Whether you're looking for Google ads alternatives or platforms to complement your existing strategy, we have a great guide here that reviews the top 10 options. Google Ads is an exceptional platform for showcasing your products and services to a vast audience, effectively positioning them in front of potential customers who are seeking solutions like yours.
You can improve your brand awareness, drive sales and retain more customers using various placements and ad styles that Google offers. However, as a business, you need to be savvy when it comes to paid ads and PPC campaigns. Every click matters, and if you play your cards right, you might be able to find a winning combination that delivers the same results as Google Ads but at a lower cost.
In fact, some alternatives mentioned in this article will go beyond that and could potentially provide you with an opportunity to get in front of a whole new audience. After all, diversifying your advertising tactics is always a great idea, and overreliance on one platform could expose you to a host of business risks. Let's embark on a journey to explore 10 viable alternatives to Google Ads and see if they might be the better fit for your business needs.
What is Google Advertising?
Google Ads, formerly Google AdWords, is a platform allowing businesses to pay to advertise online on various Google-owned services and its affiliate network. On Google ads, advertisers can choose between different payment methods, the most popular one being PPC or pay-per-click (PPC) model, meaning you'd only pay when a user clicks on their ad. There are other payment models too, for example, cost per view for YouTube ads or pay based on the impression for display network.
Google Ads presents a wealth of benefits. Its most prominent advantage is its immense reach: Google processes over 3.5 billion searches per day, making it an invaluable platform for businesses looking to expand their visibility. Moreover, Google Ads offers a high degree of targeting, allowing businesses to reach potential customers based on keywords, location, age, interests, and more.
Understanding the Funnel Aspect
Google Ads is a versatile platform that can be useful at various marketing funnel stages. However, it particularly excels at the 'Consideration' and 'Purchase' stages. This is the stage at which prospective buyers are engaged in exploring products or services or are on the cusp of executing a purchase. Targeted Google ads at those stages can effectively capture this high-intent audience and deliver a high return on ad spend (ROAS).
Understanding Google Ads Campaigns and Networks
Before discussing Google ads alternatives, let's look at what this PPC platform has to offer. Here's an overview of the primary campaign types and networks that Google Ads offers:
1. Search Network Campaigns
Search Network campaigns are text ads that appear on Google search results pages when users search for keywords related to the one you're currently bidding on. These campaigns are particularly effective for marketing initiatives aimed at the bottom of the sales funnel, where potential customers are actively seeking out specific products or services.
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Google Ads offers the opportunity to bid on keywords pertinent to your business. Consequently, your ads can surface when users enter these keywords in their search. This strategy ensures that your ads align closely with the user's search intent, thereby enhancing the probability of conversions. Although to improve your impression rate, you may need to improve your Quality Score.
2. Display Network Campaigns
Display Network campaigns consist of image, text, or video ads that appear on Google's vast network of over two million websites and apps. These campaigns are perfect for your e-commerce business as they focus on users who are in the active buying stage and ready to buy.
Targeting capabilities for Display Network campaigns are comprehensive and versatile, allowing you to target your audience based on a variety of factors, including demographics, interests, browsing habits, and specific websites they visit frequently.
3. Shopping Campaigns
Shopping campaigns showcase your products directly within the search results, displaying an image, title, price, and store information. These campaigns are perfect for eCommerce businesses as they target users who are actively shopping and ready to purchase.
4. Video Campaigns (YouTube)
Video campaigns provide the opportunity to broadcast your video adverts on platforms like YouTube and throughout the expansive Google Display Network. These campaigns are versatile and can serve both top-of-the-funnel (brand awareness, product introduction) and bottom-of-the-funnel (product tutorials, customer testimonials) marketing goals.
With YouTube's advanced targeting options, you can reach specific audiences based on demographics, interests, and even what they're currently watching.
5. App Campaigns
App campaigns are designed to make your app stand out across Google's broader spectrum, including Search, Google Play, YouTube, and the Google Display Network. If your goal is to encourage users to download your app, these campaigns are an ideal choice.
Google Ads Targeting Options
Google Ads offers four primary methods to reach desired audiences.
- Google's Audience Segments: These are predefined groups, further divided into detailed demographics, affinity segments, in-market segments, and life event targeting.
- Your Data Segments: This approach, previously known as "remarketing," targets users who already have a relationship with your business. It also includes similar segment audiences.
- Custom Segments: This method combines Google's data with your business knowledge, creating segments based on what people are searching for, the websites they browse, or the apps they use.
