Untangling PPC

June 2, 2021

A simple guide to understanding PPC

Pay Per Click otherwise known as PPC sounds like a simple concept; the advertiser pays a certain amount for every click it receives when its ad shows up in a search. Logically then, the cost per click might be lower for a restaurant than say a plumber. After all, we eat every day but only call a plumber when absolutely necessary, but that is not the case. With search becoming much more sophisticated, most people don’t search with broad terms like “restaurant” or “plumber.” Instead, a search might be for “sushi in Brooklyn”,  “best steak near me” or “clogged sink help”, “backed up toilet” and the like. These are called long-tail keywords.

Searches for a place to eat or a home service provider can be done on multiple platforms with Google being the most popular. But if you’re a restaurant owner or a plumber you might find your advertising dollars better spent on niche platforms, for example, a restaurant might advertise on Yelp and a plumber on Home Advisor. While there might be, statistically, more searches in both those categories done on Google, the motivation behind the search is less apparent. According to Nielsen, 92% of consumers who do a search on Yelp end up making a purchase, 42% within a day. 

Amazon PPC vs. Google PPC

When it comes to online shopping, Google still reigns supreme in terms of searches. It is by far the Number 1 visited website. Still, Google works hard at figuring out the motivation of the person doing a search on its platform, but in their own words, their purpose is to aggregate and disseminate information:


Our company mission is to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful. That’s why Search makes it easy to discover a broad range of information from a wide variety of sources.”

Google Search

Contrast that with Amazon, whose mission statement reads:


“We strive to offer our customers the lowest possible prices, the best available selection, and the utmost convenience.” 

When choosing where to spend advertising dollars, a seller with an Amazon presence needs to decide where their PPC budget is best put to use. In terms of finding the motivated purchaser, an e-commerce platform like Amazon (or Walmart, Ebay, or Etsy) seems the better choice. In terms of sheer numbers and data, Google comes out on top. Both have their advantages but let’s just look at some key features of both  Amazon PPC and Google Adwords. 


  • Amazon and Google both utilize keyword searches to target consumers. Both allow advertisers to use exact words, phrases or a broad range of related keyword types.
  • One of the unique benefits of Amazon PPC is the ability to use products instead of just keywords as targets for ads, (you can search for a reusable eco-friendly water bottle or you can search directly for a Swell bottle). 
  • Amazon features automatic targeting, where it matches ads with similar keywords and products. All the data about which terms, words, and phrases your ad received clicks from are available to you to analyze and decide which to focus on. 
  • Google has user data that blows every other platform away such as age, gender, income, interests, what device you’re on (and all the ones you own), marital status, and more. That data is used to fine-tune ads to be targeted more specifically. 
  • On Amazon, you know if your ad converted into a purchase whereas with Google you need to add an action (special discount code for example) in order to track conversions. 
  • Both offer your ads to appear on multiple platforms. Amazon however, is still building a system where you can advertise across other sites they own called Demand Side Platform (DSP). Amazon owns the Washington Post, IMDB, and others and the theory is that ads can appear across all or some of them as well. 


In our experience, while managing Amazon accounts in 25+ niches, Amazon PPC has been more profitable for a product on Amazon 99% of the time.

All of this is another illustration of just how complex e-commerce has gotten and how important it is to stay on top of all the latest development and trends. Amazon alone has its own elaborate ecosystem that requires its own expertise. You can figure it out by yourself, or you can have a team of experts, like those at AdvantiQs.com help.