Google AdWords has been the leading PPC network for the last 15 years because of the number of searches, sites on the GDN, and their continued leadership in the digital space. Even with this, it is easy to think AdWords should be at the forefront of every PPC plan, but there are scenarios when you should look to alternatives for results. There are three main reasons you might need to do this:

1) You don’t get enough traffic from Google AdWords. It could be that your brand is new and it needs more awareness or having a small niche with a tight set of keywords.

2) It’s too expensive. Bids and competitive costs continue to rise. AdWords isn’t always viable due to the industry and the value returned. With this, there are other avenues that will help create more value outside of the most competitive platform.

3) Too much traffic. This scenario can also be harmful. It can cause low CTRs, higher bids, low conversion volume, and in turn, low Quality Scores. This can be a result of a product or service where keywords can have multiple meanings and require a larger set of negatives and qualifier messaging in ad copy, a competitive industry or market, or a broader topic like “shoes” (as a very broad example).

In this post, I’ll give a short overview of other networks that can be added to your PPC mix to drive qualified traffic and results.

1. Bing Ads

Bing Ads login screen

Bing Ads has continued to be an under-utilized network with two other major search engines. Though Yahoo!, AOL, and Bing are used far less than their Google counterpart, they still have valuable users that can only be found on these engines and their syndicated search partners.

Bing search infographic

In 2016, Bing Ads had 31.3 percent of the market share with 5 billion monthly searches and 160 million unique searches.

Bing also quotes that “the Bing Network audience spends 25 percent more online than average internet searchers.” This eludes to getting more results and better results by using Bing Ads.

Bing Ads typically has lower CPCs compared to AdWords, but with that typically comes lower traffic volume compared to Google.

You can sign up for Bing Ads here.

2. Yahoo Gemini

Yahoo Gemini sign up or login screen

A lesser used advertising option is Yahoo! Gemini. Using intent-driven targeting, like their large headline says, Gemini uses a range of ad types to target users cross-device and cross-platform. You can use Gemini for revenue, brand awareness, and app promotion.


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3. AdRoll

AdRoll sign up or login screen

AdRoll is a well known and widely used 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’s Display Network along with its own ad network. The strongest campaign type is FBX. According to our in-house experience, both AdRoll’s prices and conversion rates are relatively high.

AdRoll now offers other products outside of just retargeting. These include prospecting (programmatic display), email retargeting, and a new product called “AdRoll Onsite,” which nudges visitors down the funnel through personalized pop-ups.

4. Amazon

Amazon advertising overview

If you are an ecommerce merchant, Amazon is a great opportunity to grow through sponsored products. Through this process, if you sell your products on Amazon, you can pay for sponsored shopping ads that will direct users to those products on Amazon.

Amazon also offers other premium services to drive traffic off Amazon, but the best place to start is through the Amazon Seller platform and creating keyword campaigns that drive users to your products within the site.

5. Quantcast

Quantcast login screen

Quantcast has always touted its data set and audience insights to mold a new, untapped display audience for marketers. Driving visits and revenue to your site.

Quantcast offers a free data and audience insights tool called Quantcast Measure to help advertisers build their strategy, learn about their audience behaviors and personas, and learn about competitor audiences.

Quantcast then offers its paid advertising, programmatic, real-time, display advertising, focusing on new acquisition and audience views. Find a new unique visit and revenue stream untapped by your other channels.

6. BuySellAds

BuySellAds advertising solutions

BuySellAds is by far one of the largest networks you can use to effectively disseminate your banner ads around the web. According to the BuySellAds team, they have a huge turnabout, selling over 6 billion ad impressions each month. It’s a 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.

7. Infolinks

Infolinks advertising sign up or login screen

Infolinks is a marketplace that is based on user intent and real-time engagement to show ads to users. Infolinks has changed since 2013 and has built out their product and ad units focusing on real-time engagement for relevant ads based on what and where the user is searching. There are now 6 types of ad units to choose from compared to their initial four.

  • inarticle – “User-initiated expanding ad”
  • infold – “Search and display, above the fold”
  • inscreen – User intent focused using interstitial ads
  • inframe – “Display ads with an edge”
  • intext – Native ads presented in a page’s text
  • intag – Display valuable keywords based on the page content

You can submit your advertising information to Infolinks’ Self-Serve Marketplace here.

8. Facebook

Facebook advertising

As most of us know, Facebook is a great opportunity to build engagement and sales. Through 3 main campaign types, you can interact with your desired audience to build awareness, conversions, or funnel-driven results through remarketing.

Facebook continues to add new ad types and integrations like its newest shopping ads and continued emphasis on video and mobile.

9. LinkedIn

LinkedIn advertising

An underutilized opportunity for B2B is LinkedIn. Hanapin’s team has written a lot of great posts about LinkedIn, including a beginner’s guide to help get this platform started. LinkedIn offers business targeting options from targeting specific job titles to doing ABM (Account Based Marketing) focused on specific businesses and job types. Ads can be in the feed and be content focused or use more text-based ads that show up on the right-hand side.

10. Pinterest

Pinterest advertising

It can be hard to think that a platform based on pictures can drive revenue, but according to Pinterest, “87% of Pinners bought something because of content on Pinterest.”

So, when you think that people don’t use Pinterest to buy products or services or to actually go shopping, think again. Pinterest really should be looked at as a “shopping platform.”


As you can see, there are many alternatives to AdWords that diversify your marketing mix. By integrating more channels into to your daily advertising strategy, you will incorporate a larger audience, build a funnel, gain more sales over time, and have touch points across all network types on the web (search engines, app stores, marketplaces, display, and social media, others (especially the in-text options).

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Image credit: Alex Doubovitsky via iStockphoto

2013 original post was brought to you by PPC Hero Ally Aleh Barysevich. Aleh is Marketing Director at, 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.