Google Shopping vs Amazon Sponsored Product Ads: Which is Better for Online Retailers?

With the online space growing more competitive by the day, where can you thrive?

Over the last few years, Amazon has reigned dominance over the ecommerce market. However, with Google Shopping now also becoming a popular option for online brands and retailers, choosing between the two platforms can be a particularly daunting task.

We’re here to offer some clarity and compare Google Shopping to Amazon Sponsored Product Ads, weighing up the benefits of each platform to help you determine which one is right for you and your business’s needs.

What are Google Shopping Ads?

As part of Amazon’s advertising options, businesses can choose to use Google Shopping Ads, which are also sometimes referred to as Product Listing Ads (PLAs). Google Shopping Ads are product-based ads that show up on searches across both Google and Google Shopping.

Google Shopping Ads appear as an image of the product, followed by the price and the brand. Additionally, other information can be included such as reviews, shipping information and any promotions.

The advantages of Google Shopping Ads

Google Shopping Ads can be an incredibly effective marketing tool for online retailers. This is due to its ability to reach shopper-specific search queries with clickable images that appear at the top of Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs), above any organic results.

Other advantages of Google Shopping Ads include:

  • No commission – while both Amazon and Google require advertisers to pay per click, Google does not charge commission on any sales that are driven by ads.
  • Transparency – Google is forthcoming and open about any changes on the platform, outlining the details on their blog. This makes it easier for businesses to put together strategies and anticipate how changes will impact their campaigns.
  • Promotion extensions – providing an extra opportunity for businesses to incentivise customers, Google allows for promotion extensions such as discounts or free shipping.
  • The ability to sell products on your own website – with Google, you can sell products on your own site without the risk of cannibalisation, which is an issue with Amazon.

Develop the relationship with the customer – when customers buy from you on your site, you establish a direct relationship, and can continue that relationship to nurture and grow with the customer. When sales occur on the Amazon platform, you cannot email or market directly to the customer, they are Amazon’s customer.

The disadvantages of Google Shopping Ads

There are also some disadvantages with Google Shopping Ads, such as:

  • Increased competition – there is a lot of competition on the platform which can make it more difficult for your products to stand out.
  • Temperamental targeting – because of Google’s restriction of direct keyword targeting in their Shopping Ads, campaign targeting can be somewhat temperamental.
  • Too many options for customisation – while having the ability to customise ads is, mostly, a benefit, too many options for customisation can make campaigns unwieldy.

What are Amazon Sponsored Product Ads?

Amazon Sponsored Product Ads are a form of advertising options on Amazon for promoting particular products. They appear at the top, the bottom and at the right-hand side of SERPs. Similarly to Google Shopping Ads, Amazon Sponsored Product Ads appear as an image, followed by the price and the brand name.

Amazon Sponsored Product Ads are available for both third-party sellers and vendors but require a professional seller account.

The advantages of Amazon Sponsored Product Ads

Naturally, Amazon provides a plethora of advantages for online retailers looking to sell their products online through a popular ecommerce marketplace. The dominance of Amazon Shopping Ads on SERPs places businesses at a great advantage. Here are some other advantages:

  • Less competition, cheaper clicks – while Amazon is a massively popular platform, in terms of advertisers, there is less competition. This means you may be able to get an earlier foothold and, before other competitors.
  • Optimal placement options – due to Amazon Advertising taking place on the same platform as product sales, there are some unique placement opportunities to take advantage of. For example, your Amazon Sponsored Product Ads can appear on the detail pages for your competitors’ products.  
  • Keyword targeting – Amazon allows you to target specific keywords within the ads, helping to place your product ads at the top of highly relevant SERPs.

The disadvantages

Of course, there are also some disadvantages of Amazon Sponsored Product Ads, some of which include:

  • Time consuming – while Google has a bulk editor, Amazon does not, meaning it can take longer to build campaigns, as well as edit them, as you have to tackle each campaign individually.  
  • Less transparency – Amazon does not provide as much transparency on platform changes as Google, meaning updates and changes can catch advertisers unaware.
  • Amazon’s attribution – Amazon’s attribution can often be a struggle for advertisers. It can take a few days for data to appear in reports, making it difficult to make data-led decisions.

Overall, both platforms are advantageous for businesses looking to grow online, with an equal balance of both positives and negatives. With our ecommerce solutions, we can help navigate your business through any complications that may arise.

Google or Amazon: How do they compare?

Both platforms offer a variety of advertising options, each coming with their own unique set of advantages, as explored above. When deciding on whether to use Google or Amazon, it can also be beneficial to consider the other advertising options that will be available to you.

Here are 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)

So, how do they differ, and which one is better for you? The honest answer is that it completely depends on your business, its product, its target audience and what it’s aiming to achieve.

For example, if a retailer is interested in increasing sales, then Amazon Products Ads can be the way to go. On the other hand, if a retailer is interested in raising awareness and building a more substantial presence online, then Google Shopping may be more appropriate.

As always, it can be beneficial to consider the advantages of utilising both platforms for your business as, in today’s multi-channel ecosystem, both Google and Amazon play critical roles in the customer journey and business success.

Do you need some help with your marketplace advertising?

Are you looking to grow online and capitalise on the increasing success of ecommerce marketplaces? Whatever platform you decide to pursue, get in touch with the team at Diginius to discuss how we can support your business going forwards and how we can help you to drive fantastic results and, ultimately, increase your revenue.

Chester Yang is the Microsoft Program Manager at Diginius with a background in economics and quantitative research.  

At Diginius, Chester focuses on nurturing partnerships with PPC agencies and integrating marketing and sales solutions.