It’s 2021! Google may still be on top (for now), but the tides are shifting and there are some great alternatives when it comes to advertising!
So, you’ve got your e-commerce store up and running. Now what?
Well, the next step is naturally to increase the traffic to that store so you can start selling as fast as possible.
There are a few different ways (advertising, SEO, email marketing, etc.) to increase traffic to a site, but paid advertisements are usually the fastest way to bring in customers. With the right choice of keywords, accurate audience targeting, and powerful remarketing options, even new and small businesses can be noticed by potential buyers when using ads.
Google Ads is one of the best-known platforms for online advertising. It’s the king of all things online, right?
Before you create a Google Ads account for your business and go down the rabbit hole of doing keyword research, spending time setting a budget, and writing ad copy, you may want to shop around for other advertising options.
There are other platforms that can be easier to crack, combine tools, and are easier on your wallet!
AND. There are more than just a couple!
In this article, we will list some of the best Google Ads alternatives on the market, tell you what they have to offer, and explain how you can use them to boost your online business!
So, let’s start from the beginning!
What is Google advertising?
Google advertising is digital advertising on Google search results pages, Google Shopping, Google Maps, and other Google’s websites and tools including Google Display Network (Youtube, Gmail, Blogger, and thousands of partner websites).
Ads on Google come in different sizes and shapes, depending on where they’re displayed.
- Search Network Campaigns. These ads are usually in text form and show up at the top or bottom of Google’s search results pages.
- Display Network Campaigns. These ads usually contain photos and show up on Google partner websites and apps.
- Video Campaigns. These are the short video advertisements you usually see on Youtube right before the video you selected begins.
Why should you consider Google ads alternatives?
More than 3.5 billion searches are processed through Google every day so there’s no doubt that your target audience is looking for what you have to sell on Google. There is also no doubt that most businesses, small or big, well-known or unheard of, are also advertising on Google.
But the fierce competition for clicks has caused advertising on Google to become expensive. Depending on your niche, some clicks on your ad can cost you as much as $100 or more (especially if you are in the finance or law industries).
Besides the high cost-per-click costs, here are 3 more reasons why you should be considering alternatives to google advertising:
- Google ads isn’t beginner-friendly. Google Ads is notoriously known for being a tough nut to crack. It will take some time and money to get past the trial and error period. Things like account set up, keyword research, budgeting, etc. are complicated with Google Ads.
- Google ads require attention. A busy entrepreneur like you probably wants something that is easy to set up and minimal time to manage. You can’t just set up Google Ads and forget about them. They require constant attention and optimization.
- Your ads ONLY run on Google and its partners’ websites. While the Google partners network is huge, your potential customers may frequent other places too, like, Facebook or Instagram for example. They also might use a different search engine, such as Bing, to look for information.
Things to consider when getting started!
There are a few things to consider before you do any kind of advertising no matter which platform you decide to use.
Each advertising platform offers exposure to specific audiences. That audience needs to match your business’s target audience on some level. For example, you’re better off advertising your jewelry store to people under 30 on Instagram than on Google or LinkedIn. But if you run a SaaS business, advertising on LinkedIn will probably be better than advertising on Instagram or Google.
Why? Simply because different types of audiences like to visit and purchase via different online channels. Also, online platforms have different structures, and some might suit you better than others. For example, Instagram appeals to its users through visuals and is, therefore, more suitable for businesses that need to engage with their customers through pictures or videos. Some platforms don’t even offer video advertising.
Devices your customers use
During last year’s holiday season, as many as a third of total purchases were made on mobile devices. You don’t want to miss out on purchases made from mobile devices so the platform you choose needs to run ads on mobile devices too.
Wide variety of targeting options
Google Ads offers a huge selection of targeting options that enable you to reach the most-likely-to-convert customers. You can set your ads to be shown to people in different countries, of different ages, and on different devices. But one particular targeting feature you should look for is retargeting.
Retargeting ads allow you to reach customers who have already visited your website. The ads “follow” your potential buyers in other places online (outside your website) and keep reminding them how great your product or service is until they buy it! Retargeting ads can double or triple your ROI (return on investment).
Now that we know what we’re looking for, let’s dive in and find the best alternatives to Google ads.
Top 8 Google ads alternative platforms
The first Google Ads alternative on our list is sixads. sixads is not exactly an advertising platform, it is a Shopify app that can help you run ads on Google, Instagram, and Facebook.
If you think that advertising on those platforms is worth the effort, a little help from this app could be just what you need to push your advertising in the right direction.
