Top Brands Spending for Google Adwords -June 2010- Source: Ad Age

Ad Age today leaked an internal Google document revealing the biggest AdWords buyers for the month of June 2010. Coming in at #4 & #5 are Amazon and eBay respectively.

According to Ad Age, Amazon spent $5.85  million dollars on Google Adwords in June 2010. eBay’s June 2010 Adwords spend was $4.25 million dollars.

So why should you care about this? If you sell products on either of these marketplaces, the leak of these figures provide major insight into how these companies are driving Google traffic to your marketplace business.

Of special interest is that eBay is ranked #5 in overall Adwords spending (you’ll see why in a minute).

After the big brouhaha between eBay & Google at eBay Live in Boston in 2007 (over eBay’s refusal to make Google Checkout an approved payment method); things have never quite been the same for eBay sellers in terms of listing visibility in Google’s search engine results pages.

Before the fallout, eBay was buying so many keywords that you could enter any keyword into Google search and up would pop an eBay sponsored link taking you directly to an eBay search results page (SERP).

But all that changed after “the fight”.  In June 2007, eBay pulled all their U.S. based ad spending briefly and then slowly started spending again. I don’t know where eBay’s spending ranked in ’07, but today we know that it’s #5 overall.

Which begs the question… how do eBay Sponsored Links fare on page one of the Google search results now?

For the past few years, I’ve seen eBay listing visibility and sponsored link visibility diminish overall in Google. While eBay has never publicly stated or confirmed this; I’ve seen it, my clients have seen it and many other sellers have reported the same thing.

That’s why I was surprised by the data released by Ad Age.You would think that if eBay is the #5 spender on Google Adwords, sponsored links to the marketplace products would be all over the place.

So I decided to do some comparison research on popular product keywords.

I started by looking for “Nike Air Force One” shoes for my son … Google displays Amazon Sponsored Links on page one of the search engine results pages (SERPS)  (along with a bunch of other shoe companies) but … no eBay on the first page! And these are popular shoes – more than 1600 listings for this shoe currently on eBay.

There are 374,941 search results when I search for the keywords “apple ipod”. But when I search on Google, there is no eBay sponsored ad for the keywords “apple ipod” on the first page of  Google.  Or the second page.

Looking at other keywords I found similar results. Few eBay sponsored links on the first page of Google for marketplace products.

It makes you wonder…

  • Is eBay not buying these keywords for the marketplace?
  • Is eBay spending big money with Google but for other purposes?
  • Is Google determining whether or not eBay’s sponsored ads show?

I don’t have the answers to these questions, but if you sell on eBay or Amazon this is an important piece of marketing information you need to know about your business!

Do your own search test and find out –  are eBay sponsored links being displayed on page 1 of Google for the products you sell?

If they are, great! You’ll get some extra juice in the SERPS from eBay’s ad spends. If not, then you know that your business is not benefiting right now from eBay’s ad spend with Google. As a business owner, these are the metrics you need to know.

What About Amazon’s Sponsored Ads?

Amazon on the other hand, does appear to have sponsored ads on the first page of the Google SERPS for the many popular product keywords:

Type in the keywords:

1. Books – Amazon is the 1st sponsored link at the top of the page (no eBay presence on page 1)

2. Apple iPod – #2 position on the right sponsored links column (no eBay presence on page 1)

3. Nike Air Force One – #6 position on the right rail (no eBay presence on page 1)

4. Colorful mini fridge – No sponsored links, but they do hold the #1 spot in organic search results (no eBay presence on page 1)

5. Tag heuer watch – #4 sponsored link (no eBay presence on page 1)

6.  Furminator deshedding tool – #1 sponsored link (eBay comes in at a #2 sponsored link)

7. Silly bandz – (a big fad for kids right now) – Amazon #4 sponsored link (eBay beats them with a #2 sponsored link)

This is by no means a scientific study, I’m sharing a sampling of searches I did.  But in looking at random keywords, I found  that overall Amazon products are getting more visibility on page one of the Google SERPS, through both sponsored links and organic search.

If you sell on Amazon, perform the same test I did and find out if Amazon has a page on presence in Google for the products you sell. As an online merchant, this is marketing information you need to know.

Once In the Marketplace, they Have to Find YOU

Even if Amazon and eBay are driving traffic for products through Google into the marketplace, once in the marketplace, the buyer has to find YOU. And while that’s the topic of a different blog post, the important takeaway here is that you know how these marketplaces are positioned in the search engines. Because as a marketplace seller, it stands to reason that you want your platform to be driving as much search engine traffic to your marketplace as possible.

Search Engine Visibility for Your Business

After you determine whether or not you’re benefiting from the sponsored ads that eBay and Amazon are buying for your keywords, it’s time to take a look at your marketing strategy.

This will be the focus of my next several upcoming blog posts.

One of the methods that we’ll look at is Content Marketing. Because one thing we know for sure about Google is that it’s laser focused on providing searchers with a quality search experience. And this means content.

Listen to this video from Jim Lecinski, Managing Director, US Sales, Google when he was asked, “How should marketers be thinking differently about their media decisions for 2010 vs. 2009?”

Quality, as defined by Google equals content.

I’ve recently penned a 2 part series “How to Market Your Ecommerce Site with WordPress Blogs” for leading industry publication AuctionBytes. (Part 2 will be published in an upcoming AuctionBytes issue)

And while the article title is tailored to marketing for ecommerce sellers, anyone who sells online will benefit from the content marketing strategy I’ve laid out in the article.

How about you? What are doing to market your online business? Let me know below…