Top 5 Non-Traditional Ways to Advertise Online

I’m always looking at new advertising avenues to present to my clients. Traditional paid search and search engine optimization can only get you so far in the competitive web spaces. If you are in an industry that is brutally competitive online, you may want to start looking at new advertising methods to keep growing your business.

Here are my top 5 non-traditional avenues for online advertising:

  • Google Local Business Ads – For some strange reason, not everyone using Google AdWords is taking advantage of these ads! Once you confirm your business’s location (or locations) with the Google Local Business Center, you have access to listings specifically designed for Google Maps. From what I’ve seen these are dirt cheap ads. They work great for hotels and restaurants and are perfect for customer service purposes.
  • Mobile Ads – The mobile space is growing quickly. With a push from retailers on 3G phones, people all over are constantly connected to the web in new ways. Our pals over at Google make it easy to target cell phone internet users. In your campaign settings, you have the option to target iPhone and Android phone users where you select if you want to be in the content network or not. They also offer you the ability to create mobile ads. These ads can send people to a mobile site or you have the ad viewer click to call you. For as little as 5 cents you could get a qualified phone call. Also companies like AdMob allow you to buy advertising within iPhone apps. For brand advertisers, this is a great solution.
  • Pay-Per-Call – For many of our clients, phone calls are incredibly valuable. AT&T has a program that allows you to only pay for ads when someone calls you. Their Pay-Per-Call ads get you placed on many online and mobile sites like AOL and Yellowpages.com. Unlike other forms of paid search, you don’t bid on phrases; you bid on categories. While this is bit different from what most people are used to, it works quite easily. Pair this with a call tracking solution and you would know exactly how well this works for your business.
  • YouTube InVideo Ads – YouTube is the big player in streaming video. As you have been watching videos about unicorns or checking out Japanese game shows, you may have noticed there is a new block of ads being served up to you… in your video. The InVideo ads are popping up in the lower 20% of YouTube videos. This new way of reaching an audience is easy to set up. In your Google AdWords account, create a new campaign and adgroup. In your new adgroup use the placement tool and type in YouTube.com look around for the InVideo placement options. Add the different categories you desire to your adgroup and you are good to go! (I would recommend adding in keywords to this adgroup too. This will increase the relevancy of your ads.)
  • LinkedIn Ads – LinkedIn is a giant social network geared towards business networking. If you don’t have a profile over yet, bookmark this article and go set up an account. LinkedIn’s DirectAds is their internal pay per click program. While you cannot target keywords on this platform, you can target very specific qualities you would like the person who sees your ad to have. For instance, you could target people who work in IT at construction companies that have between 51 and 200 employees. How about male legal professionals in the medical industry? Or 18 to 25 year olds in Canada who work for non-profits? The list goes on and on. You won’t see giant volumes of traffic from LinkedIn, but you will see highly targeted traffic.

Chances are all 5 of these methods will not work perfectly for you, but they are all worth a try. You never know when an unsuspecting source of traffic will be the next big thing.

Image courtesy of MIAD Communication Design.

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