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Google Strikes Back: The Search Giant is Losing Ad Market Share But it Won’t Go Quietly

Google and Wall Streeet Journal

As 2019 wraps up, Google owns 73% of the $55.2 billion search-ad market. But eMarketer forecasts that, by 2021, they’ll slip to 71% of the market.

Who’s catching up? There’s one search engine whose share of the U.S. search ad market will grow in the next few years, and that is… Amazon.

Wait, what? Yep, Amazon is a search engine. Even though Amazon’s search is contained to its platform, Amazon is up to its eyeballs in eyeballs (traffic-wise). And Amazon’s search ads have one big advantage over Google: Amazonian searchers are more ready to buy when they search.

But Google didn’t become a verb by crying uncle. Here are three big moves they’re making to beef up their Google Shopping ad platform and defend their search ad turf:

  • Renovating the Google Shopping interface and tools. As you’d expect, there’s some fresh paint; for example, they redesigned the Google Shopping home page. But there are also some upgrades under the hood, like a new price-tracking tool that pings users when prices drop for saved items.
  • Closing the gap between search and purchase. Google is removing steps between search and sale by adding features that allow you to purchase items directly from search results and directly from content like videos and images. Remember, Google has three powerful search engines. Google Classic for web pages, Google Images (now with shoppable image search results), and don’t forget that Google owns YouTube. Check out this shoppable video that pairs YouTube influencer Rosanna Pansino with Vistaprint using an ad type called Shopping Shelf.
  • Staying in their lane. Google doesn’t plan to become a retailer like Amazon; after all, why try to compete with Amazon’s logistical infrastructure when you’re the world’s leader in information infrastructure and content delivery? Instead, the search giant will continue to play middle man connecting searchers with brands through ads and local information like Google Maps results.

theCLIKK’s take: With more than half of us turning to Amazon first when starting a product search, Google will have to fight to hang on to this e-commerce ad territory. Google has many tricks (Search ads, display, YouTube ads, Gmail ads, Google Image ads) and Amazon has only one trick. But it’s a damn good trick.

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Russ Henneberry is Founder of theCLIKK, an email first publication about digital business. He is an entrepreneur, speaker and author of Digital Marketing for Dummies. Russ has certified thousands of marketing professionals and business owners in disciplines including content marketing, search marketing and social media marketing.


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