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.

Conclusion

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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Global Ecommerce: Weekly News (6th September 2022)
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Global Ecommerce Weekly News: 6th September 2022

Get up to date with this week's ecommerce headlines from around the globe. --- Amazon News --- Amazon announces new inventory and distribution service, AWD Amazon has launched Amazon Warehousing and Distribution (AWD), providing inventory and distribution services to its sellers as a means of addressing current supply chain issues. AWD is now available for sellers using Fulfilment by Amazon (FBA), i.e. outsourcing their fulfilment to the platform. Amazon has plans to expand the service outside the platform in 2023. [Read more on Charged Retail](https://www.chargedretail.co.uk/2022/09/02/amazon-introduces-new-service-to-help-solve-supply-chain-challenges/) Amazon Web Services (AWS) launches in the UAE AWS, Amazon’s cloud-computing platform offering, has launched its second region in the Middle East and now provides its services in the UAE. The move will now allow anyone in the UAE who utilises cloud technologies to harness AWS’s advanced platforms and APIs. An estimated $11 billion USD is expected to be added to the UAE’s GDP thanks to the implementation, with an average of 6,000 external vendor jobs to be created annually. AWS is now available in 87 zones across 27 regions, with sights set on expanding further across Australia, Canada, India, Israel, New Zealand, Spain, and Switzerland. [Read more on Charged Retail](https://www.chargedretail.co.uk/2022/08/30/amazon-web-services-launches-region-in-uae/) --- Other Marketplace News --- Lazada to launch in Europe Alibaba-owned ecommerce platform Lazada is set to launch in Europe, marking a refreshed internationalisation push from the company. The move follows toughening economic conditions and performance in Southeast Asia, advancing the need to tap overseas markets. In Europe, Lazada will face tough competition from giants like Amazon and Zalando. Lazada’s exact entry strategy is to be confirmed and will be reliant on macroeconomic and market conditions, according to Lazada CEO James Dong. [Read more on DigitalCommerce360](https://www.digitalcommerce360.com/2022/09/01/alibabas-lazada-to-take-on-amazon-zalando-in-europe-push/) Chinese ecommerce giant Pinduoduo to launch cross-border platform in the United States Pinduoduo, a Chinese ecommerce giant rivalling Alibaba and JD, has announced it will be launching a new cross-border ecommerce platform. The marketplace is set to launch in the United States next month, as part of the company’s larger push into new markets. Pinduoduo found success in China thanks to its rock-bottom price offerings and harnessing of social commerce marketing, emulating strategies similar to fast-fashion giant Shein. [Read more on Yahoo Finance](https://uk.finance.yahoo.com/news/pinduoduo-launch-international-e-commerce-034129263.html) Alibaba launches its biggest B2B sales event, ‘Super September’ China ecommerce giant, Alibaba, has now launched its month-long B2B sales event ‘Super September’. The event provides 40 million buyers and 200,000 suppliers with the ability to connect on the platform, showcasing a ‘virtually unlimited’ number of products. The event hopes to foster new cross-border business relationships to tackle supply chain challenges currently faced by businesses. [Read more on Charged Retail](https://www.chargedretail.co.uk/2022/09/01/alibaba-launches-super-september-b2b-sales-event/) --- Other Ecommerce News --- Klarna’s losses quadruple in first half of 2022 BNPL provider, Klarna, has reported losses of $581 million USD for the first half of 2022. This figure is almost four times larger than a year earlier, where $129 million USD in losses were reported. The company attributes the losses to employee costs, technology investments, and rising credit losses. Klarna’s figure reporting comes amidst worsening economic conditions, fresh legal and regulatory scrutiny, and pressure from Big Tech competitors. [Read more on The Financial Times](https://www.ft.com/content/483451db-9221-4ca4-83a6-b4ddc6bfcfbb) [Read more on the Guardian](https://www.theguardian.com/business/2022/aug/31/klarna-losses-more-than-triple-as-consumer-spending-slows) One fifth of Snap employees to be laid off amidst poor financial performance Social media platform Snap (‘Snapchat’) has announced it will be laying off 20% of its employees and closing out a number of projects following a year of poor financial results.The move will see 1,200 employees globally lose their jobs, saving the company an estimated $500 million USD in costs. Snap is currently valued at $20 billion, an 84% decrease from its valuation of $130 billion last year. [Read more on Charged Retail](https://www.chargedretail.co.uk/2022/09/01/snap-to-lay-off-20-of-its-workforce-and-wind-down-a-number-of-projects/)

