Amazon PPC vs. Google AdWords: Bridging the gap in 2019

Featured Image of Google AdWords vs Amazon PPC infographic

Amazon PPC professionals can learn a lot about Amazon advertising by comparing it to Google AdWords. Over the years Amazon has adopted many of AdWords features including ad types, ad ranking, keywords, and bids. 

Better yet, for those of you well versed in AdWords, mastering Amazon PPC won’t require a whole new skillset either due to their similarities.

But get this, Amazon PPC is actually a lot easier than AdWords. There’s fewer options, lower competition, and higher conversion rates than AdWords. 

Now let’s jump right in to comparing the two! Here’s what we’ll be covering:

  1. Amazon’s ever-increasing advertising potential
  2. Ad function defines form
  3. How do their ad types compare?
  4. How Amazon and Google rank ads
  5. Amazon match types are inspired from AdWords
  6. Amazon vs. AdWords campaign bidding
  7. Our future Amazon PPC predictions

Amazon’s Ever-Increasing Advertising Potential

It’s a hot topic nowadays to discuss the possibility of Amazon’s ad business disrupting the Facebook and Google ad duopoly. Digiday reported Amazon’s ad business is actually growing faster than Google’s and Facebook’s.

Regarding product search, Amazon already beats Google as a search engine. 55% of online shoppers begin their search on Amazon. This is because Amazon customers are further down in the sales funnel. Compared to AdWords customers who are most likely in the research phase of buying a product.

Even CEO of WPP, Martin Sorrell said Amazon is a huge threat to Google when it comes to search

The answer to the question, 'What worries you when you go to bed at night and wake up in the morning?' isn't a 3-month-old child. It's Amazon — which is a child but not three months.

Picture of Martin Sorrell
Martin Sorrell

Sorrell is the founder of WPP, an advertising giant. He is often in the news, providing insight on hot topics in advertising and has served as WPP's CEO since 1985.

Sorrell has seen just about every digital trend in advertising for the last 30 years and adapted to make WPP the biggest advertising company in the world.

And his wife just had a baby daughter and when asked what keeps him up at night he says it’s not his daughter, but Amazon. 

Amazon could be very well on its way to taking over the digital advertising industry. Check out this video if you want to learn more about how Amazon is threatenting Google and Facebook

Conversion Rates like never before

Like Martin Sorrell, many Google Adwords experts are now realizing the effectiveness of Amazon PPC ads, where the customers are at the bottom of the funnel and the conversion rates are sometimes 10x higher. 

Here’s another quote from PPC expert Ryan Walsh of Yellowtail Marketing explaining AdWord’s conversion rate:

Despite the seemingly high purchase intent of product searches on Google, paid search conversion rates still only hover around the eCommerce site average of 2%. If you break it out by campaign, branded search campaigns will see the highest conversion rates between 5 and 10%, shopping campaigns between 4 and 8%, and non-brand search campaigns between 1 and 3%.

Picture of Ryan Walsh

Ryan Walsh

Ryan is a Digital Marketing Freelancer and has been a part of San Diego's top digital marketing agencies.

At Ad Badger, our users saw an average conversion rate of about 9.5% for their Sponsored Product Ads in the last 18 months. This should speak volumes to the importance of selling on Amazon in your eCommerce strategy.

So now we know that Amazon is the new ad platform to be on, but how exactly does it stack up against AdWords? Let’s find out!

Ad Function defines form

Both Amazon PPC ads and Google’s AdWords ads are both created to promote products and increase conversions. The details of how they do it are a little different though.

Differences in Ad Function

  • Google’s ads usually take you to a branded landing page and Amazon’s ads will never take you off of Amazon.
  • Right now Amazon ads don’t capture audience based or behavioral information to retarget.
  • All types of Amazon ads aren’t available to every type of seller. There are specific types available to first-party and third-party sellers.

Similarities in Ad Function

  • Based off of CPC
  • Triggered by keywords
  • Organized by ad groups
  • Optimized for conversions
  • Are both displayed before organic listings
Ad function comparison
Amazon & AdWords are like cousins of the same family

How Do Their Ad Types Compare?

