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10 of the best alternatives to Facebook Ads

Have you found yourself reminiscing about the good old days of Facebook Ads when you could whip up a cute static image ad and roll in an epic ROAS? Same tbh. It was a time when those pesky portrait formats for Stories weren’t required and you didn’t need to be a videographer to make a high converting ad.

What a time to be alive. 

Maybe you’ve been finding Meta advertising metrics like cost per click (CPC) and cost per thousand impressions (CPM) for Facebook and Instagram getting higher and higher. Which, in turn, is pushing up customer acquisition costs (CAC) and making it harder than ever to get a profitable ROAS.

And maybe, you’re wondering if there are any alternatives to Facebook Ads because your target audience just isn’t hanging out on Facebook and Instagram so much anymore – a genuine concern given the thousands of 1-star reviews that Instagram received following its mid-year update.

Here’s some good news: first, it’s still possible to get great results with Facebook and Instagram ads. And second, there are a whole bunch of sweet alternatives to Facebook Ads that you could (and should) be tapping into.

So… should you actually ditch Facebook advertising?

Most businesses are utilising the Meta Ads platform, which includes Facebook, Instagram, and Messenger. Not surprising given monthly active users across Meta’s family of applications totalled 3.65 billion.

While Facebook Ads aren’t going anywhere anytime soon, it’s important to continually test and experiment with different platforms and channels in order to find the sweet spot for digital advertising and content marketing.

If you’re wondering if investing in Facebook Ads is still a sensible decision for your brand, here are a few things to consider.

Are your audiences on the platforms?

If your target audience still spend time on Instagram, Facebook or Messenger – even if that’s to look at Marketplace or keep up with their local Mothers’ Group or School PTA – then Meta Advertising is still relevant for your brand. A gentle reminder here that you might not be your target audience. Which means your behaviours and preferences aren’t always reflective of your customer base. Just because you’ve deleted Facebook and Instagram from your phone doesn’t mean your customers have.

What’s the customer acquisition cost? 

Making sure your ideal customers are spending time on Meta’s family of platforms is essential. The next step is to ensure that the cost of acquiring a customer via Messenger, Facebook and Instagram Ads is profitable for your business. An easy but effective way to determine this is to look at the average amount of times your customer buys from you in their lifetime as a customer, and the average value of each of those purchases. Multiple those things together and you’ve got a rough idea of the value of a customer. Now the next step you might want to involve your accountant in. And that’s because you’ll be looking at your profit margins in order to determine a sensible amount to pay to acquire a new customer – known as the customer acquisition cost (or CAC).

Customer acquisition aside, are Facebook Ads generating demand?

Not all marketing is about driving a direct sale (geez, that would be nice though wouldn’t it). Sometimes the time it takes to get a sale is longer than the conversion attribution windows in Meta Ads or Google Analytics. And sometimes the mechanism for closing a sale isn’t trackable. Building brand awareness, establishing product/service awareness, and generating demand is a really important aspect of marketing. And one that’s essential to actually get conversions.

Don’t just take it from us – AirBnB recently announced that they’re increasing their investment in brand marketing (aka: spending on building brand awareness with the hope it drives sales in the future) and seeing massive increases in revenue as a result

Sometimes, Facebook and Instagram Ads are doing a really great job of driving up brand awareness, increasing website traffic or driving qualified leads that go on to convert via other marketing channels at a later date. So before you bin Facebook and Instagram Ads, make sure you’re not going to negatively impact other marketing channels.

Repeat after me: multi-channel marketing is where it’s at and digital advertising is just a part of that. And yeah, I rhyme now. Ha!

What are the alternatives to Facebook Ads?

Setting and testing hypotheses is a big part of marketing. We launch and learn, test and iterate, then optimise and scale what’s working.

Our goal is to reach target audiences in the places that they consume content or spend time, and build brand awareness, pique interest, generate demand, and influence behaviour to culminate in a desired result – usually a customer acquisition or revenue target being met.

There are so many wonderful alternatives to Facebook Ads. The trick to finding the right ones for you is to choose digital advertising platforms that also happen to be the places where your ideal customers are hanging out and consuming content.

These are some of the Young Folks team’s favourites right now (and I’ll get into the reasons why further down the article):

  • Reddit ads
  • Quora ads
  • Spotify ads
  • Twitter ads
  • TikTok ads
  • YouTube ads
  • Google ads
  • Pinterest ads
  • LinkedIn ads

Reddit Ads

Often referred to as the front page of the internet, Reddit is the go-to platform for discussion on ultra niche topics. Sure, the forum-style platform has some quirky (and downright dark) content but overall it’s a place for passionate communities to gather, connect and converse. The best bit? On Reddit, users are actively seeking information not mindlessly scrolling – making them more engaged and more likely to respond to aligned advertising.

Reddit is known to be a research driven corner of the internet with passionate and often opinionated communities that typically spend more, purchase faster and give higher net promoter scores. Advertisers have the option to create display ads, feed ads, and sponsored content ads with audience targeting based on interest, location, behaviours, and communities. 

Platform insights:

  • 50M daily active uniques
  • 50B+ monthly views
  • More than 100K active communities (many that can’t be found elsewhere)
  • Reddit users make 9x faster purchase decisions
  • Reddit users typically spend 15% more
  • Reddit users give 12% higher net promoter scores
  • Average CPC of $0.44

Demographic insights:

  • 58% of Reddit users are aged 18–34
  • 28% are aged 35–49
  • 19% are aged 45–65

Great for:

  • Any industry or niche
  • Any brand seeking to target niche communities
  • Brands that can create engaging display or video content for ads
  • B2C companies with products that are highly researched before purchase
  • B2B companies with products or services that solve ‘talked about’ problems
  • Brands that can create engaging written content

Quora Ads

Quora is a niche forum-style platform used by over 300 million people every month. It’s a little bit like Reddit (perhaps a little less random and a little more thoughtful) in that it’s very much a place people go to research.

