Google Shopping Vs Amazon Sponsored Products: 10 Key Differences
Google Shopping Campaigns are fast becoming one of the most effective channels for advertisers and profitable channels for google. This is proven by the fact that nowadays marketers spend over 25% of their Google advertising budgets Google Shopping alone!
Google’s search market share for desktop is 79.43% while Bing’s is 7.27%.
And with Bing not putting up as much fight as expected, Google Shopping has been THE PREFERRED option for product based, high intent, visual search advertising…until now.
Amazon, the global E-Commerce behemoth, has now entered the ring with Amazon Sponsored Products.
While still in its relative infancy, Amazon has a few tricks up its sleeves which can pose a serious challenge to Google Shopping’s dominance… or can it? Let’s find out how they stack up against each other.
1] The Basics
First thing’s first. What are these two channels all about?
Google Shopping ads are a form of visual search ads from Google. Each advert shows the most relevant product from various competing advertisers to the user’s search query. The shopping ad shows rich details like:
- Product Image
- Store Name
- User Ratings
- Additional Information like Coupon Codes, Discounts etc.
Google Shopping Ad Preview
What you need to get started:
- Google Merchant Center (GMC) Account with a regularly updated Product Catalog
- Verification from Google that you indeed own the website
- Google Adwords Account for creating Shopping Campaigns for advertising the products from your GMC Product Catalog
Further Reading: How to setup & optimize Shopping Campaigns
For the uninitiated, Amazon Sponsored Products is amazon’s version of Product Based Ads.
It too shows relevant product matching the user’s search query with rich product details like Product Image, Name, Price, Store Name, User Ratings & additional information like sale price, prime delivery and user ratings.
To get started with Amazon Sponsored Products you need a professional seller account with Amazon. Amazon charges a monthly subscription fee of $39.99 for your Professional selling plan.
This is mandatory for Amazon Sponsored Products. Is it worth the money? How to setup your professional account? What are the Average CPC’s? Checkout our Essential Guide to Amazon Sponsored Products for more details
Both channels are easier to set-up & get started with. Google Shopping is purely a marketing channel to drive relevant & high quality customers to your website.
Amazon is an alternative to having your own website, handling the delivery logistics & creating brand awareness on your own. Although, on Amazon, you are exposed to a more intent-heavy audience.
Winner: We will call it a Tie since both serve a slightly different purpose.
2] Geographic Reach:
Google Shopping is available in following 36 countries:
Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Czechia, Denmark, France, Germany, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand, Norway, the Philippines, Poland, Portugal, the Netherlands, Russia, Singapore, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, the UK, and the US (source)
Amazon Sponsored Products are available in following 10 countries:
Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, Spain, UK, US (source) Winner: Google Shopping
3] Traffic Quality:
Google search queries dwarf any other of its competitors across devices. Google has 1.2+ Trillion searches every year.
Although google has the sheer volume of traffic, it is a mix of those audiences.
The searchers intent are at different stages of a purchase funnel.
Also not all of this traffic is looking to purchase any product. They may just be researching or “looking for something” (googling as we have come to verbalize it now).
A user on amazon is almost always likely to be looking for buying something.
They may be evaluating their options or looking for a better deal but they certainly are in the purchase funnel.
The purchase intent is higher as compared to that on Google. According to a study link 50% of folks start their product search on amazon now.
The sheer number of searches on Google dwarf Amazon. However, when it comes to traffic quality, Amazon is the clear winner. Winner: Amazon
Google has been in online advertising business since the 2000s whilst Amazon started Sponsored Products in 2012.
As a marketing channel, Google Shopping is easier to get started with as long as you have a website.
This has allowed businesses of all sizes to set-up advertising campaigns on Google Adwords.
This has also enabled Ad Tech companies, like OnlineSales.ai, to create large scale marketing campaigns targeting the entire product catalog of millions of products on Google Shopping.
Ad Tech companies like us can optimise these campaigns for the best ROI for every marketing dollar spent. Google dominates every other channel in % of Ad revenues.
It makes more money from ads any other company on the planet.
Alphabet (Google’s Parent Company), is estimated to make $73.8 billion dollars in 2017 in ad sales.
This is after subtracting for traffic acquisition costs etc. Source – eMarketer To put that into perspective Google represents a staggering 33% of the world’s 223.7 billion digital ad revenue.
How much is Facebook? It’s near $40 billion less than Google at a $36 billion. But this is the very reason that Google Shopping has become so competitive.
Which is great for Google, but not so much for marketers, who have to keep shelling out more advertising dollars per click.
Amazon on the other hand is no slouch, having over 2 million+ sellers on its marketplace.
In 2014, over 2 billion products were sold on Amazon Marketplaces. The number is far greater today.
Amazon is a relatively new and un-crowded channel. Which means less competition.
Which means lower operational cost…well at least for now 🙂
The average CPC’s on Amazon are far lower than Google and Facebook, with Average winning CPC’s not exceeding even $1.
You can learn more about the winning CPC’s from 2012 to 2016 here.
The winning CPC’s are segmented on the basis of all the product categories on Amazon. Bottom line, Amazon is far less competitive than Google which is better for E-Tailers like yourself.
Winner: Amazon Sponsored Products
5] Running Costs:
Both Amazon Sponsored Products & Google Shopping Campaigns work on Cost Per Click (CPC) models.
Meaning you get charged only when someone clicks on your ad and not otherwise.
Whilst Google Shopping has the best CPC amongst most of its competitor channels like (Google Text Search, Google Display, Facebook), it is Amazon which has much lower CPCs amongst the two.
This is due to the relatively lower competition on Amazon as an advertising channel. Also, to win the Buy Box on Amazon, you need to be highly competitive about your price positioning.
