Repost from MarTech Advisor
by Vandita Grover



While Google (still) dominates the search advertising industry, there’s also Amazon and Pinterest who are all set to grab a piece of the pie.

Users still use Google as a go-to option for major searches, what will change is specialized searches as seen in the case of Amazon and Pinterest who have already started to chip away at Google’s dominant share.

While Amazon and Pinterest may not have plans of becoming the ultimate search point, it’s clear that they want to carve their own niche in certain areas like product and visual search.

  • Customers use Amazon for shopping as well as for product discovery and comparisons. Amazon has high volumes of data on customer insights and it knows what each customer wants.
  • Pinterest, provides a highly visual experience to its users. People like to believe what they see, and Pinterest leverages this trait. They have invested heavily in image recognition and object detection technologies with the launch of the Pinterest lens. Pinners usually look for visual inspiration and these visual cues drive them to buy products.

So what do these two brands have to offer in the search-ad space?


Amazon offers Sponsored and Headline Search ads that make rich use of keywords, targeting and Product Ads


  • Cloud-based ad technology Transparent Ad Marketplace is a way for companies to buy display advertising on sites across the web. Header bidding services allow media buyers to bid on available advertising inventory.
  • Amazon has API for sponsored products for sellers and now is focusing on API for Amazon marketing services which will provide a “systematic approach to adjusting and reporting campaigns and offer capabilities to manage campaigns” says an ad buyer.
  • Amazon media group allows big brands to advertise on platforms other than its e-commerce store like Prime Video, Kindle, Fire TV or IMDb. So if someone is on another Amazon platform they still can view ads that drive them to product pages to sell advertising beyond its site.


  • Amazon plans to expand and offer better data points and algorithms to advertisers for more precise targeting.
  • Kiri Masters, founder of Bobsled Marketing makes some predictions on Amazon’s advertising:
    • Amazon will give brands more options to advertise across display n/w. “The company is also looking to mobile ad technology partners to find ways to advertise across multiple devices. For example, it is in talks to work with Kargo to pair commercials with mobile ads, sources say. Theoretically, a sponsored product sold on Amazon would run during a TV show and then seconds later a viewer would be able to see a related ad on their mobile phone.” says Kiri.
    • Alexa may start recommending relevant products while searching, instead of just being able to reorder from past purchases or from Amazon’s choice selection (popular product with high sales volume)
    • Geotargeting – Amazon Prime offers 2-hour free delivery to select zip codes. It’s more logical to offer geo-targeting and add a local PPC feature in future.


Pinterest search ads are not much different from promoted and buyable pins. They are similar to a Pinners’ digital scrapbook with few additions like price etc. and are based on product feed using Pinterest’s search algorithms.

Pinterest Ads Manager allows brands to create and optimize their promoted Pins and track and report campaign performance. Initially, only for partners, Pinterest has now opened its search advertising to all advertisers through the self-service buying tool.


  • Visual centric ads: Pinners come to Pinterest to have a more visual experience, and ads conform to their expectations helping them to steer to right products.
  • Users are in active discovery mode on Pinterest: Sometimes the user doesn’t have a defined product in mind but is open to suggestions. Pinterest offers possibilities to explore. Pinterest offers opportunities to lesser known brands and they claim that 97% of its searches are for non-branded items.
  • Pinners plan for weddings, festivals, vacations and pin ideas in advance for these milestones. Milestones lead to more purchases and scope for advertisers to roll out relevant ads.


  • With Pinterest growing as a Visual Search engine, visual search has caught the eye of big search engines like Google and Bing. Bing is toying with the idea of enabling users to search for right products within images themselves. Google’s search image interface has become more Pinterest-like.
  • Pinterest will continue to provide a native feel to its promoted pins and ads will fit aesthetically and conceptually alongside organic posts.
  • New auto-targeting option automatically places ads for relevant keywords and related pins, even if it’s not in the brand’s target list.

The future of search advertising is yet to be written and its yet to be seen if Amazon and Pinterest will be able to lead in search advertising or in their niche segments. For now, it seems both of them will be able to open another front in the search marketing arena.