Google Ads vs. Amazon Ads: What’s the Difference?

July 2, 2023

If you’ve got lots of eCommerce products to sell, you might naturally wonder where to advertise them. Google Ads and Amazon Ads are both strong platforms for advertizing your business. While, in many respects, the two platforms are similar, there are some key differences between the two. 


That’s exactly what we’re going to explore today. 

When you’re expanding an Amazon business with PPC ads, going it alone might seem like the safest bet. With Merch Jar, however, you can put your Amazon Ads on autopilot, target the right keywords, and amplify your sales. This makes for a more lucrative and simple experience. 

Let’s get into today’s topic of Google Ads vs. Amazon Ads. 

Google Ads vs. Amazon Ads: Overview

Both Google Ads and Amazon Ads potentially offer high visibility. They’re both a PPC (pay-per-click) service, and they both work on an auction-style system where you bid on keywords. 

When you use Google Ads, your ads are displayed across Google’s network, including its search engine. Your ads might also be displayed on one or more of Google’s 2 million Google Display Network websites

Amazon Ads, however, are reserved for Amazon’s network. Amazon has the largest affiliate program in the world, with plenty of successful affiliate marketers taking advantage of the Amazon boom. Your ads can be displayed not only on Amazon itself but across its 900,000 Amazon affiliate websites. 

What is Google Ads?

Google needs no introduction. We’ve all seen the sponsored results at the top of a SERP (search engine results page). These are called ‘search ads’ and are the original and most common type of ad you’ll come across on Google. 

However, Google has a large number of ad types for eCommerce sellers, nine in total. These include video ads, shopping ads, and, of course, display ads. Google also places ads on YouTube, so there’s lots of opportunity for coverage. 

When embarking on a Google PPC campaign, online businesses bid on keywords they want their ad to rank for on search pages. Google’s algorithm uses a number of factors, such as bid amount, your Google Ads health score, and landing page relevance, to determine if, when, and where they’ll display your ad. 

Here’s an example of Google-sponsored ads generated from a search:

These are the sponsored product ads that appear at the top of Google after searching ‘treadmill for home”. You'll notice that it displays a number of different online stores that sell treadmills for the home, along with key information like price and weight. 

What are Amazon Ads?

The mechanics of Amazon Ads are similar to Google Ads. Sellers bid on keywords that they want their ad to rank for, and Amazon matches their ads with relevant shopping terms. With Amazon Ads, sellers can target consumers based on searches and demographics, such as location. Amazon offers sellers ad options such as sponsored product ads, sponsored brand ads, and video ads, to name a few. 

If you choose to build a campaign for a sponsored product ad, for example, your product may show up in the top search results on Amazon or on Amazon’s homepage. A plus point for Amazon Ads is that because Amazon is the world’s most dominant eCommerce platform, your products may also end up in Google’s search results. 

Here’s an example of Amazon-sponsored brand ads for Quilted Northern toilet roll:

Amazon advertising examples: Quilted Northern

Sponsored brand ads for Amazon often have a dedicated section on a search results page, which is normally at the top. Because of the prevalent nature of sponsored brand ads, and the potential for high visibility, they’re more expensive than sponsored product ads.  

Key Differences Between Google Ads and Amazon Ads

Audience & Demographic Targeting

Amazon and Google are the two most obvious places to search for products you want to buy. However, the gap between these two platforms is pretty big, with Amazon being the first port of call for a whopping 50% of consumers, while only 31.5% of consumers search for products on Google first. This means that Amazon has the widest audience of consumers, specifically wanting to buy products. 

When you’re selling products online, it’s not enough just to place your ads in front of as many people as possible. You need to hone in on your target audience precisely and accurately. 

Audience and demographic targeting capabilities is a key difference when we’re talking about Google Ads vs. Amazon Ads. With Google Ads, you can target consumers based on age, gender, location, and broad interests. 

Amazon Ads, on the other hand, focuses more on behavioral insights and customer interests based on information like previous searches. According to Amazon, combining demographics with behavioral insights not only gives a full picture of the consumer but also enables you to target audiences that are more likely to convert. 

Product Targeting

Unlike Google, Amazon allows businesses to target specific products with their ads. They can also target whole categories or lists of products. Conversely, Google only allows you to target keywords, which makes it more likely your ad will be shown to irrelevant audiences. 

For example, someone searching ‘Samsung 65” smart TV” on Google might not necessarily be looking to buy one. They might be weighing up their TV options, looking for instructions on how to use their new TV or troubleshooting. 

If someone’s typing this same query into Amazon, they’re more likely to be looking for one to buy, whether now or in the future. You wouldn’t search Amazon for instructions on how to use something, for instance.

Automatic Targeting

Both Amazon and Google offer automatic targeting. This means they automatically target what they deem to be the most relevant audiences based on your inputted information. It’s the quickest and easiest way to get your ads off the ground, particularly if you have little prior experience with PPC ads. 

Amazon’s automatic targeting feature for sponsored product ads can be a winning bidding strategy. For example, it identifies words from your product listing and matches them with similar products and shopping queries. This eliminates the need for expensive keyword research or, indeed, guesswork. 

Google has two options for automatic targeting; conservative and aggressive. With the ‘conservative’ option, Google shows your ad to similar audiences fto your previously successful ad campaigns. It stays within your set budget with the intention of finding potential customers and expanding your impressions. 

Aggressive targeting, on the other hand, aims to get as many conversions as possible, regardless of the cost. Because of this, aggressive targeting is not recommended for novices. 

While automatic targeting definitely has plenty of perks, you should still review your campaigns regularly to check you’re reaching the right people and targeting the right keywords. 

Ad Costs

The cost of CPC programs is another differentiating factor when we’re considering Google Ads vs. Amazon Ads. You want your CPC (cost per click) to generate a good ROI. In general, the higher your keyword bid, the higher the chance of your ad being displayed for that keyword. You enter the highest amount you’re willing to pay for someone to click on your ad. However, the lower your bid, the higher your ROI will be. This is true for both Amazon and Google. 

The average CPC for Amazon Ads as of 2023 is $0.91, and the average CTR is 35%. Google Ads, on the other hand, is a little harder to pinpoint but has an average CPC of $1-$2

Amazon uses the term ACoS (average cost of sale) to measure the success of your PPC ad campaigns. A reasonable ACoS is between 15% and 20%. Let’s illustrate how to work out your ACoS:

If your CPC is $1 and your campaign budget is $100, you’ll get 100 clicks on your ad. Let’s then say that the sales you generate from those 100 clicks amount to $400. Your ACoS would be slightly too high at 25%. In this case, you can adjust your keywords manually or use software like Merch Jar. 

If you’re selling on Amazon, Merch Jar can automatically adjust your bids for you so you keep within your target ACoS. For example, if your ACoS is 10%, it’ll register that there’s room for expansion and increase your bid amount for maximum impact.  

Google Ads vs. Amazon Ads: What’s the Verdict?

As an eCommerce seller, it’s natural to be curious about Google Ads vs Amazon Ads. Both platforms have their share of perks. Amazon, however, is undoubtedly the king of commerce and is, therefore, the optimum choice for a lot of online businesses wanting to get the most visibility among consumers. 

Allow Merch Jar to take the reins and handle your Amazon bidding strategy for you. Set your parameters, and the software will target the most relevant keywords in the most efficient way possible. Sign up today for a 30-day free trial.