Get new additional traffic over a competitor, for a fraction of the cost on Google and Bing.
Successful Ad Agencies always measure their success on the value they create for their clients, on the leads and traffic they bring, while continuing to improve return on investment. A major part of their strategy includes Google AdWords and Facebook, but that is never the end. There are many other advertising networks out there, with unique offerings that can bring in quality clicks and conversions at lower costs. Leveraging these networks, experimenting with these platforms can bring in some really amazing returns!
There’s no doubt about it – Google and Facebook have become extremely popular advertising platforms. Over 1.5 million businesses advertise on Facebook and roughly the same number are advertising through Google AdWords. These two are, by far, the two most popular advertising platforms out there, but there are reasons to choose other ad networks as well.
Consumers are increasingly spending more time researching and understanding the products they want to buy online and you need to leverage multiple alternative platforms to reach out to these customers.
On the big ad networks you are competing against hundreds of other companies for the attention of the same market share, paying increased CPC or CPM fees that all these other advertisers drive up. Naturally the costs have risen by nearly 40% over the past two years.
This post lists down the various alternative ad networks and their unique offerings, which will help you find additional ways to grow your PPC accounts. You may have heard of these advertising networks referred to as second or third tier search engines, but these terms can be deceiving for two reasons. First, it makes it seem like traffic from these sites is of a lower quality which is not the case. These advertisers can generate many quality leads at a cheaper cost. Second, many of these advertisers are not search engines at all. They may show ads in search results but a lot of these sites have contextual networks where ads gather most of their impressions. So let’s refer to this group of sites as alternative advertising networks. These alternative advertising networks supplement Google to drive more quality traffic and leads to your site.
Although these ad networks don’t drive as much traffic as Google, they all bring in leads for a much lower cost per conversion which can improve ROI. If you can A/B test placements in these networks and find out what’s working for you, you can be assured of high volume, high quality, and low-cost clicks.
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Factors you should take into consideration while deciding on an Ad Network.
There are many excellent ad networks out there to choose from, but which one is best for your business model?
As always, there’s no single answer to that question, there are many different factors and variables that you need to consider before zeroing on a network.
- Large ad networks typically work with thousands of different publishers. Try to find out which publishers are in their inventory and see if they’re relevant to your target audience. Really, there’s no point running ads on websites that your target demographic isn’t viewing.
- Check out if you they have systems in place to to detect and deter click fraud in online advertising.
- Does their service include personal account managers to advise and assist you with campaign management?
- Find out if their network includes a good mix of high traffic sites like shopping portals, social networks, search engines, emails, portals, video, game, movie and niche, sector specific content sites, which can bring you more visitors and so more conversions.
- Chose networks which offer advanced targeting features giving you more control over refining audiences.
- A good Network should offer you with a dashboard which ties together Contextual, PPC and CPV advertising products in one centralized location. A dashboard that provides automatic updates, statistical reporting and changes in real-time, making campaign management easy and efficient.
- Good support platform in place offering both email and call support.
- Think through before opting for the run-on-network campaigns. Many of the ad networks listed below allow you to have your ads placed on random websites in their inventory. There are pros and cons to this option. The downside is that your ads may not be displayed on the highest quality or most relevant sites in the network. On the other hand, this can be an efficient way to test multiple sites to see which ones are consistent with your branding and traffic goals.
- Select the right network and categories that are most relevant for your business, and write your ads.
- A/B test your ads rigorously and quickly to understand if the network is working for you.
Familiarize yourself with the different options each network allows before deciding which is most appropriate. Following this checklist will help you close in on the right platform.
So here we go!
Operating since 2008, 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. BuySellAds offers advertisers a mix of display ads, media buys, sponsored content and custom unit opportunities. It also boasts 2 billion guaranteed ad impressions a month, working with 1,500+ well-known publishers like the Atlantic, NPR and PBS.
