Advertisers invest precious time and money into paid search campaigns so it is extremely important to be mindful of the places you advertise. In order to properly protect your investment, picking the right platform to advertise on is crucial.

Facebook and AdWords are great places to start because they have enormous volume, but the big issue with them is that they are extremely popular. That means that advertising on them can be both competitive and pricey.

So in this situation, the only way to gain a good return on your investment is to have a unique advantage over the rest of the competition.

Not only is AdWords expensive, but it’s subject to a huge problem – click fraud. Click fraud is when your competitor, bots, or click farms maliciously click on your pay per click ads. These fraudsters do so with the intent of draining your advertising budget.

So with that being said, here are 5 AdWords alternatives:

1. Facebook

Facebook is the second biggest player in the game behind the head honcho, AdWords. Although it is just as expensive as AdWords, we wanted to include this social media giant on the list. It’s not only the second-largest advertising platform, but your paid search advertisements are less susceptible to click fraud.

The platform takes extensive measures to ensure that real people, not bots, are creating and managing the profiles. This means that vicious bots who are designed to click on your ads are less likely to be a problem on Facebook.

Facebook also makes their money from selling advertising space, so it’s done right, offering three different types of ad campaigns to choose from.

With Facebook, ads help build awareness, increase engagement, and up your conversion numbers.

2. Reddit

On Reddit, there is a tremendous volume with less competition than Facebook and AdWords. Reddit is also a unique, relatively untapped market. You can buy ads on specific Reddit threads and then choose which subreddits you want to target. This allows you to really drill down the specifics of who you are advertising to.

One downside of Reddit, however, is that it only allows one ad spot per subreddit, so space is limited. If done right, advertising on Reddit can increase sales and conversions. It just takes a little more finesse to get your ads in front of the proper audiences.

Remember, Reddit users are pretty clever so it pays off to provide creative and helpful content instead of your standard online advertisement.

3. BuySellAds

BuySellAds is one of the largest media buying platforms out there. It is a great way to get your banners out on the web. The way BuySellAds works is that you buy impressions on a cost-per-thousand impression (CPM) bidding basis for high-quality publisher sites. The goal of this platform views, not clicks. BuySellAds sells around 6 billion ad impressions per month.

It’s important to pick sites that pertain to your business specifically, and choose between lots of “thought-leading” types of sites on the platform.

The downside of BuySellAds is that you run the chance of buying an expensive fixed amount of impressions that don’t always show up next to the most relevant content.

4. Twitter

On this social media giant’s platform, expect much more engagement and an interested audience. You can target specific followers on Twitter using hashtags and topics.

Advertising on Twitter is becoming steadily more popular these days. Properly crafted ads leading with education and value can expect to see a lot of success.

Advertising on Twitter is a nice addition to your other pay-per-click campaigns, and should definitely be added to your marketing strategy playbook.

5. LinkedIn

LinkedIn is an ideal place to advertise business to business (B2B), using this professionally based platform you can reach your audience much easier.

You have great business targeting options on LinkedIn, such as targeting specific job titles, businesses, and job types. These are more Account Based Marketing strategies, but this allows you to reach a very narrow target audience.

Ads are shown in the feed itself and next to content. You can expect respectable click through rates on LinkedIn. Although it is a little more challenging to optimize due to its limited reporting, it’s still a great place for B2B advertising.

AdWords Alternatives summary:

AdWords may have the largest and arguably most powerful network, but using them can break the bank leave you extremely vulnerable to click fraud. When creating an effective pay-per-click strategy it’s important to diversify your ads and see what works best for your business.