Data Shows Amazon's PLA Strategy Taking Google Ad Impressions

If Amazon reversed its policy and put resources behind product listing ads (PLAs), the move would significantly reshape the search marketplace for U.S. retailers. It would make the marketplace the dominant player in the PLA space -- taking significant consumer impressions and traffic from every other retailer using Google Shopping campaigns, according to analysis released Friday.

In fact, Amazon has the potential to become more successful in PLAs than text ads, considering that Google allows one advertiser to have multiple products show up in PLA results, but permits only one ad per advertiser in its text ad results, Jim Leichenko, director of marketing at AdGooroo, told Search Marketing Daily.

During the last week in December 2016, Amazon initiated a limited test of PLAs in the U.S. running across google.com. Recently, the marketplace has been seen testing a few more on google.com, mainly in the home product category. KitchenAid is one example.

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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," Leichenko said. "Their closest competitor was Target with a 10% share of voice."

Amazon, the largest paid-search advertiser worldwide based solely on the amount spend for traditional text ads, has avoided sponsoring product listing ads in the United States. The marketplace ranks in the top 25 PLA advertisers for the 2,500 top retail product keywords, according to AdGooroo, data.

To help assess Amazon’s current PLA efforts, analysts at AdGooroo, a Kantar Media company, examined U.S. Google desktop product listing ad activity on 2,500 popular retail product keywords from December 25, 2016, through January 3, 2016, and found that Amazon has already made an impact.

During the 10-day period, Amazon sponsored 377 out of the 2500 keywords examined. Out of the 4,809 advertisers sponsoring the total keyword group during the period, Amazon ranked No. 22 in share of total clicks and No. 21 in ad spend. The marketplace spent $186,000 between Dec. 25, 2016 and Jan. 3, 2017, taking 0.84% click share.

Walmart.com led the top 25 retailers, coming in at No. 1 for PLAs. The company spent $1.7 million to take 8.76% of click share between Dec. 15, 2016 and Jan. 3, 2017. Target came in at No. 2, spending $782,000 for 3.88% click share. Jet followed spending $622,000 for 3.01%; Best Buy spent $598,000 for 2.82%; and Macy's spent $369,000 for 1.89%, respectively.  

When it came to home goods, Amazon ranked in the top 10 PLAs advertisers for 400 of the keywords, according to AdGooroo. In fact Amazon came in at No. 8, for the top U.S. Google PLA advertisers on 400 top home goods keywords between Dec. 25, 2016, and Jan. 3, 2017, with $40,000 in spend for 2.68% click share.

The analysis found Amazon's focus on home goods, trending high with top terms such as "futon," "Roomba," "food processor," "kitchenaid mixer," "crock pot," "espresso machine," "web grills," "magic bullet," "ninja blender" and "vacuum cleaner."

AdGooroo also analyze a separate keyword group with 400 top home-goods keywords from December 25, 2016 through January 3., 2016, in which Amazon ranked No. 8 in spend and No. 9 in clicks on the Home Goods keyword group, surpassed only by Walmart, Bed, Bath & Beyond, Houzz.com, Overstock.com, Target, Sears and Wayfair out of 846 advertisers who sponsored the 400 keywords during the 10-day period.

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