Google vs. Amazon: The battle for Ad Spend

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There are those businesses that suffer from the COVID-19 crisis and there are those that are thriving. And then there is Google, who is actively taking on a fight against its fierce competitor in the battle of advertising: Amazon. In late April of this year, Google announced that they recognise digital commerce as an essential lifeline for retailers, moving to hand out free advertising spaces. Looking at subsequent shifts in market trends, the results prove this as a succinct move to shake at Amazon’s stable reign. So who will win in the battle Google vs. Amazon?

What will likely play a role to determine the winner is the key difference of both companies’ tracking technology. Google Ads has a tighter grip on recording user information through directing shoppers to a specific brand website by gathering data such as keywords, demographics, and location. Meanwhile Amazon’s data collection is limited to the interaction of consumer trails on their own website. Yet all these statistics gathered from tracking can only predict so much. Whereas what can be assessed is the situation at hand with somewhere between 50% and 55% of product searches now happening on Amazon rather than Google. Nevertheless, the fundamental problem is that Amazon only serves up products that it sells, whereas Google will serve any product that is linked to a web page. Now, perceiving this as a potential advantage, Google is determined to win the battle Google vs. Amazon.

Google vs. Amazon: What´s the issue?

There are obvious motivations behind Google’s move for distributing their advertising spaces for free. On one hand, it’s a generous gesture to help other retailers, with Google providing the connecting link to their customers. By not charging for advertising, Google’s president of commerce, Bill Ready, expects to have the winning strategy over Amazon. This way Google is benefiting retailers with huge exposure and consumers with a plethoric choice. Google will be aware of the decreasing monetary effort businesses are willing to offer up for their marketing campaigns, making free services undeniably appealing for many and a foolproof win for the giant. Along with this comes a favourable appearance of the entire company, a positive light being shone onto itself during a time all platforms need to respond to current issues. 

Online Shopping

On the other hand, Google has certainly pushed this as an intentional ploy to drive up its number of market shares with the usual simple trick of a free trial. Once advertisers have enjoyed the opportunities and results of their free use of services, there is a higher conversion potential into continuing into Google Ads’ paid services. Google’s strategy is a good starting point for marketers to learn the mechanics of how to optimise feeds and increase visibility, helping to direct future campaign budgets more efficiently. In contrast to Amazon, Google are cleverly luring more unforced engagement with this whilst also silently pushing their market shares.

How did the war Google vs. Amazon start?

As the impact of the coronavirus has spread globally, it has exposed a weakness in Amazon’s offering and infrastructure. Amazon’s shopping experience has fallen short in providing the variety which has been demanded by the current quickly altered consumer culture. Being pressed to move from their 1-day delivery promise to uncertain timeframes, albeit by a wildly unexpected scenario, Amazon is showing up defeated to meet demand. 

Image of Amazons mobile and desktop shopping experience

But Google can respond as it already possesses the right set-up for an unprecedented situation. With Google Shopping being born in 2002 (Froogle), it is now seizing an opportunity in further adapting its product breadth. However, originally, an unperfected Google Shopping was also the primary reason Amazon attracted more product searches and grew into the goliath of today. Google made the greedy error to “fully monetize the shopping real estate on Google search engine results” said David Dweck, head of paid search at digital marketing agency Wpromote. Amazon responded in their policy and now Google is trying to fix its own error with providing marketers that future ability to transfer from organic to paid search easily. Already accessible in the US, Google has launched Google Express to roll out a more tailored shopping experience for customers. This way the company is proving that there is an ever-developing determination to push itself to the foreground.


Google is certainly seen as on the attack but it will take some time for significant shifts to occur. Whilst consumer culture has been behaving extremely viable during 2020 thus far, there is also a steady flow of accustomed behaviour.

From the view of retailers and marketers always competently looking out for opportunities, this has been a great move by Google against Amazon’s less responsive behaviour. However, the projected success rate is certainly more so from Google’s perspective for themselves. Your average business, as retailers who already had previously committed their funds to advertising campaigns, are now bombarded with a lot more competition. Opening up this advertising space without the monetary filter that previously existed, there is a barrier-less flow of products. 

Take away:

Who wins in the battle Google vs. Amazon? Overall, Google has always possessed a fluidity and adaptability that Amazon would find hard to match from its archetypal setup. Google was focused on providing answers, whereas Amazon was preoccupied entirely with being an exclusive one-stop-shop. The likeliness of survival of both these companies out of the corona crisis is laughably predictable. The sparring for top-dog in advertising will be exciting to follow.

For more information on where to spend Ad budget for your specific industry and product, contact us here.

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