Ali vs. Frasier. McGregor vs. Mayweather. Pacquiao vs. Mayweather. All great fights, but none as big as the battle between Amazon, Google, and Facebook, happening right now.
When it comes to advertising platforms, these three companies are competing for business. Each of them trying to one-up the others with new features. But who is the true champion of online advertising?
Let’s take a look at how Amazon stacks up to its competition and the four areas it outperforms them:
- The $100 test
- Manual campaigns give Sponsored products a leg up on keywords
- Bulk files
- Native ads
- Ad Platform support: Where Google excels
- Google Ad Scripts
- Handling large accounts and more than one account
- Targeting, demographics, targeting, and retargeting: Facebook
- Multiple ad types
- Ad quality score: Amazon falls short of Facebook and Google
1. The $100 Test
We like to say Amazon is the dollar-for-dollar best platform to advertise on. How do we know this? The $100 test!
$100 is an arbitrary number, but it shows the value of selling on Amazon compared to other platforms. The CPC, conversion rate, and average rate of return on Amazon are more desirable than Google or Facebook advertising.
If you want to maximize your Return on Ad Spend (ROAS), Amazon is your best option.
Compared to Google, Amazon:
- Has a lower average CPC – $0.96 compared to $2.69
- Higher average conversion rate – 10% compared to 3.75%
In addition, Amazon also has the lion’s share of total shopping searches on the web at 54%.
Amazon is also very different from Google and Facebook because it is focused primarily on a bottom-of-funnel audience whereas Facebook and Google are more geared towards the top of the funnel.
2. Manual Campaigns give Sponsored Products a leg up on keywords
Most Amazon sellers may not know this, because they haven’t sold through Google, but Google Shopping is an automatic platform. That means there’s no segmentation, no keywords, and no customization for your ads.
If you talk to someone who only does Google shopping, and tell them about the ability to do RPSB on Amazon, they’ll likely be amazed.
“You mean I can just use the keywords that convert well?” Yep.
This is a huge up-side for Amazon sellers. Controlling your products, keywords, and bids makes all the difference when it comes to PPC.
3. Bulk Files
Why is the ability to use bulk files such an advantage for Amazon PPC?
Bulk files can be used for almost any operations. Whether you’re launching new campaigns or conducting RPSB.
You know what’s even crazier? In our experience, it’s very likely that only 1% of Amazon sellers are properly using bulk files!
Without a software tool, the use of bulk files is the only way to perform day-to-day optimization.
4. Native Ads
Native advertising is the use of paid ads that match the look, feel and function of the media format in which they appear.
Essentially, the goal of native advertising is to make an organic listing almost indistinguishable from a paid listing.
Some companies have tried making Facebook ads more native, making it seem as if a friend made the post, but even this pales in comparison to Amazon’s native ads.
It’s almost impossible to get a more non-intrusive ad than the ones on Amazon SERPS. A majority of Amazon shoppers don’t notice ads, and that’s incredibly hard to believe considering the word “sponsored” can appear on a SERP (search engine results page) more than 20 times. This is a testament to the seamless integration Amazon ads have with organic listings.
Native ads on Amazon are also effective because they eliminate customer “anxiety” when clicking a sponsored product.
On Google, clicking a paid listing can mean being sent to a landing page and getting a sales pitch. On Amazon, when a customer clicks a sponsored product, they know exactly what they’re getting–not a newsletter opt-in, but that product’s listing page.
Ad Platform Support: Where Google Excels
Unlike Amazon sellers, advertisers on Google get a lot of support!
Within five minutes, it’s very easy to get someone on the phone or a video chat at Google to talk about your ad campaigns.
We’ve seen a lot of advertisers who have questions about their account or an individual campaign, and they can get those questions answered very quickly! If only Amazon had that kind of support!
Google Ads Scripts
There’s also a lot of customization with Google’s Ads! This all takes place with Google Ads Scripts.
Want to change the text of your ad if the temperature in your area rises over 100 degrees? There’s a script for that!
