You might have heard the popular saying – ‘Don’t put all your eggs in one basket.’
Investing, devoting, or committing all of one’s energy or resources into a single venture, opportunity, or goal puts you at the risk of losing everything if something goes terribly wrong. This is true when running a business or a marketing campaign.
Google and Facebook dominate the online advertising industry and this domination will never have an end. Look at the pie chart below and you’ll know for yourself.
Source: Visual Capitalist
It can be said without any doubt that these two platforms make a duopoly.
That being said, and proven, dominating a niche doesn’t mean that Google and Facebook are the only players out there in the market. There are other less-explored, more effective tools that can help you achieve exactly the same marketing goal.
Before we get onto them, let’s shed light on some of the downsides of relying solely on Google and Facebook for advertising. There are two of them:
- Strong Competition: Needless to say, these platforms are preferred by almost every business, including your competitors. Thus, you will be attracting heavy competition in your marketing funnel.
- Expensive Bids: The advertising business is mainly about bidding. The one who gets this concept right wins the game in the long term. As a senior digital marketer at a leading PPC Agency, I strongly suggest using trial-and-error methods when you start to invest in bids. This should be done on a small scale; never bet your entire budget on ads.
Now, I will tell you three benefits of diversifying your paid media spend:
- You minimize the risk. Google and Facebook are quite controversial if we talk about brand safety. Platform expansion allows you to rely on more trustworthy platforms.
- You get more relevant engagement. Your target audience might be spending more time on other platforms. For example, if you are a B2B business, LinkedIn would be a more suitable option for you.
- When you reach out to your audience across multiple platforms, it complements the ads you’re running on Google and Facebook. So, you are multiplying your chances of conversion.
Okay, it’s time to show you my list of alternates.
12 Alternatives to Google Adwords and Facebook Ads
There is a reason why Amazon is the first one on this list. It accounted for 43% of all U.S. e-commerce sales in 2016 and this figure is predicted to be 50% or more by 2021. Besides, this market is expected to hold $20 billion of the global market by 2020.
If you are willing to invest in Amazon, you should know the ins and outs of their latest ad products like sponsored products, sponsored brands, and multi-page stores. You can also explore Display ads, Video ads, Custom ads, and ads on the Amazon DSP (demand-side platform).
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Previously known as Bing Ads, Microsoft Advertising includes the search inventory of two other hot search engines: AOL and Yahoo. Though Yahoo, AOL, and Bing are less popular than Google, they still have a loyal user base.
See the chart below for more global data on Bing/Microsoft’s advertising reach.
Also, Microsoft Advertising has lower CPCs (Cost Per Clicks) when compared with Google Ads.
Although owned by Facebook, Instagram’s audience makeup and growth trajectory are noticeably different. Adoption of Instagram is higher amongst teens, which is evident from the stats below:
- 72% of US teens say they use Instagram while only 51% say they use Facebook, according to a study by the Pew Research Center in 2018.
- In another study, Pew found that Instagram’s adoption by U.S. adults has jumped from 28% to 35%, since its research in 2016. Facebook adoption passed through a stationary phase during the same time period.
In addition to these differences, Instagram’s ads are more visually inspired. Instagram ads appear in a bold, linear format at the center of visual inspiration. Thus, visual appeal is critical to advertising success on Instagram, so make sure that you choose PPC management services that are backed by a good creative team.
Powered by AI, it is one of the most widely used retargeting platforms. AdRoll can help you reach audiences across Google, Facebook, Instagram, and 500+ leading networks and exchanges. According to Adroll’s site, their clients get nearly 5X return on their ad spends.
This platform can do more than just retargeting. Their services include prospecting (programmatic display), email retargeting, and AdRoll Video Ads. The video ads can be used for both retargeting and prospecting campaigns and can be served in-stream and out-stream.
Once you start using AdRoll, you will be joining over 37,000 brands that are currently growing their business.
Quora is a unique, high-intent advertising platform that can target customers when they are evaluating or researching a product or service. Basically, people visit Quora to ask questions and to read and share insightful answers. As an advertiser, you get a golden opportunity to influence people during this consideration phase.
If you are active on Quora, then you know that content on Quora is organized in the form of questions and answers. Each question can be tagged with one or more topics to boost relevance. With Quora Ads, you have the ability to target the content on Quora (contextual targeting) or target certain people based on their shopping behaviors (behavioral targeting).
However, keep in mind that your ads or promotional activities on Quora must provide real value to the readers. Else, the essence of this platform will be lost and your efforts will go in vain.
