Google vs. Amazon Advertising: What's the Difference?

Isaak Roundy

October 16, 2020

For years Google Ads has been the flagship when it comes to paid search advertising. However, Amazon is quickly becoming a force to be reckoned with in its own right as its advertising capabilities continue to improve.

As a digital advertiser, marketing manager, or business owner you’ll likely be utilizing one or both of these platforms at some point in your career if you haven’t already. If you already have experience, you might be wondering if your knowledge of one platform will translate to the other.

The purpose of this article is not to persuade you that one platform is better than the other or to tell you which one should get the majority of your marketing and paid search advertising budget. Instead we’ll focus on the similarities and differences that you as an advertiser can expect to see when using either platform for the first time.

Ad types: Comparing Amazon to Google

Both Google and Amazon offer a variety of ad types each with their own unique advantages that can help you accomplish whatever advertising goals you may have.

Here are a few of the most common ad types used on each platform:

Amazon Google
Sponsored Products Search Ads
Sponsored Brands Shopping Ads
Sponsored Display Display Ads
DSP Video Ads (YouTube)

For the majority of this article we’ll focus on the similarities and differences between the two most commonly used ad types: Amazon’s Sponsored Products and Google’s Search Ads.

The ad auction, explained

Both Google and Amazon use an auction to determine which ads are eligible to appear when a search is performed and the cost an advertiser will pay for a click on their ad. The idea is the same but executed differently by each platform.

How Amazon’s ad auction works

Amazon uses a “second price auction” which means that instead of paying your bid amount when someone clicks your ad, you’ll pay an amount slightly higher than the second highest bid. So if you bid $2 and the next highest competitor’s bid was $1.50, you’ll pay $1.51 or an amount slightly higher than $1.50 for a click.

This is pretty straightforward, but it doesn’t mean you can simply win an ad placement 100% of the time by having the highest bid. Amazon also uses an algorithm to determine which ads are the most relevant to the search and eligible to display, but what that entails is a bit of mystery.

Here’s what we do know from Amazon: “Ads selected to compete in the auction must first have keywords that match the search and meet a minimum relevance criterion.”

How Google’s ad auction works

Google uses a similar model but is more transparent about how ad quality affects the auction process. Google uses a variety of signals and real-time data to determine Ad Rank, which is a measurement of the quality of your ad for a given search. Your bid amount, ad relevance and expected click-through rate, and even the user’s location and device are used to calculate Ad Rank.

It’s important to note that Ad Rank is factored in when calculating CPCs, so you don’t simply pay a slightly higher price than the next highest bid for a click. It’s possible to win a better ad placement and pay less per click than your competition if you have a high Ad Rank.

Learn more about Ad Rank here.

Keywords and targeting on Amazon vs. Google

Keyword targeting

Both Amazon and Google use keyword searches as the main way to target consumers. Both allow advertisers to utilize Exact, Phrase and Broad keyword match types—and definitions of both are virtually the same between the two advertisers.

Both also include close variants for exact match keywords, although Google is again more transparent when it comes to their definition of a close variant.

Product targeting

One of the unique benefits of Amazon Advertising is the ability to use products instead of keywords as targets for ads. Advertisers can target specific products, whole categories, or a list of products that you refine based on brand, star rating, and number of reviews.

Automatic targeting

Amazon again has a leg up on Google here with its unique automatic targeting capabilities. Advertisers can use automatic targeting for their Sponsored Products campaigns and let Amazon do keyword research for them.

With automatic targeting, Amazon matches ads with similar keywords and products. You can then view a list of search terms and products where your ad appeared, allowing you to gain valuable insight into what keywords and products you should use or avoid in your manual targeting campaigns.

Audience and demographic targeting

Google wins here, and it’s not even a close race. Google has a vast library of user data that advertisers can tap into to enhance their advertising campaigns. Data such as age, gender, household income, hobbies and interests, device, relationship status, and more can be used to target and exclude users from your campaigns.