With sixads, small and medium sized business owners can start running ads in just a few minutes with no previous advertising experience. The app takes you through the ad creation process in a few steps, uses language you can understand (no crazy ad jargon), and optimizes your ads to reach audiences that are ready to buy. sixads is great for businesses that want to raise brand awareness and quickly increase their profits with digital advertising.
Features of sixads:
- Quick and easy ad setup. After you download the app, you go through an easy-to-navigate ad creation process which will help you launch your first advertising campaign. You can have your ads ready to run on Google in just 2 minutes! We will let you in on a secret: the process is usually MUCH longer using the Google Ads manager.
- The app automatically stops running ads if your store runs out of stock, so no budget is wasted on products that can’t sell. It also changes product info if the product description, price, or images are changed.
- Runs ads on the 3 most popular platforms. Running ads on Google, Instagram, and Facebook when you have no previous experience can be extremely time-consuming. sixads help you create ads for all three platforms in one place.
- Advanced targeting. The app’s AI algorithm will choose the most-likely-to-convert audiences and target them with your ads at the best time.
- Small and medium businesses with tangible products.
- Entrepreneurs with little to no time to spend on setting up and perfecting their ads.
- Entrepreneurs with online stores on Shopify.
#2 Microsoft Advertising (aka Bing Ads)
While Google definitely has the biggest audience share out of all search engines out there, it’s worth noting that even with only 13.37%, Bing Ads serves around 639 million users worldwide. Yes, that is over 600 million unique PC users who perform searches on Bing daily. With that in mind, it’s definitely worth giving Microsoft Advertising a shot.
Ads created on the Microsoft Advertising platform run on all Microsoft platforms and devices, such as Cortana, Office, as well as partner websites on the Microsoft Search Network such as: The Wall Street Journal, AOL, and InfoSpace.
The ads usually appear at the top of Bing, MSN, and Yahoo search results. You can also choose to show your ads at different times or days of the week and for different audiences, based on their demographics (age, gender, etc.)
Features of Microsoft Ads
- Ads on mobile devices. Just like Google Ads, Microsoft also runs ads on mobile devices.
- Advanced location targeting. Target everyone worldwide or narrow your ad audience to a particular country, city, or area.
- Easy campaign import. If you already use Google Ads, you can transfer your existing campaigns to Microsoft Ads effortlessly.
- No mandatory spending limits.
- One-on-one support from Microsoft Advertising experts.
- The average cost-per-click (CPC) is $7.99 while Google Ads’ average CPC is $20.08. Quite a difference, huh?
- Businesses with audiences 34 years old and older.
- Business with audiences who earn at least $40,000 per year or more.
- Various types of online businesses (SaaS, e-commerce, B2B, B2C, etc.)
#3 Amazon Ads
Amazon Advertising is a great alternative to Google Shopping ads. Just like Google users, who turn to Google for research, most Amazon users turn to Amazon to buy. They have usually already decided what they want to buy, they just need to decide how much they want to pay and which brand they should choose.
Amazon users are at the end of their buying journey, so the environment is perfect for e-commerce store owners selling tangible products.
On top of the regular ads on search result pages, Amazon advertising also offers audio and video ads that can reach potential customers on or off Amazon’s site. Video ads appear through content on Amazon TV, IMDB, IMDB TV, and other partner and publisher websites. Audio ads reach potential customers through Amazon Music on Alexa-enabled devices, Echo and Fire TV, as well as other mobile and desktop apps.
Features of Amazon Advertising:
- Sponsored Products. These are individual product ads. They appear on search results and individual product pages.
- Sponsored Brands. These are ads that feature the brand logo, headline, and a selection of products. They appear on relevant shopping search results pages.
- Sponsored Display. These are similar to Google Display ads. They can feature an image and some text. They are displayed on and off Amazon to increase ad reach.
- Stores. The stores feature is more like your own branded website inside Amazon. It’s a multipage, immersive shopping experience that lets you showcase your brand and all your products.
- The cost per click is rarely higher than $0.35 compared to Google Shopping ads’ average CPC of $0.66.
- Businesses that sell tangible goods online.
- Businesses that already sell on Amazon. If you already sell your products on Amazon, it’s quick and easy to start advertising. Also, your Amazon seller rating increases if you use their advertising platform.
#4 LinkedIn Ads
While LinkedIn might not seem to be the first port of call for digital advertising, it certainly has its benefits and can be a great Google Ads alternative. Especially, if you’re selling SaaS as opposed to tangible products.
LinkedIn is the most popular social media platform for self-promotion if you’re a business professional, it’s the perfect place to communicate your business’s mission and vision as well as reach out to other entrepreneurs in a similar field. Along with being the #1 platform for B2B lead generation, it is also great for content promotion.