Global Ecommerce: Weekly News (30th August 2022)
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Global Ecommerce Weekly News: 30th August 2022

Get up to date with this week's ecommerce headlines from around the globe. --- Amazon News --- Amazon set to shut down Amazon Care Amazon is closing its telehealth service, Amazon Care, which launched in 2019 as a trial program for its headquartered employees. Later the service was rolled out nationwide for employees and other companies. The ecommerce giant has now made the decision to move away from the healthcare space, believing it was not the right long-term solution for its enterprise customers. [Read more on CNBC](https://www.cnbc.com/2022/08/24/amazon-is-shutting-down-amazon-care-telehealth-service.html) Peloton closes new deal to sell on Amazon Following a recent deal, Amazon customers will soon be able to buy Peloton fitness equipment on the marketplace, marking Peleton’s first move outside a direct-to-consumer model. According to Peloton’s CCO, there are already around half a million searches on Amazon for Peloton products every month, despite having no presence on the marketplace. Some key products include the original Peloton Bike, retailing for $1,445 and Peloton Guide for $295. [Read more on Charged Retail](https://www.chargedretail.co.uk/2022/08/24/peloton-strikes-deal-to-sell-fitness-equipment-on-amazon/) --- Other Marketplace News --- 60% of Malaysians are buying from local sellers on Shopee A recent survey of nearly 3,500 respondents found that nearly half of the shoppers prefer to purchase from local sellers due to shorter delivery times. Other shoppers decide to shop locally due to the quality of the products made in Malaysia and an interest in keeping the economy running. As a result, smaller local merchants have been able to grow their businesses, and shoppers benefit from shorter delivery times, products of high quality and supporting local businesses. [Read more on The Malaysian Reserve](https://themalaysianreserve.com/2022/08/25/around-60-malaysians-are-buying-from-local-sellers-on-shopee/) Flipkart’s social commerce platform Shopsy crosses 100 million users Flipkart launched a social commerce arm, Shopsy, in July of last year, which has now surpassed 100 million users, ahead of its target timeline being the end of 2022. This acquisition of new users has made Shopsy one of the largest platforms of its kind in the country, and is expected to onboard a further 100 million by the end of 2023. The platform is centred around boosting local entrepreneurship and powering ecommerce for consumers across tier 2+ regions where users face challenges around trust and navigation when shopping online. [Read more on Business Standard](https://www.business-standard.com/article/companies/flipkart-s-social-commerce-platform-shopsy-hits-100-million-users-1220828006851.html) Meta joins Amazon and Walmart in bid for Indian ecommerce market Amazon mentioned earlier in the year that it would be building a logistics division in-house through its purchase of a 51% stake in Ecom Express, an end-to-end logistics firm, to make ecommerce deliveries more efficient in the country. Walmart operates Flipkart in India and is set to continue its investment in the marketplace. In an effort to compete in the Indian ecommerce market, Meta has partnered with Indian ecommerce company, JioMart, to offer customers a grocery shopping platform within its WhatsApp chat feature. [Read more on Pymnts](https://www.pymnts.com/news/retail/2022/meta-joins-amazon-walmart-indian-ecommerce-market/) --- Other Ecommerce News --- Ecommerce in Spain worth €57.7 billion in 2021 Spanish ecommerce saw 11.7% growth compared to last year, largely attributed to cross-border sales. In the final quarter of 2021, ecommerce sales in Spain were at €16.9 billion euros, at least 60% of which came from cross-border sales. Transactions from foreign locations to Spain generated a turnover of €1.56 billion in Q4, a growth of 27.7% compared to Q4 a year before. [Read more on Ecommerce News](https://ecommercenews.eu/ecommerce-in-spain-was-worth-e57-7-billion-in-2021/)

Global Ecommerce: Weekly News (23rd August 2022)
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Global Ecommerce Weekly News: 23rd August 2022