You can also adjust bids by a set percentage for your audiences to be hyper-focused when it comes to keyword bidding. If you know that mothers between the age of 25-44 are more likely to buy your new running stroller, you can increase your bid for those demographics to ensure your ads are reaching your target audience as much as possible. Almost all of Google’s ad products allow you to utilize these capabilities, giving you quite a few options to play around with as you fine-tune your advertising strategy.

Amazon, however, only has similar targeting capabilities for DSP (Demand Side Platform), which is Amazon’s display network offering. Audience and demographic data is not supported by Sponsored Products, Sponsored Brands, or Sponsored Display campaigns.

Other Amazon vs. Google ad differences to consider

Conversion tracking

Conversion tracking is simple with Amazon: orders and revenue will automatically be tracked for any products you advertise.

Google Ads, on the other hand, requires you to create your own conversion actions for any event on your website that you want to track, whether it be a purchase or a lead form submission. This allows advertisers to track important events beyond just purchases, like when someone adds a product to their cart.

Conversion tracking setup can be a pain for first timers. Google offers thorough documentation to help you through it, and their customer support team can help you as well.

Automated bidding

Google Ads offers multiple fully automated bidding strategies that eliminate the tedious work that is bid optimization. When you use a bidding strategy like Target ROAS or Maximize Conversions, Google will automatically set keyword bids and make optimizations for you based on your goals and how your campaigns perform. This makes campaign management much more simple and eliminates the need to spend hours optimizing bids on a recurring basis.

Amazon does not offer fully-automated bidding strategies like Google, so you’ll need to manually set keyword bids yourself or use a software to manage bids for you, like Pattern’s Predict software. Amazon, however, does have two automated bid adjustment features that can dynamically increase and/or decrease bids for you based on the likelihood of a conversion.


Both Amazon Advertising and Google Ads are excellent advertising tools that can be an effective part of any online marketing strategy. While they certainly have their differences, they also share many similarities that make it easy to pick up one or the other, or even both if you’re just getting started with PPC advertising.

At Pattern we offer our advertising services to most brands at no additional cost. Find out more by contacting a Pattern representative here.

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Sept 27, 2022

Global Ecommerce Weekly News: 27th September 2022

Get up to date with this week's ecommerce headlines from around the globe. --- Amazon News --- Amazon drives renewable energy push with 71 new projects Amazon is planning to add 2.7 gigawatts of clean energy capacity through a couple of new projects as the company attempts to use 100% renewable energy by 2025. The ecommerce business will soon have a total of 329 renewable energy projects, generating 50,000 gigawatt hours of clean energy, which is equivalent to powering 4.6 million US homes every year. [Read more on Reuters]( Amazon launches Prime Early Access Sale Amazon is launching a new 2-day shopping event for its Prime members only, beginning on the 11th of October. Across 15 countries, Prime customers will have access to the shopping event, with thousands of deals on offer globall, ranging from fashion to electronics to essentials. The event has the purpose of giving Prime users the chance to spread the cost of items over the winter months, 6 weeks ahead of Black Friday. [Read more on Charged Retail]( --- Other Marketplace News --- Shopify unveils new localisation tool Shopify is launching a new localisation tool, called Translate & Adapt, which works with Shopify Markets to offer localisation for sellers who are looking to expand into new markets. The tool translates a user’s online store into different languages, including product pages and information pages. Merchants are also able to create different shipping terms for each market using the new tool, which allows international expansion and offers a more localised consumer experience, unveiling new potential. [Read more on Ecommerce News]( Etsy is set to invest hundreds of millions into its marketing platform Etsy CEO claims that the company is on route to spend more than $570 million USD on marketing this year. Even during a time of macroeconomic pressure, inflation and rising interest rates, the company is preparing itself and its sellers for the upcoming holiday season and is focused on retaining interest from buyers. [Read more on Yahoo News]( --- Other Ecommerce News --- Meta looks to cut costs by 10% in the coming months Meta employees are facing job redundancies as the company plans to cut its costs by 10% over the next few months. Meta reported a 22% YoY increase in costs and expenses, totalling over $20 billion USD. The cuts are expected to come in the form of job redundancies as a result of department reorganisations rather than formal layoffs. [Read more on Charged Retail]( DHL teams up with Quadient to offer smart locker deliveries in the UK DHL and tech company, Quadient, have partnered to offer smart lockers parcel pick-up throughout the UK. The new contactless, secure locker stations will give recipients more choice and flexibility to receive their parcels at a time and location best suited to them. The partnership plans to install 500 locker stations across the country by the end of 2022. [Read more on Charged Retail]( The online fashion market is set to be worth nearly $170 billion USD in 2025 The European online fashion retail market is set to grow 50% by 2025, with an online turnover of $170 billion USD, which is 33% of the retail branch’s total. Cross-border marketplaces prove to be the largest drivers of this growth, with online websites and apps like Vinted largely pushing the market’s online growth. Zalando recently became the largest cross-border fashion retailer/marketplace, responsible for 11.7% of the online market’s share. [Read more on Ecommerce News](
Sept 22, 2022

