The pandemic may have accelerated ecommerce growth, but online sales haven’t slowed down since. By 2027, forecasts predict that ecommerce revenue will grow to $1.6 trillion. To compare, that’s up from $857 billion in 2022 and a projection of $1 billion in 2023.
As a result, brands are battling for consumer attention. Marketers face the challenge of finding the right ecommerce advertising platform to help their brand stand out from the crowd.
Compare ecommerce advertising platforms to help you develop an ad strategy that will deliver the best results for your brand.
Start With Search Engine and Online Marketplace Advertising
There are many advertising options available for ecommerce brands. How much you invest in each channel relies heavily on your budget.
That’s why for most advertisers, we recommend starting with search engine and online marketplace advertising before expanding out to other ecommerce tactics.
To capture high-intent, bottom-of-the-funnel visitors that are most likely to purchase, we recommend paid search ads. Search ads will appear when shoppers specifically search for your product or similar products on a search engine (Google or Bing). You can also advertise in the same way on an online shopping marketplace (Amazon, Walmart or eBay).
The 4 Best Ecommerce Advertising Platforms
The biggest players in the space are Amazon, Walmart, Google and Bing. Begin with one and prioritize products with the best margin or inventory levels.
Estimates state that digital ad spending on Walmart, eBay, Amazon and similar platforms will exceed $38 billion by the end of 2024.
Here’s a detailed comparison of these ecommerce advertising platforms and how they can help vendors and brands get their message across to their audiences.
Google is the most popular search engine in the world, and it should be in your ecommerce marketing mix. It’s also rolling out generative AI tools for advertisers, so producing and iterating on ads could be more efficient. The updates will reportedly auto-generate ads from your marketing materials and help with metrics and reporting.
- Massive reach.
- Reach relevant audiences through targeting features.
- You compete with other advertisers who may outbid you.
- Can be expensive for certain terms.
Besides making your business highly visible, Google Ads also lets you customize your advertisement campaign with different ad types.
- Responsive Search Ads – Standard text ads that allow you to add two descriptions and three headlines.
- Dynamic Search Ads – Populate automatically based on your web content and target audience’s interests.
- Display Ads – Show on Google’s Display Network, which includes Google Finance, YouTube, Gmail and other Google partners.
- Shopping Ads – Show for-sale items with their images, prices, titles and links to the store where the viewer can purchase the product.
- Video Ads – Show your product in detail with videos and appear on Google and its partner sites.
A notable downside of using Google Ads is the tough competition you face from advertisers with higher bids and better quality scores. Bing ads are less competitive, allowing you to target your audience without spending a fortune.
- The average shopping click-through rate (CTR) for most industries is higher on Bing Ads than on Google Ads. For example, the Bing CTR for medical supplies and apparel segments is 1.35% and 1.05%, respectively, compared to Google Ads’ 0.87% and 0.76%.
- On average, the cost-per-click (CPC) across all industries is lower for Bing Ads ($0.46) than for Google Ads ($0.66).
Along with ads in its search engine results, Bing is also exploring serving ads within its AI-powered chatbot.
- Reach a higher-income demographic.
- Extend your reach when used with Google Ads.
- Has a lower cost-per-click.
- It doesn’t have as much reach as Google’s search engine.
Expert tip: You can target specific devices with Bing Ads. If most of your audience comes from mobile phones, target them specifically for better outcomes.
Another term for Amazon Ads’ marketplace is a retail media network (RMN). An RMN is a retailer that also sells ad space on its platform to other brands. RMNs can also give advertisers access to first-party data and specialized or custom audiences.
Here are some advantages of advertising on Amazon:
- Amazon follows Google with a 23.8% digital ad revenue share in the U.S.
- In 2022, Amazon generated $37.7 billion from its advertising sales globally — a figure 21% higher than in 2021.
- Forecasts predict Amazon will hold a 13% share of global digital ad spending by 2026.
- Access advanced analytics for campaign optimization.
- See customer shopping journey for better targeting.
- Easy to get started.
- Can be time-consuming.
Expert tip: Our team frequently recommends advertisers use Amazon Advertising search ads as part of their evergreen plan and ramp up with additional budget during peak holiday seasons.
Walmart’s retail media network, Walmart Connect, has a similar customer base as ecommerce retailers. You can use the platform’s automated self-service capabilities or customize your campaign manually.
Walmart’s Sponsored Product ads can elevate your brand engagement and awareness while creating subsequent value for your customers.
Here are a few reasons to consider using Walmart advertising:
- In 2022, Walmart generated $2.7 billion from its ad services, a 30% increase from the previous year.
- Each week, about 139 million people visit Walmart’s website and app.
The retailer is also rolling out more ads that will play on screens in checkout lanes and other high-traffic areas within its stores.
- Capitalize on Walmart’s existing loyalty.
- Introduce new products.
- Attracts audience for low-performing SKUs.
- Hard to grasp the interface.
- Not as effective as Google or Amazon Ads.
Expert tip: The set-and-forget advertising doesn’t work for Walmart advertising unless you use the platform’s automated features. So, you need to tweak your campaign periodically based on analytics. When running a manual campaign, use the keywords from Walmart’s Suggested Keywords tab for better visibility.
Are Retail Media Networks Right for Your Ecommerce Advertising?
Retail media networks definitely work for ecommerce advertising, provided you have the budget and knowledge. If your budget isn’t a constraint, opt for an RMN since it will give you access to the latest targeting capabilities, more advanced analytics, email marketing and a lower cost-per-click.
Remember that retail media networks work better for some niches than others. In 2022, the top advertisers on retail media networks were:
- Consumer Electronics: 15%
- Housewares: 6%
- Snacks and Desserts: 6%
- Household Maintenance: 5%
- Furniture and Decor: 5%
Some of the top brands that use retail media networks are Starbucks, Epson, Ritz, Planters, HP and Palmolive. The same study also found display and sponsored ads to be the most popular choices for retail ecommerce.
Some publishers require a minimum monthly spend, so it’s better to focus your efforts on a few channels that drive the most results. Instead, align your ecommerce advertising strategy to the channels most relevant to your goals and stay flexible.
Take Your Ecommerce Advertising to the Next Level
If you’re looking to improve your ecommerce marketing, you can check out our other ecommerce resources from the latest trends to understanding consumer behavior. To learn more about how Goodway helps ecommerce and retail businesses improve their marketing, view our commerce media solutions.