Google’s Product Listing Ads Vs. Amazon’s Sponsored Product Ads

I’m the type of Badger that’s in love with Sponsored Products Ads, but can see why advertisers love Product Listing Ads. Google Product Listing Ads show up to the right of organic listings.
AdWords Product Listing Ads
Here's an example of a Product Listing Ad.

Sponsored Product Ads can also appear above or below organic listing pages or on product detail pages. Sponsored Product Ads on Amazon look very similar to AdWords and usually have the brand name, price, rating, and shipping info on an ad.

Notice the very small 'Sponsored' text above the title
Notice the very small 'Sponsored' text above the title

Google’s Search Text Ad vs. Amazon’s Headline Search Ads

Search Text Ads appear above organic listings and are text heavy with no images.

Google Search Text Ad
Search Text Ads are only distinguished from organic by that little green rectangle saying 'Ad'

Similarly, Headline Search Ads appear above organic listings in Amazon and are the only types of ads that require some copywriting. They also feature product images unlike Search Text Ads.

Amazon Sponsored Brand Ad
Headline Search Ads are valuable because they are the first thing people see

AdWords vs. Amazon Display Ads

Product Display Ads show up on a product or landing page. Google’s ads can show up on all kinds of sites like so:

Google Product Display Ads
One of the main benefits of AdWords is that your ads can show up on external websites

Compared to Amazon Product Display Ads which are kind of last ditch efforts to sway a customer away from your competitor or show a customer a related product.

When creating a Product Display Ad on Amazon, you can target a specific product or relevant category. We wrote a whole article about how to use Product Display Ads here.

Amazon Product Display Ad
Amazon allows you to put your ads directly on your competitors' pages

As you can see, AdWords and Amazon share the same ad types with a few key differences. Now, let’s take a look at how Google and Amazon rank these ads.

How Amazon and Google rank ads

We covered the difference between how Google and Amazon rank their ads in a previous post on Amazon SEO, but to review:

Amazon and Google have different goals in mind when ranking ads. Because Google and Amazon customers are in different stages of the sales funnel, Amazon tries its best to convert and Google tries to grab attention.

Kyle Anderson of Full Strategy Marketing explains:

The biggest differences I see between Amazon PPC and Adwords is that Amazon is focused on sales and bottom funnel customers and AdWords is more of a one stop shop to catch customers at every step of the sales funnel (brand awareness, retargeting, getting subscribers, making sales, promoting new products, etc).

Picture of Kyle Anderson

Kyle Anderson

Kyle helps businesses create their online presence through the most powerful channels available: Amazon, Google, Facebook, and Bing.

Google Ranks Clickable Ads Higher

Google prioritizes Click-Through-Rate (CTR). CTR is how Google decides what a quality ad is. AdWords rewards the most clickable ads because that’s how Google makes its revenue.

Since AdWords advertisers have to pay for every one of their ads that are clicked on, Google serves that ad more frequently.

Amazon Ranks Profitable Ads Higher

Amazon wants to rank ads based on which one the customer is most likely to buy from. They don’t use the term “Quality Score”, but they use the same idea and base ad rank of off performance and relevance metrics. 

 Performance Metrics:

  • CTR (click-through rate) history
  • Conversion rate
  • Overall sales

Relevance Metrics:

  • Product title
  • Description
  • Search terms
  • Seller name
Typically, the relevance metrics create great performance metrics. Furthermore, product pages are also important to ad rank because they influence conversions and overall sales. 
Here’s an infographic we made summarizing Amazon ad ranking:
How Amazon Ranks Ads
The Badger shows you the way of Amazon ad ranking

Both Google an Amazon’s Ad Rank is Based on CPC and Ad Quality

Because both Google and Amazon take into account the quality of an ad and whether or not the ad fits their agenda, it’s hard for a big company to take all of the ad space.
With their ad ranking formula in place, companies can’t expect to increase visibility just by bidding higher than their competitors. This prevents ad monopolies. 
Before we move on to match types, here’s a summary of all of the AdWords and Amazon PPC ranking differences:
PPC vs AdWords Ranking Differences
Share this with your PPC or AdWords friends!