How an Amazon SEO Agency Should Be Serving Your Brand

If you’re in the global ecommerce space, you are most likely aware of Amazon, and probably selling your products on the marketplace. With over $470 billion in sales in 2021 alone, Amazon stands as the third largest company in the world based on revenue. The ecommerce giant is a household name in the U.S. and working hard to grow its market share across five continents worldwide.

Having your products available on Amazon and being competitive there, though, are definitely two different things. If you want to really succeed on Amazon, you’ll need specialized insight into how Amazon works and how to make it work for you. So, for many brands, it’s a great idea to work with an Amazon Search Engine Optimization (SEO) agency.

At Pattern, Amazon SEO optimization service is one of our key competencies. We understand that technology, data-driven insights and expertise  are the most important tools brands can leverage to win top listing spots on digital marketplaces. With expert teams and years of experience, we help brands conquer the Profitability Death Spiral as they compete with other products and sellers online. We offer Amazon SEO agency services as a core solution to brands that need more resources to get ahead. 

What is an Amazon SEO Agency?

An Amazon SEO agency serves brands by improving their products’ rank and listing performance on Amazon. They make strategic decisions about ad spending and placement that lead to higher traffic, conversions, and revenue for ecommerce brands.

A great Amazon SEO Agency partner will:

Prioritize Your Success

Unfortunately, many Amazon SEO agencies profit in unfair ways from your brands’ perceived success based on the ROAS numbers they provide. This is done through including branded search terms in ROAS reports, which naturally skew listing performance

Let’s say, for instance, your brand is called “Annie’s” and you sell lollipops. Your brand has a very high likelihood of winning the top listing spots on Amazon for lollipop search terms that are paired with “Annie’s,” your brand name. So, SEO agencies will spend your ad money on those terms and report a very high ROAS. 

To avoid scenarios like these, it’s best to look for an agency that either calculates their profits on metrics other than your ROAS scores or weighs branded search terms differently in the performance metrics reports. Regardless of your Amazon SEO agency’s cost structure, you should align onbranded search terms before committing to a scope of work.

Provide Detailed Competitive Insight

A great indicator of a high-quality Amazon SEO agency is the level of insight they can provide into your competitors’ listing positioning and how it compares to yours. Data fanaticism is so important at Pattern that we’ve developed proprietary technology to display this exact information with precise detail for every brand we work with. In fact, you can find our free version here to see how you compare to some of your top competitors based on ASIN.

It’s certainly possible to improve your Amazon search performance with blind spending strategies. But a truly great solution will help you to know where your dollars are at their most powerful and competitive.

Reduce Your Ad Spend Over Time

Amazon’s A10 algorithm prioritizes customer satisfaction—it wants to show consumers the best products that align with their search intent to improve conversions and sales. So, the best way to gain momentum on Amazon is to work on incremental wins. 

Improving your performance on more obscure search terms that align with your customers’ search intent is a great way to increase ROAS for the long term. A10 will reward your success with better rankings on higher-volume search terms and the virtuous cycle can help you conquer your most-coveted listing spots. And the best part? This process of gaining momentum, if done right, will naturally decrease your ad spend over time as Amazon recognizes your value and works with you to keep your products at the top of consumers’ search results.

