Paid Advertising Platforms: The Best Places to Advertise Online

Paid Advertising Platforms: The Best Places to Advertise Online

Where are the best places to advertise online?

This is a common question among business owners advertising on the internet. Luckily, you are far from limited in this arena and have many options. Along with the two largest paid search engines, Google AdWords and Bing Ads, there are many second tier platforms, including popular social media networks like Facebook. Let’s look at some of these platforms and discuss how to start advertising.


Top Tier Search Engines

Google AdWords and Bing Ads (Yahoo, Bing Network) make up the top tier or primary search engines for pay-per-click advertising. They are termed “top tier” due to the volume of visitors they receive. They far outnumber any other paid search engine in terms of traffic.

Google AdWords

Although it receives the most traffic by far and is the most popular engine, Google AdWords may or may not work for your organization. It will vary depending on how competitive your keywords are and how well these keywords convert. If the keywords you are bidding on have high costs-per-click (CPCs) and the cost-per-acquisition (CPA) is too high, you either need to retool and better optimize your campaigns or consider moving on to a different paid search engine.

Additionally, you may not get enough traffic from AdWords. Is that even possible? Yes. If you are in a niche where your audience doesn’t generally use Google and its subsidiaries to search, then you may need to look elsewhere to advertise.

Bing Ads

That elsewhere just might be Bing Ads. Many companies run campaigns on both AdWords and Bing. Bing Ads is the pay-per-click advertising platform that displays results on both Bing and Yahoo search engines and their smaller subsidiaries. It’s a great place to drive additional traffic in a slightly less competitive marketplace than AdWords. Moreover, with Bing, bids are usually less expensive.


Second Tier Search Engines

Second tier search engines are basically smaller ad networks. These engines are deemed “second tier” because they do not garner the traffic the top tiers do. But bigger isn’t always better. Second tier platforms are generally less competitive, and you may find that they are more profitable for your business. Here are some of the engines in this category:


is among the oldest second tier paid advertising networks. Since its inception in 1999, 7Search has been leading the group of second tier search engines. To date, over 40,000 advertisers have used 7Search to obtain internet traffic and generate revenue. The traffic is relatively inexpensive, starting at only $0.01 per click and averaging $0.32 per click, so it won’t break your bank to test it out.

AdKnowledge, AdMarketplace, AdBlade

and offer paid advertising like retargeting, as well as contextually based advertising. Retargeting stretches your marketing campaign further by using cookies to place your display ad in front of people who have already expressed interest in your business. It helps promote brand awareness, which often leads to conversions down the line. Contextual advertising selects and serves ads based on the content of a page. For example, a page dedicated to flooring options might show ads for carpet stores or hardwood flooring. These ads can be displayed as images, text or video. By organizing ads to appear in the right context, you’re more likely to get conversions since your ads are targeting those looking for the same services or products.


is more of a locally based, yellow-pages-style network. You can target your customers based on specific categories and subcategories that help your business find its niche, as well as certain geographies like your city, county, and region. With so many options for customization, SuperPages is at least worth a test if you have a local business.


and Kontextua are in-text advertising networks. This means the ads show within the text on a page. Infolinks also offers different on-page advertising options including InFrame, InFold and InTag. Note that Kontextua is mainly in Spanish and can be a good platform for targeting a Spanish-speaking audience.


Social Advertising


Although it has large amounts of traffic, its ad network doesn’t have quite the numbers that AdWords and Bing Ads do. The beauty of Facebook ads, however, is that you can target your audience with demographic and interest (categories of interest) data.


Wait, you can advertise on Twitter? Yes, you can, most commonly in the form of promoted tweets. Twitter can be a good second tier option for advertising; however, the average cost-per-impression (CPI) is higher than that of Facebook.


With varying ad format options, LinkedIn is another second tier advertising platform to consider. A minimum of $10/day can get you started on this networking giant. Like Facebook, LinkedIn allows you to choose from many targeting options like job title, industry and company size.


Which Networks Should You Use?

All paid search networks can drive traffic and conversions. Tweet This The question is, which networks should you use? I recommend trying the top tier engines first due to ease of use, high traffic volume and higher conversion rates (on average). Start with Google AdWords, and once that is optimized and machined, move on to Bing Ads. You can easily download the campaigns from AdWords and import them into Bing. You will need to make some minor adjustments, but they won’t take long.

Once AdWords and Bing Ads are optimized and running, you have a couple of options. You can continue using these platforms and add more traffic and potential leads by incorporating some second tier engines into the mix. Or you can stop using the top tiers completely and focus exclusively on second tier engines. Abandoning top tier engines may seem risky, but it could pay off since second tier engines are typically less competitive, have less expensive cost-per-click rates (on average), and often boast higher ROIs. Which choice you make will really depend on your business, brand, and goals.



With paid advertising platforms, you have quite a few options beyond the few examples provided here. Each platform varies and has different targeting options. You won’t know what kind of ROI you could reap unless you try them out. If you have more questions about the fundamentals of paid advertising, check out this post to learn more about the first 6 steps to starting your PPC campaign.

Kristine Pratt
[email protected]

Kristine is the Content Marketing Manager with Boostability. She brings a decade's worth of communications strategy work to the company. In addition to being a part of the marketing team, Kristine enjoys traveling, sports, and all things nerdy.