Google Ads vs. Amazon Ads: Which is Best for E-Commerce? (2023)
Published November 3, 2022.
For e-commerce store owners, advertising products on the right platform can mean the difference between massive sales and dwindling revenues. Unfortunately, choosing the correct platform can be challenging as there are multiple locations where brands can showcase their latest offers.
Google Ads is perhaps the best-known behemoth in the advertising landscape with an exceptional reach and phenomenal access to various demographics. E-commerce companies can take advantage of multiple ad types, from Google Shopping Ads to Search Ads to boost their online presence. However, Amazon Ads are now beginning to see rapid growth because of their phenomenal conversion insights and ability to target customers searching for specific products.
Ultimately, both of these tools have their own strengths and drawbacks to consider. That’s why we’re going to help you choose the right channel for your campaigns.
» New to e-commerce ads? Follow this ultimate guide to e-commerce ads
In the digital advertising landscape, targeting plays a crucial role in the success of your ad campaigns. It helps your business to determine exactly which audience you want to reach, so you can strengthen your bottom line.
Both Amazon and Google have a few targeting options to choose from:
Audience & Demographic Targeting
For e-commerce store owners, Amazon has perhaps the highest potential for capturing the interest of potential shoppers. Around 55% of product searches now happen on Amazon, rather than Google, and 66% of US consumers say Amazon is their first stop for product searches.
On Amazon, you can narrow down your audience by focusing on interests. This means you can specifically look at customers who have shown an interest in technology, clothing, or a similar category in the past. It’s also possible to have your ads target specific categories on Amazon.
With Google Ads, you have a few more options for audience targeting. You can focus on demographics like location, age, gender, and parental status. Plus, you can use affinity targeting to target customers with a broad interest, create similar audiences to those who viewed previous ads or website pages, and use in-market targeting to reach users interested in similar businesses.
Automatic targeting takes some of the work out of finding the right audience. Amazon decides where and when to place your ad based on the keywords it identifies from the description, title, and other sections of your listing. This strategy is useful for PPC campaigns if you’re struggling to figure out which keywords to use or which bidding strategy to implement.
Google offers automatic targeting for the display network, which allows Google to show ads to audiences “similar” to the one you’ve previously specified. You can choose between conservative or aggressive automation, depending on how much help you want from Google. The conservative option allows Google to find potential customers based on historical data, without going over your cost per customer. The aggressive option targets a higher number of people at an increased cost.
Both Amazon and Google allow you to target specific audiences using keywords. However, they do have slightly different keyword match types available.
Amazon offers broad match, phrase match, and exact match. There’s no need for special formatting for each type. You simply add the specific match type you want when adding any new keywords.
Google offers broad match, phrase match, exact match, negative keywords, and broad match modifier. Here you need to use the correct formatting for each keyword added to your list, so it does require a little more training and practice than keyword targeting with Amazon.
While Google allows you to target more specific demographics and audiences than Amazon, Google doesn’t offer a product targeting option. Its closest alternative is to use custom intent, topics, or similar audiences to focus on customers who have viewed specific items before.
Amazon’s product targeting option allows you to target specific products, brands, price points, and ratings. This is excellent for companies who want to capture the attention of customers looking for a specific type of product.
» How does product targeting translate into sales? Learn how to promote Amazon products for sales
Performance metrics are an important way to gain insights into the success of your campaigns. You can use Google's ad tracker to monitor things like transactions, order values, conversion rates, and the total number of orders you receive. Google also allows users to track keywords that drive sales, expenses, and conduct a profitability analysis on different campaigns.
However, Amazon ad reports are a little more expansive from an e-commerce perspective. They provide an insight into the spend you’ve received on each campaign, the total dollar sales for each product, and the advertising cost of sale. Amazon also offers insights into the total return on your advertising spend (ROAS), which could make it more beneficial to e-commerce merchants planning new ad campaigns.
» Haven't used Google's ad tracker before? Discover how to set up Google Ads conversion tracking
Bidding is another key component of running a successful ad campaign. Both Google and Amazon give you a range of bidding strategies to choose from. For Amazon, you can choose between dynamic bidding and placed bid adjustments. Dynamic bidding allows Amazon to increase or decrease your bid in order to secure sales and fixed bids. Placed bid adjustments enable Amazon to adjust bids for sponsored products automatically. There’s also a simple CPC bidding strategy in place.
Google has automated bidding options like enhanced CPC, ROAS targeting, and CPA targeting. Enhanced CPC changes your bid to help maximize clicks and conversions, while ROAS targeting allows Google to manage your bids for the best ROAS, and CPA targeting optimizes your bids for the lowest cost per acquisition.
The price of your advertising costs with both Amazon and Google will vary depending on a range of factors. However, Amazon does require your business to set a minimum bid or budget for each campaign.
Alternatively, Google doesn’t require you to set a minimum budget, but your ad spend will have a direct influence on your result. This is because the Google Ad Rank system uses your bid to determine where your posts should appear.
» What is a good ROAS? These platforms deliver a good ROAS for e-commerce
Ultimately, both Google and Amazon ads can have fantastic results for an e-commerce business, but they focus on different areas. Google Ads has a better demographic reach, making it great for building brand awareness. However, Amazon is more focused on sales, making it ideal for e-commerce companies looking to enhance conversions. Ideally, you’ll want to use both if your budget allows it.