Amazon SEO Optimization and More

As an Amazon SEO specialist, Pattern knows how to help your brand win better success for long-term profitability on Amazon. With our data-driven tools and brilliant teams of ecommerce experts, we help brands with listing management, content optimization, Amazon ad strategies, and more.

Contact us to learn more about our SEO optimization services.

Sept 20, 2022

4 Ecommerce Marketplace Consultant Must-Haves

Entering the ecommerce landscape is a huge undertaking for any brand—it usually requires a large investment in resources and expertise to really be successful. Any brand can quickly get in over their heads trying to navigate the nuances of SEO, fulfillment and logistics, distribution control, listing optimization, and meeting the numerous other requirements and administrative tasks to show up well on marketplaces. 

Unfortunately, because it’s so easy for third party, gray market, and unauthorized sellers to obtain and sell products online, many brands find themselves pressured to execute an ecommerce plan without the right resources to succeed on marketplaces and their other channels.

So, for brands looking to enter the ecommerce space or improve their current and future performance, it makes sense to partner with an ecommerce consultant.

Pattern’s global presence and proven success with hundreds of brands has allowed us to develop highly effective ecommerce consulting services. We can guide your brand to navigate issues both large and small in marketplaces worldwide. To maximize your ecommerce efforts, you’ll need to understand what an ecommerce consultant does and how to select one who drives the right value for your brand and products. 

What is an Ecommerce Consultant?

An ecommerce consultant is a specialist in the ecommerce space who can give you personalized guidance on how to market your products and grow their presence on digital marketplaces.

An ecommerce consultant should be able to analyze your brand, audience, category, opportunity, and current roadblocks and help you understand how to utilize your resources (or what resources are missing) to be most effective in capturing your opportunities in the ecommerce space.

Not sure how to evaluate a consultant? Here are 4 key attributes to look for as you make your choice.

1. Brand Obsession/Specialization/Passion

At Pattern, we prioritize brand obsession for a reason—we know that a brand-centered mindset makes a crucial difference in the outcomes and results our partners achieve. So in our experience, when you begin your search for an ecommerce consultant, it’s important to look for a partner who is specialized in ecommerce, invested in the product, and passionate about helping brands build and improve their strategies. Typically, this means finding someone that consults exclusively for ecommerce marketplaces, rather than choosing a consultant who offers many different services. 

2. Proven Results

It’s also important to avoid choosing a consulting partner who can’t deliver the right experience for your brand. The best indication of whether your potential consultant can do that is to review their history, data, and results with other brands. Ask if they’ve helped others in your selling category, if they’ve solved specific issues your brand is facing, and why they feel you are a good fit. The key is to leave the conversation feeling confident that you understand your consultants’ capabilities and whether or not they match up with your needs.

3. Wide Range of Marketplace Expertise

It’s best to pick a consultant who knows how to guide a brand onto and through multiple marketplaces worldwide. You’ll want to take a look at your long-term strategy and think about the regions and platforms you’re currently on and where you might want to take your brand in the future. If your consultant is truly great at what they do, they’ll be able to help you perform well enough with your current product roadmap that it’ll be a no-brainer to expand your presence at the right time.

4. Network of Resources

The most effective partnership with an ecommerce consultant will be able to give you both recommendations and point you to solutions for making those changes in your planning, processes, and execution. Your time and money is valuable, so you want to make sure that you’re spending it as efficiently as possible as you follow your consultant’s advice. So, before you commit to an ecommerce consultant, ask about the resources and concrete solutions they typically recommend to the brands they work with.

Achieve Your Ecommerce Goals With Pattern

Finding an ecommerce consultant that checks the boxes can be a difficult task. At Pattern, our entire focus and drive centers around giving brands the tools and resources they need to succeed on domestic and international ecommerce marketplaces. 

With over 100 global ecommerce consultants across 10 global offices, we have the right tools to partner with brands across the world to achieve better ecommerce success. We give specialized advice, then make sure our partners have all the adequate SEO, social media, CRM, Amazon multi-channel fulfillment services, and ecommerce outsourcing services they need.

Interested in ecommerce consulting services? Set up a call here to learn what Pattern can do for your brand on global marketplaces.