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7 Great Facebook Ads Alternatives To Drive More Ecommerce Revenue

Written by: Pedro Campos, Executive Contributor

Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.

 

“Are Facebook Ads Dead?” this has probably been the most seen headline across the web, in the marketing space recently. If you´re reading this, there´s a good chance these privacy changes impacted your business. Like you, many brands have started to look for alternatives, some have already “swam to another shore.” While others are still in “deep waters”, searching for other platforms to add to their media mix.

You don´t want to rely just on one ad platform, that´s for sure. Today, we´re going to look at some popular Facebook Ads alternatives or additions to your marketing plan so you can still thrive online. With the right strategy, “Ask App Not to Track” shouldn´t sink your ecommerce business.

Google Shopping


Google advertising is pretty much a necessity these days for brands that want to scale efficiently. Its biggest benefit is the fact that people are already searching for what you have to sell, making the sales cycle a lot shorter compared to social media platforms, where there´s almost no user intent.


At the time of this writing, you can choose between standard shopping and performance max campaigns. The latter has been recently introduced as more of an automated solution. Each has solid advantages. Standard shopping gives you more control over bidding and keywords.


Performance max, in a nutshell, saves time and resources.


To run ads on Google Shopping you need to upload a product feed to the platform. It´s similar to what you´ve probably done on Facebook. On Google, it´s called the Merchant Center. It´s always a best practice to run both Facebook and Google ads, as they tend to work well together. Advertising on Google can help fill in the missing data gaps you´ve experienced post iOS updates.


Pros

  • Strong user intent allows for higher conversion rates

  • Shorter sales cycles compared to paid social

  • Performance max can be a huge time and resource saver

Cons

  • Need a strong product feed optimization process

  • Typically more expensive than Facebook

YouTube


You probably already know YouTube is owned by Google. Because of this, it inherits the same high-quality targeting capabilities, powered by millions of signals from billions of users of their different apps, Google Maps, Gmail, etc.


Performance max campaigns will also display your video ads on YouTube. However, you can just target YouTube on a separate campaign, if you have the time or staff to pull it off. Telling an engaging story is so much easier with video than it is with text. Video can utilize more elements such as voice tone, background, animations, or music pace to create a higher converting message.


The common practice on YouTube, for most ecommerce brands is to start reaching people who are in the market for their product categories, called in-market audiences. If you have a solid customer base, use customer match audiences, which are the same as lookalikes on Facebook. Luckily, Google´s infrastructure wasn´t as affected by the privacy updates and still has one of the world´s most powerful ad data warehouses.


Pros

  • Good variety of video ad specs

  • Lots of targeting options beyond keywords

  • Easier to tell stories and capture users´ attention

Cons

  • Takes time to find the best-performing targeting

  • Requires stellar video marketing skills to scale efficiently

TikTok


This is where a lot of brands are moving to. Since it´s a relatively new platform for advertisers, it´s cheaper than Facebook, for example. Another advantage is that TikTok´s ad platform is very similar to Facebook´s, making it easier to transition over to.


There´s a lot of talk on the web about the demographics of this platform, claiming it´s more for younger generations. It might have been the case when it was launched but the trend is shifting. Older generations are starting to move to TikTok for the same reasons. Video content can be highly engaging and a good source of information. Unlike Facebook, TikTok allows you to target audiences based on hashtags. It can be a great solution to expand your interest targeting options.


I would recommend you test it for yourself and see if it performs well. That´s the ultimate judge. TikTok might work well for a skincare brand but perform terribly for a mattress store, for example. Businesses are all different and most importantly, their data stack is different. That alone can have a significant impact on results.


Pros

  • Great for user-generated content

  • Typically cheaper than most other established platforms

  • Can take advantage of content virality

  • Similar to Facebook´s interface

Cons

  • Limitations with ad format

  • Might have some restrictions on audience demographics

  • Costs can go up soon as more brands jump into it

Pinterest


Over the years, Pinterest has earned a reputation for having high-income audiences. In fact, 45% of its users in the US belong to a household that earns over $100,000. It has also attracted more female users, with over 60% globally at the moment.


It´s an excellent platform for ecommerce because people there want to not just discover interesting content but also new products. Another great benefit of Pinterest, unlike Instagram´s organic posts, is the ability to use a website link on your posts, also called pins.


From experience, Pinterest is more expensive than Facebook or Instagram but you tend to attract higher-value, more engaged audiences. The fact that users have high purchasing power should be a good enough reason to add Pinterest to your media mix. Because it´s a more segmented platform in terms of audience interests than Facebook, the cost per click is generally higher.


