In the 25 years since Google was first established, it has become a household name. And by June of 2023, Google sites were ranked first in a survey of the most popular U.S.t multi-platform web properties, boasting over 276 million unique visitors. It’s no surprise, then, that Google Ads is also one of the most popular online advertising platforms available today. This is precisely why many advertisers believe there’s no reason to look for an alternative to Google Ads. But, that’s where they are wrong.
There’s no question about it: now is the time to look at Google Ads alternatives. Demand is ever-growing and ever-changing, and alternative solutions are well worth considering since they can address various shortcomings and issues associated with Google advertising.
Why Consider Google Ads Alternatives?
There are several reasons why someone might want to seek out other advertising options. However, we will highlight two major motivators for using a Google Ads alternative, regardless of your current advertising success.
- It’s risky to depend on a single platform. If there are sudden shifts in costs, algorithms and levels of competition, you’ll be back to the drawing board without a way to move forward with your marketing campaigns. Having a Google Ads alternative serves as a cushion against uncertainties.
- Diversifying expands opportunities. Some alternatives are more cost-effective due to lower demand while also allowing you access to an untapped audience that you may have missed otherwise.
Google Ads Alternatives: What Are Your Options?
If businesses and advertisers refuse to consider alternative platforms, the issues described in the previous section will become even more prevalent and exacerbated. Additionally, finding a suitable alternative to Google Ads can help you in more ways than one. Apart from risk elimination and diversification, Google Ads alternatives help you find a more appropriate ad delivery method, reducing your spending while increasing your reach.
Ultimately, the most suitable Google Ads alternative depends on your campaign goals. To help you figure out what option is best for you, we have included the top alternative Google Ads below.
Social Media Advertising Platforms
Social media’s influence in our daily lives continues its meteoric rise. In fact, there are around 4.88 billion social media users worldwide, making it a market that you can’t afford to ignore! The great thing about using social media as a Google Ads alternative is that you have many options. You can choose one (or a few!), depending on your target audience, the media you’re using and your budget. If you’re trying this method out, we strongly recommend using images or videos. Even though text is still relevant for practically every alternative for Google Ads, it may not be sufficient enough to grab someone’s attention, especially on social media.
Nevertheless, we recommend treating these platforms as different Google Ads alternatives, as what works for one may not for another. For that reason, we will dive into the best practices for various social media platforms below.
Best for: B2B and B2C
Facebook is currently the largest social media platform — with 3 billion users and counting — and, therefore, the largest Google Ads alternative. Facebook Ads utilizes four major types of advertisement.
- Image ads: This is the simplest and most common type of advertisement and is usually paired with a headline and description.
- Video ads: Video ads can be displayed on news feeds, stories and reels. In addition, this Google Ads alternative provides you with statistics on how long someone watches your video ad, which can help with retargeting.
- Carousel ads: This Google Ads alternative is a collection of up to ten images or videos, each of which can be connected to a link.
- Messenger ads: These ads on the Facebook Messenger app appear as a chat function, enabling your audience to message your business directly.
Best for: E-commerce and B2C
Because Facebook and Instagram are owned by the same company, it’s no surprise that this Google Ads alternative has the same ad options. Messenger ads are the exception, of course! This social media platform is more heavily focused on visuals and aesthetics. So, it can be a great Google Ads alternative if you’re trying to display specific aspects of your product or service. Using captivating images and videos can also be a good choice for creating product demonstrations or telling your brand story.
Best for: B2B and B2C
Twitter may not be the first Google Ads alternative that comes to mind, but it still has a sizable market share that’s worth exploring. Here are some advertising options on this Google Ads alternative.
- Promoted ads: These ads look like regular Tweets, except you’re paying to expand your audience to users who don’t follow your brand yet.
- Follower ads: These ads appear on the Who to Follow? section, driving followers to your account.
- Amplify: This advertising solution lets you pair brand-safe publishers with pre-roll video ads.
- Takeover: With Twitter Takeover as an option, Twitter is the best Google Ads alternative if you want to display your ad on prime real estate, such as Trending or What’s Happening? sections.
Best for: B2B and SaaS
LinkedIn is great for targeting a more professional demographic, and hosts a number of advertising options for this Google Ads alternative.
- Sponsored content: Ads will appear like a regular LinkedIn post but are labeled as “Promoted.” You can use text, images or a carousel for this format.
- Sponsored messaging: Sponsored messaging is a lot like Google Ads alternative Messenger Ads, which gives you the ability to place ads in a user’s LinkedIn inbox. However, you should consider that LinkedIn sets limits on how many times your target audience can receive this type of ad.
- Text ads: Appearing on the upper-right area of your screen, text ads are a great Google Ads alternative for collecting leads on a tight budget.
