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Three AdWords Alternatives To Test In Your Marketing Mix

Google AdWords (Google Ads) is a widely used platform in digital marketing with its pay-per-click (PPC) service. But in the world of digital advertising, bigger isn’t always better.

A platform like Google AdWords is not always the most cost-effective tool and often pits small- to midsize businesses against larger companies in an unfair advantage.

This is because PPC works on a bidding process placement, and companies with larger revenue pools to pay the higher per-click prices typically outbid those with more modest budgets.

For those looking for alternatives to Google AdWords or to add variety to their online advertising methods, the following three AdWords alternatives are a great place to start.

1. Microsoft Advertising

Microsoft Advertising, formerly known as Bing Ads, is notably the competitor to Google Adwords. While both platforms operate in the same PPC methods, there are some differences in the overall features for each. Some of the advantages of Microsoft Advertising include an expanded reach beyond the Google network, a lower cost-per-click (CPC), and a ramped-up system that leads to a more effective click-through-rate (CTR).

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Search Engines beyond Google

Microsoft Advertising serves three household-name search engines, Bing, Yahoo! and AOL. When ads are placed, they can be viewed on all three engines. Additionally, the ad’s reach expands to any sites operated by the three search engines as well as any partnering sites with those search engines.

Despite Google having the upper hand on online search traffic, Microsoft’s structure affords a substantial reach. Take Yahoo!, for example. The search engine partners with some of the top content and e-commerce websites including PayPal and social media networks like Facebook and Twitter.

More affordable CPC

Many companies can benefit from Microsoft’s reach combined with its lower CPC rate. According to Wordstream, the average per-click rate range in 2022 is $2 to $4, and studies have indicated that because Microsoft has less competition than Google Adwords, the CPC tends to remain lower.

According to a ReportGarden, which analyzes digital marketing data, the average cost-per-click on Microsoft Advertising is about $7.99 compared to Google Adwords’s $20.08.

Granular Targeting

Using the latest in targeting technology, Microsoft Advertising is able to target in the same way Google AdWords does. The platform’s audience targeting tools can help companies use criteria to narrow down a focus, which leads to better conversion.

Those targets can include:

  • Age
  • Location
  • Device being used
  • Gender
  • Time of the day
  • Profile (via Linkedin)

Naturally, more targeted ad placement leads to a better CTR, ultimately resulting in a better Return on Investment (ROI) for advertisers.

2. Compado’s Purchase-Motivated Audiences

A start-up and customer-acquisition platform from Berlin, Germany, is making gains in the digital marketing field by helping companies acquire more customers and experience growth in more focused and highly effective ways.

Compado’s platform for purchase-motivated audiences gives marketers access to advertising space on thousands of media sites. Advertisers may place and advertise their brand through quizzes, ranking lists, coupons, blog posts, reviews, and many more means of recommendation.

The company specializes in identifying high-intent audiences and offers advertisers a place to go to find ready-to-buy customers online, rather than just finding them through clicks, impressions, downloads or other pre-conversion events.

Pay-per-customer, not clicks

Through careful artificial intelligence methods, Compado identifies shoppers who are ready to buy using front-end outlets such as:

  • Media sites
  • Ranking and recommendation websites
  • Coupons and discount codes
  • Review sites
  • Quizzes
  • Widgets
  • Advertising banners

Once the customers are identified, Compado then routes them towards well-matching brands that have partnered with the company and set up a pay-per-customer fee structure.

Opening doors to Intent Marketing

Compado’s strategy aligns with what online marketers want – high-intent users. And in turn, intent marketing gives the user what he or she wants – the brand that best matches his or her need.

The user’s intent is boosted by the interaction with Compado’s front-end tools, such as quizzes or ranking lists. When a user interacts with a recommendation from Compado, it fuels the user’s motivation to buy. That leads to more converted sales, according to Andreas Hoogendijk, chief executive officer of Compado. Hoogendijk noted in a report that it is not uncommon to see conversion rates of 20% or more.

Money-saving efficiency

Because the platform is full-service, companies save on research costs and rely on more effective data, which also lowers costs by weeding out shoppers who are less likely to buy. Companies also save by optimizing their digital advertising dollars rather than broadly advertising in the hopes of catching a target audience.

“We do everything. A partnering brand only needs to let us know their customer value or how much a customer is worth to them,” said Joschka Weltgen, Compado’s chief strategy officer. “And since they only pay per customer, it is incredibly efficient, especially during the current economic downturn when efficiency and cost-saving become more important for all businesses around the globe.”

3. Native Advertising Networks

As the online world grows, so does the use of more consumer-directed digital marketing methods like native advertising.

Native advertising, or sponsored content, flows seamlessly into whatever platform it is placed on. Unlike a “pop-up” ad or something boxed in at the top or side of the page, native advertisements are integrated into the content surrounding it. For example, a native ad on a social media site is formatted in the same manner as the user-generated posts that precede and follow it.

Today, the practice of using native advertising in a PPC format is a rapidly growing trend with no end in sight.

Advantages of native advertising

According to Forbes, the use of native advertising works so well because they are less disruptive to users and they effectively help a company scale its business.

Networks, like Taboola and Outbrain, which merged to form a single company in 2019, use their advanced technology to allow advertisers to place ads on big publishing sites, like MSN or USA Today.

With a focus on the discovery of new products and services, native advertising networks Taboola and Outbrain pose a proper starting point for growing Marketing reach beyond Google’s search engine. “For example, many people engage with content on their mobile devices when they’re waiting at a doctor’s office or online in a store; these people are in more of an exploratory mode than searching for specific information per se,” says Taboola CEO Adam Singolda.

Native advertising trends

Just how effective is native advertising these days? According to studies published on Taboola’s website:

  • The global native ad market will reach $400 billion by 2025
  • 83% of native business-to-business (B2B) advertisers in 2021 were new
  • Native ad images without text produce higher CTRs
  • Native advertising is effective for Fortune 500 and startup companies
  • Native advertising is especially suitable for raising consumer awareness

No one-size-fits-all approach

Regardless of the reported success behind Google AdWords, there’s a world of Marketing channels beyond the Google universe worth exploring.

Instead, companies can look to alternatives like Microsoft Advertising, Compado’s purchase-motivated audiences or native advertising tools to scale their business.

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