Best Google and Facebook Ad Alternatives for SMBs

Leveraging paid advertising online is a great way to reach potential customers while they browse through social media, websites, and search results. 

Facebook and Google Ads are two of the most popular digital advertising platforms, but they may not reach all of the customers in your market. There are a number of other ad platforms that target a specific customer demographic. 

Top alternative ad platforms

Before you invest all of your marketing budget into Google Ads or Facebook, consider these top alternatives:

Microsoft Advertising

Google may be the most popular search engine at the moment, but they aren’t the only option that offers advertising opportunities. Microsoft Advertising helps businesses reach users searching on Bing, AOL, and Yahoo. You may think that those engines have died out, but the Microsoft Search Network currently powers 37.4 percent of U.S. desktop searches

Microsoft’s ad platform operates on a pay-per-click basis where advertisers bid on how much they are willing to pay for each click their ad receives. Your bid can determine how often and where your ad appears. Microsoft advertising is often best used in conjunction with Google Ads to reach a wider audience across all major search engines.

LinkedIn

LinkedIn has over 750 million registered users that use the platform to network, find or hire for jobs, reach potential customers, and share ideas. Similarly, LinkedIn Ads is a great platform for B2B advertising—you can tailor your ads to reach decision-makers in your target audience. 

If you are looking to promote B2B products or services, SaaS, career services such as job coaching, or professional events this platform may be a good fit for your needs. 

One unique benefit of advertising on LinkedIn is their in-depth targeting options that help you reach your ideal customer. You can target people with specific job titles or who work at specific companies. This is really helpful for advertising more niche products or services that are designed for a very specific type of customer.

Twitter

Twitter isn’t typically viewed as an e-commerce platform in the way that Facebook and Instagram are, but advertising on Twitter can be surprisingly effective. 

Twitter ads tend to have higher levels of engagement and benefit from lower competition. Facebook users are inundated with ads throughout the platform, but Twitter has fewer advertisers. This means you typically aren’t competing with several other ads on the screen when your promoted tweet is shown to users.

Twitter allows you to set your objectives and target by region, language, and user demographics. Twitter also has no minimum spending limit for advertising, so small businesses can test the waters without committing too much of their budget.

Pinterest

Pinterest is another site you may not immediately think of when it comes to advertising, but Pinterest users are definitely using the site to browse for products. In fact, 89 percent of US-based Pinterest users come to the platform for inspiration for purchasing decisions.

Not every business will find success advertising on Pinterest, but the ones that do tend to have good results. Pinterest advertising is typically best for B2C product-based businesses. If your products are related to fashion, home decor, food, pets, or children, you’ll probably find a strong audience on Pinterest. It is a visual platform, so be sure to take high-quality photos of your products to use in your advertisements on the platform.

TikTok 

TikTok is one of the fastest-growing social media platforms, but many brands are behind in advertising on the platform. Brands can create and promote their own short-form video content to reach large audiences.

TikTok ads are great for businesses looking to advertise to Gen Z or younger millennial audiences as the platform’s users skew towards young adults. B2C product-based businesses will have the most success advertising on TikTok. This platform has been known to make products go viral and sell out, especially for small businesses, so don’t overlook it as an advertising option.

Read more about TikTok’s partnership with Shopify: How Shopify Became an E-Commerce Powerhouse

Amazon

If you sell your products on Amazon, consider advertising on their platform to drive more traffic to your Amazon product listings. They have over 300 million users and 135 million viewers across Prime Video and Twitch. It’s also the largest online marketplace in the world, so you can reach prospective customers across the globe.

One benefit of advertising on Amazon over sites like Facebook is that users are generally on the platform specifically to make purchases. In many cases, they’re also already signed in to their account and have their payment and shipping information saved. Thus, it’s easier for them to see your ad and quickly make a purchase. The shortened buying journey can often yield better results for advertisers.

Related: How to Become an Amazon Affiliate

How to leverage paid digital advertising

Each of these platforms offers its own benefits, but you won’t find success on any of them unless you know your audience. Before you invest in advertising, make sure that you have a clear idea of who you’d like to target and that you’ve created marketing assets that will appeal to them. Once you know who you want to find, you can dive into examining where to find them.

Read next: Best Digital Marketing Tools for Small Businesses

Kaylyn McKenna
Kaylyn McKenna
Kaylyn McKenna is a freelance writer specializing in business and technology. She has expertise in marketing, human resources, technology, leadership, and business management. She enjoys helping small businesses navigate the unique challenges that they face. Her work has appeared in a variety of publications.

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