Hello, Nick Ponte here.

I love helping local businesses in Maui and beyond thrive in the digital marketplace. Usually, this means helping them with their website and Search Engine Optimization (SEO) practices, but it also means helping them with their online advertisements.

Advertising online is a different ballgame than the traditional offline approach that so many small business owners have grown accustomed to. It can feel intimidating when stepping into the world of digital marketing. There are so many new things to learn and acronyms to master, like SEO, SEM, SMM, CPC, and more.

I want to simplify this complex world for you by explaining things in everyday language and giving you the best beginner and intermediate strategies in every area. When I teach SEO, for instance, I try to preface with the fact that you’ve got this. It may be tough to understand at first, but I guarantee it will start to make sense. And better yet, your business will benefit.

The same goes for our topic today, alternatives to Google Adwords.

In case you didn’t know or need a refresher, Adwords is Google’s program for advertising on their search engine. Whenever somebody performs a Google search, Google will place relevant advertisements at the top of their results page. Whether a particular ad appears depends on the advertiser’s terms and how much money they bid on that term. For instance, a Maui surfboard shop may bid on the terms “surfboard,” “board,” or “rental.” 

The advertiser only pays Google for the ad if a user clicks on it. Thus, these are typically called cost-per-click or CPC ads. Google and many other search engines and social media sites use a CPC format. While Google is the most popular CPC ad platform, I want to point out a couple of alternatives.

Also Read: The No-Fear Guide to Basic SEO For Your Website

Why Not Adwords?

This begs the question, “Why shouldn’t a local business simply stick with Google Adwords for all their paid advertisements?” After all, we’ve established that Google is more popular than any other search engine by a landslide.

When most consumers look for a business, they use Google on their phone or desktop.  It would make sense to have an ad for your business waiting for them at the very top of the results list.

That’s all true, but there’s still a huge chunk of people not using Google. Moreover, the people who don’t use Google tend to use their preferred search engine exclusively, be it Bing, Yahoo or something else entirely. This means that advertisements on Google will never reach this demographic.

Additionally, there’s a huge and growing group of people who don’t really use search engines at all. They look for new businesses using social media. If you scroll on Facebook long enough, you’ll likely see someone asking others to recommend a business for them. Thus, word-of-mouth and reputation marketing are regaining popularity in the digital marketplace.

Finally, Adwords is a competitive space. Imagine a bunch of hungry sharks, all circling in contested waters. Every shark will do their best to get ahead of you. It will be tough to get a piece of the pie.

Other places are like an open part of the ocean. There’s less competition, and you have the freedom to experiment and see what works before it gets popular. Even if you go to a less popular hunting ground, there are still plenty of fish in the sea.

Also Read: How Hawaii Businesses Boost Revenue Through Content Marketing

Two Strong Alternatives

If you find Google Adwords too crowded and competitive, explore these two alternate options:

  • Bing/Microsoft Ads

Bing is the second most-used search engine in the United States, steadily growing in popularity since its start in 1998. In the last ten years, it has grown due to a strong focus on advertising campaigns. It’s also the default search engine for Microsoft devices like Windows Surface and PCs. Advertising on Bing is known as Microsoft Ads.

By advertising on Bing, you can reach people who never use Google at all. This is a large portion of the population.

Also, remember how these advertising platforms are mostly cost-per-click? This means that you have to bid on the terms you want, and the more money you bid, the more likely your advertisement is to appear in searches. Well, Bing has a remarkably lower cost than Google. This means you can get much more bang for your buck when bidding on the right terms.

To learn more, check out the Microsoft Ads homepage.

  • Facebook Ads

Facebook Ads operate similarly to search engine ads, but they have their advantages. They’re still CPC like Google and Bing, but ads show up in a user’s social media feed instead of search engine results.

Facebook Ads can be geared toward more particular audiences because Facebook gives you more tools for customizing the people you want to reach with your ad. They also provide tools for analyzing your results in real-time and making any adjustments you need to make.

Because more people are seeking recommendations through social media, and spending more time on it in general, this is a fantastic way to reach people with your business. The best part is, they don’t necessarily have to go looking for you on a search engine to see what you have to offer.

To get started advertising on Facebook, follow this link.

If you want any help with your paid ads, don’t hesitate to reach out to us today!

Further Reading: Facebook Ad Retargeting Guide

 

 

Photos courtesy of Ali Abdul Rahman and Surface

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