Google's AdWords service is great, wouldn't you agree? It's a go-to place for all affiliates, both newbies and veterans in the field. At first glance it has everything necessary for a successful campaign: it has a huge network of sites, it has flexible pricing models, comes with an awesome dashboard, super advanced analytics and an amazing customer support.
But many affiliates, especially veteran ones, often find themselves in the position when there is simply not much more they can do with AdWords. Once they reach extremely high spend volumes, scaling becomes an issue. They hit a glass ceiling. In that case, it’s time to expand your horizons and start looking for other PPC networks to add to your arsenal.
Below you'll find a list of PPC networks that could help you solve such an issue.
If you haven't tried Facebook's Ads already, you are seriously missing out. The social network is currently closing in on two billion active users and has impressive engagement rates, mostly because it is a multimedia trendsetter. It pushed photos and images when the internet was 'obsessed' with text, and was first to push mobile video, which is basically mainstream nowadays. It is investing heavily in 360 video and virtual reality, setting itself up for another couple of years at the forefront of the internet.
All of this is making Facebook an amazing PPC platform. Its audience is widely varied with different demographics, various interests and social statuses. With the recent addition of shopping ads and the fact that it works around adblockers, it is probably the best competitor to AdWords.
The Bing search engine might not be as used as Google, but it has its advantages. For starters, it comes with a somewhat cheaper CPC, although that is expected given the lower traffic volume. According to Bing's sign-up page, "the Bing Network audience spends 25 percent more online than average internet searchers,” which is Microsoft’s way of saying its results are better-targeted.
Bing as a service isn’t that tiny, either. It has a fair share of the desktop search market (21.6 percent). On mobile, however, Google is still the dominating force, taking up 96.1 percent, which makes sense knowing how powerful Android is.
The digital sweetheart of teenagers, the Facebook for the post-millennial generation, Instagram should probably be your number one source of traffic from younger audiences. According to fresh numbers (May 2017), Instagram is the fourth most popular social networking site with 275 million estimated unique monthly visitors. Being under Facebook’s wing, Instagram’s ad creation process is virtually identical to the one on Facebook, saving you time on learning and adapting.
LinkedIn is the dark horse of advertising platforms. It is often ignored, but with half a billion active users that it has today, it is becoming a more mainstream option. LinkedIn offers two ways to advertise. One is in the social network's news feed itself, where advertising is more focused on stories and content, and the other one is on the site's right-hand side, where a more traditional ad model is allowed. As LinkedIn is, generally speaking, a professional platform, it is a great opportunity for those looking to target businesses, or those with particular skills or experiences.
Affiliates, and ecommerce merchants in particular, should always consider Amazon’s ad platform. It is one of the world’s largest online marketplaces. Amazon Advertising places ads on every product page, allowing affiliates to easily be found, but also helping others find desired products faster.
It offers standard-sized ads on both desktop and mobile, mobile interstitials and in-stream video ads. Premium offerings also allow sellers to drive traffic elsewhere.
The obvious downside of Yahoo Gemini is its volume, as it is obviously nowhere near Google or even Bing. But it has its advantages, which mostly come in the form of pricing. Yes, Yahoo's ad platform is stunningly cheap. Also, signing up for Gemini means you get assigned an Account Executive which 'follows' you every step of the way, making sure you're pulling out the absolute maximum from your campaign. Another welcome addition is the fact that you can import Google AdWords campaigns into Yahoo Gemini. For those looking to cover every inch of the internet fast, this feature can be a huge timesaver.
This one is also a strong contestant mainly because of its unique audience. Men on Pinterest comprise just seven percent of the site’s total audience, making it an ideal opportunity for those interested in targeting women. With 175 million monthly visitors, it’s easy to do the math on how many women could be targeted through the platform. According to Pinterest, 75 percent of Pins saved to Pinterest come from businesses. The platform offers sponsored pins, meaning its content-based advertising. Saved promoted pins last forever, meaning they could be driving traffic long after the campaign has ended.
“Advertisers receive an average of 20 percent more (free!) clicks in the month after launching a Promoted Pin campaign,” Pinterest claims.
The platforms mentioned in this article are highly competitive and viable choices, but they're far from being the only AdWords alternatives out there. There are many others out there worth checking, like AdMob, SelfAdvertiser, InMobi, Twitter, or StumbleUpon.
A mega affiliate will never stick to a single PPC platform, no matter what results it offers. Instead, they will try different ones, test the results, see which work best for a particular campaign, and then proceed. In many cases, the best affiliates will use multiple platforms, playing to each one's strengths, while annulling their unique weaknesses by bulking them up. Try them out and see which ones work best for you. Who knows, you might find a great source of traffic in some of them.