#WednesdayOneThing is a weekly opportunity for Clearbanc employees to share their knowledge of exciting trends in the retail and e-commerce space. Stay tuned to our Facebook page every Wednesday for the newest edition.
A lot has changed since the first online ad was posted a little over 25 years ago. Few would have predicted that digital advertising, particularly paid search, would turn out to be as economically lucrative and essential to e-commerce success as it is today. Even fewer would have predicted that it would continue to become bigger and better every day.
No matter what type of online business you have, paid search has proven to be an effective channel to capture and convert audiences into customers. Online ads are able to redirect traffic to your website in a way that traditional marketing channels like TV or billboards have never been able to do.
The biggest players in the field of paid search are Google and Amazon. Both companies have done a remarkable job in shaping the way consumers search for, research, and purchase online. Thanks to them, online paid search ad spend is currently at over $13 billion, a 22.5% increase from last year. Spend is estimated to reach closer to $16 billion in 2020.
As a business owner, you need to focus on the marketing approach that makes the most sense for your business model. Be wary of spending your marketing budget on both paid search channels without a clear strategy.
In this post, we’ll help you figure out which paid search channel makes the most sense for your business, and provide some tips on how to take advantage of them as you prepare for Black Friday/Cyber Monday.
Advantages of Amazon paid search
If you think Google’s the biggest player in paid search, you would have been right about 4 years ago. Amazon surpassed Google in product searches last year, according to Jumpshot’s recent report that analyzed 500 e-commerce websites. Today, about 54% of product searches begin on Amazon.
Advertising on Amazon can be a financial predicament for companies that compete with the platform for sales. Many online retailers feel forced to advertise their business by spending money on Amazon, who may be one of their direct competitors. But spending on Amazon is an almost unavoidable and necessary evil.
With that said, one of Amazon’s significant advantages is its sponsored posts. If a customer looks for something on Google, the sponsored posts will be related to the search keyword. This means that the ads shown to the consumer could be from 2-3 of your direct competitors.
On Amazon, you have the opportunity to ensure that all the sponsored ads seen by a consumer are from your company. For example, say a consumer is looking for a product that you sell on Amazon. The first couple of ads that pop up would then be a string of products that are sold by your company. As a result, the consumer gets more exposure to your brand and products and is more likely to click-through to learn more.
Advantage of Google paid search
Even though Amazon has surpassed Google in total volume of product searches, Google is still the juggernaut of online ad conversion. Jumpshot’s analysis reported that 34% of purchases from Google ads were made within five days of the initial search as opposed to 19% from Amazon ads.
Among Google’s advantages, one of the most important is its product listing ads. Retail brands spend over 75% of their Google ads budget on these types of ads. The reason for this is because product listing ads have a higher click-through rate with a significantly lower cost per click when compared against other platforms.
Google also has the advantage of having integrated the display of product ads into other services, such as Google Maps. Brands can pay for promoted pins to appear in the app and supplement this with product ads once users click on the pins. This can be a great advantage for online businesses that also have brick and mortar stores.
Amazon ads versus Google ads
In the end, Google and Amazon aren’t like-for-like platforms. One is primarily a search engine whereas the other one is an e-commerce marketplace. Amazon is where people go when they know they want to buy something but Google has a much broader use case, such as remarketing.
Think about how these differentiators are going to impact your KPIs and overall business goals. What is the value of total impressions and clicks vs conversion rates and return on ad spend?
Paid search tips for Black Friday/Cyber Monday
With Black Friday and Cyber Monday (BFCM) just around the corner, the paid search platform you pick could make or break your seasonal sales targets.
If you want faster conversions with your ad spend but are willing to risk lower traffic numbers, Google might be the more viable option. However, consider advertising on Amazon if you want to increase your visibility to consumers who are actively shopping around and comparing.
Google is the winner when it comes to click-through-rates and cost per click but with Amazon, you can advertise multiple products at once to consumers.
Each platform has its benefits. You have the power to choose whether you advertise on Google or Amazon, both, or neither. Consider the pros and cons of each but, most importantly, think about what would work best for your business.
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