10 Alternatives to Google AdWords

By PPC Hero Ally | @Hanapin | guestblogger

Today’s post is brought to you by PPC Hero Ally Aleh Barysevich. Aleh is Marketing Director at Link-Assistant.com, the maker of SEO and social media software. The company’s flagship products include SEO PowerSuite and BuzzBundle. You can catch him on his Google+ here.



There’s no doubt Google AdWords is the leading PPC network on the web, which you should use first and foremost for your paid advertising. However, there are cases when you have to look for alternatives. There are three main reasons you might need doing that:


1)     You don’t get enough traffic from Google AdWords.


2)     It’s too expensive: the bids you pay per click are lower than the revenue per visitor you get. Though there are other ways to overcome this issue, like using displaynetwork only, misspelled or negative keywords, etc., still in many cases you just have to look for an alternative advertising platform.


3)     Your niche doesn’t match Google Adwords’ terms of services.


In this post I’ll give a short overview of second-tier networks you can add to your pay per click mix.


1.     Yahoo! Bing Network


Sign up for Bing Ads


As the name suggests, this is an ad network by the two other major search engines. Apart from Yahoo! and Bing, the marketplace features syndicated partner sites such as Facebook, Amazon plus networks like The Wall Street Journal Digital Network. As of February 2013, the Yahoo! Bing Network accounts for 30% of the online search share in the US. The main advantage of Bing Ads compared to Google AdWords is great support service: no automated reply templates, real people providing actionable tips to solve your problems. Bing Ads have lower prices compared to Google AdWords. Traffic is often lower than that in Google AdWords, yet it’s of really high quality.


You can sign up to Yahoo! Bing network here.


2.     BuySellAds


BuySellAds' website


BuySellAds is by far one of the largest networks you can use to effectively disseminate your banner ads around the web. According to BuySellAds team, they have a huge turnabout, selling over 6 billion ad impressions each month.It’s a very convenient marketplace with transparent processes, which provides a good choice of high-quality sites, especially in internet and tech niches. To buy ads, sign up here.


3.     AdRoll




AdRoll is a retargeting platform, which is one of the top third-party tools officially approved by Facebook as providing access to FBX. Apart from FBX, AdRoll supports Google AdWords and has its own ad network. However, their strongest point is really FBX. According to our in-house experience, both AdRoll’s prices and conversion rates are relatively high. 2-week free trial can be started here.


4.     7Search




7Search is one of the oldest second-tier paid advertising networks. The system has a minimum deposit of $25. The traffic is pretty cheap, so you can run a decent test for your keywords even with this deposit. On the downside, the traffic quality is low and there’ll be very little traffic for long-tail keywords, so you really need a bit of experiment to see if it works for you. 7Search Advertising account can be created here.


5.     Infolinks




Infolinks is a marketplace that supports in-text advertising, which, as creators put it, is a great way to “overcome banner blindness.” Fair enough. There are four types of ad units to choose from: inframe, insearch, intag, and intex. You can submit your advertising information to Infolinks’ Self-Serve Marketplace here, though it looks like there’s some maintenance running at the moment.


6.     Kontextua




Similar to Infolinks, Kontexua is an in-text advertising network. The major version of this service is in Spanish, so if you’re interested in the Spanish-language market, it’s definitely worth a try. Anyway they have an English version as well, so you can use it anyway. You can apply to join Kontextua as an advertiser here.


7.     DNTX.com




DNTX.com is a direct traffic navigation platform, i.e. it provides advertisers with the traffic of parked domains. Putting it into simple words, with this system you can get people who type in an exact URL of a relevant site they once visited. This site is no longer active, so they’re redirected to your site instead. Potentially you can get traffic that converts better and costs less that Google AdWords. It might work really well if you find a suitable EMD domain. When you look through the list of sites in DNTX.com, it’s not always clear from the domain name if the site is match thematically, so check relevancy additionally at archive.org. You can sign up to DNTX.com here.


8.     AdLandmark


Ad Landmark


AdLandmark is a sort of advertising network for software providers. To be more specific, it’s a pay per download service. Software advertisers submit free versions of their tools to the system, and they become available for download on multiple shareware sites. Merchant signup is available here.


9.     Sponsored Tweets


Sponsored Tweets


Sponsored Tweets is a Twitter advertising platform, which connects sponsors with Twitter users on a pay-per-Tweet basis. On the system’s core features is transparency. Advertisers can choose partners according to geography, following, category. Each link tweeted has a link that tracks the message and integrates with Google Analytics. This allows advertisers to track back and see if the ads are cost-effective. You can sign up as advertiser here.


10.  ADsmonster




ADsmonster is another alternative ad network in the sector of AdWords alternatives, which provides both low and high-quality traffic which will vary from very cheap to premium. Depending on your niche, you might find it useful. ADsmonster accept PayPal and most other standard payment options. Advertisers can register here.


Bottom Line


As you can see, alternatives to AdWords are a mixed bag. Some of them are more focused on social media, others (especially the in-text options) give access to a diverse blogging audience. Though it’s different from one network to another, we may say that the major disadvantage in general is the traffic quality. You might not have the same conversion rate with second-tier advertising networks as you would with Google AdWords and even Yahoo! Bing network. Still, bid costs leave room for experiments, traffic is cheap and abundant, so you can expect a good ROI.



Image credit: Alex_Doubovitsky via iStockphoto