There has been plenty of editorial comment in the last couple of weeks about how Google’s first quarter revenue failed to meet analyst’s expectations. One of the reasons for this is that Ecommerce companies are switching their advertising spend to Amazon.

So now is an ideal time to review how your Ecommerce business is spending its advertising budget and whether it’s worth looking at alternative platforms.

Here is a summary of the major ‘self-service’ advertising platforms and the benefits of using each of them:

Google Shopping

The advertising backbone of many physical product brands, Google Shopping has shown itself to be extremely effective over the years. For many online retailers, it outperforms traditional text ads.

The use of product images is an instant way to grab a user’s attention and has been critical to the success of Google Shopping.

Ironically, the success of the platform may be part of the reason that companies are looking to advertise elsewhere. As many more companies now use it, there has been an increase in click costs in many industries.

Amazon Sponsored Ads

If you have inventory on Amazon, it makes sense to promote it using Amazon Sponsored Ads. With this platform, you can choose which search keywords you want your adverts to appear for. It’s also possible to target other product pages that you wish your advert to appear on.

A great advantage of Amazon is that people are on there to buy products. They’re not looking for information, entertainment or catching up with friends. Conversion rates can therefore be high.

Bing Ads

In the UK, Google has over 90% of the search engine market. Many companies go ahead with setting up their Google Ads accounts and forget about Bing. And that would be a mistake.

There is still a sizeable amount of traffic on Bing, especially if you are selling more mass-market products. It can often be cheaper than Google traffic, because there is less competition and therefore click costs are lower.

If you already have a Google Ads campaign running, Bing have a handy tool that allows you to import your campaign into Bing Ads. They even have Bing Shopping ads, which are the equivalent of Google Shopping.

Facebook Advertising

Many online stores have found success on Facebook. But it must be approached in the correct manner. Users are not on the platform searching for your product. They are there primarily to keep up with friends and the latest news.

A successful strategy involves building awareness of the product first, and then using retargeting adverts to those visitors that have shown an interest in the product. Many people will recognise this as a classic marketing funnel.

Advertisers’ concerns that the ongoing privacy issues may cause users to leave the platform, appear to be unfounded according to the latest figures. Globally, the platform has over 1.5 billion daily users.


If you have a visually appealing product, Instagram could be a good advertising choice. As well as images, you’re also able to post videos, currently up to 2 minutes in length.

The advertising is handled from the same account as Facebook, so billing and management is streamlined if you’re using both platforms.

Millennials are a big user of this platform with over 70% of users being under 35. The most active user group is 18-29 year olds. With some advertisers complaining that millennials are a ‘hard-to-reach’ segment, this could be an ideal platform if you need to hit this target market.


This is another visual platform that can be used to promote products. The demographic for Pinterest is very different however, compared to Instagram.

81% of Pinterest users are female, compared to a more even split on Instagram. Users also tend to be a little older with a median age of 40.

It’s common for people to use Pinterest as a planning tool or mood board for a project. This could be planning for a wedding or carrying out a house renovation.

It’s also used to gather photos or ’pins’ related to a hobby or interest such as knitting or vegetarian recipes.

If your product is visually interesting and would appeal to this demographic, Pinterest is certainly worthy of consideration, especially as not many marketers are exploiting it at the moment.


Superb for building brand awareness, YouTube has a global audience of over 1.8 billion users every month.

YouTube is a lot more than just cat videos. It’s been the launchpad of many successful Ecommerce brands. Who can forget the famous Dollar Shave Club video? Just 5 years after launching this start up, the founders sold to Unilever for a reported $1 billion dollars.

In a world of smart cameras and GoPros, creating a video is now easier than ever. Production quality should not be seen as a barrier to entry. Many consumers are looking for authenticity, rather than a slick production.

If you’re already running Google Ads, the good news is that you can run YouTube Ads through the same platform. All the management and billing can be kept under one roof.

Is your money in the right place?

Investing in more than one advertising platform is a smart business decision. Becoming overly reliant on say, Google Ads, can be risky. Advertising costs on any platform can suddenly increase, or there could be a sudden influx of competitors.

Using alternative platforms can also be a smart choice because there is less competition. The cost of advertising can therefore be lower.

But how do you decide which platforms will provide the best ROI for your business?

Zanzi can help you with that.  Why not let us take a look at your online advertising and advise on the options that are right for your business to maximise your return on investment.

To book your online advertising review, call us on 01865 595 260, or fill in our contact form.