Do you need a quick, reliable way to drive more traffic to your website? Are you interested in some options outside of Google AdWords to do so? Whether you’re running tests, launching a product or ramping up for seasonal demand, having some options to drive traffic can be very valuable to your business.

In this article we are going to provide you with some online advertising options – besides Google AdWords –  to drive more traffic to your website, blog or landing page.

Online Advertising Options

Why You Should Use Online Advertising

Despite the numerous success stories that come out of businesses using it, paid advertising continues to get shunned by many marketers and business owners.

Some common “reasons” why typically go something like this….

Excuses for not using online advertising

If you’ve done your homework or have run your own properly managed campaigns, then you know first hand that these statements are not entirely accurate. For those that have not and have find themselves uttering the same statements as above, then our goal is to present some information, tips and insight that will likely change your outlook on paid advertising.

Advantages of Online Advertising

If you’re not entirely sold on paid advertising yet, then here are some, of many, reasons to integrate paid campaigns into your marketing strategy:

  • There’s no quicker way to drive relevant traffic to your website
  • With even more targeting options available today even small budgets can produce great results
  • Accumulated data can help you find and target valuable keywords for your SEO campaigns
  • Results can be tracked down to each cent you spend providing a clear picture of your ROI
  • User behavior trends can be spotted from analyzing collected data
  • Getting brand awareness in competitive spaces becomes possible

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There’s More to Online Advertising Than Just Google AdWords

Paid ads have evolved from being just advertisements within search results – although those can still work extremely well – to many other options that can also help a business define user behavior, generate leads and produce sales.

Paid Search Results

Since Google AdWords is already well known by most marketers now and there are enough articles and resources online to keep anyone busy for the next 20 years we thought we would leave AdWords out of this conversation. Instead, we want to share some other paid advertising options that should be considered.

Interested in Using Adwords??
 We’re not recommending that you ignore AdWords. As a matter of fact, your business can get some excellent data and results with a properly managed AdWords campaign. If you’re interested in learning how you can use AdWords to generate more leads, produce more sales or just collect valuable data, then schedule a consultation today.

 

Viable Alternatives for Online Advertising Campaigns

If you’re interested in finding more ways to drive traffic to your site through paid campaigns, then chances are that you already understand the benefits of them in the first place. So, just for you, here are some effective online advertising options that you might want to try out…

Bing Ads

Bing Ad Campaign Tips:

The most obvious alternative to Google AdWords is Bing Ads. Formerly known as adCenter, Microsoft’s advertising platform, Bing Ads, is a great way to capture traffic from two of the top search engines in the world – Bing and Yahoo. Using this platform allows advertisers to reach over 30% of total search engine share as Bing powers ads on Yahoo, its partner sites and its own.

Bing Ad Advantages

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Your budget may go further as bids on Bing are comparatively lower than on Google

You can use more characters in your ad’s title (40) compared to Google (only 25)

Bing’s quality score is more comprehensive and transparent than Google’s

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Even with 30% market share, Google’s reach is still significantly larger

Your majority demographic is male, which is the majority demographic on Google

You’re worried that Bing will not last long as Microsoft’s & Yahoo’s pasts have been bumpy

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Bing Ad Campaign Tips:

  • Use negative keywords (don’t forget they have match types too) to keep clicks on targeted phrases only and to save on extraneous spends
  • Track, analyze and optimize your ad copy to increase click through rates
  • Segment your campaigns (ads, keywords, landing pages, etc) by desktop and mobile for better tracking

Want more tips? Check out these 10 Tips for Bing Ads

 

Facebook Ads

Facebook Ads

Content marketing campaigns are not very effective without the “marketing” part. In other words, even the best content can lay a goose egg if you’re not helping the content to get seen online. One of the best audiences to tap into is Facebook’s and one of the best ways to do that is to use Facebook Ads. With hundreds of millions of users, Facebook is hard to ignore as a legitimate online advertising option for any size business.

Facebook Ad Advantages

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You can target demographics, as opposed to just key phrases, so specific ads can be served to relevant audiences

Promoted posts are excellent ways to spread new content and gain new page likes

Sponsored stories leverage connections to increase engagement

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Tracking the value of page or post likes is not as clear as pay-per-click ROI

Sidebar advertisements are often ignored which leads to low click through rates

Advertisements can sometimes upset or annoy other users as they infiltrate their news feeds

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Facebook Ad Campaign Tips:

  • Duplicate your top landing page, customize it for your Facebook visitors and send your Facebook traffic there before anywhere else
  • Determine who your audience is or who you want them to be and only target ads to those people
  • Use images in promoted posts to get more shares and likes

Want more tips? Check out these 9 Facebook Ad Expert Tips

 

Twitter Ads

Twitter Ads

You’re not going to find a better real-time social network, at least not right now, than Twitter. The micro-update social channel is easily the quickest way to get updates from the people and brands that you care about the most. And because of this accessibility, Twitter Ads are slowly proving themselves to be a legitimate online advertising option.

Twitter Ad Advantages

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Great for gradually building your Twitter audience with interested followers

Quick way to pick up retweets for selected updates

Inexpensive way (at least currently) to build brand awareness on Twitter

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Tracking and reporting is extremely limited to very basic information

Don’t expect any real customer support to help with managing your ads if you’re used to Google AdWords’ support

Campaign settings do not allow (at least not yet) for scheduling, geo-targeting or budget adjustments throughout the day

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Twitter Ad Campaign Tips:

  • Use promoted posts for tweets that share quality content, tips or info and have a link back to your website in them
  • Use the promoted account option to gain followers and build your Twitter audience
  • Use promoted trends to get a relevant hashtag of yours to trend and get seen by thousands of users

Want examples of campaigns that have worked? Check out these 5 Successful Campaigns

 

LinkedIn Ads

LinkedIn Ads

Although we’re not particularly fond of using LinkedIn Ads for our business we don’t think this is a reason for you to write it off for yours. The fact that LinkedIn has quietly continued its steady growth and stability compared to other popular networks it would be wrong to immediately ignore the network as a place to serve advertising. No other social network can be placed in the same sentence with LinkedIn when it comes to a dedicated social network for professionals looking to actually network.

LinkedIn Ad Advantages

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Like Facebook Ads, campaigns can be targeted to specific demographics allowing ads to be more relevant

There’s no better website to serve ads on that is specific to business professionals looking to network

Easier to directly access / target business decision makers

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Click through rates seem to be abysmal – even worse than Facebook

Activity is not as spread out throughout the week as peak times are only around mid-week

Campaign costs are considerably higher than other social networks

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LinkedIn Ad Campaign Tips:

  • Use an image in your ad to get a higher click through rate
  • Target ads to specific demographics and interests to get higher click through and conversion rates
  • Bid at the high range of the “Suggested Range” or above it to get better placement and thus, more impressions

Want more tips? Check out 5 Ways to Make Your LinkedIn Ads Rock

 

StumbleUpon Paid Discovery

StumbleUpon Paid Discovery

Getting into the lesser known paid advertising options brings us to StumbleUpon Paid Discovery. If you’re not familiar with StumbleUpon, then you’re missing out one of the best discovery engines on the web. It may also hold the title for the best referral traffic source that you probably didn’t know about. If you’re pushing out content that is creative, different, resourceful and not filled with your sales pitch, then chances are that people are “stumbling” across your content.

StumbleUpon Paid Discovery Advantages

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Very, very cheap (like $50 for 1,000 visitors cheap)

Like Facebook and LinkedIn, campaigns can be demographically targeted for relevance

Simple integration with Google Analytics to easily track campaign performance

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Does not work well for content that promotes products or services only

Poor content will lead to extremely high bounce rates

Large surges of traffic could be misleading if the traffic is not staying / engaging with your content

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StumbleUpon Paid Discovery Campaign Tips:

  • Use “Guaranteed Discovery” to bypass StumbleUpon’s quality score for submitted content
  • Associated multiple categories to your content instead of just one to find the best combination for increased exposure
  • Target campaigns by device (handheld vs desktop) to get better engagement on relevant content

Need more information? Get it here with these 3 Targeting Options that Enable You to Reach Your Target Audience

 

Reddit Ads

Reddit Ads

Did you even know that you could advertise on Reddit? Be honest. Well, you can and Reddit Ads can actually be a great paid option for many businesses with creative content. Like StumbleUpon, Reddit is a commonly unknown, under-appreciated potential source of referral traffic. One really creative or viral piece of content that is coupled with the proper ad campaign can drive thousands of visitors to your site for very little cost.

Reddit Ad Advantages

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With the right combination of creativity and timing, Reddit can send thousands of visitors very quickly

Can target ads based on what users are interested in as opposed to demographics or keywords

With ads having comments, you can get real-time feedback

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Ads don’t get as much traffic as regular submissions

Niche sections, or sub-reddits, may not offer enough traffic

With users being able to downvote your ad, multiple downvotes can prevent you from advertising temporarily

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Reddit Ad Campaign Tips:

  • Make sure your site can handle a huge surge in traffic before running an ad as Reddit has brought down many sites
  • Change up your ad copy often or else you’ll get scathing comments from Redditors about your stale message
  • Make your ad copy and landing page REALLY good (funny, creative, unique) or else (see previous tip)

Need to understand Reddit better? Check out this Top Secret Method for Marketing Effectively on Reddit

 

Yelp Ads

Yelp Ads

If you have a local business whose customers get influenced heavily by sites like Yelp, then you may want to take a look at Yelp Ads. With millions of unique monthly visitors and patrons relying on the site to decide on what businesses to visit or use, serving up ads on this highly active website may be a good fit for your company. Just be ready to stay on top of your Yelp profile and business page as the built in forum allows all reviews, good or bad, to help or hurt many companies.

Yelp Ad Advantages

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Find out by contacting usleaving a comment or using the tabs above to view the pros and cons.

