Google recently made a pretty bold move with its paid advertising platform: it ceased to show ads on the right hand side of its desktop search results.
Google will continue to display ads above and below the search results and may, for “highly commercial queries” show one additional ad at the top of the search results page.
In their place you may have noticed product listing ads, which are part of Google’s paid shopping ads program.
They feature a price, product name, brand name, image, and… nothing else.
Product Listing Ads (also known as PLAs) have a couple of distinct disadvantages:
- They’re useless unless you run an ecommerce store.
- If you do run an ecommerce store they leave you to compete primarily on one thing: price.
This is pretty bad news for marketers that rely heavily on Google AdWords for traffic.
Of course, Google claim the move is in both advertisers’ and users’ best interests:
We’ve been testing this layout for a long time, so some people might see it on a very small number of commercial queries. We’ll continue to make tweaks, but this is designed for highly commercial queries where the layout is able to provide more relevant results for people searching and better performance for advertisers. – Google
And it’s fair to say that right now, we don’t know the full extent of its impact. However, advertisers are understandably worried that with fewer ad slots to bid for, prices will rise.
That makes sense. It’s simple supply and demand.
Whatever happens, it would be wise for advertisers to look at ways they can diversify where their traffic is coming from.
Here’s ten to get you started.
1. Bing Ads
Microsoft’s Bing Ads is Google’s closest rival, and its most obvious alternative. As it stands Google has by far the biggest share of the market, at around 67%:
But Bing has less competition and consequently, cheaper CPCs. Wordstream reports it as having more granular control and better device targeting options. Advertisers also have the option not to show their ads for close variants of their bid terms.
Bing Ads also, at the time of writing, still features ads on the right-hand side of the search results.
This makes it a very worthy contender as an alternative source of paid traffic to AdWords.
You need two things to advertise on YouTube (asides from a budget, of course):
- A video ad
- An AdWords account
Don’t let the AdWords bit fool you: advertising on YouTube couldn’t be more different to running a PPC campaign.
YouTube advertisers can select from two ad types: in-display ads, and in-stream ads.
In-stream ads are the videos that play before, during, or after a YouTube video. You’ll only pay when viewers watch the entirety of your video or interact with it in some way – by clicking on overlays, for instance.
In-display ads appear as part of the “suggested videos” panel. In this case you will pay when a user clicks on and begins watching your ad.
The advertiser decides how much they want to pay per view – however it’s worth noting that a higher CPV should mean you get more views.
As with most platforms, advertisers can choose from a number of targeting option including age, gender, and interests. Advanced targeting options are also available and allow advertisers to target consumers using keywords, topics, and websites.
Airpush is a mobile advertising platform for Android and iOS that enables advertisers to reach consumers using a multitude of ad types including banners, video, and push ads.
Their client base includes Coca Cola, Warner Brothers, and Amazon, so it’s safe to say they must be doing something right.
Airpush boasts a “Performance Creative Initiative” that enables advertisers to access custom design, media buying, and real-time campaign optimization services, that they promise will reduce cost and boost performance (supposedly by 300% or more).
Other helpful Airpush features include “Conversion Optimizer”; algorithmic technology that increases volume and reduces CPA, and “Hypertarget”, that allows advertisers to target users based on their app download history.
In fact, Hypertarget requires all app users to opt into seeing ads, which is great – it means viewers should be more receptive than usual.
Epom Market enables you to reach consumers on multiple platforms using a wide variety of ad formats including banners, video, and Rich Media. They’ve even partnered with a number of other ad networks including AdMob and InMobi, which means much more choice and reach for advertisers.
They promise that whatever your target market, they have publishers to match, and you’ll get peace of mind that your money’s being spent well since advertisers enjoy full control over their campaigns.
Arguably one of Epom’s greatest selling points is their customer support – they’re on hand 24/7 to assist in planning and inventory management as well as offering technical assistance.
Famebit links brands with influential content creators that want to feature their products (for a price, of course). Initially the platform existed exclusively for YouTubers but it’s since expanded to include influencers on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Vine, and Tumblr, too.
Within around 6 months of launch the service had more than 6000 content creators (exclusively YouTubers at the time) and 1000 brands on its books. Of 50,000 proposals, 10,000 had gone into production.
There’s no set fees – pricing is agreed between the brand and the influencer – Famebit just take a 10% cut of the final amount.
6. Propel Media
Formerly known as TrafficVance, ad network Propel Media offers competitively priced CPV and CPC contextual textlink and display ads.
Propel’s audience is made up of casual gamers (think mobile application gamers). This translates to: predominantly female and in their thirties. This is followed by “male urbanites” that are very active on social media. 70% of their audience have shopped online in the last 30 days.
Advertisers that currently use the platform operate in a diverse range of verticals from education and dating through to finance and shopping.
The platform’s selling points includes the quality of the traffic they send and the rate at which it usually converts (at an average of 7%). One small downside is that advertisers must stump up an initial $1000 deposit to get started.
SiteScout is a “self-serve” advertising platform. This means advertisers have full control over their campaigns. It also means they need to take some responsibility for those campaigns’ results.
It’s also an RTB platform, which stands for real-time bidding. RTB uses “behavioral and demographic data” to target ads at the right audience at exactly the right time. It’s powerful technology that until SiteScout, was only available to big brands (or small brands with big budgets).
The minimum initial deposit to start running ads through SiteScout is $500.
8. Rocket Fuel
Rocket Fuel operates in a similar manner to the aforementioned SiteScout: it uses advanced technology to understand what’s happening in that moment in order to display ads at the optimum possible time.
In other words: it’s pretty damn clever.
The platform can be integrated with advertiser’s CRM and marketing platforms – either in isolation or combination, and promises to “engage, upsell, and retarget consumers” using channels including display, video, mobile, and social.
I can’t think of a better platform for reaching businesses, business owners, and their staff, than LinkedIn (they currently have more than 433,000,000 members registered worldwide).
At present LinkedIn Ads supports two ad types:
- Sponsored updates (similar to a boosted post on Facebook). Sponsored updates will appear in users’ news feeds and look something like this:
- Text ads. These can appear in two places – just under the main menu, and on the far right of the page, underneath the “people you may know” box.
Advertisers can choose to pay according to either clicks or impressions, and must spend just $10 a day in order to get started.
As you’d probably expect, targeting options are based around industries and job roles. Specifically you can target ads:
- By job title and function
- By industry and company size
- By seniority
AdRoll is primarily a retargeting platform – this means they power ads that target consumers who have previously visited your website, using banners that follow them around the web (it’s why you might see an ad for a very small company on a very big website).
Retargeting ads are so effective – more so than a standard banner ad – because they target people that have already shown an interest in something you sell.
The way I see it, you’re practically throwing away conversions if you’re not investing in retargeting.
AdRoll specifically claim to be “the most widely used retargeting platform” and it’s easy to see why: their advanced intent technology uses more than 300 signals to ensure the right ads are targeted at the right customers, at the right time.
They also offer retargeting on mobile platforms as well as Facebook and Twitter, in addition to sites all across the web.
You can spend as much or as little as you like with AdRoll, however the number of visitors your site tends to receive determines how much you should spend if you want to maximize results. AdRoll has a handy budget estimator here, however, expect to spend around $1000 dollars if you have between 10-25k visitors monthly.
Have Google’s right-rail ad changes affected you? Have you begun using any other sources of paid traffic in their place? Leave a comment below to let us know.
Note: The opinions expressed in this article are the views of the author, and not necessarily the views of Caphyon, its staff, or its partners.