7Search is one of the oldest second-tier paid advertising networks and provides a search engine to smaller niche website partners. They have a very low minimum deposit of just $25. So, if you want to test a few campaigns your upfront cost is just $25. It really depends on the niche and keywords you are focusing on, but in general you should be able to get some decent traffic really cheap.
Advertise.com provides a good mix of online advertising, including search ads, contextual ads, inline text ads, toolbar ads, mobile ads and on parked domains. They claim to deliver 180 million people per month and 10 billion monthly ad impressions. The cost of advertising is just a fraction of what it would cost on Google and the quality of traffic is also good. They have a ton of volume for pennies but you have to optimize your campaigns.
As one of the biggest ad networks, eZanga is a good way to be found by new audiences, specific verticals or niche markets that are difficult to reach on the major search engines. eZanga’s search engine network has the ability to aggregate web sites directly from second and third tier networks. Advertising customers are given access to large volumes of traffic at one centralized location, saving them time by dealing with one source rather than several hundred networks. eZanga is able to produce an upward 10-12 billion searches per month, comparative to 15% the size of Google.
Revcontent isn’t as large as Taboola or Outbrain, but it’s growing remarkably fast. The Revcontent platform delivers 100 billion content recommendations a month, so it has plenty of volume to test your native ads campaigns. Your brand can use the site to reach customers through Newsweek, Forbes, Match.com, The Daily Dot and many other highly regarded publishers.
The fourth largest advertiser marketplace, a multi-solution ad network that specializes in performance-based marketing solutions utilizing its powerful predictive technology and completely anonymous consumer response patterns to connect advertisers with consumers across multiple channels, including email, search, domains, and social networks. Ads are dynamically generated and placed within category-specific creatives and delivered to those users who are most likely to respond. Over 10,000 advertisers use the Adknowledge ad network to promote their offers.
Infolinks is an ad provider specializing in contextual text links, Which is a great way to overcome ‘banner blindness’. Infolinks specializes in providing self service contextual ads targeted to text elements, users search intent, context of the publisher page and tag clouds. If you have a product that can be mentioned through generic terms fairly commonly used, it can be a very powerful ad network. On the other hand, if your product is too niche and there’s too little traffic for the keyword, you’re not going to see much of a return.
8. TLV Media
TLV Media is a leading Real-Time Bidding (RTB) advertising platform, developing proprietary technology for performance optimization in a real time environment. Their private exchange offers advertisers over 50 billion impressions monthly from premium publishers worldwide. s. Combined with advanced targeting capabilities over display and mobile inventory, their technology pinpoints the exact media placement and target audience per each campaign, and then monitors, analyzes and improves its results. With a low minimum payment of $50, this is definitely a good place to start.
There are a few good CPV networks out there ready to drive thousands of clicks to your affiliate campaigns every single day, but 50OnRed definitely stands out. 50onRed can be a wonderful source of traffic for new campaign launches. They specialize in contextual inline text ads. Creating a new campaign only takes about a minute, finding and adding new target URLs and keywords is a breeze, and editing your bids is instant. They have done a really great job of streamlining the process of managing your PPV campaigns. Their initial deposit is a bit high at $500.
Matomy is a global performance-based company that specialises in multichannel marketing, delivering 60 billion monthly impressions. This network offers international mobile campaigns, audience-based buying & retargeting including both CPI and CPA models. Matomy caters to both mobile publishers and advertisers, allowing publishers to maximise their revenue through their apps and advertisers to grow their reach and generate leads.
Pulse 360 is a CPC network that gives advertisers access to over 200 million impressions every day on over 400 different websites. They have a number of targeting options to help you test drive campaigns, as well as tools for evaluating and optimizing your creatives before you put your money on the line with live ads. This feature is useful for demographic and interests targeting.
Criteo is a unique platform which provides Automatic and real-time audience segmentation and personalized creatives with a self service platform. Criteo provides an excellent solution for retargeting. Given the importance of retargeting for an advertiser focused on performance, it is beneficial to work with a provider focused on this channel versus a generalist that offers commodity products for a range of tactics.
