In recent years the Google Ads platform has been king when it comes to paid search. With billions of daily searches to take advantage of, millions of businesses have been spending big bucks on paid traffic to their sites.
But with so much competition between businesses, cost per clicks on Google Display Network are only getting more and more expensive. In many mature and saturated markets including finance and law, some cost per clicks can reach upwards of 100USD.
With prices being too high for the average small and local business, many are now looking for cheaper Google Ads alternatives to improve their return on investment.
Depending on the product or service you are advertising, there are plenty of alternative ad networks that you can take advantage of. Not only is the competition usually lower on these alternative networks, but the cost per click is often much lower.
No matter if you’re running retargeting, location or user intent campaigns, these Google Ads alternatives are sure to help you improve your marketing efforts.
In no particular order, here are the Google Ads (AdWord) alternatives you are looking for!
The Best Google Ads Alternatives 2021
1. Bing Ads
- Cheaper search advertising
- Affiliate marketing ads
The most common alternative to Google, Bing has been around since mid-2009 after Microsoft merged several of its search engines at the time. As of October 2018, Bing is the 3rd largest search engine with 4.58% of query volume behind Baidu (14.45%) and Google (77%).
Similar to Google, Bing offers paid search advertising where ads are displayed on the search engine results page. With cheaper cost per clicks than Google search ads and fewer restrictions on advertisements, Bing is an excellent addition to any marketing strategy.
In addition to powering Bing, the service also powers most of Yahoo search which has been incorporated into its ad network. This means running ads with Bing Ads will also allow them to show up on Yahoo search.
Just like Google Ads, Bing Ads also has a range of helpful tools including their own keyword research tool to help you get the most out of your online advertising campaigns. If you’re looking for Google Ads (AdWords) alternatives, then this is the closest you’ll find!
- eCommerce campaigns
- Advanced audience targeting
Founded in 2007, AdRoll is an all in one advertising platform that not only makes advertising easier for businesses, but it also combines over 500 advertising networks. Currently, AdRoll utilizes the power of many networks on this list, including Instagram, Yahoo, Outbrain and Taboola, to help businesses get their message in front of the correct audience.
Known for specializing in remarketing campaigns, AdRoll helps track users all over the web to ensure your ads are displayed throughout the customer’s journey. Packed with shopper profiles, AI predictions, and advanced tracking, AdRoll is definitely worth a try if you’re an eCommerce store looking to improve your paid marketing campaigns. With a bold claim that on average their customers get a 500% return on ad spend, this might be the Google Ads alternative that you are looking for.
3. Amazon Ads
- Google shopping alternative
- Physical Goods
The biggest online marketing place in the world, Amazon needs no introduction to online shoppers. Starting as an online booker seller in the 90s, Amazon has grown to one of the largest companies in the world and dominates most markets.
Currently, Amazon offers a range of paid ads including sponsored listings, display ads, and video ads to target customers at the end of their buying journey.
Unlike users who search on Google for research purposes, most users who search on Amazon are near the end of their buying journey. They’ve decided to buy a particular product, they’re just deciding on how much they should pay and what brand they should go for.
With Amazon PPC ads, you can position yourself near the top of the search results to ensure your product gets noticed and increase the chances of conversions.
Amazon also has its own ad network which includes a range of services and websites that they manage meaning your ad could appear on external websites outside of Amazon. If you sell physical goods and use Google shopping ads at the moment, then Amazon ads might be the best alternative for you.
- Content promotion
- Native advertising
Unlike other networks on this list, Outbrain is a content discovery platform that helps advertisers promote their content with native advertising. If all those buzzwords sound confusing then don’t worry, it basically means they help you get users to read your content.
Founded in 2006, Outbrain currently has an ad network of over 100,000 websites including some big names such as CNN, the Guardian, MSN and Sky News. If you visit these websites and read an article, you’ll notice recommendations at the bottom. All of those are powered by Outbrain and attract millions of relevant users per month. With a lower cost per click.
Recently Outbrain announced that it would be merging with Taboola, another content discovery platform. When the merger is complete, the company will have a vast network of websites and will reach almost 2 billion users a month.
The company hopes that the merger will allow them to become the largest competitor to Facebook and Google Ads. If you’re looking to drive relevant users to content on your blog and hopefully convert them into conversions, then Outbrain is a must-try.
5. LinkedIn Ads
- B2B advertising
- Events advertising
One of the largest growing social media networks out there, LinkedIn is home to millions of business professionals looking to network and collaborate.
Currently, LinkedIn has over 630 million active business professionals on LinkedIn. And if you’re trying to get your SaaS or B2B business in front of the important decision-makers within a company, then look no further. With the ability to target users based on their job title, function, industry and more, LinkedIn Ads is great for getting your product or service noticed by the right people.
If you’ve tried to run SaaS and B2B ads on Google Ads before with no success, then trying LinkedIn Ads should be your next step. With so many advanced targeting options and pricing models, including CPC and CPM, getting into the B2B market has never been more accessible (or cheaper)!
