Amazon or Google? Determining the Right Data Feed for Your Goals
Data & Analytics
Jul 22 2022
Anyone striving for ecommerce success knows how crucial an optimized data feed is to running a thriving online business. While we’ve busted common myths and offered advice on how to improve your data feed, there’s always more to learn when creating an optimal online shopping experience. In this case, it’s whether Amazon or Google’s data feed is a better investment of your time and budget. Keep reading for key differences, pros and cons, and other factors to consider when it’s time to choose.
How Do Amazon and Google Data Feeds Differ?
Product data feeds contain all the essential information about a business’s online product offerings. While there are many places to send this data, Amazon and Google are the most well-known options.
What to know about Amazon
According to October 2021 data, Amazon accounts for 41% of the U.S. ecommerce market. The runner-up? Walmart, with a mere 6.6% of the market. Online shoppers flock to Amazon, as illustrated by the retailer’s recent $532 billion in global ecommerce sales. And regarding advertising:
- Amazon’s CPC ad types include sponsored products, sponsored brands, and sponsored displays. (As of June 2021, the average CPC for Amazon ads was $1.20.)
- Prefer assistance managing your Amazon ads? It’ll cost you: “Advertising through a managed-service option with an Amazon Ads account executive (display ads, video ads, and ads that are run through the Amazon DSP) typically require a minimum spend of $50,000.”
What to know about Google
Google’s product data feed is created in the Google Merchant Center, where this information connects to Google Shopping ads. (It costs nothing to register for a Google Merchant Center account.) Because Google’s search function is extremely popular, storing product data and creating ads from here is hugely beneficial for increasing brand visibility.
Across all industries, Google Ads’ average CPC stands at $2.69 for search and $0.63 for display. For the ecommerce industry specifically, advertisers pay $1.16 for search and $0.45 for display.
Pros and Cons Showdown: Amazon vs. Google
While Amazon and Google are both internet giants, a variety of pros and cons differentiate the two.
What to expect from Amazon
In addition to its long history of being known almost exclusively for online shopping, Amazon has other features working in its favor — and some notable drawbacks.
Pro: Easily test and sell to the global market. As DataFeedWatch notes, “[Amazon has] you covered for every aspect including international order fulfillment and localized customer support. It takes the heavy lifting off your shoulders since you don’t have the hassle of figuring out local payment systems, logistics, and operations.”
Pro: Amazon Ads appear directly on product pages, which means even if a customer isn’t viewing your specific product, your ad can still appear on a competitor’s product page.
Con: Extremely competitive marketplace. Although the competition is much lower for Amazon Ads compared to Google Ads, competition is fierce on the product side. There’s also less opportunity for seller branding, so even if your item sells, it’s possible the buyer assumes they bought “from Amazon.”
Con: Selling fees and other costs. Sometimes you have to spend money to make money, but Amazon fees can be steep. First, you’ll choose between two types of business accounts that require either a paid subscription or a fee per item sold. Second, Amazon takes a commission on any sales driven by ads, and the commission can fluctuate.
Con: No built-in shopping cart integration. Unless you’re entering every product detail manually, you’ll need a reliable third-party tool to properly integrate and track inventory across platforms.
What you get with Google
Pro: Broader advertising reach than Amazon. Google has tremendous reach: Shopping ads appear in 90 countries, whereas Amazon ads appear in 15.
Pro: Directs people to your site. Google Shopping directs users to your ecommerce site (although Google is trying to make Buy with Google happen), creating opportunities for people to browse through or purchase other items, as well as providing first-party data for future marketing efforts.
Pro: Branding consistency. Google gives sellers and advertisers more control in displaying brand-specific design, which goes hand-in-hand with your data feed. Your data feed fuels your digital campaigns, making it an extension of company branding.
Con: Limited control over which of your ads display in Google Shopping. Unlike traditional Google search ads, Google Shopping ads “aren’t targeted by keywords”; Google Shopping instead uses your feed data and algorithms to decide when to display products.
Con: Google’s struggle to become a booming retailer. From the New York Times: “Google has nothing as alluring as the $295 billion that passed through Amazon’s third-party marketplace in 2020. The amount of goods people buy on Google is “very small” by comparison — probably around $1 billion, said Juozas Kaziukenas, the founder of Marketplace Pulse, a research company.”
Decisions, Decisions: What to Consider Before Choosing
Here are a few more points to contemplate when debating data feeds.
- If you don’t have many SKUs to manage, Amazon’s data feed might be ideal. Ecommerce sites with large product assortments are better off using Google unless they already use a third-party shopping cart integration tool.
- Evaluate if your business can afford a professional listing on Amazon in addition to the CPC costs.
- Determine if brand recognition or sales is more important at this stage in your company’s growth. Sales are important in every business, but Google displays business names more prominently in product listings — a must for younger companies.
- Despite Google’s best efforts, Amazon is still where people go to buy items. Having your product feed originate there, then, would put you more in line with bottom-funnel customers whose intent to purchase is high.
- Amazon can be unpredictable while Google clearly documents, outlines, and announces changes affecting advertisers and sellers. The easier a data feed is to manage and update, the easier it is to optimize.
With the right strategy, businesses can find a way to benefit from having both Google and Amazon data feeds. Weighing the pros and cons against your priorities is a good place to start.
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