Amazon is Encroaching on Google’s Ad Share

Love him or hate him, Jeff Bezos has built a company whose mission is to know what you want, and get it to your door in 24 hours or less.

Amazon is even getting better at helping you know what you want when you don’t know right away, which is typically Google’s territory. When you don’t know where to start, or have a general question, you type it into Google’s search bar. “Where can I get my tires rotated?” “What time is the movie playing?” “What’s the best Thai restaurant 30 minutes from me?” But Google may be ceding some of that search ground to Amazon, according to a new report.

If Amazon is infringing on Google’s market share, especially when it comes to advertising revenue, the reason for this appears to be that Amazon has secured a larger amount of search advertising revenue, and not by accident. Amazon has gotten better than Google at search-generated advertising. Google is still leading in certain revenue areas, but Amazon is fast catching up. By 2021, Amazon will eat up 16 percent of the search ad market share that was previously dominated by Google.

Getting to Know You

Amazon knows what you are looking for, and has gotten better at pinpointing where you are in your purchasing journey. When you open Amazon, the general intent is to purchase something (or stream something, in the case of Amazon Prime.) When you Google something, you are not necessarily looking to purchase something, at least not right away. You are Googling to find out more information, to educate yourself.

The customer may in be totally different places in their journeys, with Google more towards the beginning of a purchasing journey, and Amazon at the end. But if Amazon can flip that script, and latch on to a customer’s inquisitiveness at the beginning of the customer journey, then Amazon can spend longer with the customer, nudging them to try more things. The result is a fuller shopping cart, and a shopping experience that is always open.

The ‘Target Run’ Effect

It’s such a common trope that it’s a cliché at this point. (It’s also a bit sexist, sadly.) A woman loudly declares she is going on a “quick Target run” and her husband and children roll their eyes. She comes back an hour later with a full cart, not remembering why she originally planned to go to Target in the first place.

I’m not this kind of shopper. I have very specific ideas about what things I want, and then I purchase them. I keep the list in my head. I want a book. I need pens. I want socks. In that sense, I’m the ideal Amazon shopper. I can simply type in “novel,” “ballpoint pens,” or “socks”, into Amazon’s search bar, put them in the cart, and check out. But more and more shoppers are falling into the first category: not having a real reason to shop, or having a vague idea of what they’re looking for.

Be the Tour Guide

Brands are no longer merely responsible for making sure they have sufficient inventory or building loyalty brands for their best customers. Now they are expected to meet a customer, bond with them, and guide them along a journey that is customized to them, even if they don’t know what they want yet. It seems like a tall order that is near impossible. But it’s not. It’s the present and the future of customer experience.

So if you’re a marketer who wants to make a difference, you should be asking yourself, “who are my customers and what do they need?”



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