Best for: E-commerce
Pinterest users primarily use the site for discovery, so you’re likely to get a more favorable response to ads placed here. Plus, this Google Ads alternative has both free and paid advertising tools, which can help you stretch your advertising budget. Here are some of your options.
- Collection ads: Consisting of a featured image or video plus three supporting images, it can display up to 24 pictures on the page for ad details.
- Idea pins: These are similar to Instagram stories but can have as many as 20 images, which can be a good Google Ads alternative for DIY tutorials.
- Promoted pins: This is the simplest way to advertise because you’re just boosting a regular pin to have more people see it.
Best for: B2C, e-commerce
Both brands and creators can greatly benefit from TikTok — one of the fastest-growing social media platforms out there — as a Google Ads alternative. Below are some options that are available to you on TikTok.
- In-feed ads: These appear on the user’s For Your Page and look like regular TikTok posts. You can insert a CTA button that can link to a landing or purchase page.
- Brand takeover ads: This video Google Ads alternative appears when the user first opens the app, taking over the user’s entire screen for 60 seconds and auto-playing with sound.
- Branded hashtag challenge: Encourage users to participate in your hashtag challenge for better engagement.
Native Advertising Networks
Standing out may be good in most cases, but blending in can work in your favor, especially when it comes to advertising. That’s how this Google Ads alternative works. Native advertising, one solution offered by MGID, places your content where it’s relevant.
For example, an article about camping may have your content on essentials for a first camping trip as a suggested read. By not interrupting the browsing experience of the user, your ad is not seen as a nuisance, which means the user is more likely to click on it. The best part is that you don’t have to do any of the work alone! Google Ads alternative technologies like MGID’s AI-based matching algorithms ensure that your content gets traffic from high-value and high-intent users.
Search Engine Advertising Beyond Google
Why consider a Google Ads alternative? Studies from July 2023 demonstrate that this popular search engine is by far the leading name in the global desktop search market, with a market share of almost 84%. So, following simple math, there’s a 16% market space for you to explore. The best thing about a Google Ads alternative is that there’s less competition. Many marketers believe that there’s virtually no competition to the leading search engine, so they tend to skip the rest. However, the runners-up have each become a viable Google Ads alternative.
Bing Ads (Microsoft Advertising)
Best for: B2B and B2C
Bing may not be the first choice when using a search engine, but it can be a good option for a Google Ads alternative to complement your existing Google Ads campaign and expand your reach. Below are some types you’ll be able to use.
- Expanded text ads: This is the most basic advertising form you can try on this Google Ads alternative. The ad option is designed to appear like one of Bing’s search results.
- Bing smart search: Available only in France, Canada, Germany, the U.S. and the UK, this Google Ads alternative is similar to the first format, but it includes a landing page snapshot and a redirect link.
- Dynamic search ads: While they resemble expanded text ads, these ads are based on the user’s search history.
Best for: B2B and B2C
This Google Ads alternative combines the capabilities of search and native advertising methods in one place: Yahoo Gemini. Although, the focus here is mostly on native advertising, which allows you various advertising formats across Yahoo’s platforms.
- Image or video ads: An image or video is used to capture attention and direct users to a website with a click.
- App install ad: This is like an image or video ad, except it directs users to an app page.
- Carousel ad: This Google Ads alternative lets you use multiple pictures to tell a story or show various aspects of your product.
- Yahoo Mail ad: This ad is found at the top of the user’s inbox, and it can be interacted with like an email.
Best for: B2B
According to SimilarWeb research, DuckDuckGo users are more likely to be in tech or at least knowledgeable about it. If your audience is in — or is interested in — tech, it may be worth exploring how advertising on this Google Ads alternative can benefit you. But even if you’re not in that niche, you may still want to try this out. The only advertising type available for DuckDuckGo is search ads, where your ad will only appear if it’s relevant to the user’s search term. So, even if you’re in the wellness industry, you may still reach a small market segment here.
If you’re working on a limited budget, these Google Ads alternative platforms may be a smart financial move.
- Amazon advertising: Amazon advertising can mainly be divided into two categories: Amazon PPC (sponsored brands, products and display), which is a great option for e-commerce, and Amazon DSP (display, video, audio and custom ads), which may be a good option everywhere else.
- Reddit ads: This is best for advertising as a B2B company. Among others, standard ad types like text, image and video can be explored on this Google Ads alternative.
- Quora ads: Best for B2B and SaaS companies, Quora ads appear only if it’s relevant to the posted query.
Video Advertising Platforms
A video is a highly engaging Google Ads alternative because it limits the work required from your audience. As of now, there are two popular options that are dominating video advertising.
- YouTube ads: A good option for B2C and SaaS, we recommend this Google Ads alternative if you’ve worked with Google Ads previously. It runs on the same algorithm, but most ads are in video format, except for overlay ads, which are small banners at the bottom of a video.
