Google is King of the Mountain when it comes to market share for search. ComScore released their December 2010 search statistics, where Google leads the way with 66.6% of the search market. By comparison, Yahoo was in second place with 16.0% and MSN was third with 12.0% (essentially giving the Search Alliance a 28% share). Google’s numbers are overwhelming and undeniable. If you are running a Pay-per-Click (PPC) campaign, there is a high probability you are either running ads in Google now, or have used their AdWords platform in the past. With that dominant market share comes big-time competition, and it can be very difficult for smaller companies to compete with large companies who can spend ten times or more in PPC campaigns. Optimizing your PPC campaigns, bidding on long-tail keyphrases, and building quality landing pages can help increase your conversion numbers so you can still maintain a presence in Google, without getting buried under an avalanche of competitor ads.
Another option to consider is to allocate budget toward other online media channels. One channel that has recently made positive strides for targeted advertising is LinkedIn (www.linkedin.com). LinkedIn recently unveiled a new targeting option that allows advertisers to target their PPC ads based on job title, company, and specific Groups LinkedIn members have associated with their account. Imagine being able to run a television commercial or radio spot that is only served to people who have a high probability of purchasing your product or service? This type of granular targeting is an excellent way for smaller companies to expand their online presence and still keep a tightly focused marketing message to their most desired demographic.
For example, if you are a painting supply company specializing in paint brushes and other accessories for contractors and design professionals, you can run a campaign just serving ads to those professionals on LinkedIn. That is a very powerful way to brand your business and at the same time closely manage your advertising costs. While you may not see the huge number of visitors or impressions that you get from Google’s user base, the conversion is more important and you may find these alternative channels to Google, such as LinkedIn, are the perfect fit for your online marketing message.