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Should brands be using Google Ads to drive traffic to Amazon?
Advocates argue that leveraging Google Ads can increase your product’s ranking, and help you generate more organic sales. They also believe that both CPC and ACoS are much lower on Google than they are on Amazon.
However, the skeptics argue that all of this is completely overrated.
So, to settle the debate, we ran a 90-day case study on our product, testing the true impact of using Google Ads to drive traffic to Amazon.
So now, let’s take a deep dive into this 90-day case study. Background: Google ads vs. Amazon ads
Over the past eight years, we’ve been publicly launching and scaling our own products on Amazon. This has given us a testing ground to try out new strategies. But despite our success on Amazon, we’ve yet to explore the potential of leveraging Google Ads.
Right now a lot of our customers are searching for our products on Google. But because none of these products belong to us, our competitors are winning all of these customers.
Even if our customers were to click the top result on Google, they’re often taken to an Amazon search page with our competitors. This creates a highly competitive environment where we always need to be outbidding our competitors for no more than a 25% chance of winning the click.
This is exactly why we turned to Google Ads to revolutionize the purchasing journey. By placing an ad at the top of the page, we enable customers to bypass our competition and go straight to our product page.
Not only can we send them directly to our product, we can also send them to our Storefront. This makes it easier to learn more about our products without being distracted from competitor ads scattered all over the page.
READ MORE | Amazon Attribution: How to Track Off-Amazon Traffic to Your Listings
The case study: Google ads for Amazon products
For this case study to work, we didn’t want to just open a Google Ads account and copy over our top Amazon keywords. Although it might’ve been a little bit easier, doing it that way has two major downsides.
- First, because buying intent is different on both platforms, you need to have two completely different ad strategies.
On Amazon, it’s pretty simple, most everyone who searches is looking for a product to buy. So for the most part, all sellers need to worry about is which campaign type you’re going to use, and making sure you’re using keywords that are high-volume and relevant.
Whereas on Google, because more shoppers are in the research phase, it’s important to only use keywords that have a high-level of buyer intent. But on top of that, you also have to configure a bunch of additional campaign settings and ad copy that is 100% optimized for driving traffic to Amazon.
- The second major downside is that Google and Amazon do not talk to each other; Amazon doesn’t know what keywords you’re using or how much you’re spending, and Google doesn’t know how many shoppers have added your product to their carts or made a purchase.
Even if you are using Amazon Attribution links, there’s still no capability on Amazon that can feed metrics to and from both platforms. This lack of visibility is often the #1 deal breaker that brands have against using Google Ads.
This was an issue for us as well, at least until we met the guys over at Ampd.
Ampd is the most powerful Google-to-Amazon solution on the planet. They have an amazing self-serve technology that officially closes the attribution gap by connecting all your Google and Amazon data.
After we got the green light from Ampd, we officially teamed up with them to expand our off-Amazon marketing. But here’s the best part –– even though it is a self-serve platform, we could took complete advantage of their technology to curate effective ads, budgets, and keywords that are specific to our product.
What it came up with was four customized campaigns, each with its own objective:
- One targeting our most valuable keywords
- One targeting keywords with high Amazon buying intent
- One directing traffic to our Storefront
- And another one targeting more top-of-funnel keywords
We let these run for 90 days, but as soon as we started collecting data, just like automatic campaigns on Amazon, in the background, Ampd’s technology began optimizing for conversion and profitability.
So now, without leaving Ampd, we have complete visibility on both the campaign and keyword level. We’re able to see exactly what keywords drove the most add-to-carts, conversions. In addition, Ampd automatically applied our Amazon Attribution links to all of our campaigns, giving us the amount we earned in Brand Referral Bonus. This allows us to easily see not just how profitable we are, but our profitability after the 10% referral bonus.Results of our Google Ads campaign
Now let’s get into the results and figure out whether or not our Google campaigns measured up to each of these four claims.
1. Product Rankings
Did Google ads help increase our product’s ranking? To find out, we’ll look at two indicators. First we’ll check a few of our top keywords and see whether or not the organic rank changed, and then secondly, we’ll look at our product’s BSR to see if there’s been any noticeable changes there.
Inside Rank Tracker, we can easily monitor both our organic and sponsored keyword rankings over time. I have the view set up for the duration of the case study, and we’re going to be looking at this data on a daily level.
I’ve also pulled in five keywords that I noticed had significant organic growth throughout this case study. As we get down to the bottom two, it’s really interesting to note that, prior to Google ads, we actually weren’t organically ranking at all for these keywords. Now, of course, this most likely isn’t 100% attributed to just Google ads, but when you’re able to capture strong data like this, a correlation is visible.
Here’s another example: the two keywords at the top of the list have consistently trended upwards, from around the 45th organic position all the way to the top 15. Identifying trends like these are exactly why we do these types of case studies.
So while we can’t say for sure that Google ads alone is the root cause of this, there’s plenty of reason to prove that Amazon is actively rewarding products that consistently drive external traffic to Amazon.
Outside of increased organic rank, there is another more concrete way that off-Amazon traffic gets rewarded –– but before we get there, let’s now jump over and check out our product’s BSR.
Prior to Google, our BSR over the previous 2 months was around 12-13,000. And as you can see over the course of the next 3 months, we got as low as 6,000. We essentially cut our BSR in half.
Throughout the 90 days that we ran this case study, we did see a noticeable lift in our product’s ranking.
2. Organic Sales
Now, I’m sure you’re wondering: how much of this growth was a result of our on-Amazon advertising sales? If we take a look at our Advertising Analytics, we can see the breakdown of our organic and sponsored Amazon sales.
