Just two weeks ago we reported on a recent surge in Amazon impression share in Google Shopping auctions, a trend that indicates that Amazon became much more visible and increased its investment in the Google product ad format beginning in early June. Given the timing, we wondered if there might be a connection to its Prime Day event, which is currently underway after launching last night at midnight PST.
Unfortunately, it takes a couple of days for Google Shopping Auction Insights reports to populate with data, making it such that advertisers aren’t able to assess Amazon’s competitive positioning in this way until the main event is well over. However, Merkle Senior Manager Danielle Waller has been diligently tracking Amazon’s presence in Google Shopping this morning and found a surprising situation: we can’t seem to trigger an Amazon Google Shopping ad for any searches at all.
The eCommerce giant is still present in Google text ads, but across dozens of queries in key product categories that Amazon has long been active in through Google Shopping, there’s nary a trace of the behemoth. Heading over to the Shopping tab and using the Seller filter, Amazon isn’t popping up, indicating it’s not just the case that we can’t trigger Amazon Google Shopping listings in the search results.
We can’t definitively say that Amazon isn’t showing any Google Shopping ads at all since we’re not able to track every potential query, but the evidence on hand strongly suggests that Amazon has shut its Google Shopping program down entirely for the Prime Day event.
Auction Insights from last year indicate that Amazon definitely reduced its Shopping presence during Prime Day, but Impression Share was still around half to 2/3 of what was observed prior to the event. The event started at noon on July 16 last year, so it’s possible the decrease on that day might reflect Amazon shutting the program down mid-day. However, Prime Day deals were running for the entirety of July 17 across all US time zones last year, so the fact that Amazon still had impression share that day indicates it didn’t go totally dark with Shopping campaigns for the entirety of the event.
Why Would Amazon Turn Off Shopping Ads on Such a Big Day?
Much like the cause of its recent surge in Shopping impression share, it’s tough to deduce why Amazon would shut things down today from the outside. Given its recent increased investment in the Shopping format and its continued presence in text ads, it seems unlikely that Amazon is worried about increased ad spend spurred on by additional search demand due to Prime Day interest. Our best guess is that Amazon just doesn’t want Google getting data on its products via Shopping campaigns today. Or it's worried about overwhelming the site, which has gone down for stretches every previous Prime Day event...
We won’t know for sure if Amazon fully evacuated Google Shopping until later this week, when Auction Insights data populates, but Prime Day is already off to a juicy start. As always, we’ll report back on any learnings as we find them.
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