Amazon Sponsored Links vs Google Adwords

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Imagine a customer went to Amazon, key in “wine” and because Amazon knows this particular customer has always been buying Chateau wine through Amazon, it serves the Chateau wine ad from you and the user clicks over to your online store and purchases, wouldn’t that be a really valuable ad serve?

Enter Amazon, who has been reported to be ready to test its Amazon sponsored links later this year to challenge Google’s $50 billion a year advertising business.  Here we discuss the various strengths and weaknesses of both platforms to understand this better.

Google Adwords, how it works now

With millions of partner websites showing Google Adsense, over 1 million Google Adwords advertisers display ads to users via the following methods:

  • Keywords:  e.g. target sites that contain “chateau wine”
  • Interests: i.e. target audience based on context of past sites they have visited
  • Topics: i.e. target audience based on context of that web page
  • Remarketing: i.e. target prior visitors to the advertiser’s website


Amazon Sponsored Links, Strengths

We see from above that Google knows alot about the pages that the audience have been to and is on now.

What is particularly powerful with Amazon’s platform will be its 250 million registered base, and the vast amount of purchase details it has gathered.  Now from the above, we see that Google will not know what a particular customer has purchased before, but Amazon:

  • knows what the current customer has purchased before, the quantity/price range/frequency
  • knows what the customer has viewed before e.g. strawberries, with some wine?
  • how much promotions work for the customer and so on…

To amass all this information hence, Amazon is willing to sell the Kindle at a loss and has launched its own Fire smartphone.

Amazon is able to hence show the most relevant ads to the most relevant audience at exactly the right time, hard to beat.

Amazon Sponsored Links, Limitations

Amazon is e-commerce giant for consumers but does not, as least not yet, offer:

  • Services
  • Business to Business products

So businesses looking to sell services or do B2B advertising, Google Adwords will still win over Amazon sponsored links as Amazon will not have data related to the above products/services.


Use Amazon Sponsored Links + Google Adwords Remarketing

Online ad buys for direct response is always about finding the right audience, in the right context at the right time.  With the capability of Amazon sponsored links as described above, why not combine it with Google Adwords remarketing?  e.g.

  • Visitor goes to Amazon searching for wine
  • Clicks your wine ad and visits your website
  • Interrupted and didnt complete purchase at your website
  • Visitor is tagged via Google Adwords
  • Visitor is shown your ad as he/she browses the internet, clicks back and completes purchase

This ideal sequence of events goes to show how the strengths of both platforms can be combined to yield maximum results.

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