allows brands to learn which types of ads work best for their products so they can focus their efforts on what is most effective. Moreover, your listings can show up organically as well, meaning that consumers can still buy your products without you paying for their clicks.
On Google’s SERP, only the top 5 listings show up in the search results, so customers need to go to “Shopping” tab to see all listings for a product. Google also offers Showcase Shopping Ads, which are like Amazon’s Sponsored Brand sds, but doesn’t offer the same level of detail.
Unlike on Amazon, Google Shopping listings are made up entirely of ads. Because of this, your ad may be more likely to show up on the first page of Google Shopping, but Google’s algorithm determines if your ad shows up based on customer search terms. On Amazon, two out of the three ad types (Sponsored Products and Sponsored Brands) allows you to bid on keywords, which gives you more control and allows you to more easily optimize.
In addition, for more generic search terms like “kitchen mixer,” Amazon almost always shows up on Google’s SERP (either paid or organic), getting people to come to Amazon even if they start out on Google.
Amazon Lets Brands Focus on Content
Google Shopping content is extremely basic, consisting of only product images and a short description, giving brands limited options to tell their brand story. Advertising on Amazon links directly to a product detail page, which brands can use to properly inform potential customers and drive them towards a sale.
Product detail page content is the foundation of any successful Amazon Advertising campaign. Essential content like product titles and bullets give customers key information about the product immediately and let them know they’re in the right place. As the customer scrolls down the page, A+ content with detailed product information and enlargeable photos effectively displays the product on the digital shelf, giving customers the information they need to complete the transaction.
Basic A+ content is now free for all vendors on Amazon and is proven to increase sales. Brands looking for a more immersive product page experience can now invest in Premium A+ content, which uses high-resolution imagery, rich media, and interactive capabilities within the modules to give brands a more modern and stylized product showcase on the site.
Making Advertising with Amazon a Priority
The bottom line here is that Amazon gives you much more control over how you want to advertise your products and showcase your brand than Google does. Consumers are also going to Amazon to start their search journey over Google, and being able to buy with one click on Amazon makes it easier than ever to complete that journey. Lastly, consumers have the option to buy completely different products at the same time on Amazon, shortening their search journey. They can’t do this through Google Shopping.
Brands that do sell on Amazon shouldn’t abandon Google altogether. But as Amazon solidifies its place as the best search engine for products as well as the world’s biggest database of product information, brands should start to consider making advertising on Amazon their top priority.
Editor’s Note: On September 5, 2018, Amazon rebranded its advertising platform. Amazon Marketing Services changed to Amazon Advertising and Amazon Advertising Platform changed to Amazon DSP, among other changes. This blog post was changed on October 5, 2018 to reflect those changes.