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What Are the Alternatives to Google AdWords – and Are They Worth Pursuing?

Google AdWords is one of the best ways to advertise online. If used correctly, there is the possibility of making an excellent ROI, so it should be seriously considered by all marketers.  In fact, many marketers do not look beyond AdWords. Google is the giant of search, taking 63.8% of the search market at the last count, and when marketers speak about PPC, they often mean AdWords.  But it’s not the be-all-and-end-all of online advertising, and other channels exist that can be well worth using. Here’s a look at a few of the main options.

Bing Ads

Bing is still far behind Google in search, but it’s growing. And with 21.6% of the desktop search market, it’s not to be ignored. Bing Ads is Microsoft’s AdWords competitor and the only true alternative to AdWords. Even though it may be the smaller player, it has a number of potential benefits over AdWords. The most important of these is that there is less competition, and that can lead to cheaper CPCs and better ad positions. Sure, fewer people will see those ads compared to on Google, but it’s still a nice benefit. In addition, Bing Ads is actually less restricted in some ways. In AdWords, you have to set things like location and ad scheduling at a campaign level, whereas in Bing you can change these at the ad group level.

Overall, it’s certainly worth experimenting with. But despite its similarities to AdWords, you will still need to devise a strategy unique to the platform to get the most out of it.

Interested in Bing Ads? Check out:

Facebook Adverts

So now we move onto the other PPC advertising platforms that are not in direct competition with AdWords because they don’t work in search, but which can still be good alternatives. Facebook Adverts have exploded onto the scene in recent years. Social media is more popular than ever, and Facebook has found a way to crack advertising so that now every time you check out your feed you will see ads displaying. And they offer a number of excellent possibilities to marketers.

I’ve covered Facebook Adverts before, so I won’t go into too much detail here. However, looking at the benefits, the main ones are that you get access to a huge number of users, and many of your target customers are certain to be using the site. People also tend to access Facebook regularly, many people multiple times every day. And in addition, Facebook makes it easy to use very specific targeting to display your ads to the exact people you need to reach. As with AdWords, you pay for each click. But that’s where the similarities end because Facebook requires a very different strategy from search.

The main difference is that the people you want to reach are not actively searching for your products and services in the same way as they are in Google. Images also have a much bigger impact on the success of the ad, so choose them with care.

Interested in Facebook Adverts? Check out:

Twitter Advertising

Twitter Advertising is Twitter’s own ads platform. But despite being similar to Facebook in that you are advertising on a social network, the two platforms have a lot of differences.

Twitter provides you with a few options for advertising, including:

  • Promoted Accounts – here you pay to promote your account, with the main aim being to encourage people to follow you.
  • Promoted Tweets – here you get specific status updates highlighted in order to get more exposure for your updates. This is a good option for building awareness and sharing your content.
  • Promoted Trends – this option allows you to promote a trending topic, which can be ideal for product launches, events, and brand building.

As with Facebook Adverts, you can also target your customers by location, and you can determine a daily limit to your spending. Twitter Advertising can be a great option for getting greater reach for your updates and promoting your content. It may not be quite as targeted as Facebook, and it is arguably less user-friendly, but it’s still worth trying out.

Interested in Twitter Advertising? Check out:

Native Advertising

Native advertising is slightly different once again. However, as a form of PPC advertising, it should still be considered an alternative to AdWords. Native advertising has been around long before the internet came along, where ads would appear in publications “disguised” as articles. Now, using platforms like Outbrain, you can use the same principle by getting your articles to appear on other websites. These ads often show up under a title like “Sponsored Stories”, “From the Web”, or “Recommended for You.” The idea is then that people will click on the articles/ads and head to your website to engage with your content.

This can be a good way to drive targeted traffic to your site, and the chances are that your articles will show up on web pages where you are more likely to reach the very people who will be interested in your content. In addition, because your ads show up as articles, and they are designed to merge into the design of the website they appear on, they automatically don’t scream out “ad.” Depending on the platform you choose, you may have a wide range of tools at your disposal to measure the success of your campaign. For example, you may be able to test different titles and positions on the page.

Interested in native advertising? Check out:

Go Beyond AdWords

At LeapGo, we love AdWords. When used correctly, it is a powerful marketing tool that can lead to huge ROI. But there’s absolutely no reason to stick exclusively to AdWords. So try out some other PPC advertising platforms and see which work for you. You’ll need a different strategy for each platform because they all have their own quirks and rules for success. But get them right, and any of them could become a valuable extra source of traffic and sales.