Get up to date with this week's ecommerce headlines from around the globe. --- Amazon News --- Amazon to add mental health support to primary-care service Amazon is set to move into mental health therapy with its primary-care division, following its recent acquisition deal of One Medical. The plan is to partner with virtual behavioural therapy service, Ginger, to offer its Amazon Care users with on-demand access to mental health services, licensed therapists and psychiatrists. [Read more on Charged Retail](https://www.chargedretail.co.uk/2022/08/11/amazon-plans-to-add-mental-health-support-to-primary-care-service/) GMB union calls for £15 an hour minimum pay at UK Amazon warehouses Amazon recently offered its warehouse workers a 3% pay rise, which in comparison to the June inflation rate of 9.4% left employees disappointed. Following this, hundreds of Amazon warehouse workers stopped work last week, protesting against the minimal pay increase, seeking a minimum of £15 an hour. Recent protests consisting of employee walkouts and sit-ins aim to get a better offer out of Amazon. [Read more on The Guardian](https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2022/aug/09/gmb-calls-for-15-an-hour-minimum-pay-at-amazon-warehouses-in-uk) Amazon third-party sellers have received their first-ever holiday fee hike Amazon’s third-party marketplaces account for close to half of the company’s online sales. The company introduced a 5% fuel and inflation charge to its third-party sellers earlier this year, and has now implemented another inflation increase charge. Commencing 14 October, any seller who uses Amazon’s fulfilment service is subject to the price hike, which is set to be an additional 35 cents per item for products sold in the US and Canada. [Read more on Charged Retail](https://www.chargedretail.co.uk/2022/08/17/amazon-third-party-sellers-have-received-their-first-ever-holiday-fee-hike/) Amazon puts a pause on UK grocery shop roll-out as the cost of living increases Amazon has slowed down on its UK roll-out of till-free Amazon Fresh grocery stores following disappointing sales and the rise in cost of living. Allegedly, the company is no longer looking for potential sites to expand and if more stores are opened, they will likely no longer use a till-free system, as consumers become more cautious about spending. [Read more on The Telegraph](https://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2022/08/21/amazon-pauses-uk-grocery-shop-roll-out-following-disappointing/) --- Other Marketplace News --- Shopee overtakes Alibaba across international markets Shopee has surpassed Alibaba and taken the top spot for sales outside of China. Singapore-based marketplace saw a year-on-year increase of 51.4% at the end of Q2 of this year, while Alibaba saw a 3% drop during the same time period. This can be seen as a promising development for start-ups and their ability to compete with some of the largest ecommerce giants in the market. [Read more on Exchange Wire](https://www.exchangewire.com/blog/2022/08/18/shopee-surpasses-alibaba-in-international-sales-amazon-searches-for-entertainment-exec/) H&M reopens its official store to Alibaba’s Tmall ecommerce platform It has been nearly 18 months since Alibaba removed H&M from its Tmall platform, following H&M’s criticism of human rights abuses in Xinjiang. It is estimated that over a million people, predominantly minorities in the area, have been unlawfully detained in camps across the city. Brands including Nike, Adidas, Burberry and Converse were swept up in the controversy, however H&M was one of the first to be targeted for speaking out about the issue. [Read more on Charged Retail](https://www.chargedretail.co.uk/2022/08/16/hm-returns-to-alibabas-tmall-platform-16-months-after-xinjiang-controversy/) Klarna launches new feature allowing UK consumers to view full online order history Buy-now-pay-later company, Klarna, has launched a new feature on its shopping app, which allows UK consumers to view their full online order history, regardless of whether they purchased the product using Klarna. The feature also shows delivery tracking and aids consumers in managing their online purchases more conveniently. [Read more on The Industry](https://www.theindustry.fashion/klarna-launches-new-feature-allowing-uk-consumers-to-view-full-online-order-history/) --- Other Ecommerce News --- Online marketplaces responsible for £280 billion business turnover in the UK Nearly 900,000 UK businesses are currently selling on online marketplaces, generating an estimated £282 billion worth of sales each year. This figure represents 6% of the UK’s annual business turnover, highlighting the notable contribution that marketplaces make to the UK economy, along with the potential for further growth in this area. [Read more on Charged Retail](https://www.chargedretail.co.uk/2022/08/09/online-marketplaces-responsible-for-280-billion-business-turnover-in-uk/)