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For nearly 15 years, Google AdWords has been the dominating PPC advertising platform, and in 2013 Adwords breached the $50 billion advertising revenue benchmark. However, the competition has been heating up with Yahoo! and Bing leading the back of “alternative” PPC platforms and they’ve been wooing advertisers like crazy. At the moment, Google rakes in 67 percent of all search traffic, but for how long? Do competitors like Facebook really stand a chance?

PPC advertising is a big moneymaker for many industries, whether it’s auto glass repair and mechanic shops or local vegan bakery boutiques. However, of all the alleged competition, Amazon might just be the one to give Google a run for their money. According to Google’s Eric Schmidt, Executive Chairman, “Many people think our main competition is Bing or Yahoo, but really our biggest search competitor is Amazon. People don’t think of Amazon as search, but if you are looking for something to buy, you are more often than not looking for it on Amazon.”

Amazon: the new face of SEO?

Smart search engine optimization (SEO) professionals are starting to cater to Amazon’s needs as well as Google’s. Optimizing a website or presence for Amazon is very different than Google, which means double work for them. Simply put, Amazon knows what people are purchasing and that makes them a key player in both PPC advertising and SEO. Amazon reports an “active” user base of over 244 million, which means major buying power.

For PPC advertisers, tapping into hundreds of millions of buyers is a dream come true. At the moment, Amazon is focusing on PPC software to get ads on its site before the holiday season officially starts. According to , about 65 percent of people will at least browse online (and likely on Amazon) for their holiday gifts. It’s what Cyber Monday’s all about.

Facebook fights back

You can’t discount Atlas, which is the ad service for Facebook that’s all about ad tracking and targeting. There aren’t any cookies here (sorry, Santa), and instead Atlas tracks when people switch from their smartphone to their tablet or laptop. This leads to great tracking of end to end performance. According to Facebook, this means it can “connect online campaigns to actual offline sales, ultimately providing the real impact that digital campaigns have in driving incremental reach and new sales.”

The Wall Street Journal reports that Atlas might have what it takes to take down DoubleClick from Google, but only time will tell. “Atlas is aiming squarely at Google’s DoubleClick, the dominant ad-serving, management and tracking tool for advertisers and agencies,” reports the WSJ. The social media giant spent $100 million to get Atlas from Microsoft, and Zuckerberg wants it to be an investment that pays off.

Who’s coming out on top?

Last year, Schmidt said that, “The biggest mistake that I made was not anticipating the rise of the social networking phenomenon,” and that mistake just might cost Google their top spot. Already, the social networking gold goes to Facebook (not Google+), and if Facebook can scoop up the PPC crown then that might just make them unstoppable. With Atlas, Facebook has a fighting chance, especially since they can track activity and in turn make sure feeds are perfected for their mobile demographics.

However, Amazon’s incredible buyer data is nothing to scoff at. For now, Google is staying ahead of Yahoo and Bing, but may have never seen these dark horses coming from seemingly different arenas. However, consumers are more and more often wanting that local touch, and if there was a startup Google or another giant didn’t kill that offered an AdWords alternative, that just might take off.


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