- Other Segments: This category includes combined segment targeting, optimised targeting, and audience expansion.
Why Consider Google Ads Alternatives?
While Google Ads holds a dominant position in the paid advertising landscape, it may not always be the best fit for every business, audience, or goal. Several factors could drive a business to consider alternatives:
- Business Type: Not all products or services are best advertised on Google. Some business types might find more niche platforms better suited to their specific audience.
- Audience: You may want to focus your attention on certain demographics that are more present in other platforms. For example, Gen Z on TikTok or Gen X on Taboola.
- Multi-Channel Marketing: Multi-Channel marketing could really boost results and although expensive, you could amplify the results of your ad spend and ROI using this method.
- Budget: Google Ads can become expensive, especially in competitive sectors. Smaller businesses or those with a tighter budget might find more affordable alternatives.
Top 10 Google Ads Alternatives in 2023
1. Bing Ads (Microsoft)
Microsoft Advertising, previously Bing Ads, is a search engine marketing platform that places your business in front of millions of potential customers across the Bing Network. While it's true that Bing doesn't have the same vast reach as Google, the platform still boasts a significant number of unique users who exclusively use Bing over other search engines. In addition, since chat GPT and Bing both belong to Microsoft, people may start using Bing more and more.
Bing Ads Stats:
Around 900 million daily searches
Bing users spend 35% more than Google ads
The majority (Over 60%) are 35 and older
Bing CPC is 60% lower than Google ads
Suited for: a Viable Alternative to Google Ads
Around 30-40% of searches related to Travel, car, finance and health. Therefore, you could say those categories are the main ones for the Bing ads target audience. However, whether you're a B2B, B2C or even DTC brand, you should be testing with Bing ads as this channel is one of the most viable and like-for-like Google ads alternatives you can find.
Microsoft Advertising is often overlooked, but it's cost-effective, especially for businesses targeting an older, more affluent demographic. It also provides superior customer service, more transparent data, and less competition, allowing for potentially higher ad positions at a lower cost.
Claim £400 Bing Ad credit here
2. Amazon Ads
Amazon Advertising provides a robust platform for eCommerce businesses. The platform allows you to place your products in front of millions of Amazon shoppers who are ready to buy.
Amazon Ads Stats
In 2023, on average, each Amazon seller received around 300 clicks for $273 and a sales value of over $800. Now these are average numbers per seller.
Amazon Ads Average CTR in 2023 is: .035%
The CPC is $0.89 on average
Suited for: DTC & E-commerce
Amazon's lower average CPC and its vast audience of users make it an excellent option for eCommerce businesses. It offers various ad formats, including sponsored products, sponsored brands, and product display ads, allowing you to customise your advertising strategy based on your specific goals and target audience. However, consider that advertising on Amazon also comes with listing and selling costs. Something that many DTC brands can't easily afford due to slim margins. If you're making a healthy +40% profit margin on your products, you could start listing them on Amazon and test out Amazon Ads for your eCommerce as an alternative to Google Shopping ads.
3. LinkedIn Ads
LinkedIn is the world's largest professional network. It offers unique firmographic targeting capabilities, allowing you to reach users based on industry, job title, and level of experience.
Average CPC: $5.26
Target Audience: Professionals and B2B decision-makers; 4 out of 5 LinkedIn users drive business decisions
Average CPM (cost per thousand impressions) $33.80
Suited for: B2B & Demand Generation
Although LinkedIn Ads can be costly, the platform's user base is both high-quality and niche. If you're a B2B brand, LinkedIn ads offer a great PPC platform with good ROI. The fundamental distinction between LinkedIn and Google Ads for B2B advertisers lies in their targeting capabilities.
Google Ads enables advertisers to target users who are actively searching for their services or solutions, but it doesn't offer the opportunity to target based on Firmographic data such as budget, revenue, or employee headcount. On the contrary, LinkedIn Ads allow for precise targeting based on these specific firmographic parameters. However, this method can disrupt the user experience as it doesn't have the capability to show ads exclusively to users actively seeking the service.
Overal, Google Ads can be characterised as more of a demand capture, while LinkedIn ads are better for demand generation.
4. Meta Ads (Instagram & Facebook Ads)
Meta platforms, formerly known as Facebook, is social media giant with a combined user base of billions. They offer a diverse audience and excellent targeting options (although some interest-based targeting might be out of date).
