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Google vs. Amazon Ads: One Key Difference to Keep in Mind

February 5, 2019
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Google and Amazon – two of the biggest search engines and marketplaces in the world — both host an advertising platform where businesses can advertise their products.

Google has been around for quite some time, originating as Google AdWords and recently making the switch to Google Ads. Amazon is a bit of a newer ad platform that is continually getting more robust and appealing with time and the ever-growing base of Prime subscriptions – well over 100 million to date.

Related: Should My Business Run Google or Facebook Ads?

Even if you’re not in marketing, you’re likely exposed to one or both of these platforms on a daily basis in some form or another. This speaks to the pure reach and potential for exposure that each platform has.

That begs the question – when should you be using each? When is one platform more advantageous than the other?

First, it helps to understand the intent of the users of each platform and the inherent benefits therein, depending on your business model and offering. That is what this article discusses.

Related: SEO Relevance: Importance of User Intent

Let’s Start With Google.

Google is not just a marketplace – it is an information hub for people around the world. Being an information hub, Google receives tons of informational queries, or searches, that come through on a daily basis. This is classified in marketing as a “low-intent” search, meaning the user is likely not seeking to make a conversion at this time. That being said, due to the high volume of searches that come in on a daily basis, there are a lot of high-intent searches as well. The key is knowing who to serve ads to, and when, based on what they’re looking for and who they are.

Here’s an example.

Someone who has never been to your site types in “what is digital marketing?” If you’re bidding on this term, just know that this user could be looking for information as opposed to a service. They will likely not be receptive to a hard sell right off the bat. They will also require additional nurturing to get them to return to your site for the eventual final product or service sale; therefore, it’s crucial to budget for that.

Net takeaway – the intent on Google Ads can be a toss-up, based on the search terms you’re bidding on. Make sure that your bidding fits the goals that you have for the campaign. If you’re trying to drive purchases, bid accordingly. If you want to drive informational traffic to the site that can be picked up later through other channels, make sure you’re bidding on more “how to” or “what is” search terms.

Related: Are You Choosing the Right Keywords? A Guide to Search Intent


Let’s Take a Quick Look at Amazon.

Think about Amazon for a moment. What is its main appeal as a company? Why do over 100 million people have Prime memberships? Hint: it’s not the price, the Amazon marketing, the product line, nor the one-click checkout, though those features seem to be the obvious winners.

So, what’s the main draw? Time. Purchasing through Amazon saves the customer time and gets them the product more quickly. Yes, the UX is easy, it offers one-click checkout, next day shipping, but what these things all do in common is simply save the user time. Time is the expendable resource that all buyers want more of.

To understand this as a fact, put yourself in the shoes of a customer. When you come to Amazon, you aren’t looking for things on an informational basis. You have come to a purebred marketplace that sells a product, and you are looking to purchase right away because of the ease of use that the platform boasts.

Amazon is also used in the price comparison process. Since Amazon has local shipping and logistics set up in several states (this started on the West Coast in Q4 2017 and has since expanded), it typically carries the lowest price. Because of this, the conversion rate on Amazon tends to be much higher.

Related: How to Advertise on Amazon, Should I Sell My Product On Amazon? Here’s What You Need to Know

Wrapping Up – So, what does this information mean? Understanding the difference of the intent of each platform is to understand the difference in the level of information and/or additional consideration needed to drive a purchase. This is not to say that one platform is better than the other whatsoever; they each have their purposes and can be capitalized on accordingly.

For instance, let’s say you’re running a holiday sale and selling product through each platform. The shipping in time for the holiday on your B2C site might run out well prior to the holiday, but you can attract high-intent last-minute shoppers on Amazon who are in crisis mode trying to buy a product ASAP. That is the perfect opportunity to lean in and maximize on Amazon!

Additional material will be added to this article in the future. In the meantime, take note of the information, as it is something I couldn’t wait to share. Learn the intent and think critically about the implications each respective platform would have for your business given your short and long-term goals.


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