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Exploring PPC: Getting Beyond the Confines of Google & Bing

By Rory Witt    |    April 10, 2017

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There’s no denying the obvious: when it comes to PPC, Google is the 500 pound gorilla in the room. While Bing may not be quite as popular for online searches, its 31 percent share of the search market still qualifies it as a 300 pound gorilla.

After these two giants? You’re probably tempted to think that there isn’t much point directing any of your PPC budget elsewhere. But that’s where you’re mistaken.

While it’s true that Google AdWords and Bing should certainly be a major focus of your PPC ad campaigns, this doesn’t mean they’re the be-all end-all solution. By tapping into other opportunities outside of these two massive PPC gorillas, you can very easily find new leads that you would never capture otherwise.

So which extra PPC solutions are your best bet? Let’s put on our explorer’s caps and dive into the internet jungle…

Facebook

We often see social media advertising listed as a separate entity from PPC and SEO, but in reality, many Facebook advertising options fall directly under the PPC umbrella.

As we’ve discussed in the past, Facebook gives you incredibly in-depth targeting functions, which makes it easy to ensure that your PPC ads and other promotional content within the platform are delivered to the right people. Basic demographic info, liked pages, and even user behaviors can all enable you to define your PPC target audience as broadly or narrowly as you wish. Better yet, these targeting features for PPC content can also be applied to Instagram!

While Facebook can add great value to your PPC campaigns, it’s important to understand that these clicks tend to come from users in the beginning or intermediate range of the marketing funnel. These clicks are less likely to lead to an immediate purchase; rather, they will generate those initial, investigatory looks at your product or service that are then recaptured later on.

Just remember that to keep your cost-per-click at a reasonable level, you’ll need to regularly refresh your Facebook PPC content. Facebook rewards fresh content, and an improved clickthrough rate and ROI is the usual result when you keep things interesting.

You could say that in this role, Facebook PPC ads are ultimately the John Stockton to your Google AdWord’s Karl Malone—delivering those crucial assists that lead to the buzzer-beater.

Yahoo Gemini

After Google and Bing, Yahoo (whose AdWords equivalent is known as Gemini) is the Web’s most prominent search engine. While its interface may not be as user-friendly as AdWords, Gemini’s focus on mobile-friendly PPC content and its lower cost-per-click in comparison to other platforms make it a good supplemental PPC option.

This mobile-friendly focus allows users to select from four basic campaign types: driving customers to your website, improving brand awareness, increasing sales, and promoting downloads of mobile apps. Ads are targeted based on search terms, location, device and so on, and then placed alongside other relevant content. Yahoo’s native ads are particularly noteworthy for looking less like marketing content on mobile.

Gemini’s reach nothing to sneeze at, either. Yahoo boasts 1 billion monthly users600 million of whom are using mobile devices. According to Yahoo, over one-third of these individuals don’t use any other search platform. If you don’t add Yahoo Gemini to your PPC efforts, you could very well miss out on millions of potential customers.

If all this isn’t enough to convince you that Gemini could be worthwhile, here’s the cherry on top: Gemini’s import options allow you to quickly implement many of the same features you use in AdWords. Adding this search platform to your PPC efforts can be easier than you might think.

Yahoo Gemini isn’t your only alternative PPC search platform available. Ad.net and 7Search can also help you target niche audiences at a relatively low cost, though you would be best served by mastering the larger, more prominent platforms before attempting these deep dives.

LinkedIn

For B2B companies, few platforms are better suited for lead generation than LinkedIn. Because LinkedIn is primarily focused on professional networking, it provides an ideal opportunity to reach department directors and other key decision-makers in companies within your target niche. Best of all, you can narrow your target audience based on factors like job title, industry, endorsed skills, or even company size!

As with other social media platforms, LinkedIn advertising allows you to select either a PPC or CPM (cost per impression) pricing model to better match your campaign objectives. While some have found that the cost-per-click on LinkedIn tends to be higher than on other platforms, marketers have also found that these clicks tend to be more likely to convert. In fact, according to Content Marketing Institute, “94 percent of B2B marketers used LinkedIn to distribute content…they also say it’s the most effective social media platform.”

To further enhance this B2B-friendly mindset, LinkedIn is continuing to take steps to simplify the lead generation process, as illustrated by its recent introduction of Lead Gen Forms. This feature pulls information directly from the profile of the person who clicked on your PPC ad and uses it to auto-fill a lead generation form. Not only does this result in higher-quality leads, it also makes it much easier for users to submit their information from a mobile device—resulting in higher conversions.

While LinkedIn may not be the best place to try selling consumer products, if you’re in the mix for B2B products and services, you can’t go wrong with this opportunity to directly target key decision-makers through targeted PPC ads.

Conclusion

While none of these platforms should in any way replace your Google AdWords and Bing PPC campaigns, they can offer great value in terms of reaching new audiences and generating high-quality, targeted leads.

When you successfully combine these smaller platforms with the PPC giants, you’ll be able to find the best leads and customers on the Web—no matter where they might be.

Then you can sit back, keep refreshing and fine-tuning your ads, and watch the money come rolling in.

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