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What are some alternatives to Google and Facebook Ads?

Before we start this piece, it’s important to note a few things about both Google and Facebook Ads platforms, and why they’re wildly successful compared to other ad platforms.

  1. Both platforms have evolved expressly with the idea of advertising at its core and monetising its audiences 

  2. Unlike other platforms, they’re also designed and optimised for conversions, and have far more advanced algorithms comparatively 

  3. Of the two, Facebook is commonly known to have the most user friendly ads interface, so that almost anyone can set up ads, and get running 

  4. Both platforms do need a minimum of $500USD budget at least to get started. That’s not to say you cannot advertise for a lower amount. You could very well get started but you may not get the benefits of advertising at a higher scale in terms of cost optimisations. 

Now coming to some of the lesser used alternatives to these platforms in India. India’s digital advertising ecosystem has rapidly evolved. As per a recent Business Standard report, Meta is India’s largest media company. Meta clocked roughly 2Bn in revenues in 2022. This marks an important turning point because until 2020, India’s digital ecosystem was thought to be around 2-3Bn USD. 

For businesses looking at options for a number of reasons, there are 4 alternatives to choose from.

1. Quora: Over the years, this leading platform of UGC content has evolved its advertising engine to include not just banner, text ads, but also recently introducing video ads as part of its growth to drive users.

2. Reddit: In India, REDDIT has a less than 1% market share of the social media market in India. So why would we suggest using it? It has a younger, tech-savvier, and socially aware audience who want to steer clear of typical social media sites. There are communities and interests that typically are harder to target on other platforms. This is especially useful when you’re looking at building brand awareness for a very niche category of products.

3. MX TAKATAK + MOJ: With the merger of MX Takatak and Moj, with Moj Lite, essentially a large chunk of the vernacular ad ecosystem rests on these platforms, who are young and video first in their content consumption. If vernacular markets are a priority, these are welcome options to explore which allow for CPM based buying.

4. Apple Search Ads: In India, which is an Android first market, Apple’s share is at a low 5%. However, this 5% also represents a proxy cue for affluent consumers in India. While we can of course, run app based ads through Google’s Ads Manager too, for iOS devices, running Apple Search Ads, across the Apple Ecosystem is a closed circuit and smaller scale experiment to consider onboarding customers who can afford items over a certain ticket size. For luxury brands, this is a must-have. 

Now, there are certainly other video ads platforms which we can look at but each of these platforms above have a specific target segment we can look at. While India’s media consumption stays high, and video is a preferred format, for all businesses getting users who transact is important. To that effect, it’s also important to have platforms that support your end goal.