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The 8 Best PPC Ad Networks

Which PPC ad platform is right for your business? In this post, you will learn about eight of the top PPC advertising platforms today.

The 8 Best PPC Ad Networks
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No two ad platforms are exactly alike. Deciding where to invest in advertising can depend on several factors, such as:

  • Platform user base.
  • Volume for ad serving.
  • Creative opportunities.
  • Advertiser budget.

This allows advertisers to gain massive reach to potential customers across audiences and online behaviors.

So which PPC ad platform is right for your business?

It’s likely your business will benefit from several of the platforms that follow.

In this chapter, you’ll learn more about the following PPC ad networks:

  • Google Ads.
  • Microsoft Ads.
  • YouTube.
  • Facebook.
  • Instagram.
  • LinkedIn.
  • Twitter.
  • Pinterest.
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Google Ads

Google Ads is the most popular ad network due to the available reach of ads in volume of searches done in the Google search engine and a large number of websites on the Google Display Network (GDN).

Billions of searches per day happen through Google’s search engine.

Google states, “Google Ads display ads appear on over two million websites and in over 650,000 apps, so your ad can show up wherever your audience is.” Targeting on the display network includes remarketing, in-market audiences, similar audiences, and more.

Both search and display campaigns allow demographic targeting in age, gender, parental status, and household income. Adding in demographic targeting narrows the available reach for ads, but makes the targeting more relevant.

Placements: Google search engine results, web placements on the GDN, shopping, mobile apps, and YouTube.

Ad Formats: Text, image, responsive, video.

Pricing: Cost-per-click (CPC) model based on the competition and ad quality. GDN allows Cost-per-1,000 impressions (CPM).

Tip: Depending on the industry, advertisers will find higher CPCs on Google Ads on search keywords. It is time to think creatively, try a highly relevant display network campaign, or move to one of the other platforms.

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Microsoft Ads

The Microsoft Search Network sees 12.2 billion PC searches monthly.

Microsoft Ads has tools for advertisers to import campaigns from Google Ads, simplifying the process of getting started.

Microsoft has the advantage of exclusively serving Yahoo search traffic, powering several digital assistant voice searches, and the ability to target searchers with LinkedIn profile data such as company, job function, and industry.

According to Microsoft:

“Outside of LinkedIn itself, Microsoft Advertising is the only digital advertising platform to offer LinkedIn Profile Targeting.”

Placements: Search engines, Microsoft Audience Network, which includes native content placements on MSN, Outlook.com, the Edge browser, and select quality partner sites. LinkedIn.

Ad Formats: Text for search, responsive for native placements. LinkedIn serves text ads, Dynamic Search Ads, and shopping campaigns.

Pricing: CPC model based on the competition and ad quality.

Tip: While Microsoft Ads allows advertisers to import campaigns from Google Ads, keeping an exact copy and not optimizing for the Microsoft Ads platform can be a mistake. Be sure to adjust bids (usually down), match types, and add any Microsoft Ads ad extensions.

YouTube

YouTube reaches over 2 billion logged-in users per month globally, so it’s an excellent opportunity for advertisers to reach their audience through this platform effectively.

Campaign creation and management are handled through the Google Ads platform with more in-depth information about the audience’s demographics and engagement through YouTube Analytics in the YouTube account.

Placements: YouTube.

Ad Formats: Skippable in-stream ads, Non-skippable in-stream ads, Bumper ads, Video discovery ads, Masthead ads.

Pricing: CPV, CPM.

Tip: Advertisers can reach potential customers with the same targeting available for the Google Display Network.

Facebook

As the top social network on the planet, 2.6 billion people use Facebook every month.

User targeting can be very granular with demographics, interests, behaviors, and more. Facebook supports retargeting through user activity on Facebook and off Facebook actions through advertisers’ Facebook pixel data and upload of customer lists.

Placements: Facebook, Instagram, Messenger, and Audience Network.

Mobile: Facebook mobile properties and Audience Network.

Ad Formats: Video, single image, carousel, slideshow, canvas (mobile). Audience Network on mobile supports a variety of video and display formats such as native, interstitial, rewarded, and in-stream video.

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Pricing: Cost per desired action, based on bid, estimated action rates, ad quality.

Tip: Best for targeting very granular audiences through detailed demographics since the level of targeting is not easily achieved on Google or Bing.

Instagram

Instagram has over 1 billion active users who tend to be younger than Facebook users.

As a Facebook company, campaign creation and management are handled through the Facebook Ads platform. While Facebook recommends using Automatic Placements (targeting all placements in one campaign), this can easily be set to any placement the advertiser would like.

Placements: Instagram Feeds and Stories, can be combined with any Facebook placements.

Ad Formats: Single image, video, carousel ad, collection.

Pricing: Cost per desired action, based on bid, estimated action rates, ad quality.

Tip: Instagram audience skews younger than Facebook and has a bit less volume.

LinkedIn

Now owned by Microsoft, LinkedIn is a wealth of information and audiences for advertisers to target for the professional set.

More than 500 million professionals are on LinkedIn, and they can all be targeted by professional criteria, such as job title, seniority, company, and many more.

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Placements: LinkedIn, LinkedIn Audience Network contains ten of thousands of mobile sites, mobile apps, and ad exchanges.

Mobile: Ads in the LinkedIn app and LinkedIn Audience Network.

Ad Formats: Text/image ad on LinkedIn, native on LinkedIn Audience Network sites and apps.

The 8 Best PPC Ad NetworksPricing: CPC model based on the competition and ad relevance, CPM, Cost-per-send (CPS).

Tip: One tactic that gets results on LinkedIn is offering valuable tips, whitepapers, or other content related to users’ industry.

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Twitter

Twitter offers several options to reach users through the platform used by 330 million active users each month.

Unlike many other platforms, Twitter ads are entirely contained on Twitter, with no network partners.

Promoted tweets are probably one of the most flexible ad formats because they can include any combinations of text and other media that comply with the overall policies.

Placements: Twitter.com and Twitter app.

Mobile: Ads in the feed of the Twitter app.

The 8 Best PPC Ad NetworksAd Formats: Promoted tweets (text and/or images, GIFS, videos), promoted accounts, promoted trends.

Pricing: Promoted tweets and promoted accounts is CPC, promoted trends are handled through a Twitter sales representative.

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Tip: Advertising on Twitter should go hand-in-hand with having a solid Twitter engagement strategy. While promoting an account can get new followers, robust tweet content will yield the best results.

Pinterest

Pinterest has 200 million active monthly users who are researching trends, ideas, and products, and many of them are looking to purchase.

The users skew the majority of women at 7%, with 40% earning $100,000 household income.

Placements: Pinterest.com and Pinterest app.

The 8 Best PPC Ad NetworksMobile: Ads in the feed of the Pinterest app.

Ad Formats: Promoted pins, one-tap promoted pins, promoted video pins, cinematic pins, promoted app pins.

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Pricing: CPC for promoted pins, app installs, CPM for promoted video pins.

Tip: Search queries on Pinterest are more general than on Google, for example. Research keywords before getting started. A robust Pinterest presence will improve results as shares and saves on Pinterest stick around and don’t cost the advertiser.

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Lisa Raehsler

SEM Strategy Consultant at Big Click Co.

Lisa Raehsler is a search engine and social media ads pay-per-click (PPC) strategist, International speaker, and columnist for leading search ... [Read full bio]

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