Meta Ads Stats
Average CPC: $1.72 for Facebook and $3.56 for Instagram
Target Audience: Wide-ranging demographic; 3.5 billion monthly active users combined
Suited for: Demand Generation in B2C (Sometimes B2B as well)
Meta Ads provide powerful tools for creating visual content that can boost brand awareness and engagement. Furthermore, they offer advanced targeting options, allowing businesses to reach their audience based on location, age, interests, behaviour, and more. After iOS 14 and Apple Privacy updates, Facebook had a drop in popularity as the targeting didn't work as well as before. However, their algorithm has got better over time. Their platform can perform well if the budget allocated is sufficient for machine learning to find the right audience for your campaigns. This is usually more than £2000/month.
5. Reddit Ads
Reddit, often known as "the front page of the internet," is a popular social media platform that provides a unique advertising opportunity for businesses. Reddit Ads, the platform's advertising service, allows brands to reach a diverse and engaged audience through promoted posts or display ads. These ads appear in users' feeds or within specific communities (known as "subreddits"), depending on the campaign's targeting parameters.
Reddit Ad Stats
Average CPC: As low as $0.20
Target Audience: Primarily millennials; over 50% of users are aged 18-24
Suited for Brand Awareness and community building
Reddit Ads offer unique opportunities for businesses to engage with users and foster community relationships. While Reddit users can be sceptical of advertisements, a well-crafted, authentic ad can drive substantial engagement. This includes businesses in the tech industry, gaming, entertainment, e-commerce, and more. Reddit's diverse user base and robust community discussions make it a useful platform for targeting niche interests and demographics.
The key to successful Reddit advertising is understanding and respecting the platform's community norms. Being transparent, authentic, and engaging will resonate with Reddit's user base and lead to more effective campaigns.
Get $100 Ad credit when you first sign up to Reddit
6. Apple Search Ads
Apple Search Ads serve as an effective and straightforward method for facilitating app discovery among users as they navigate through the App Store. Unlike other platforms, Apple Search Ads is not for general advertising but specifically for promoting your app.
These ads appear at the top of search results in the App Store, allowing advertisers to reach users at the moment they're searching for apps. This feature significantly increases the visibility of the advertised app, making it an excellent tool for driving app downloads.
Apple Search Ad Stats
Average CPC: $1.00 (Source: SearchAdsHQ, 2021) Target Audience: iOS users, particularly those actively searching for new apps.
Suited for: App Marketing
Apple's search ads can be a great platform for businesses with apps because they target users who are already on the App Store and are actively looking for apps to download. It's a more niche platform, but with the right application, it can be a goldmine.
- Mobile Game Developers: With the gaming industry's shift towards mobile platforms, game developers can use Apple Search Ads to promote their new games or updates, reaching avid gamers on the App Store.
- E-Commerce Businesses: E-commerce businesses with iOS apps can use Apple Search Ads to drive app downloads and purchases, targeting users who are likely to be interested in their products.
- Streaming Services: Music, video, and podcast streaming services can advertise on the App Store to increase their subscriber base.
- Educational Platforms: Apps offering online courses, language learning, coding classes, etc., can use Apple Search Ads to reach potential learners.
- Fitness and Health Apps: With the increasing popularity of health and fitness apps, businesses in this sector can benefit significantly from Apple Search Ads.
Taboola is a content discovery platform that drives content recommendations to users based on what they're currently reading, which can help to drive traffic to your website. Taboola Ads are displayed on a vast network of high-quality publisher websites, appearing in the form of recommended content on article pages, homepages, or alongside other site content. Unlike traditional display ads, Taboola Ads blend in with the site's content, leading to a more seamless and non-disruptive user experience.
Taboola Ads Stats
Average CPC: $0.28 - $0.35
Target Audience: Broad demographic (However, tends to work better on older generations, e.g GenX), largely contingent on the partnering publisher's audience.
Suited for: E-commerce, Travel and Entertainment
Taboola is excellent for content marketing campaigns designed to boost website traffic. Taboola's native ad format integrates smoothly with the content of the website, resulting in heightened levels of user engagement. However, the network is sometimes associated with lower-quality content, which could potentially harm your brand's image. Review below use cases:
- News and Media Outlets: Taboola can help news websites, and blogs promote their articles and increase their readership.
- E-Commerce Businesses: E-commerce websites can use Taboola to showcase their products in a more subtle and engaging way, driving traffic to their product pages.
