Amazon Tests Product Listing Ads in the U.S.

Although AdGooroo data shows that online retail giant Amazon has been a major sponsor of Google product listing ads in France, Italy and Spain since 2014, Amazon has always abstained from advertising on Google PLAs in the United States. That is, until the last week of December when Amazon initiated what appears to be a limited test of product listing ads on U.S. Google.

Amazon in Top 25 for 2500 Popular Retail Product Keywords

To help assess Amazon’s current PLA effort, AdGooroo examined U.S. Google desktop product listing ad activity on 2500 popular retail product keywords from December 25 (the day we found Amazon began sponsoring PLAs for the keyword group) to Jan. 3 and discovered that Amazon is already having an impact.

Amazon PLA

During the 10-day period Amazon sponsored 377 of the 2500 total retail product terms we examined, ranking 21st in ad spend ($186,000) and 22nd in percentage share of total clicks (0.84%) out of 4,809 total advertisers sponsoring the keyword group.

Amazon in the Top 10 for Home Goods Keywords

Upon closer examination, we found the vast majority of the 377 keywords Amazon sponsored via product listing ads during the period were related to home goods products, suggesting Amazon’s PLA test was specifically focused on this category. The online retailer’s top terms included ‘futon’, ‘roomba’, ‘food processor’, ‘kitchenaid mixer’, ‘crock pot’, ‘espresso machine’, ‘web grills’, ‘magic bullet’, ‘ninja blender’ and ‘vacuum cleaner’.

This prompted us to also analyze Amazon’s performance on a separate keyword group comprising 400 top home goods keywords.

Amazon PLA

From December 25 through January 3, Amazon sponsored 148 of the 400 home goods keywords, ranking 8th in spend ($40,000) and 9th in percentage share of total clicks (2.68%) out of 846 advertisers.

Things To Come?

Although the limited scope of Amazon’s recent venture into product listing ads suggests a test, it’s not hard to imagine the larger implications for the retail search marketplace were Amazon to begin sponsoring PLAs in full.

Amazon dominates Google text ads in the U.S. retail category. As an example, from January through November 2016 Amazon had a 35% share of voice on the top 50,000 retail keywords according to AdGooroo data. Their closest competitor was Target with a 10% share of voice.

Amazon PLA

If Amazon were to have similar success in product listing ads, it would become the dominant player in the PLA space, taking significant consumer impressions and traffic from every other retailer using Google Shopping campaigns.

In fact, Amazon actually has the potential to be even more successful in product listing ads than text ads considering that Google allows a single advertiser to have multiple products show up in PLA results but permits only one ad per advertiser in its text ad results.

Time will certainly tell, and AdGooroo will be keeping a close eye on it.

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