Including a range of ads such as text, sponsored content, and in-mail, why continue spending money on regular users when you can specifically target business professionals?
6. Instagram Ads
- Advertising lifestyle products
- Viral & social advertising
Home of the social media influencer, Instagram has exploded over recent years and has had a big impact on how brands advertise to their customers. Founded in 2010 and bought by Facebook for a cool $1 billion in 2012, Instagram is now part of the Facebook advertising network.
Incredibly popular with millennials, Instagram is all about lifestyle products and viral marketing. With over 500 million active monthly Instagram accounts on the platform, ads can be shown as stories, pictures, videos and more within the app. All while keeping a seamless transition from Instagram to checkout to ensure maximum conversions.
Targeting features include options such as location, interests, demographics and lookalike audiences which are all based around Facebook’s advertising system. However, unlike Facebook, Instagram’s ads are more interactive with built-in “swipe up” call to actions and interactive polls, buttons and sliders that can be used.
Extremely popular with fashion and makeup brands, Instagram allows advertisers to get their products in front of buyers much better than Google’s search ads.
7. Facebook Ads
- Finding new audiences
- Advanced algorithmic targeting
Familiar to billions around the globe, Facebook was the first company that started to make serious money from social media advertising. Since it’s launch, Facebook has grown to become the largest social media network on the planet and has also acquired other social networks (Instagram) on its journey. Today, Facebook is the market leader in social media advertising and is continually adding new advertising and targeting options to its system that allows advertisers to target users better.
Currently, advertisers can choose a range of ads including video, image, collection, carousel, slideshow and more to boost engagement on their products. With plenty of targeting options including their popular “lookalike audiences” which finds similar audiences that are likely to convert, Facebook Ads have become very popular.
Suitable for most brands and markets, Facebook Ads are primarily used for targeting millennials due to their usage of the platform. No matter if you’re selling a physical product or service, Facebook Ads is worth trying out due to its sheer size and engagement from audiences. With billions of people on the platform, there are audiences for practically every niche.
8. Reddit Ads
- Super targeted traffic
- Reaching millennials and generation-z
The most popular discussion board in the world with 1.6 billion monthly visitors, Reddit is home to discussions and communities about any topic you can think of. Incredibly popular with US residents, they currently make up 55% of the userbase which is excellent if you’re looking for an alternative or new advertising channels to target customers with.
Similar to Facebook and Instagram, Reddit places sponsored posts within user’s feeds which are likely to convert. Campaigns can also be customized based on the user’s location, interests and what subreddits they visit. One of the most popular strategies is to target a particular subreddit with sponsored posts as they are great for targeting niche users.
Compared to Google Ads, the CPC on Reddit ads are considerably cheaper meaning they are a great way to get relevant users to your site. If you’re looking to tap into a new audience that’s so often overlooked by other advertisers, then Reddit Ads are a great way to capture more of the market.
9. Twitter Ads
- Event targeting
- Hashtag targeting
Another highly popular social media network that competes with the likes of Facebook and Instagram is Twitter, a microblogging website released back in 2006. Known for its famous character limit (which was increased in 2017), Twitter is home to millions of influencers and business professionals.
If you’re in the B2B market, then Twitter Ads are a good addition to running LinkedIn Ads for maximum exposure.
With lots of business professionals on Twitter, it can be a great way to promote services, grow your brand and increase your social media following.
One of the most popular features of Twitter is its ability to allow you to target via hashtags. This means you can target trending topics, events, and niches with fantastic accuracy.
Not only does this help you get your ads in front of the right audience, but it also ensures you don’t accidentally pay for irrelevant clicks. Other targeting methods include location, user’s interests, and the followers of a specific Twitter account.
No matter what product or service you’re selling, there are many ways to utilize the power of Twitter Ads. And with its large reach of users and great targeting options, its an excellent Google Ads alternative.
10. Snapchat Ads
- Mobile advertising
- Targeting generation-z
With less and less members of generation-z using Facebook and Instagram, many of them are exclusively using Snapchat to talk and message their friends. If your target audience is primarily younger users, then Snapchat Ads is a must use.
Since Snapchat is only available on mobile and tablet devices, this makes it an excellent platform to target mobile users. If you’re trying to promote a mobile app to users, then it’s the perfect way to get people to the App / Play store efficiently. With over 210 million people actively using the app every day, and 38% of them not using Facebook or Instagram, it can be a great way to target new users.
Most ads are displayed full screen, giving your brand maximum exposure while significantly increasing the chances of engagement. Currently used by big brands all over the world including Wendy’s, Pirate Kings and Vivint, Snapchat Ads are still relatively new and great for getting cheaper clicks.
Now you know the best Google Ads alternatives out there, it’s still important to remember that for now, Google Ads is still king. In some circumstances, other ad networks can help you target users who can’t be reached via Google. But with millions of people visiting Google every day, you should always try to take advantage of it, even if its just a branded campaign for ads on your own brand name.