- Travel and Tourism Companies: These businesses can advertise travel deals or blog posts about travel destinations to attract potential travellers.
- Financial Services: Banks, insurance companies, or fintech startups can use Taboola to share their educational content and promote their services.
- Online Education Providers: Educational platforms can promote their courses or free educational content to drive sign-ups or increase brand awareness.
Taboola proves to be particularly potent when you possess captivating content that weaves a compelling narrative about your brand or product. The key to a successful campaign is high-quality content that provides value to the user, paired with strong targeting to reach the most relevant audience.
8. Quora Ads
Quora is a question-and-answer platform where users ask questions and get answers from both experts and enthusiasts. Quora Ads allow businesses to reach a highly engaged and educated audience right when they're seeking answers or exploring topics related to their industry or products.
Quora Ads can be targeted based on topics, interests, keywords, location, and even specific questions. The platform offers a variety of ad formats, including text, image, and promoted answers.
Quora Ads Stats
Average CPC: $0.35 - $0.75 (Source: Quora Business, 2021) Target Audience: A highly educated and affluent user base; over 60% have a college degree, and 35% earn over $100,000 annually (Source: Quora Business, 2021)
Suited For: Almost Everyone
Advertising on Quora allows businesses to target users actively seeking information related to their products or services. With Quora Ads, you can position your business as an industry expert, providing valuable insights to users who are already interested in your area of expertise.
Quora Ads can be an effective marketing tool for a wide array of businesses, particularly those that can provide valuable insights and solutions to users' questions.
- Software and Tech Companies: Tech firms can reach a highly engaged audience of tech enthusiasts and professionals on Quora, promoting their products or services in relevant topic threads.
- Educational Institutions and E-Learning Platforms: Businesses in the education sector can provide expert answers and promote their courses or services, targeting users interested in specific educational topics.
- Financial and Legal Services: These businesses can use Quora Ads to establish authority and trust by providing valuable advice on relevant topics and promoting their services to users interested in financial or legal questions.
- Health and Wellness Businesses: These businesses can target users asking questions about health, fitness, diet, and mental wellness, promoting their products or services as solutions.
- E-Commerce Businesses: E-commerce businesses can target product-related questions or topics to promote their products, driving traffic to their product pages.
The key to a successful Quora ad campaign is to provide genuine, helpful answers and information in your ads, as Quora users are often in the research phase and value informative and trustworthy content.
AdRoll serves as a comprehensive marketing platform that provides retargeting products, facilitating cross-platform and cross-device display advertising. AdRoll's retargeting capabilities allow you to reach your customers across different devices, apps, and social media channels. AdRoll Ads can appear on a vast network of sites, including social media platforms and popular websites, keeping your brand front and center as users browse the internet.
Average CPC: Varies widely, but retargeting campaigns generally cost between $0.50 - $2.00 (Source: AdRoll, 2021) Target Audience: Previous website visitors who didn't convert.
AdRoll is an excellent platform for re-engaging with non-converting visitors. It's most effective for businesses with a significant amount of website traffic. By reminding these visitors of what they left behind, you can increase your chances of turning their interest into a conversion.
Suited For: E-commerce, Tech, Entertainment & Travel
Who Can Benefit from AdRoll Ads
AdRoll Ads can be particularly beneficial for businesses that want to re-engage their website visitors or existing customers, making it suitable for a wide array of industries.
- E-Commerce Businesses: AdRoll aids e-commerce businesses in retargeting visitors who have browsed products or added items to their cart but did not complete a purchase. This encourages them to finalise their transactions and boosts conversion rates.
- Software and Tech Companies: These businesses can use AdRoll to remind users about their product or service, particularly if the buying process involves a significant consideration phase.
- Event Organisers and Ticket Sellers: AdRoll can help these businesses retarget individuals who have visited their event page but haven't purchased tickets yet.
- Educational Institutions and Online Learning Platforms: These entities can use AdRoll to remind potential students about courses or programs they've shown interest in.
- Travel and Hospitality Businesses: AdRoll can be beneficial for businesses in this industry to retarget users who have viewed specific destinations or accommodations but haven't booked yet.
10 TikTok Ads
TikTok, the rapidly expanding social media platform renowned for its bite-sized and imaginative video content, presents a golden opportunity for businesses to reach its extensive user base. With TikTok Ads, you can harness the power of this vibrant platform and promote your products or services using a diverse range of ad formats. These formats include In-Feed ads, TopView ads, Branded Hashtag Challenges, and Branded Effects, enabling you to captivate and engage with TikTok's dynamic community.
