When it comes to advertising networks Google’s Adwords is at the top of the pile. But does that mean it is the best or is it just the biggest? The most well known alternatives are Bing/Yahoo but there are others. So should you be using the Bing/Yahoo network or the other alternatives for your online advertising? These decisions are about return on investment. So the real question becomes: can you get customers or leads from alternative networks cheaper than from Google? This is a bit like advertising during the Super Bowl. Ads in those slots are among the most expensive in television. But they are not for everyone. If you want to target lots of people you can choose television shows that have big audiences to make your ad more cost effective. Alternatively you can choose television shows that have smaller but more targeted audiences who are more likely to want your product or service. Other Search Engines Bing/Yahoo is the only show in town when it comes to other search engines. They account for 29% of the search market compared to Google’s 68% which leaves very little market share for anyone else. So let’s start with the negative – Bing/Yahoo will deliver lower traffic numbers than Google. But for many search terms you will get better quality traffic. So, here is why you should consider Bing/Yahoo:
• High quality traffic
• Easy to use
• Rumored to have much better customer support than Google (depends who you ask)
Social Media Networks
Facebook is the big player in terms of social media advertising. It is the biggest platform with the most users who use it to help them make buying decisions. It is no surprise that Facebook is popular with advertisers. You should consider this as an option but know the alternatives. Twitter offers advertising products and it has a large user base. Reddit, StumbleUpon and LinkedIn also allow you to advertise to their users and they are usually cheaper than Facebook. You need to figure out where in the social media world your customers hang out and how much it is going to cost to reach them.
Other Ad Networks
Banner ads remain a popular advertising tool. But selecting and managing placements is not easy. BuySellAds is a good solution. Its network allows you to publish your banner ads on various websites with a service that is easy to use and guarantees inventory. An alternative to all of this is in-text advertising. This is contextual advertising where keywords in the text of a website are matched with your website or brand. This is effective in some market sectors because the advertising is part of the content instead of being placed around it. Infolinks and Kontextua both offer in-text advertising.
A final advertising alternative is retargeting. This works by following your website visitors around the internet showing them ads for you company. It sounds a bit creepy. But it can be incredibly effective. The principle of retargeting comes from the fact that as many as 98% of your website visitors will leave without making a purchase. They have shown an interest and the key is getting them to choose you instead of a competitor when they are finally ready to buy. AdRoll is one of the most popular retargeting platforms. When you use their service your ads are shown to your past website visitors when they use Google, Facebook or lots of other websites. So there are alternatives to using Google’s ad network and they are all proven. The question is: can they be effective for you? The answer to this comes down to your customers. If you sell to consumers, for example, LinkedIn ads are not a good idea. Thinking about your customers and what interests them will help you eliminate some of the examples above. From there it is all about testing, testing, and testing again.