With an audience of 650 million professionals on this social media platform, your ads are bound to be seen by at least some members of your target audience, and according to LinkedIn, 4 out of 5 members have decision-making power which is great if you want to promote your services.
At the moment, LinkedIn Ads offers Sponsored Content, Sponsored Messaging, Text, and Dynamic ads. Some of these ad types can also feature video messages which is a perfect medium to convey information about your brand and business.
You can also import an email list to create contact retargeting campaigns or insert LinkedIn Insight Tag (a tiny code snippet) on your website and retarget your website visitors.
Features of LinkedIn Ads:
- Post boosting. Posts on your company page can be promoted to reach your target audience.
- Cross-promotion on all devices. You can set up your ads to run on desktop, mobile, or any tablet device.
- Send messages directly to member’s inboxes. Send branded sales messages directly to a prospect’s inbox on the platform.
- Target prospect’s based on their title. When creating an ad on LinkedIn you can choose to target people based on their job title: CEOs, CFOs, developers, programmers, copywriters, etc.
- The average CPC is $5.26.
- Businesses in the B2B sector.
- SaaS businesses.
- Event advertising.
#5 Facebook Ads
An active presence on social media is probably just as important for businesses as a fast, user-friendly website. So chances are that you already have a Facebook business manager account and if you don’t here’s a helpful tutorial on how to set it up. Now, it’s time to put it to use.
The Facebook Advertising platform has probably the biggest selection of ad types available and the most advanced algorithm out there. Because of that and a user base as big as 2.8 billion according to Statista, it’s become one of the most popular advertising platforms out there, right next to Google.
There’s one downside to it though. Facebook states that its advertising platform is easy to use, however, it will take some time to get used to its tricky terminology and dashboard. Especially for those who have never advertised digitally before.
As mentioned above, Facebook offers many various ad types. Some of the most popular ones are simple photo and video ads, stories, ads on messenger, carousel ads, slideshow, and collection ads. But the best thing about Facebook is its powerful algorithm that helps small and large businesses, agencies, artists, developers, start-ups, and many other entrepreneurs get out there and sell their products and services to potential customers.
Features of Facebook Advertising:
- Ads run across all devices.
- Ads that help you generate leads.
- Ads that sell your products fast to highly motivated buyers.
- Targeting options that allow you to retarget your website visitors.
- The average CPC is $1.72. ( The Google Display Network has an average CPC of $0.63.)
- Businesses with target audiences on social media.
- Entrepreneurs of any level.
#6 Instagram Advertising
Instagram is another great social media platform that is worth checking out if you’re looking for advertising alternatives to Google Ads.
Contrary to popular opinion, if you want to advertise on Instagram, you don’t have to have a Facebook Business account, although in some cases it might be worth it. Also, while Facebook owns Instagram, Instagram’s audience and advertising features differ significantly so don’t skip advertising on Instagram just because you already advertise on Facebook.
According to Sproutsocial, 75% of Instagram users are between the ages of 18 and 25, which means that businesses with a younger target audience have a greater chance of reaching their buyers on Instagram than on any other social media platform. To reach that audience, businesses can create stories ads, photo, video, carousel, and collection ads. They can show these ads not only to their followers but also to other Instagram users as well as on the Instagram Explore page.
Features of Instagram Ads:
- Boost posts. You can promote existing posts on your Instagram feed.
- Advertise to people that aren’t following you. Your ads can be visible outside of your follower circle, so you don’t need to have millions of followers to get results.
- Create ads for everyone to see on Instagram Explore.
- The average CPC is between $0.50-$1.00 (Google Display Network’s average CPC is $0.63.)
- Businesses with younger audiences.
- Digital advertising professionals as well as beginners.
- Visual storytellers.
#7 Reddit Ads
Reddit is a forum-like social media platform. According to Alexa, it is one of the top 20 most visited websites in the world, so there’s no doubt that advertising on it should at least be considered by digital marketers.
But is it really worth it and can you actually increase your sales? For some entrepreneurs, it paid off and they made as much as $28K in sales from a single Reddit post in a night. For others, it was a waste of time.
So, before you start advertising on Reddit, here’s what you need to know. Reddit is a content-driven community, which means that if your brand has some authority on that platform and you produce useful content, you should definitely try out paid advertising there. However, if you just want to get your product or service out there and hope for fast results — it probably isn’t for you.
Reddit offers a wide array of targeting options, some of which include targeting by community, device, location, or interest. It also offers two types of CPC ads: promoted posts and video ads. These ads show up on users’ feeds or conversations and are available on all devices.
