Paid media advertising platforms such as Google and Facebook are the most popular advertising platforms today, with over 3 million businesses advertising on Facebook and 1.5 businesses on Google AdWords. However, these two giants bagging the majority does not mean that marketers shouldn’t utilize other advertisement networks. It is helpful for marketers competing against pole position in the same market share or for those who cannot continue paying the increased CPC or CPM fee rates. There is a wide range of alternative ad networks that can help marketers in opening new growth channels, and these come with excellent reasons to utilize them.
Although Google and Facebook both have distinctive benefits, they are not the only platforms to promote a brand. A part of the target market will view ads hosted by these other networks, and they may even be more receptive to the advertisements not displayed on the usual sites. Using an alternative advertisement platform, marketers can also increase brand awareness. Before exploring the alternatives for Google and Facebook, let’s first understand the basics about paid, owned and earned media.
What Is Paid Media?
Paid media is a method by which brands promote their content via sponsored display ads, paid search results, social media posts, video ads, and pop-ups, among other promoted multimedia. It can be an effective opportunity to expand brand reach, attract more clicks, and generate more traffic.
Sponsoring content allows brands to reach audiences that they may not otherwise have targeted. As today’s media influx makes it difficult for brands to get their message heard organically, paid media serves as a method for driving exposure and promoting content. Marketers use several techniques to amplify their owned media and gain more earned media.
What Is Owned Media?
Owned media is content that you have complete control over and could be content for company websites, blogs, and social media accounts, among others. The primary goal of owned media is to continue providing value to leads to move them further down the sales funnel. Although owned media does not deliver an overly promotional message, it offers more controlled messages about a brand. Therefore, brands need to focus on producing search content to generate new leads and warm up existing leads.
What Is Earned Media?
Earned media refers to media exposure that a brand gains through word-of-mouth. Earned media is the recognition a brand receives for the excellent content it has distributed, the influence of its SEO efforts, and the customer experience it has delivered. Getting positive reviews, reposts, press mentions, and recommendations are ways a brand can earn media.
Social media platforms have made it easier for writers and journalists to reach out to brands for insights and quotes to mention in their articles, which builds consumer trust around a brand’s expertise. With these methods, brands earn opportunities to contribute regularly and fuel the top of their funnel and add new leads.
Top 10 Alternative Ad Platforms for 2020
Now, if you are ready to give alternative ad platforms a go, here’s a list of some of the top alternative ad platforms:
Logo by Amazon as seen on the Website
While brands would like to think that their product is unique and set up a competitive virtual store alongside Amazon, they are most likely to find out that it doesn’t work. Brands need to sell the product using amazon’s platform and run advertisements on Amazon for those products. It is important to run advertisements because there is immense competition on Amazon with similar products, which can be cheaper. Amazon is a great place to increase brand awareness and drive sales as it offers targeting features and a rich reporting system for brands to fine-tune their marketing strategies.
Logo by BuySellAds as seen on the Website
BuySellAds is a self-serve platform that allows users to target developers, designers, and other niche tech audiences and is useful for business models that require reaching people in high-tech. Its selling point is the ability to reach people via various ad formats such as native ads, display ads, email ids, podcast ads, and content ads. BuySellAds’ website enlists several success stories from brands, such as Rollbar, Storyblocks, Hello Sign, and Circleci.
Logo by LinkedIn as seen on the Website
For businesses in the B2B space, LinkedIn advertisements are considered as a generic cost of doing business. With more than 630 million active professionals, it is a platform where brands are most likely to find business owners and leaders who are a significant part of the brand’s prospects.
LinkedIn provides several advertising options, such as video ads, sponsored InMail, text ads, carousel ads, sponsored content, and dynamic ads. It also offers features, such as conversion tracking, audience network, website retargeting, lead generation, and contact targeting. As LinkedIn is now owned by Microsoft, users can also benefit from the Microsoft big data platform and its targeting possibilities.
Logo by Revcontent as seen on the Website
Revcontent is a native advertising platform that offers features such as granular targeting, real-time reporting, dedicated account management, and flexibility with creatives. Dedicated account management is a feature not offered by all advertisement platforms, differentiating between unprofitable and profitable campaigns. Revcontent is utilized by brands, such as Forbes, Bank of America, and Ziff Davis.
Logo by Spotify as seen on the Website
For brands that want to reach their target audience in a way that competitors might have overlooked, try audio ads with Spotify ads. It is generally considered that audio advertising production costs are higher than traditional image advertisements, however, the Spotify ad platform provides a feature to make an audio advertisement, including a voiceover. This significantly takes down production costs and allows brands to reach their core audience at unusual times, such as when they are relaxing, driving, working out, or doing some other chore.
Logo by Microsoft Advertising as seen on the Website
- Microsoft Advertising
To target audiences on Bing, one can use Microsoft Advertising, earlier known as Bing Ads. This advertisement platform is advantageous as it runs ads not only on Bing but also on Yahoo and AOL. Microsoft records 116 daily users, with five and a half million desktop searches every month, and enjoys 36.2% of the overall desktop search market in the U.S.
Microsoft advertising users can generate more phone calls, sell products online, bring foot traffic to physical stores, increase ad engagement, and increase conversions. The platform also offers ad products, such as shopping campaigns, shared budgets, dynamic search ads, conversion tracking, and ad extensions. This platform is tailored for those accustomed to the typical features offered by Google and want an easy transition to an alternative paid media advertising platform.
Logo by Quora as seen on the Website
Quora is a ‘Question and Answer’ platform where people ask questions and receive answers from the Quora community. While multiple people can answer a question, one single answer is highlighted as the ‘best,’ making it easier for others to find and understand.
For instance, it enables businesses to reach people who need digital marketing services at that very moment by running ads to the people who are asking about online marketing. Quora also offers sophisticated targeting options seen on other platforms, such as website match audiences, list match audiences, and lookalike audiences. Along with this, brands can also target Quora users based on their platform history.
Logo by Taboola as seen on the Website
Taboola is different from other advertising options, as it is a native advertising platform. This means that it promotes content on someone else’s blog. Although the advertisement format is identical to host website content, there’s a disclaimer that makes it clear to readers that the content is an advertisement. Taboola’s recent merger with Outbrain has resulted in an online advertising powerhouse formation that helps brands target the right people, gain great exposure, and offer to report, which help brands optimize this strategy.
Logo by Pinterest as seen on the Website
Pinterest is extremely useful for businesses whose target market is dominated by women, as they form most Pinterest users. Pinterest is all about sharing images and beneficial to brands that leverage image marketing techniques. Brands only need to pay when people show interest and can choose to pay for engagements or website visits. To measure strategy efficiency, Pinterest also offers a robust tracking platform.
Logo by Snapchat as seen on the Website
Snapchat is favorable for brands whose target audience is a younger generation, as more than 70% of Snapchat users are 18–24 years old. Snapchat provides access to a part of the target audience not available on Facebook and Instagram (one-third of Snapchat users). It allows a marketer to choose from 3 goals for any advertisement: Website visits, app installs, or local store visits. Snapchat’s self-serve eases the process of getting an ad up and running and offers tracking tools to measure and optimize campaigns.
While Facebook and Google are excellent platforms to drive targeted traffic to social profiles or websites, there are multiple reasons to consider alternative paid media advertising platforms. Cost is one of the significant factors to consider alternative platforms. The advertising costs on both Google and Facebook are quite high due to the competitive nature of other bidders. Additionally, Facebook and Google have implemented stricter restrictions on advertisers, thereby making it difficult for certain businesses to effectively utilize the networks.