Amazon Match types are inspired from AdWords

The keyword and negative keyword match types on Amazon and Google are essentially the same. They share:

Broad Match: Bids on keywords that are broadly related to your product. This keyword type sees more long tail keywords, are less competitive and cheaper.

Phrase Match: Bids on keywords that appear in search phrases a customer types in. These are more specific than broad.

Exact Match: Bids on keywords that are really specific to your product or brand. These keywords are competitive and more expensive.

However, Google has one match type difference: 

Modified Broad Match: Think of this keyword type as an in between of Broad and Phrase. This type can bring in more qualified traffic.

AdWords users simply place a “+” in front of a Broad Match keyword they wish to modify and their product will appear for misspellings, singular/plural forms, abbreviations, and acronyms of that word. It simply makes Broad Match more specific. 

Google Broad Match Modifiers example
Click the image to learn even more about modified broad match straight from Google

Knowing Amazon PPC, it won’t be long until it has this feature too.

Amazon And AdWord’s Campaign Bidding

The bidding works exactly the same: Users bid on keywords in an auction-style system.

In both Amazon and AdWords there is an auction style system based on CPC and ad quality as described above. There are simple, intermediate, and advanced ways to optimize bids.

Simple/Manual Bidding

The simplest way to optimize bids is to change them manually. AdWords and Amazon PPC ads both have these options. When you log into an ad platform, bids don’t change unless you change them yourself. This is a double edged sword. As an ad account grows, it can take up tons of time and it’s very difficult to bid accurately.

Intermediate/Assisted Bidding

Additionally, Amazon has Bid+, twin to AdWord’s Enhanced CPC. Both of these assist your ads by increasing visibility by bidding higher on keywords that each platform chooses.

Here’s a video if you want to learn more about if you should be using Amazon Bid+

The benefits of this bidding method is that you can gain more traffic for certain terms. The downside is this assisted bidding is not well optimized to hit your Target ACoS, which is why the most successful advertisers use advanced bidding strategies.

Advanced/Automated Bidding

The most advanced bidding an advertiser can do is bid with an automated solution that focuses on your ROI. Both AdWords and Amazon PPC were created so advertisers can easily launch ads.

An individual advertiser’s ROI typically comes second to profit in their eyes. AdWords support is notorious for suggesting new ways to get more clicks and spend more money without asking what their target cost-per-sale is. This is why automated bidding software exists–to put the focus back on profit.

On AdWords, the most advanced advertisers are using Optmyzer, DoubleClick, Acquisio.

On Amazon, I’m a bit biased, but I believe we have the most accurate and most advanced bidding system to hit your Target ACoS. By automatically updating your bids based on your changing conversion rates, Ad Badger is the most advanced bidding can get. 

Meet Ad Badger today

Upgrade your bidding and tame your ACoS with Ad Badger

Our future Amazon PPC predictions

Google’s PPC infrastructure is a thing of beauty. There’s a reason it’s so popular and is essential for businesses to drive traffic.

Amazon’s infrastructure is not so good–yet. Marketers and entrepreneurs are just now realizing the potential of Amazon advertising. As Amazon’s ad business continues to grow, it will keep taking more inspiration from AdWords. 

We predict Amazon will implement more advanced targeting such as day parting and audience types.

Day Parting – Scheduling your ads to appear a specific times of the day to get the most value out of them. This would be a nice feature for Amazon sellers to zero in on audiences.

Audience Targeting – Amazon’s audience targeting is elementary compared to AdWords. With AdWords, users can target audiences demographically, by category interests, or remarketing lists. Amazon has made an effort with audience targeting, but I expect they will try to copy AdWords in the future.

Use your adWord’s Experience to Dominate Amazon pPC

Now you know the similarities and differences between Amazon PPC and Google’s AdWords and you can take on the future of online advertising.

The similarities between these two platforms is very visible and advertisers can expect even more similar features in the future. 

Lastly, here’s a video of Mike recapping the post if you ever need a quick refresh.

Play Video

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