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We all know Google as the undisputed king of search advertising, but did you know there are alternative search ad platforms out there? That’s right, so move over Google, there are other players in town!

In March, TikTok entered the search ad market, joining more and more alternatives looking to challenge Google’s crown, so here we’re taking a whistle stop tour of some of the lesser-known platforms for search ads to see how they measure up to the search heavyweight.

Microsoft Ads

Formerly known as Bing Ads, Microsoft Ads is a search advertising platform that allows businesses to run ads on Bing and Yahoo search engines as well as the Microsoft Audience Network.

With over 12.2 billion searches monthly, Microsoft Ads offers a vast audience for businesses to target. Similar to Google, the platform has a range of ad formats, including text ads, shopping ads and dynamic search ads. Businesses can target their ads based on keywords, location, device and demographic information.

YouTube Ads

As the second largest search engine after Google, YouTube gives businesses a great opportunity to reach a simply massive audience with a whole raft of ads that include skippable in-stream ads, non-skippable in-stream ads, bumper ads, video discovery ads and masthead ads. Businesses can target their ads based on demographics, interests and behaviours, making it easy to reach a specific audience.

Instagram Ads

Want to get down with the kids? As one of the most popular social media platforms, Instagram can provide businesses with a unique opportunity to reach a typically younger audience.

With over 1 billion active users, Instagram Ads allows businesses to create visually appealing ads that can be targeted based on demographics, interests, behaviours and location. The platform has a range of ad formats, including image ads, video ads, carousel ads and stories ads.

LinkedIn Ads

From the leading professional networking site, LinkedIn Ads is an excellent platform for B2B businesses to reach a highly engaged audience.

The platform has a choice of ad formats, including sponsored content, sponsored InMail and display ads. With LinkedIn Ads, businesses can target their ads based on job title, industry, company size and seniority, making it easy to reach decision-makers in their target market. The platform also offers account-based targeting, allowing businesses to target specific companies with their ads.

Twitter Ads

If you’re already tweeting like a pro, Twitter Ads can allow businesses to reach new highly engaged audiences.

With over 330 million active users, Twitter Ads comes with a range of ad formats, including promoted tweets, promoted accounts and promoted trends. Businesses can target their ads based on keywords, location, interests, and behaviours making it easy to reach a specific audience.

Pinterest Ads

As a visual search engine, Pinterest Ads is an excellent platform for businesses with visually appealing products or services; interior design and fashion are particularly popular on Pinterest.

The platform provides a range of ad formats that include promoted pins, promoted video pins and promoted carousel pins. Using Pinterest Ads, businesses can target their ads based on keywords, interests, behaviours and demographics, making it easy to reach the desired audience.

Drum roll please… TikTok Ads

TikTok search ads are a relatively new type of advertising on TikTok’s popular short-form video app. With these ads, businesses can promote their products or services in the search results of relevant keywords, similar to how more typical search engine ads work from Google or Microsoft.

Some key points to know about TikTok search ads:

  • TikTok search ads allow businesses to target users based on their search queries, and appear in the search results page as a promoted video ad.
  • Advertisers can choose to target specific keywords and bid on them in an auction-style system to have their ad appear in the top spots of the search results.
  • The ads can be up to 60 seconds long and can include clickable links to an external website.
  • TikTok search ads are available through TikTok’s self-serve ad platform, allowing TikTok Ads and advertisers to monitor their campaigns in real-time and make adjustments as needed.
  • TikTok search ads are currently only available in selected countries including the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom.

So, what’s the verdict?

While it’s safe to say that Google remains search advertising royalty, there are several alternative options that businesses could consider to reach their target audiences. Carefully taking into account audience and industry, choosing the right platform can help you yield even better results.

Microsoft Ads, YouTube Ads, Instagram Ads, LinkedIn Ads, Twitter Ads, Pinterest Ads and TikTok search ads – all offer unique features and targeting capabilities that can help businesses create effective advertising campaigns.

By evaluating the suitability of each platform for their product or market and utilising their advanced targeting capabilities, businesses can expand their reach and improve their advertising ROI. Keep in mind that each platform has its own strengths and weaknesses, so it’s crucial to do research and test different platforms to find the best fit for your business.

In conclusion, whatever your choice of ad platform, Harrison Carloss can help to create an impactful search ad strategy so your business is shown to the right people at the right time.