Pros

  • Women drive 70-80% of all purchasing decisions

  • Can create more brand recall due to saved pins

Cons

  • Needs higher quality, more professional content

  • Tends to work better for niche products

  • Cost per click can get to the double digits

Taboola


Imagine reaching over 9,000 publishers across the web with your message, on sites like USA Today, Fox News, or MSN. That´s what Taboola allows you to do. If you´ve never heard of native advertising, this platform is one of the kings.


One of its strongest propositions is the advanced brand safety controls. Facebook ads can show on partner sites and apps also called the audience network. The problem here is that advertisers have almost no control and visibility over where the ads show up. With Taboola, you can filter out sensitive content placements that can damage your brand long-term.


On Taboola, you can still apply the same full-funnel ecommerce strategies you have on other platforms. Top ecommerce brands such as Pandora, Cornerstone, Hear and Mack Weldon have succeeded on this platform. Launching new ads is super easy and fast, in part, thanks to Taboola´s partnership with high-quality stock image providers. Getting them approved that´s another story.


Pros

  • Relatively cheap cost per click

  • Variety of brand safety controls

  • High-quality publisher network

  • Intuitive user interface

Cons

  • Can take longer than most platforms to get ad content approved

  • Look-alike audience targeting is still limited

Outbrain


This is another strong name in the native advertising space. Compared to Facebook, Outbrain is an excellent platform for scale. Its network generates an impressive 300 billion ad impressions every month. Through Outbrain´s content discovery platform, your ads can be shown on sites such as CNN, Mashable, Men´s Health, or The Guardian, to name a few. Another interesting fact is that Outbrain only partners with publishers that have a minimum of a million page views per month.


Outbrain has a good combination of brand safety controls, targeting capabilities, and advanced bid strategies that can use 1st data to optimize your ads. L'Oréal, Nestlé, Leroy Merlin, and Geox are amongst the biggest brands connecting with audiences through this platform.


Pros

  • Can link Google Analytics to optimize bidding for engagement

  • Premium ad inventory with better audiences

  • Headline suggestions feature is a big-time saver

  • Smart-feed technology adapts to pretty much any ad placement

Cons

  • Some higher-value audiences will have additional CPC fees

  • User interface is not the most user friendly

  • Minimum campaign daily spend

Yahoo


You might have heard of Yahoo a thousand times. But did you know they have one of the strongest native ad platforms? It´s called Yahoo Gemini and serves as many as two billion ads every day across its network.


One of the advantages over other native platforms is that Yahoo offers search placements as well, similar to Google, giving brands extra reach in a brand-safe environment.


Yahoo´s client base is quite impressive, with advertisers such as Apple, Wells Fargo, Nike, Signet Jewelers, and Best Buy.


The beauty of Yahoo´s native platform lies in its flexible targeting capabilities, with hundreds of data partners, and above all, simplicity. A new platform can be overwhelming so having a simple yet powerful setup is always welcomed. Well, sometimes, too simple.


Pros

  • Simple and clean user interface

  • Search traffic is typically cheaper compared to Google

  • Great custom audience targeting options

Cons

  • No ad editor for bulk changes or uploads

  • Reporting isn´t the best and sometimes buggy

  • Hard to get device bidding right since most traffic comes from mobile

Facebook Ads Alternative Or Addition?


In studying the best marketers and companies, I´ve noticed they are very good at adapting to challenges in the industry. They adapt and invest more in another direction instead of cutting something completely. I don´t believe in “black and white” scenarios or radical approaches either.


No doubt that Facebook ads have seen better days. That doesn´t mean you should drop it completely and replace it with something new. It´s still a powerful ad platform.


A more sustainable approach for your brand can be to invest more into other channels such as paid search or native while keeping what´s working the best on Facebook.


Marketing executives and entrepreneurs often ask me: “what platforms should I add to my media plan? and my answer is always: “the more the better.”


It´s a way to mitigate the risks of platform changes or breakdowns and get more brand exposure to new audiences. Instead of dwelling on Facebook ads, start thinking about an omnichannel approach for your marketing. That will always be your best chance to stay above water.


Follow me on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and visit my website for more info!


 

Pedro Campos, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine

Pedro is a Portuguese-born who fell into the media buying world by chance after watching an ad online. Despite being mentored by some of the best advertisers in the world early on, his first attempts to succeed at digital media left him bankrupt three times. He then realized in this industry, there was a bigger price to be paid to obtain mastery. That's the price he's helping companies avoid. He's the founder of Advertongue, a native advertising agency helping global brands grow and scale efficiently online. Over the years, he's been responsible for million-dollar budgets and made appearances in publications such as Content Marketing Institute, G2, and Funnel Magazine, to name a few.

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