Want to change the copy on your umbrella ad if there’s rain in the forecast? There’s a script for that too!
Aside from the functionality of these scripts and the possibilities they provide to sellers, this feature has also created a community of developers who are always tinkering with scripts and helping people optimize their ads.
Having a similar feature on Amazon would be a game changer when it comes to things like Sponsored Brand Ads and having the headline on that ad correspond with weather, season, or holiday!
Handling Large Accounts and More than One Account
Google seems to handle large accounts very well (100,000+ keywords)! When compared to Amazon, the difference is night and day.
For our VIP customers at Ad Badger, when we try to upload some bulk sheets it’s impossible for Amazon to handle that much data. People who manage large accounts are left to find their own route around these problems. (Thankfully we have!)
Even downloading a search term report for one of these accounts can crash your internet browser or computer!
With multiple accounts in multiple countries, Google also makes it very easy to manage both.
If you have one account that is advertising in Canada and the US, it can all be run on one campaign in Google Ads. You also have to option of segmenting them into separate campaigns.
Agencies have even more tools at their disposal. Freelancers and agencies have My Client Center where they can track the performance of their accounts, find accounts, manage budgets, and add accounts on the dashboard.
This is the polar opposite of Amazon, where it’s incredibly difficult to navigate between accounts and there’s no feature to use the same campaign in different countries.
Targeting, Demographics, Targeting, and Re-Targeting: Facebook
Being able to create campaigns for a specific audience is one of the bright spots of Facebook Advertising. This would be a huge feature in Amazon’s self-service ad platform. If you could create campaigns for existing customers and completely cold customers, it would add a whole new level to the platform.
When speaking to Amazon representatives, they’ve said the reason targeting hasn’t been added to the platform is the number of people using one Amazon account. Obviously, different family members using the same account will all have different preferences. As Amazon gets better at differentiating between individual users, hopefully targeting will be added.
Multiple Ad Types
There are so many different kinds of ad types under the Facebook “umbrella.” With the wide variety of ad types on Facebook (image, video, slideshow, carousel, etc.) coupled with Instagram (feed and stories), advertisers have an incredible amount of variety when it comes to reaching customers.
Amazon, on the other hand, only offers a few types of ads on their site, and even with their display ads network (Amazon DSP) the options are essentially limited to banner ads.
While no one is complaining about the way sponsored products are placed within a search engine results page (SERP), as Amazon DSP continues to grow, more options are a necessity.
Ad Quality Score: Amazon Falls Short of Facebook and Google
This is probably our biggest “gripe” with Amazon. It completely boggles our minds that Amazon doesn’t provide an Ad Quality Score!
We have a blog post that breaks down how ad quality is determined on Amazon, based on our experience with Amazon and other PPC platforms. However, we’d still like to see ad quality score in seller central.
With all of that being said, there’s no doubt that Amazon is the best platform for sellers. Amazon is growing quickly and it’s ad platform is second to none.
We would obviously love to see some of these bright spots from Facebook and Google implemented, but even with these flaws, there’s no doubt that Amazon gives sellers the best ROI.
Discover Us on our PPC Den Podcast
If you prefer learning via audio, we cover this same info in the podcast episode below. You can also find us on your favorite streaming platforms like Apple, Google, Spotify, and more!
- 4:40 Intro to the Four Areas Where Amazon Excels
- 5:13 The $100 Test
- 9:02 Sponsored Products: Amazon vs. Google
- 11:15 Bulk Files with Amazon
- 14:25 Native Ads with Amazon
- 18:40 Consumer Anxiety on Google vs. Amazon
- 19:40 Where Google Shines – Ad Support
- 20:34 Google Platform Customization
- 23:48 How Google Manages Size and Scale
- 25:47 Mulit-Account Management with Google
- 28:22 Facebook Audiences and Targeting
- 30:40 Ad Types on Facebook
- 33:08 Amazon and Ad Quality Score
- 35:35 Final Conclusions