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When many people think of paid advertising or Pay Per Click (PPC) marketing they automatically think of Google AdWords, and for good reason. Google AdWords has by far the biggest reach available to all advertisers. However, paid advertising doesn’t just stop there – here is my guide to the best of the rest.
Google’s market share means you’ll be targeting a large reach of customers in the fastest time possible, but if you’re not careful you’ll either end up spending way too much for traffic you don’t need or you may not even reach the right people through the search or display network through poor targeting. There is also the case you may have a market niche that is so small there isn’t the demand for your product or services within this vast Google network or your market sector isn’t allowed to advertise through Google due to their advertising terms and policies.
It’s very useful to be aware of what other platforms could offer. So, the following is a non-exhaustive list of other areas you could try spending some of your online advertising budget with.
If you find your traffic from Google’s search network and its search network partners isn’t cost-effective, then you could also try:
Bing is the second most popular search engine in many western countries. The Bing Ads platform is very similar to Google’s so there is no learning curve to give it a try.
Bing typically offers lower Cost per Clicks (CPCs) because it doesn’t have the high competition from lots of other advertisers. It is also believed that Bing users tend to be more transactional shoppers, they are more ready to buy from a website.
Both of the UK’s other top search engines are powered by Google and Bing respectively so in order to target these users you will need to opt into Google’s search partners for AOL and use Bing ads to be shown on the Yahoo & DuckDuckGo search results. Note that DuckDuckGo can only show up to two adverts in the search results so you’ll need to be well optimised to get traffic from there.
All of these search engines offer the chance to capture a wider audience of searchers who have their Home page or browsers set to use these search platforms as default.
Although not a service you can use to target users in the UK or US, Yandex is Russia’s largest search engine with about 60% market share and Baidu is China’s most popular search engine. These services offer their own advertising platforms for users wanting to target people in those respective regions, in those native languages. Consider using these services if you wish to expand your targeting on a global scale.
Display advertising allows you to show banner adverts on webpages across the Internet and on Apps. Typically Click through Rates (CTRs) are lower than on search networks, but it’s a more visual way to grow your brand visibility and re-target people that have already viewed your website.
Along with the Yahoo Bing search network, there is also a content network that you can target through the Yahoo Bing interface. This allows you to target people on primarily on Yahoo and MSN, but also other partner sites. As with Google AdWords you can choose to target by context, keywords or specific domains. Again, there is less competition and therefore cheaper bids than on the Google display network so it might be a good one to try for little cost.
BuySellAds powers the display advertising for over 1,500 high profile websites with over 6 billion ad impressions each month. It’s an intuitive platform that you can easily use directly with no other services.
Although a long standing display advertising platform, you can also now utilise full sponsored content and custom advertising units.
Although AdRoll is famous for being a retargeting platform that works best for Facebook retargeting, it also has its own network to advertise on. Use AdRoll if you want to setup some clever retargeting display ads to capture visitors that are more ready to buy.
Native advertising is a relatively new way to advertise your content from other content webpages. For that reason you need to have good, click worth content to promote.
Zemanta has a wide range of networks, including popular service Outbrain, to distribute your content ads in different formats; promoted content, in-text links, in stream ads.
Taboola is an alternative to Outbrain and others, but still provides a vast potential audience of over 550 million monthly unique users seeing over 5 million pieces of content.
Gravity is also another native advertising platform although it aims to automatically place your adverts in the best placements through what it calls ‘The interest Graph’.
StumbleUpon describes itself as a discovery engine that shows random webpages to its users based on the topics they are interested in. Your website could be shown organically if it has been submitted to StumbleUpon, but it’s easier to gain larger amounts of traffic by using their advertising platform.
It allows you to feature your webpage URL more often in the stumble process and target users by age, gender, location, device and interest.
Reddit is sometimes referred to as the Home page of the Internet. It has a very loyal user base of over 170 million that like to share the latest and best website links. For this reason it’s a good choice to advertise if you have some really great content you want to help raise awareness of or even go viral.
Ads get votes to increase engagement as well as direct clicks. Time scheduling and what section your ad appears on will allow you to best target users. Reddit is best avoided for corporate advert messaging, the key is casual & fun content. Overly commercial messaging just won’t work on Reddit.
As you’d expect social advertising is where you are only advertising on a social network. There is no other way to target these social network users other than through the relevant advertising platform for each. The good news is that social advertising is still underused which means you’ll find cheap clicks that can give a good response.
Facebook has a large group of users, billions in fact. Facebook uses its own advertising platform to deliver different targeted advert types; Marketplace ads, Promoted posts and sponsored stories amongst others.
The advantages of using Facebook advertising are of course the massive reach and the ability to target users based on demographics right down to individual users. It helps to have a great Facebook presence naturally and Facebook ads work well to send traffic to a Facebook page rather than straight to your website. However, as long as you have captured a user’s interest on your Facebook page then you can market to them over time via page posts.
Twitter allows you to target its users in a variety of ways; promoted accounts to gain followers, promoted tweets to gain increased engagement for individual tweets, direct website clicks and lead collection of emails addresses directly in twitter feeds.
Targeting influential business people is usually only done through LinkedIn as these people are not always on Facebook and Twitter. LinkedIn is an ideal choice if you work in a B2B industry as you can target people by job title or function, industry or sector and by seniority and company size. This means you have a better chance of getting through to the right person at the right company. You can use text, image and video in your adverts to make them stand out.
As you can see, there is a huge variety of other paid advertising channels available to try. Native advertising is one area which there is lots of new opportunities that don’t rely on sales adverts. It’s important to consider who you audience is and what websites or online services they frequent on the Internet. This way you can decide what might work best to target your ideal customers.
Images by Bigstockphoto.com
Samantha Noble is well known within in the search industry, she even won the UK Search Personality 2016 at the UK Search Awards in November. This year, she continues to make an impact on the industry by judging not only one, but three, prestigious industry awards.