- Vimeo advertising: Vimeo is the best Google Ads alternative if you’re looking for a less intrusive way of advertising. All search here is organic, so you can focus on optimizing your videos instead.
Ideal for B2C companies working on a shoestring budget, employing influencer marketing as a Google Ads alternative lets you capitalize on the trust and the relationship that influencers have built with their audiences. There are a few ways that you can work with influencers, including:
- Giving an exclusive discount code;
- Creating a series of posts promoting your product or service (may include a link to your site or pages);
- Hosting a giveaway for your product.
But in order for this Google Ads alternative to work, ask yourself what your goals are. From there, you can decide the specifics, like choosing the right influencers to work with your product or service.
Email Marketing and Newsletter Sponsorships
Having a person’s email address establishes a level of trust that may not be available in other Google Ads alternatives that we’ve discussed so far. A great choice for all types of businesses across all industries, email marketing can be used for various purposes, including:
- Getting leads;
- Improving brand awareness;
- Nurturing leads;
- Introducing your latest promotions;
- Generating sales.
If you don’t want to do the work of building an audience to effectively use this Google Ads alternative, newsletter sponsorships can achieve the same effect. Here, you pay a company or organization to place your ad in their newsletter.
Evaluating the Effectiveness and ROI of Your Best Google Ads Alternative
Although it’s important to know what to utilize for advertising, it’s just as necessary to be able to effectively determine the level of success your campaign achieved. So, once you have decided on which Google Ads alternative to use, the next step is planning the campaign. Apart from creating the ad itself, this entails two things: determining the metrics to use for your chosen Google Ads alternative and setting out parameters by which you’ll optimize your ad.
Which Metrics Should You Look At?
There is no specific set of metrics that you need to look at. After all, what matters to you depends on the goals of your campaign. To give you an idea of which metrics to consider for the Google Ads alternative that you selected, check out our suggestions based on various goals.
- To nurture leads or increase brand awareness: Look at the number of comments, likes and views.
- To generate leads: Consider the number of email addresses/phone numbers obtained, cost per click, and lead acquisition cost.
- To generate sales: Review ROI, cost per click, customer lifetime value, customer acquisition cost.
You may add or subtract metrics for your chosen Google Ads alternative as you see fit. Just set realistic expectations, ideally based on existing numbers.
The Next Step: Split Testing and Optimization
Whether or not you’re using a Google Ads alternative, every advertising campaign runs on a loop instead of a line. Based on the numbers and outcomes from your metrics, you can decide your next step. To maximize the results that you get, we recommend two things.
- Split testing: Here, you create two versions of the ad (control and experiment) that you will run on your Google Ads alternative. The idea is to see which one performs better. You can test over and over to verify that you’re using the most effective version of the ad.
- Optimization: If some aspects of the non-performing ad are doing well, you can keep them for your new control.
Google Ads Alternative FAQ
Why should I consider alternatives to Google Ads?
It’s always a good idea to diversify. Even if you’re getting good results from Google Ads, trying out a Google Ads alternative is a great way to reach an untapped segment of your audience.
Which social media platforms are effective alternatives to Google Ads?
Many businesses have seen amazing results from the biggest social media platforms today, such as Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, Twitter, LinkedIn and more. What will be the most appropriate Google Ads alternative for you will depend on the business you’re in.
Are there search engines other than Google where I can advertise?
Apart from Google, you can also advertise on Bing, DuckDuckGo and Yahoo.
What are some niche-specific advertising platforms I should consider?
Every niche-specific Google Ads alternative we mentioned above (Amazon, Reddit and Quora) cover most of the market. It’s all about finding your place on those platforms.
Is email marketing still a viable alternative to Google Ads?
Email marketing is a great Google Ads alternative if you’re looking to grow and maintain your audience. This is a great way to drive sales and/or traffic from an audience that already knows your brand.
How can I measure the effectiveness and ROI of alternative advertising methods?
To measure the effectiveness of your chosen Google Ads alternative, you must first decide which metrics matter for your campaign. Meanwhile, you can compute the ROI by subtracting the ad spending from the revenue generated from that ad.
Can I use a combination of these alternatives for a more comprehensive advertising strategy?
Yes. Using more than one Google Ads alternative increases the odds of getting the click or the sale. It’s also great for brand awareness because, as a rule, your audience has to see your message seven times for it to truly sink in.
Conclusion: The Best Alternative to Google Ads Depends on Your Goals
Google Ads may be all about getting that click, but that may not always be what you want to achieve. After all, the goal of a campaign may not involve a click at all! When deciding which Google Ads alternative (or alternatives) to use, it’s always smart to consider what your success metrics are. For example, native advertising’s unique approach of blending in works well for increasing brand awareness or as part of a bigger campaign. Is native advertising the best Google Ads alternative for your goals? Register on the MGID platform to gain access to a personal manager, advanced tools, a wide network of publishers and a huge team of creative specialists.