SEA & Marketplaces: Competing in the Google search results

Lucas Bassa
Lucas is Head of Marketplaces at Netprofiler, part of the LevelUp Group.
18 January 2022

It has been a contentious issue in America for some time: Amazon is dominating the Google search results both with ads and organic searches. Amazon has also largely replaced Google as the starting point for consumers: In the US but also in Germany, people start their search for a new product on a Marketplace.

It is also a logical trend: Marketplaces have a large assortment with competitive offers that allow you as a shopper to buy multiple products in one place, with a fast delivery time. This translates into benefits for the seller. For example, the conversion rate is usually higher. However, as a brand or retailer you don't want to be dependent on just one channel and so you will also want to invest in your own webshop or a physical store.


The challenge of an omnichannel strategy

Using multiple channels to reach the customer is a desirable thing to do, but the challenge is to do it as efficiently as possible. The major marketplaces dominate the search results on Google and can afford higher bids; in part because consumers convert well. Yet Google is where sales through proprietary channels are promoted. How do you handle this? What can you do as a brand or retailer to avoid competing with yourself?

A study by Searchmetrics shows that half of all Google searches are informational. In other words, it is primarily focused on gathering information about a product or service. These are often more elaborate searches that are less competitive. For example, "0.5L Hand Soap Brand X" is very specific, but "Antibacterial soap for sensitive skin" is less so. The research says that when you as a brand manage to attract consumers through informational searches, you have a higher chance of being looked up when buying. In addition, these keywords are less competitive and therefore cheaper.


Spend smarter, not harder

An important insight is therefore that you should not work against the large marketplaces, but work with them. Because the large share of eg Amazon in the search results can also work to your advantage. If you come up well in the search results within Amazon, then Amazon will also more often use your products to advertise on Google. Even when they advertise with a competitor, you have enough room within Amazon to respond. With this knowledge, you can allocate your marketing budget differently. For example, you can see on which results you are losing out to a marketplace so that you can focus less budget on them. That difference in budget will probably result in more profit within the marketplace itself. A specific example with soap:

  • You see that you are losing 70% of's bids on Google for "Hand Soap".
  • This amounts to about 200 Euros per month.
  • You put these 200 Euros into an ad campaign within, where you focus on "hand soap" and related search queries.

This way, you let do what they do best: Increase traffic to the platform. You then have to be ready to capture that traffic.

Another option is to look at each product to see where the budget will achieve the best results. For example, think about products where you have little or no competition on the listing in the marketplace. Margin is obviously the starting point, so try to compare costs. And it does not stop here: The more complex your marketplace strategy, the more data you have to make an informed decision. Also consider (local) inventory, organic results and additional price promotions.


What can you expect from Google?

Of course, Google itself has an eye on the dominance of the major platforms. For example, they are making several changes to provide consumers and retailers with some more options. For example, the search result is going to highlight images, variations and prices more prominently. So essentially, Google itself is going to look more like a marketplace. For Google, this is a logical next step in the battle against Amazon. That battle has been going on for a while and this is not the first thing they have done; in 2019 they started tackling diversity in the search result to slow down big brands.


This blog is a collaboration with Netprofiler

Do you have questions about this development? Do you want to know how Netprofiler can help you with a broad online strategy? Contact Netprofiler with no strings attached.

About Netprofiler, part of the LevelUp Group

Netprofiler is the online marketing agency that combines strategy and execution under one roof, together with you! Our Marketplace department is a perfect example of this. We support clients from strategy to actually optimizing the performance of the marketplaces channels. Together we ensure profitable growth on marketplaces month after month, because that's what it's all about. Successfully selling on marketplaces is a big challenge that we like to make manageable. We help you get started and start with the activities that we expect to achieve the most growth. In addition to our Marketplace team, Netprofiler also has a strong team of SEA and SEO specialists. Knowledge that is very valuable within the marketplaces' domain to get the most out of this channel. mogelijk maken. Wij helpen je om een start te maken en beginnen met de activiteiten waarmee we de meeste groei verwachten te behalen. Naast ons Marketplace team heeft Netprofiler ook een sterk team van SEA- en SEO-specialisten. Kennis die binnen het marketplaces domein erg waardevol is om het maximale uit dit kanaal te halen.