TikTok Ads Stats:
Over one billion users with 60% aged between 16 to 24 and overall 50% aged under 34.
CPC of $0.5 to $1.50
Over 90% of users login and use the app on a daily basis.
TikTok Ads can be an excellent advertising option for a wide range of businesses, particularly those looking to reach a younger audience with engaging and creative content.
- Fashion and Apparel Brands: These brands can showcase their products in a creative and engaging way, leveraging TikTok's trend-driven culture to promote new collections or trends.
- Beauty and Cosmetic Companies: Businesses in this industry can use TikTok Ads to demonstrate product usage, share beauty tips, or collaborate with influencers to reach a wider audience.
- Food and Beverage Brands: These businesses can create fun and engaging content around their products, such as recipe videos, food challenges, or behind-the-scenes content.
- Fitness and Health Companies: These businesses can share workout videos, health tips, or showcase their fitness equipment or health supplements in action.
- Tech and Gadget Brands: Tech companies can use TikTok Ads to demonstrate their products' features, create unboxing videos, or share user-generated content.
The key to successful advertising on TikTok lies in understanding the platform's unique culture and creating content that not only promotes your brand but also entertains and engages users.
Building a Customised Ad Strategy
In the current advertising landscape, diversification is key. While Google Ads might serve as the foundation for many businesses' ad strategies, employing a range of platforms can help you reach different audiences, meet various goals, and make the most of your budget.
Let's take a moment to consider how different platforms could fit into your overall advertising strategy:
1. Multi-Platform Approach
A multi-platform approach involves using several platforms simultaneously to maximise your reach. For instance, a business might use Google Ads for broad keyword targeting, Amazon Ads for product-specific campaigns, and LinkedIn Ads for B2B promotion. This approach can help you capitalise on each platform's strengths and reach a more diverse audience.
2. Platform Specialisation
Depending on your business type and goals, you might find that specialising in one or two platforms yields the best results. For instance, an eCommerce business might focus primarily on Amazon Ads, while a job recruitment agency could get the most value from LinkedIn Ads. This approach allows you to invest heavily in the platforms that align best with your business.
3. Funnel Stage Targeting
Different platforms can be particularly effective at different stages of the marketing funnel. For instance, you might use Taboola to drive top-of-funnel awareness, Google Ads to capture consideration and intent, and AdRoll for bottom-of-funnel retargeting. This strategy ensures you're reaching potential customers at every stage of their journey.
Ultimately, the key to an effective advertising strategy is to understand your business, audience, and goals, and tailor them to the strengths of each platform. With a thoughtful and well-planned approach, you can maximise your return on ad spend and ensure your business stays ahead in the increasingly competitive digital landscape.
4. Sort Out your Attributions
When running multi-channel campaigns, it's crucial to have a robust tracking and attribution system in place. This allows you to understand which marketing channels and strategies are driving results and provides insights into your customer's journey. By identifying and understanding the touchpoints that influence a customer's purchasing decision, you can gain valuable insights to allocate your marketing budget more efficiently. This knowledge allows you to focus your resources on the most impactful channels and strategies, ultimately maximising your return on investment (ROI) and driving business growth.
Several companies offer advanced tracking and attribution solutions. For instance, Triple Whale provides a platform specifically designed for e-commerce businesses, enabling them to track user interactions across multiple channels and attribute sales to specific marketing efforts. Likewise, other companies like Google Analytics, Adobe Analytics, and AppsFlyer offer comprehensive attribution and tracking tools that can be customised to fit your business needs. These solutions can give you an overview of your marketing performance, help you make data-driven decisions, and optimise your omnichannel campaigns.
Learn more about Last Touch Attribution.
Ready to Explore Alternatives?
As we've explored, there's a world of advertising possibilities beyond Google Ads. Each of the nine platforms we've discussed offers unique benefits and could be the key to reaching your advertising goals.
While Google Ads will undoubtedly remain a cornerstone of online advertising, businesses should not be afraid to venture into the world of alternative platforms. By understanding your specific needs and exploring your options, you can create a more effective, diversified, and resilient ad strategy.
Whether you're a small business looking to make the most of a tight budget, a B2B company aiming to connect with professionals or an eCommerce business seeking to tap into a purchasing mindset, there's an advertising platform for you. The next step is to take your newfound knowledge and apply it. Happy advertising!