|Mon Dec 17 2012 22:12:02|
eBay vs Amazon Becomes Amazon vs Google
By: Ina Steiner
It's interesting to see eBay promoting ToysRus frequently on Twitter and other channels. The two are united in a mutual dislike of Amazon (remember ToysRUs' bad breakup with Amazon?).
It's clear from attending ecommerce trade shows that retailers just aren't crazy about Amazon, given the fact that it competes directly with them. Many merchants would be happy if they didn't have to use Amazon as a channel, but its power to deliver sales is irresistible.
An article published in Adweek today reveals more reasons why retailers and brands may resent Amazon's market power yet be even more bound to use its services: Amazon is wielding its might in the ad space.
Turnabout is fair play, so as Google increasingly gets into the ecommerce space with Google Shopping, Google Trusted Stores, Google Offers, Google Catalogs, Google Commerce Search and Google Wallet, Amazon.com is entering Google's turf and getting into the online ad space.
Adweek provides some eye-opening information about Amazon's advertising program and what's to come in 2013, and - like almost anything Amazon does - it's impressive. Anyone who buys ads on Google or Facebook should read the article (multiple times).
Adweek revealed that Amazon will offer retargeting and is taking its pay-per-click program beyond the Amazon.com marketplace. The magazine also points out that if Amazon chooses to offer a cost-per-acquisition model, it would then have conversion data. I like this quote from iCrossing's Jonathan Adams: "Search behavior is not the same as conversion data. These guys have been watching you buy things ... for years."
Julia Wilkinson wrote about Amazon's ad programs last month, including Product Ads and its new pay-per-click service called "Sponsored Products." She spoke to a couple of early beta testers of the new Sponsored Products program who shared details about how the program works, including when to use Sponsored Product Ads vs. Product Ads.
It's hard to remember, but eBay had a "Products Ads" type of offering of its own years ago called eBay Keywords that was popular with many of the eBay PowerSellers who used it. I had speculated in 2005 about the potential for eBay to ramp up advertising, even suggesting it could go head to head with Yahoo Search Marketing and Google AdWords, and serve up ads on independent websites. But within a year, eBay dropped the Keywords ad program.
Not to say eBay isn't running ads on its marketplaces - on the contrary, it's gotten much more aggressive in the past 2 years. But rather than build its own ad technology, it hired Triad Retail Media to began managing all on-site display advertising for eBay.com and eBay Motors in 2011. (And now online sellers are stuck with ads on their Item pages.)
Given how powerful Google has become in terms of product advertising (it has merchants eagerly signing up to pay for previously free traffic from Google Shopping), it's not necessarily a bad thing for merchants that Google will have some serious competition.
But it's pretty certain merchants won't be pleased to find out it's Amazon coming to their rescue.