This means lower margins and hence lower spend appetite during bidding. This in turn drives the CPCs down.
Google CPC’s by Category
|Babies & Kids||0.89%||1.42%||$188.13||707%||$0.38|
|Beauty & Cosmetics||1.05%||2.79%||$47.80||289%||$0.46|
|Books, music & Gifts||1.37%||2.22%||$68.42||483%||$0.31|
|Food & Grocery||1.47%||1.43%||$179.80||619%||$0.42|
|Health & Fitness||1.36%||2.44%||$111.11||446%||$0.61|
|Home & Furniture||0.89%||1.51%||$233.55||614%||$0.57|
|Luggage & Travel||0.91%||1.08%||$549.70||369%||$1.61|
|Sports & Outdoors||1.49%||1.97%||$135.71||623%||$0.43|
|Watches & Jewelry||0.85%||0.61%||$1,190.31||993%||$0.73|
Amazon Sponsored Products CPC’s by Category
Source: CPC Strategy
Winner: Amazon Sponsored Products
6] The Control:
On Google Shopping, Google’s internal algorithms match the user’s search query to the relevant product from your product catalog.
The algorithm primary looks at the product title, description, product_type, google product category for finding a match.
This means, by modifying your product title or description, you can control what user search queries your products will appear for.
You can further use negative keywords to control irrelevant matches.
Onlinesales.ai’s Award Winning shopping campaign optimization algorithm does this automatically for every SKU.
Amazon gives you the best control in this regard. In Campaigns with type “Manual Campaigns”, you can decide which keywords trigger ads for which products and group them in the same ad-group.
While campaigns with type “Automated Campaigns”, are similar to Google Shopping campaigns, where Amazon’s algorithms decide which product to match to which search query.
However, having a relevant keyword and the right bid is only half the story when it comes to getting your products shown in Sponsored Products Results.
Amazon puts a good deal of emphasis on your product price, your ratings-positive as well as negative, your shipping costs, return percentage and many more to determine if you win the buy box or not. That is if your ad is shown or not.
Winner: Amazon Sponsored Products, but it’s complicated 🙂
7] Insights & Measurements:
In terms of metrics, both Google Shopping and Amazon Sponsored Products give you pretty much the same basic set. Metrics given are:
All the above metrics are given at a Keyword, Product, Ad, Adgroup & Campaign level.
But Google allows performance tracking pixels like Google Adwords, Google Analytics or even 3rd party trackers like Omniture, Mixpanel or OnlineSale.ai’s Tag Manager.
Which means, you can customize pretty much any kind of user information, behavioral or attributes, like pages visited, time spent on site, products seen, shopping carts created and abandoned, products purchased etc.
This helps you track your marketing funnel with far more richer set of data-points and optimize your marketing strategy accordingly.
For Amazon Sponsored Products, you will have to rely on the metrics that Amazon provides.
Winner: Google Shopping, due to its flexibility.
Amazon Sponsored Products allows you to apply a CPC bid for each keyword & ad-group.
Depending upon your campaign structure, 1 product per adgroup or multiple, this allows you to bid on a single product or a set of products.
What criteria to us to modify the bids is left totally upto you. In addition, you can add positive as well as negative keywords to control what search queries match which products.
But the optimization options end pretty much here. On the other hand, Google Shopping Campaigns give much more optimization options in addition to the ones mentioned above.
With Google Shopping Campaigns you also get:
- Ad Scheduling
- Device optimization
- Location optimization
- Rule based performance optimizations
- Audience based optimizations (Remarketing Lists)
Winner: Google Shopping
9] Recapturing Lost Audience:
Remarketing is a great way to recall the audience that has walked away from your online store without making a purchase.
Remarketing is also the preferred way to keep making them come to your online store regularly and turn them into long term customers.
Some of the largest E-Commerce players derive 30-50% of the paid marketing transactions from Remarketing campaigns.
DRM’s are a boon. They target users who have visited the site, browsed products, added to cart etc with the exact same products they either viewed or added to cart.
This makes DRM’s Ads highly appropriate and relevant. Google Shopping let’s you target your store’s audience using Remarketing Lists (RLSA) where you can bid a slightly higher amount for people who have already visited your store.
Further Reading: 4 E-Commerce Remarketing Strategies to Optimize ROI
Further Reading: Dynamic Remarketing (DRM) – A Must for E-Commerce
In addition you can also segment them & bid differentially based on many criteria like product preferences, price affinities and stage in the purchase funnel.
E-Book: Google Shopping Superchargers for Online Retailers Amazon Sponsored Products does not give you remarketing options.
Winner: Google Shopping
10] Branding & Awareness:
Google Shopping Ads show your store name right below the product image & name on Google Search Results Page (SERP). It drives relevant, intent driven audience to your website.
Even if the user doesn’t end up purchasing, he has a high chance of remembering your store brand name and may visit at a later date. This creates awareness about your brand in the user’s mind.
On Amazon, the product brand is clearly visible in the ad but the seller name i.e. your name is not!
Even on the product details page, it is buried under the huge amount of data whon on the page. It is much harder to create awareness about your store on amazon this way.
Winner: Google Shopping
Both these channels address slightly different use cases when it comes to marketing.
While Google Shopping is a pure Marketing channel for your brand/website, Amazon Sponsored Products provides marketing options only if you have a store on Amazon.
So, if you are looking to build a brand and open yourselves to various marketing channels to drive high quality, high intent traffic to it, Google Shopping should be at the top of your list.
But if you are just starting up, don’t want to deal with logistics and shipping too much, but rather concentrate on selling your products where the most high intent buyers are present then there can be no better option than Amazon Sponsored Products.
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