In the first month we turned on Google ads, our ad sales actually decreased by $4,000.
In month two, our ad sales did go slightly up, but still remained below our initial starting point of 19,000 in December.
And then, in month three, we did increase ad sales again, about only by about $2,000 more than where we started. However, this is nothing when compared to the lift we saw in organic sales.
Our organic sales consistently grew each and every month post Google-ads. Starting at $8,000 at the end of Q4, and finishing at $22,000 in March — that’s an organic growth of $14,000.
However, there is one very-important piece missing here, and that’s our Google ad sales.
Now because this view isn’t accounting for those sales, currently they’re all being attributed as “organic Amazon sales.” And that’s not right, so to be more accurate in our analysis, we’ll correct this view by subtracting our monthly Google ad sales from our organic Amazon sales.
And by doing that here, we can now see a more precise picture of our true organic sales lift. From start to finish, this gives us a slightly lower total than before, but at around $12,000 in new organic sales, we’re of course still very happy with this outcome.
And when comparing the month before Google ads were turned on to the last month of the case study, our adjusted organic growth increased by 160%. Now, compared to our sponsored growth that increased only 13%, I feel pretty compelled now to say that while there’s always going to be outside factors to consider, our Google Ads strategy has certainly proven to be a valuable component in our organic sales lift.
Just because we’re seeing positive results, doesn’t mean your products will too. I highly recommend just trying it out for yourself and seeing whether or not you have similar outcomes. And, as I’m now about to show you, you can learn more about how Ampd can help your brand scale with Google Ads by following the link in the pinned comment down below.
In our experience, we’ve seen positive results in these two categories, but now let’s do a deeper dive into our Ampd account and compare profitability metrics between Google and Amazon.
To make sure this assessment is fair, we’re only going to compare data from equivalent campaign types. In other words, because we used Google search ads with manually-added keywords, it only really makes sense to compare that data with our Amazon Sponsored Product ads, and, specifically, our manual keyword campaigns. So I’ve gone ahead and added all those campaigns to a new portfolio here.
Now starting with our first metric, on average, the CPC for these four campaigns was $2.29 on Amazon. Heading over to Ampd now, in that same time period and also with four campaigns, our CPC on Google was only $0.82. This is crazy because, for the most part, these campaigns are using the exact same keywords.
Here’s a good example: for one of our biggest keywords, we’re paying $0.33 less on Google than we are on Amazon. It is also interesting to note that our CTR on Google was significantly higher than our Amazon CTR.
If we go back out to the campaign level, you can see that there’s really only a difference of about 450 clicks between the 2 platforms. So not only was our CPC lower, but on Google our CTR completely dwarfed Amazon’s.
However, it’s also worth acknowledging that while our Google Ads did a better job of converting impressions into clicks, on Amazon we were able to get out in front of far more customers. Compared to Google, we served over a million more impressions –– That’s a pretty significant gap!
But not all impressions are created equal. On Amazon, it’s every advertiser’s dream to win the top-of-search placement. Whether your goal is to increase purchases with Sponsored Product Ads, or to increase brand awareness with Sponsored Brand campaigns, this is typically where the majority of customers do the majority of their shopping. And because of that, advertisers on any platform are always looking for ways to win more impressions from those placements.
Now we already know that we got far more impressions on Amazon than we did on Google, but how many of those impressions came from top-of-search?
Out of our four campaigns, the two at the top won that placement around 8 to 10% of the time, and the two at the bottom won it less than 5%.
Now one thing I wasn’t expecting when starting this case study was the fact that Google would actually make these numbers look tiny in comparison.
Inside Ampd, we can see that our Google impression share floated around 50-70% throughout this entire case study –– but scrolling down to this next graph will show that out of those impressions, we won the top-of-search placement around the same 50-70% range.
This is incredible because we already know that our CPC is more affordable on Google, but now we know that those clicks were of higher quality.
However, let’s not confuse the quality of impressions and clicks with what really matters here – sales.
Amazon was the clear winner here, bringing in over $7,000 in additional revenue. So for every one sale we got on Google, we got over 2.5 (2 and a half) sales on Amazon.
Now, granted, we did spend over 3x more on Amazon ads. However, even though we did convert more sales per dollar spent, our Amazon campaigns were not nearly as profitable as our Google campaigns.
And to widen the gap even more, our Google ACoS does NOT include any revenue generated from the Brand Referral Bonus. Once you add in that amount though, our adjusted ACoS comes down to 41%. This is now a much more noticeable difference than our Amazon ACoS.
Over in Ampd, we can even see this spelled out on the campaign level, letting us easily quantify the total amount earned — and right next to it we have our adjusted ACoS.
Now not only do we get these insights on the campaign level, we can also drill it down to the keyword level. So depending on our profitability goals at the time, this makes it possible for us to quickly measure and fine-tune our keyword strategy with precision.
READ MORE | Amazon ACoS: Why It Matters to FBA Sellers
Our conclusions: Amazon ads vs Google ads
Of course, we never wanted to test whether or not brands should replace their Amazon ad spend with Google ads –– we wanted to collect enough actual data to help you decide if Google ads are worth investing in. And speaking from the results we’ve seen so far, whether your goal is to increase your market share or your return on ad spend, I certainly think it’s worth at least testing out Google ads for yourself.
But if running a Google to Amazon ads campaign seems daunting, then trust me there’s no better solution than Ampd. Built and designed specifically for Amazon, their self-serve technology provides an intelligently guided path to instantly launch and scale your Google campaigns.
Make sure to check them by clicking this link here: