Thinking Outside the Google Box: Alternative Advertising Networks

Where are you investing your ad budget? Join us as we explore advertising networks outside of Google and the strategies that they pair best with.

Google’s advertising service is a powerful engine for driving fast traffic to your site, but it isn’t the only game in town, and its gigantic reach does not mean that it is the right fit for every merchant. Luckily, the pay-per-click/cost-per-click (PPC/CPC) model exists in other advertising networks as well, allowing for a wide range of budgets and marketing goals.

Other search engines


Google commands the highest share of the search market, but even the smallest slice of the market can still mean considerable traffic. Bing, Google’s closest competitor, offers its own ad service, built on a similar platform of keyword bidding and click-based or impression-based costs.

Investing in Bing ads means that your will have a smaller pool of visitors to reach, but it also means that you will likely have fewer competitors, which could mean lower marketing costs at the click, ad and campaign level.

Social Media

Although most social media platforms have begun offering their own advertising network products, they require a different approach. Search engines generally have more visitors, but social media sites command destination traffic: visitors who remain on the site for a considerable amount of time.

This traffic can be ecommerce gold, if you have a well-formed social media presence and a clear sense of your audience; your ad variables will be based on user characteristics, preferences and behaviors rather than search terms.


Facebook, in particular, represents the opportunity to reach over a billion users who have eagerly organized themselves into identifiable niches and subcultures. If you have clearly-defined target market in mind, with common interests, then Facebook’s advertising network may prove to be a better investment than Google’s.

However, keep in mind that it will generally be a better investment to send visitors to your Facebook page rather than directing clicks to your site—visitors that click on an ad only to be taken off site are more likely to back out of the entire process. Take your time to build an attractive Facebook presence before investing in advertising.


Twitter represents a unique opportunity, even amongst other social media platforms. The fast-paced nature of this network makes it perfect for advertising time-sensitive marketing material, such as holiday specials and limited time offers.

If you have a considerable following already, and if you can leverage immediacy to promote your products and services, devote some of your budget towards Twitter to see how its ROI compares to AdWords. You may be surprised by the results.


LinkedIn deserves special mention because of three factors: many businesses have prioritized their LinkedIn profile over profiles in other networks, advertising on LinkedIn is often considerably cheaper than advertising in other networks and it represents one of the best options for B2B marketing. If you are already engaged with your target audience on LinkedIn, then consider allocating some of your time and money towards advertising there.

For more advise on diversifying your marketing strategy, be sure to explore our Ultimate Field Guide to Ecommerce Conversions.