A contextual targeting ad network that automatically matches your ads to the most relevant websites in Clicksor’s network. Create text or graphic banner ads, pop-under ads or interstitial ads — appearing between web pages — and pay per click (CPC), per 1,000 impressions (CPM), or per visit (CPV). Clicksor needs to improve their Conversion Tracking implementation. Otherwise, this platform is definitely worth a try.
14. Conversant Media
This is a renowned advertising platform that offers its users several different advertising options. You can advertise on some of the publications they have developed, including Foxtel or Vice, or use their native ad services, such as Largetail and Outbrain.
Exponential is a global digital agency that connects advertisers with over 600 million daily users. This advertising networks allows you to market to viewers on multiple devices, enabling you to create highly targeted ads that provide a uniform experience across different devices. Their responsive ads allow you to create a consistent branding campaign, regardless of the devices on which you reach your viewers.
SiteScout is one of the biggest media buying network serving 31 billion ads per day across nearly 70,000 different websites. SiteScout offers real-time bidding and reporting, which enables advertisers to keep close tabs on their campaigns and optimize them for the highest possible ROI. Advertisers can also use the SiteScout platform to reach consumers via other networks such as Google, Appnexus and Adtech.
IgnitionOne is a cloud-based digital marketing platform that offers a wide array of services, including media buying, email marketing, search and social. Advertisers can target customers by device, geography and observed behavioral patterns, while the network’s big data solutions allow you to identify the ideal time to serve ads to customers in order to maximize your conversion rates.
18. Epom Market
The Epom Market lets advertisers reach customers with display, video and mobile app ads. Epom Market offers everything for cross-channel and cross-platform ad campaigns.
The ad network supports a wide variety of ad formats, provides precise targeting, smart optimization features, and real-time analytics.
DNTX.com is a direct traffic navigation platform that provides advertisers with the traffic of parked domains. This system can get you people who type in an exact URL of a relevant site they once visited and since the site is no longer active, they’re redirected to your site instead. Potentially you can get traffic that converts better and costs less that Google AdWords. It’s really best if you can find a relevant exact match domain with ongoing traffic; its utility fades if the domain isn’t generally typed in or linked to throughout the Internet.
Bidvertiser is another network that operates in much the same way as AdWords itself. It holds the distinction of having a reasonably low average bid compared to other networks, without sacrificing the quality of its traffic. Bidvertiser lets you target your ads by channels, keywords and geographic location. You choose the category of sites you’d like to place ads on. You can find some very nice returns through the network, if you’re in the right niche. The other major benefit of Bidvertiser is the control that one can have over showing of ads on a website.
Note that these ads are not contextual.
TrafficVance is one of the most popular pay per view (PPV) advertising solution in the world. You can leverage it it to reach out to customers through contextual textlinks and display ads. TrafficVance makes the platform as effortless as possible with visualized analytics that help you to monitor trends and editing features that help you easily edit your campaigns.
AdEngage operates a major online advertising network that displays ads on more than 4000 websites and works with thousands of advertisers to display over 12 billion ads every month. This network has a unique ad inventory which allows you to split test 10,000 ad combinations in just over 1 minute. It also offers Real-time traffic monitoring, which makes it easy to test and optimize campaigns.
PocketCents allows you to create and display text, image or video ads directly to the kind of users who are interested in your product or service on the PocketCents Network. This network allows you to set up a fixed monthly budget per ad, eliminate competitive placement based on bidding and much more. With a flat rate of $.25 per click on text or image ad or per play of video ad, this network is good place to start.
Adblade is a premium CPC ad network of 1,000 branded sites that reach over 550 million monthly users. Unlike many other ad networks, the company is constantly monitoring their site inventory to make sure that only the high quality publishers are allowed to serve their advertisements. Note that the bidding is done on a CPM basis.
ADsmonster is good 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.
