Marketers, we need to have a talk. For the past few years, the cost per click of Google Adwords, and now Facebook’s newsfeed ads and promoted posts, have been climbing. It makes sense that as platforms have become more and more known to marketers and the public in general, more people have tried to take advantage of them, and they’re become more competitive. For some markets, certain keywords and audience targeting may still be viable on these networks, but many small businesses and entrepreneurs will find themselves boxed out of these networks by costs of per click sometimes into the double digit dollars. Ouch.
Instead, here are a few networks that are off the beaten path but can offer a great ROI for those willing to take the time to explore them.
Bing: Bing has been laughed off as a search engine in lieu of Google’s massive marketshare when it comes to search traffic. That said, their ad product can actually offer a decent volume of traffic at a fraction of the cost. This is partly because they’ve partnered up with other smaller search engines (like Yahoo), and ads run through the Bing ad manager will also show up on those networks. In general, you can secure the same keywords for less by using Bing if Adwords is pricing you out. Plus, their support is excellent, especially when compared with the sped of Google’s, and livechat means you can always get clarity on ad performance, no matter where you are in the world or what time it is.
Reddit: Reddit is an odd duck. Many people have been scared off from using this platform because they’ve offended a deeply defensive community. Reddit avoids promotion as much as possible, and people catch on quick when it becomes apparent that someone is posting their specialty forum or ‘subreddit’ with the express intention of promoting their brand or hawking a product. That said, reddit gives marketers the ability to pay for a link to remain at the top of a subreddit for as much time as you’re willing to pay for – and lucky for marketers that value is grossly underestimated right now, meaning you can get impressions and clicks dirt cheap. We’re talking advertisements that get 15,000 impressions for $10. If you’re writing effective ads that get even a few clicks, you’re already getting a lower cost per click than just about any platform available for mainstream marketing.
Other honorable mentions include things like Stumbleupon, where promoted content can go viral for no additional cost, and retargeting using the Bing display ad network. These are far from your only choices, but they’re a good starting point to get the wheels turning about how you might be able to leverage networks outside of the ones that grace headlines every other day. Of course, the same principles apply when keeping careful track of your ROI and split testing your ad creative to make sure you’re getting the best return possible.