Features of Reddit Ads:
- Reddit brings passionate and highly-motivated communities together. Being a forum-like social media platform, Reddit’s users are encouraged to voice their opinions, upvote or downvote content, they dislike direct sales or spam. This can make or break your sales.
- According to Reddit, their audience spends more time using their platform than any other social media network.
- Over 58% of Reddit’s audience is between 18 and 34 years old.
- The minimum ad spend is $5.
- Experienced digital advertisers.
- Brands and businesses with some authority on Reddit.
- Brands and businesses that produce high-quality content regularly.
Infolinks is another advertising network but with a different approach. It is best suited for digital publishers who want to monetize their content. The platform offers exposure to over 25,000 publishing partners with 350,000 websites and 1.5 billion monthly ad views. These numbers and more make Infolinks the 3rd largest publisher marketplace.
Features of Infolinks:
- Infold - search and display ads shown at the bottom of your screen or above-the-fold.
- Intop - mobile-only advertisements shown at the top of the device’s screen. Ads remain visible even when scrolling.
- Inarticle - branded ads shown when the user engages with the screen.
- Inframe - these are ads shown on the left and right sides of the screen.
- Inscreen - these ads pop-up when the user intends to leave the page.
- Intext - these ads show up like anchor texts to some words on the page. The AI algorithm scans through the page, finds keywords, and matches them with relevant ads.
- Businesses that want to monetize their content.
- Entrepreneurs with little or no advertising experience.
Whether your business is new or old, big or small, it can definitely benefit from digital advertising.
Hopefully, this blog post gave you some insights about Google Ads alternatives and you feel more confident when choosing the right platform to advertise. No matter what kind of business you run, there’s an advertising platform that perfectly suits your needs and it doesn’t have to be Google Ads.
To quickly recap some of the points we’ve made:
- Advertising platforms perfect for small business: sixads, Facebook ads, Infolinks.
- Advertising platforms for e-commerce businesses: sixads, Amazon ads, Facebook ads, Instagram ads.
- Advertising platforms for B2B businesses: LinkedIn Ads, Bing Ads, Facebook Ads.
- Advertising platforms for businesses with small budgets: sixads, Facebook Ads, Instagram Ads, Infolinks.
What is the best alternative to Google ads?
If you’re looking for an alternative to search ads, Bing Ads is probably your best bet. Bing is the second biggest search engine, it has slightly lower cost-per-click and fewer restrictions on ads, so a wider array of businesses can advertise on Bing.
But if you’re looking for an advertising alternative to display, image, or even shopping ads, you’re better off advertising on Facebook than Google.
What are some alternatives to the Google ads platform?
- For e-commerce businesses, alternatives to Google ads are sixads, Amazon, Facebook, and Instagram advertising.
- For B2B businesses, alternatives to Google Ads are LinkedIn, Bing Ads, Infolinks.
- For businesses with a low budget, alternatives to Google Ads are sixads, Bing Ads, Facebook Ads, Instagram Ads.
- For entrepreneurs with little advertising experience, alternatives to Google Ads are sixads, LinkedIn Ads, Instagram Ads, Infolinks.
How do I avoid paying for Google ads?
The only way to avoid paying for Google Ads is not to run Google Ads. However, in this article, you will find cheaper alternatives to Google Ads.
How do I choose a Google Ads alternative?
First, ask yourself what type of business do you run? Is it an e-commerce store, is it a B2B business, or do you sell SaaS? Narrow down your search by excluding advertising platforms that do not represent your type of business.
Then, think about where your audience hangs out online? Social media platforms? Google or Bing? Blogs? When you get yourself an answer, narrow down your search once again and choose platforms that represent your type of business and your audience.
Finally, define your advertising budget. How much money per month can you put aside for digital advertising? The answer to this question will narrow down your choices once more and you should have a clear answer as to what Google Ads alternative you should choose.
Is Google ads better than Facebook ads?
It depends. Both platforms are giants in the digital advertising industry, but they’re also different. If you want to reach an audience that is looking for a specific thing online, you’re probably going to get better results if you advertise on Google.
But if your buyers hang out on Facebook or other social media platforms, advertising on Facebook and Instagram is a better option. It’s also a better option if you run visually appealing ads or an e-commerce store.
Is it worth paying for Google ads?
Yes, if this helps you attract customers and the ads pay for themselves. Also yes, if your goal is to raise brand awareness and recognition.
But it’s not worth paying for Google Ads if you spend a lot of money and get no return on your investment or you don’t achieve what you set out to do.
How much does Google Ads cost?
It depends on how much you’re willing to spend and what keywords you’re aiming to target. There is no minimum spending limit and the keywords have different cost-per-click rates.