AdBrite is one of the largest ad networks outside of the big search engine brand network. It allows you create and target ads to users in the network and pay with variable pricing models including CPC, CPM and other flexible pricing options.
With a reach of almost 230 million users on their ad network per month, TribalFusion offers a good range of advertising package options that can be tailored to suit your business’s needs, pricing varies on package and scope of campaign.
This network certainly isn’t for everyone. However, for the target audience, it has the potential to be bigger than Google in terms of traffic and returns. Why? It specializes in the Spanish language, rather than English. If your site and product are bilingual or Spanish, Kontextua has some serious power. Like Infolinks, it’s primarily based in contextual text links, and it does have an English version if you want to run two language campaigns or try out their English database. This network can get some seriously good returns for Spanish sites.
29. Result Links
This network is one of the in-text advertising options that allows you to target users with ads tailored to the text passages that align with your keyword targeting options. So, if you’ve got a product that people blog, talk, or otherwise write about, it is worth a try.
Rocket Fuel is a media buying platform that leverages artificial intelligence to help advertisers boost their ROI. Advertisers can use the network’s proprietary data to create personalized ads to engage with customers in new and innovative ways. This network has garnered good reputation from both ROI and reach standpoint.
Outbrain is a great option Advertisers can’t use it to market thin websites or to link to obvious sales landing pages, but if you don’t fall under one of these categories, you’ll find it an easy way to score some quick eyeballs from reputable publishers.
Taboola is another native advertising platform worth looking into. They claim to have wider reach than Outbrain and other native ad providers, including placements on the following publishers in the Taboola network: The Motley Fool, The Atlantic, Ben & Jerry’s and Netflix.
33. Ad Landmark
Ad Landmark is a network specifically targeting software providers. To be more specific, it’s a pay per download service. Software advertisers can submit free versions of their tools to the system, and they become available for download on multiple shareware sites.
MIVA offers a low cost alternative by specialising in the delivery of contextual and vertically focused PPC Ads. The MIVA Precision Network concentrates on specific business categories or verticals and has been developed for advertisers looking for highly targeted vertical traffic. The Precision Network is currently available in the US and UK and covers sectors including automotive, finance, health/beauty and recruitment. This vertical approach to PPC is designed to enhance targeting for advertisers and in turn drive lower volume, higher value leads.
Kontera specializes in In-Text or inline advertising. They have been in the business before Infolinks and Adbrite. They also have a huge advertiser base. Kontera uses a semantic engine to understand and assess user interest. Once they asses the user interest on publisher sites, and later when they see these users elsewhere on the web they show them relevant banners and share the revenues with the publisher where the user first expressed interest.
Target ads to relevant users in this network to get the most value for your dollar spent. Pricing is flexible with a name-your-own price option for cost per 1,000 impressions.
This network provides contextual, geographical, domain and audience targeting. 30,000+ premium publishers & syndication channels.
Target pay-per-click or display ads to a specific category or premium branded Web site of your choice.
Look Smart is pretty cheap depending on the niche. With a minimum deposit of $25 it’s a good place to test your campaigns.
This is one of the biggest affiliate networks in the world, empowering small businesses and entrepreneurs by creating a performance based marketplace.
40. CPX Interactive
CPX Interactive LLC operates as a global online advertising network. The Company offers media, data integration, strategy, and account management services. CPX Interactive is located in the State of New York.
41. Super Links
Superlinks is an innovative advertising and technology company that connects online web publishers with premium advertisers using a variety of innovative digital advertising products.
Ad Networks specializing in Mobile
According to research from comScore, 78% of customers that research products on mobile devices later make an offline purchase. This means that using mobile traffic sources may be a good way to connect with new customers, while using desktop advertising services will help you reach prospects further along in the buying process.