Infolinks is the third-largest publisher marketplace in the world and operates in 128 countries. Similar to Quora, it utilizes user intent and real-time engagement to distribute ads. You can choose from five types of ad units to kick start your digital advertising campaigns:
- inarticle – “User-initiated expanding ad”
- infold – “Search and display, above the fold”
- inframe – “Display ads with an edge”
- intext – Native ads presented in a page’s text
- intag – Display valuable keywords based on the page content
Triggered by real user engagement, these advanced units yield more than 90% ad viewability rates. This means more conversions and higher traffic quality. And with 1 billion users worldwide, your ads will get the exposure they deserve.
Multiple reports from ‘LinkedIn Audience 360’ and ‘Salesforce Advertising Index Report 2016’ indicate that LinkedIn is the #1 platform for B2B lead generation. Over 610 million professionals use LinkedIn and 80% of them drive business decisions.
LinkedIn offers excellent business targeting options from targeting specific job titles to doing ABM (Account-Based Marketing) focused on specific businesses. Along with products and services, you can also advertise current openings in your company to attract good talent.
There are three ad types on LinkedIn:
- Sponsored Content
- Sponsored InMail
- Text Ads
Within those categories, LinkedIn has also included video as a creative type. Thus, you can now convey your brand story in a more engaging way with the best brand marketing.
Pinterest is an image-based social media platform that works on user intent. The below graph testifies to the fact that 55% of internet users shop on Pinterest.
Source: Kleiner Perkins Internet Trends Report, 2016
Marketers get the chance to earn awareness and consideration from Pinterest’s 250 million users early in their consumer journeys. And this early connection really works: 98 percent of Pinners say they’ve tried new things they found on Pinterest, versus 71 percent on other social media platforms.
Source: HootSuite blog
And Pinners spend 29 percent more than non-Pinners, delivering an average of $2 in profit for every advertiser dollar.
There are six types of Pinterest ads:
- Promoted Pins
- Buyable Pins
- Promoted Carousels
- Promoted Video Pins
- Story Pins
- Promoted App Pins
I am not going into the individual details of these ads because Pinterest advertising is a very broad topic that I will cover separately in an exclusive blog.
As with Instagram, creativity is key to attracting high-converting relevant traffic. Your graphics guys should be able to produce good quality imagery and/or videos consistently.
In the Pinterest Ads Manager, you can create, edit and manage your Pinterest campaigns. You’ll easily find step-by-step instructions for setting up campaigns in their Ads Manager, along with some tips and tricks.
Setting up Twitter advertising and running campaigns on it are quick, easy and cost-effective. Even with a small amount of money, you can attract substantial traffic and get a good return on investment (ROI).
Initially, determine your daily budget to control your campaign spending. But even before that, define the average value of your follower, lead or customer and take into account your customer lifetime value (CLV).
Here is a rule of thumb: Your cost per lead should be lower than your revenue.
If you don’t stick to this rule, you may end up losing money on ads. Once this is done, set your total budget for the campaign. Divide it by the number of days your campaign will last and that’s it. Your daily budget is clear and many social media marketing agencies face this fact.
Twitter ads mainly help you in meeting three goals:
- Growing your Twitter follower base.
- Drive traffic and conversions to your sites.
- Generating leads.
The above banner on the homepage of BuySellAds speaks for itself. It is by far one of the largest networks you can use to effectively promote your banner ads around the web.
The BuySellAds team says they cater to over 4,500 advertisers using their native, display, email and sponsored content placements. This is due to the fact that it’s a convenient marketplace with transparent processes, which provides a good choice of high-quality sites, especially in internet and tech niches.
Quantcast is known for its AI-driven audience insights, targeting, and measurement. It is a web tracker used by industry bigwigs like the Guardian and Kellogg’s.
Technically, Quantcast builds up a profile of a browser’s behavior across all websites using web beacons. It tracks over 100 million online destinations, including websites, videos, widgets, blogs, and advertising campaigns.
The free data and audience insights tool called Quantcast Measure helps advertisers greatly. They can build their strategy, understand their audience behaviors and personas, and learn about competitor audiences.
Thus, Quantcast connects you with your most relevant audience across the worldwide web before they’re even in-market.
Reddit has an excellent sense of community and user engagement. If you do the right thing at the right time on Reddit, your business profile can get around 8 billion page views from around 234 million crazily engaged, unique monthly visitors. And these numbers keep growing month after month.
Most digital marketing agency ignore Reddit as its user interface is a bit tricky to handle. But there are tons of highly-targeted ad inventory. You can start spending time on learning this platform and use it to your advantage.
Summing it up
As you can see, there are 12 good alternatives to Google and Facebook in online advertising. You can continue using those two platforms if you are already in the middle of your marketing journey. However, try to diversify your marketing mix so that you can incorporate a larger audience, build a funnel, gain more sales over time, and have touchpoints across all network types on the web. All the best!
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