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Ads get very prominent placement throughout search results and business details pages

Many different targeting options depending on whether you’re a local business, national / regional business or a national brand or agency

High activity and usage on Yelp mean increased ad exposure for your business

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Can be expensive as most campaigns start at $300 – $1000

Ads keep users within Yelp as opposed to driving them back to your website

Good placement and reviews replace the need for ads that can get lost in the already busy UI

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Yelp Ad Campaign Tips:

  • Make sure your business page has a good rating and primarily good reviews before driving traffic to it
  • Only use Yelp Deals if your business gets a lot of foot traffic on a regular basis as mobile users see / use these more often
  • Assure that your Yelp page has good, updated photos as these will be used in your ad and a bad photo can be a turn off

Need more convincing? Check out these Yelp Advertising Rules

 

Retargeting

Retargeting Ads

Saving the best for last is retargeting. Retargeting, also known as remarketing, is not a specific website or ad network, but rather a form of online advertising that keeps your brand in front of bounced traffic after they have left your website. This option deserves a post on its own (coming soon), but if you’re interested in learning more about how retargeting works, then one of our favorite providers, Retargeter, has an easy to understand resource. This is easily our favorite option for paid advertising.

Retargeting Advantages

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Excellent way to capture conversions from visitors that left your website without converting previously

Easy to setup and manage through vendors like Retargeter.com or AdRoll.com

Self-managed options available for those looking for more control over their campaigns

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Retargeted ads can be seen as being “creepy” as they follow past visitors around the web

Some previous visitors may actually get annoyed that your ads are constantly in front of them

If your website doesn’t get at least 5,000 unique visitors per month, then retargeting won’t work well due to recommended frequency rates

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Retargeting Campaign Tips:

  • Limit your campaigns to follow visitors for no more than 7-10 days as any more will probably annoy them
  • Only retarget people that visit specific landing pages likely to produce conversions as someone viewing a “Careers” page is not relevant
  • Keep your brand’s logo prominent and consistent throughout your ads to maintain brand awareness

Want more tips? Check out Retargeting Tips for Highly-Regulated Advertisers


Universal Tips for Effective Paid Ads

As you’ve probably noticed there are some redundant pieces of information and advice across the eight online advertising options we have presented.

This is not because we ran out of the good stuff for you or we’re choosing to not share that information, but rather that there are some universal tips you should focus on to get the most out of your paid ad campaigns. These universal tips are as follows:

  • Take advantage of the different targeting options to extend your budget and get more relevant traffic
  • Test different ad creatives to find the ones that produce the highest click through and conversion rates
  • Only send paid traffic to relevant, conversion-optimized landing pages to get the best ROI
  • Be creative, different, funny with your ads to get the best results
  • Track early and often to spot trends and, more importantly, ads that are dragging your campaign(s) down

It’s incredibly easy to throw money at these at these different online advertising options – especially if you’re distracted by metrics that don’t lead to actual results.

Before spending a dime on any of them make sure to do your research, reach out to professionals who have already run successful campaigns on them and hire someone to manage them for you if you’re not capable of doing so yourself.

Of course, we’re here to help. Either click the button below to schedule a consultation with us, leave us a comment or question or message us on any of the many ways to reach us on social media.

Need help implementing any of these online advertising alternatives?

a href=”/schedule-a-consultation/” class=”btn btn-primary btn-lg”>SCHEDULE A CONSULTATION


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Vinny La Barbera

I’ve been working in online marketing since 2000 and have helped thousands of companies improve their online presence and grow their business through better web / mobile design, development and online marketing.Learn more about me or follow me on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ or LinkedIn.

  • Thanks for the information. I have experimented with most of these options except for Reddit and StumbleUpon. Keep up the good posts :)

    • You’re very welcome Michael.

      I would definitely recommend giving StumbleUpon a look as they have consistently been able to send large influxes of traffic. Just be prepared to see your bounce rate shoot through the roof as StumbleUpon visitors bounce from page to page.

      Reddit is a whole other beast, but one that can be extremely effective. If you’re going to work Reddit into your strategy just make sure you take some time to understand the makeup of the audience and user base there. Typical ad campaigns or social sharing of business based articles don’t typically get received very well there.

      Good luck!

  • Will C

    I’ve had great luck driving traffic via StumbleUpon as well. Super easy to use, carve out audiences by age, gender and interests and the ad unit isn’t your standard banner or post it renders your actual site when stumbling.

  • Facebook ads are getting into mainstream and i have seen using even very small publishers it to drive traffic to their site. Facebook ads are very simple yet effective given its impact on the social crowd.

  • This is a very good article. Unfortunately the poor results Google generates are much better than the other options you mention.
    I find just advertising on specific industry targeted websites produce the best results. This takes a lot of time and effort.
    I wish there were several more good options to Google that produce even greater ROI than Google does.
    For most advertisers Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc. have terrible results that are much worse then even Google. I am not sure about Bing vs. Google.

    • Tom, thanks for reading the post and taking the time to leave your thoughts.

      I’m going to have to disagree you with though as we’ve fantastic results from all of those different ad platforms (AdWords, Facebook Ads, Twitter Ads, etc). They do require proper setup, oversight and constant optimization though. If any one of those things are lacking, then you’re correct those platforms will underperform and become money pits.

  • Very informative article.. Thanks for sharing..