Inmobi is a mobile ad solution that offers some extremely unique features to maximize your conversions. The developers have carefully studied customer behavior to understand when they’re most receptive to marketing messages and most likely to make key buying decisions.
mMedia is a self-service mobile advertising platform that runs ads across nearly 50,000 mobile applications and websites. It provides a lot of flexibility with targeting, bidding and customizing creatives. There’s no minimum deposit, which makes this network ideal for mobile advertisers that are trying to get started on a very small budget.
Airpush is a mobile advertising network that allows advertisers to reach viewers on over 150,000 applications. The best part is that all app users have opted into their ads, which means that users viewing these ads are more receptive than customers on many competing mobile ad networks.
With around 250 million unique users in its network, Vibrant is a great text-based advertising option for ecommerce businesses. Pricing is cost per 1,000 impressions and varies based on available inventory and the category of ad placement.
Leadbolt is a mobile ad network which allows advertisers to choose between self-serve and full service platforms. They also offer real-time bidding, which is perfect for advertisers that don’t want to lose money overbidding for traffic.
This platform offers a very flexible bidding system and a number of targeting options to ensure that you get the traffic that you need. It’s probably the only advertising network other than Google that can boast having over a billion users, making it a great opportunity for you mobile advertising needs.
Place ads and target users on this network that reaches approximately 173 million unique visitors per month. Pricing dependant on scope and style of ad package.
An ad network based in China with 180 million impressions per day. Solely on mobile platforms like Android and iOS. CPA based, pricing varies and is dependent on size and scope of campaign.
Ad Networks specializing in Facebook & Retargeting
Adroll is an advertising platform that offers retargeting and multi-device display advertising services. Their retargeting feature is available for ads on Facebook, Twitter and countless other sites, while their staff offers excellent support to help you leverage retargeting to its fullest potential. Check it out if you’re new to retargeting and need some hand-holding to help get you up-to-speed.
Perfect Audience is another retargeting solution for Facebook, Twitter and web display ads. The service is meant for targeting the most recent visitors that used your site, as they’ll likely be the easiest to convert.
Atlas Solutions is a Facebook affiliate. A media advertising network with a variety of tools that help advertisers realize the best possible ROI from their campaigns. Atlas offers unique targeting options, allows you to reach the same customers across different devices and provides analytics to measure the impact of ads for offline conversions.
Chango is another retargeting advertiser platform that lets you connect with your customers in real-time. It’s one of the most comprehensive platforms out there and can be used to engage with customers on social, display, mobile and video. It also has options for bringing new customers to your site, but it’s particularly effective for scoring previous leads and delivering engaging creatives to encourage them to convert. Chango has been recently acquired by Rubicon project.
Ad Networks specializing in Twitter.
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.
Ad Networks specializing in Email marketing
This is one of the oldest email marketing companies in the world. The network can deliver up to 100,000 clicks a day, so there’s sufficient volume for nearly any campaign.
Opt-intelligence is an advertising solution that specializes in helping users build their email lists. Advertisers can promote their email opt-in forms to customers across hundreds or top-tier websites and mobile apps.
Dedicated Emails is an email marketing company that allows brands in a wide variety of niches to use Dedicated Emails to generate thousands of targeted leads.
Ad Networks specializing in video marketing
Viewbox is a very interactive tool that lets you turn video content into compelling ads, which can then be served on Facebook, Twitter and other social platforms. You can also embed the videos on your own site or on other publishers’ websites to maximize your exposure.
is a self-service platform for video marketing that connects advertisers with YouTubers that can expand their reach to related customers. The service allows you to collaborate with YouTubers on your own terms, so it shouldn’t be difficult to find an influencer who’s willing to deliver your message to your target customers.
Ad Networks specializing in podcast
The podcast business is booming, and if you want to get your message in front of this captive audience, Midroll is your advertising partner. The network currently works with 120+ different shows that are downloaded more than 15 million times a month, in addition to providing advertisers with 24/7 access to spots and metrics.
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. 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.
This post is a part of a blog series on Marketing Success by ReportGarden, an ad agency client reports & dashboards automation software.