Amazon Tops Google and Bing in Product Search

Jan 12, 2017 | Digital Marketing, eCommerce

It’s time to start thinking of Amazon as a platform for advertising, brand awareness, and consumer research.

Why? In the past couple years, consumer behavior online has shifted radically in favor of Amazon as a first-stop for product searches, upending traditional search engines like Google and Bing in the process.

According to a study by the financial services firm Raymond James, Amazon has made significant gains over Google and Bing in the battle for product searches. As recently as 2013, search engines had a clear advantage over Amazon for where somebody starts a product search, 55% vs 38%, respectively.

Today, however, that number has reversed itself—and then some. For the first time, the majority of all online consumers start their product search on Amazon (52%) while only about one-in-four people start their searches on a search engine like Google or Bing. This is a sizable shift in consumer behavior in a short period of time.

Methods consumers search for products

  • Amazon 52%
  • Search Engines 25%
  • Direct 23%

What’s driving this drastic shift? While all age groups are trending towards Amazon for their initial product search, the key driver is the coming of age of Millennials and, yes, even post-Millennials. They are a group comfortable with technology and trust Amazon to have the product information, quality, and price level they desire.

Further driving home Amazon’s competitive ascension, they have started buying Google Product Listing Ads (PLAs) on top of their already-dominant Text Ads. With so many ads on Google pointing to Amazon, Amazon is cornering the online product retail market. Starting a product search on Amazon simply cuts out the middle man (i.e. Google).

This particular shift in product search dominance by Amazon has major implications for eCommerce companies. Namely, online retailers can’t afford to ignore the power of Amazon any longer.

With Google is still a major player in product search and the undisputed leader in general search, companies shouldn’t forego their Google SEO, PPC, or PLA strategy. However, Amazon’s continued rise to dominance means it’s more important than ever to have a standalone Amazon strategy. If you don’t have one, you will have limited your product reach by half as soon as their journey begins.

For example, Company A could be a high-end consumer goods retailer that decides to list key items that hit specific demographics on Amazon for brand awareness purposes. Company B could be a B2B company that marks unsold merchandise to direct to consumers on Amazon, creating an all-new revenue stream. Company C, meanwhile, could decide to list their full product catalog on Amazon to support their overall business.

Each one of those examples fulfill a strategy to leverage Amazon properly for their overall business goals: Brand awareness, inventory management, and an ecommerce storefront.

Whatever your strategy (or non-strategy) is for Amazon, if you haven’t taken a look at it recently, now’s the time or you risk losing out on future growth and stability.

Some questions to consider would be: What areas of your business are threatened due to the shift in consumer product research to Amazon? Do you need to reach new markets or stay in front of current or future markets? How will using Amazon benefit you?

Whether it’s your first time considering Amazon or you’ve been on the platform for years, BlueSky can help guide you through the process. From analyzing your current strategy, to establishing your goals, to getting the right software for managing inventory, product messaging, and more, we can help.