Some Quora users will be active account holders who research, ask questions, and respond to others’ questions. And others will be browsers who never comment or post but instead comb through existing threads to find answers. 

Just like Reddit, Quora can claim to be a place that people go to seek information – not just mindlessly scroll (looking at you Insta and TikTok). This makes Quora a great place for advertisers to reach customers actively researching a product or service.

One of the coolest things about Quora Ads? The enormous amount of data collected by the platform means that there are a whole bunch of different targeting options. We’re talking keywords, audiences, questions, topics, interest, list match and lookalike targeting. Even custom audiences (where third-party data is integrated).

The platform offers text ads (similar to Google Search Ads) image ads and Promoted Answers (similar to Facebook feed ads) and Lead Gen forms (similar to 

Platform insights:

  • 300 million monthly active users
  • Millions of questions are added and answered every month
  • Quora users are 65% more likely to have a university degree
  • Quora users are 37% more likely to be a manager
  • Quora users are 20% more likely to have authorised a business purchase
  • CPCs starting at $0.01 with some data showing as low as $0.30 average CPCs

Demographic insights:

Great for:

  • Any brand seeking to target niche communities
  • SaaS companies
  • B2B companies
  • B2C companies with products that are highly researched before purchase
  • Targeting audiences that are seeking answers and enjoy forums

Spotify Ads

Given it’s an audio streaming service, Spotify Ads might not have been on your radar as an alternative to Facebook Ads but they are part of the digital advertising realm. The platform offers audio and video ads. Plus with podcast listening continuing to grow, it’s worthwhile considering adding Spotify Ads into your marketing mix.

Data from the annual Infinite Dial Australia 2021 study, released by Edison Research and Commercial Radio Australia, showed that 5.6 million Australians, or 26% of the population, are weekly podcast listeners. Plus the study showed that Spotify is the most popular streaming platform for listening to podcasts with 42% tuning in each week.

One of the features that sets Spotify apart from traditional radio ads is its hybrid audio-digital offering Interactive Podcast Ads which pairs an audio ad with an interactive visual follow up. This double-barrel improves both recall and measurability.

The best bit? With a minimum spend of $250 to launch a campaign and access to Spotify’s free creative services studio for support producing ads, it’s a lot easier than radio (and more affordable) to get started with audio ads.

Like other digital advertising platforms, Spotify offers advertisers the opportunity to target audiences by age, gender, location, language, platform and even genre and real-time context.

Platform insights:

  • Spotify is the world’s most popular audio streaming service
  • 433 million monthly active listeners
  • Access to 200 million+ ad-supported listeners
  • 24% lift increase in ad recall for audio ads (according to Spotify)
  • Ability to load your own creative
  • Free creative services studio to produce your ad (nice!)

Demographic insights:

Great for:

  • Increasing brand awareness and strengthening positioning
  • Lifting recall with a specific campaign or marketing message
  • Any brand that wants to target specific genres or podcasts

Twitter Ads

When Twitter isn’t imploding thanks to its change of ownership chaos…it connects people to moments and movements. Home to breaking news and real-time conversations, Twitter is all about what’s happening and what people are talking about right now.

It’s perfectly fitting that Elon is trending on Twitter for firing nearly everyone at Twitter.

Maybe you’re not convinced Twitter is for you. Maybe you’ve got a 10 year old account with 23 followers that you use for lurking. But the numbers show that 79% of people follow brands on Twitter and that Twitter users are 53% more likely to be the first to try new products.

Whether it’s political commentary pile ons or live tweeting TV shows, audiences on Twitter are leaning into real-time conversations on hyper-specific topics. And savvy marketers are tapping into Twitter Ads as a way to brand build and drive performance.

Twitter offers advertisers the ability to reach and engage with your target audience via a range of different ad formats. Think: video, image and carousel ads, plus timeline takeovers and moment ads to name a few. Plus it has the option to target audiences by interests, demographics and behaviours as well as lookalikes, even conversation topics and movies and TV shows.

Our only word of advice? Wait until the dust from the change of ownership settles before sending your ad dollars here. It’s a wild ride at the moment.

Platform insights:

Demographic insights:

  • 70.4% of Twitter users identify as male
  • 38% of users are aged between 25–34
  • 17.1% are 18–24
  • 20.7% are 35–49
  • 17.1% are 50+

Great for:

  • Building brand awareness and lifting recall
  • B2C brands seeking to drive awareness and influence behaviour
  • B2B brands (particularly SaaS companies and course providers)
  • Brands with a strong existing presence on Twitter worth amplifying

TikTok Ads

TikTok is everywhere from influencing the clothes people wear to holiday destination inspiration to recipe ideas even the songs on the radio. Since rapidly gaining popularity in 2020, TikTok has become the go-to platform for short form video where trends begin and realness is championed (sometimes too much realness).

Despite spying claims, the platform boasts 1 billion active users of which 92% take action after watching a TikTok video. The short story: if you’re trying to reach and influence millennial and Gen Z audiences, you’re missing out if you’re not on TikTok.

Advertisers on TikTok can reach audiences based on demographics, interests, location, language, behaviours and device details as well as by creating custom and lookalike audiences.

The platform offers a host of different types of video advertising plus its focus on creators makes influencer marketing a stellar option for brands that are keen to leverage affiliate marketing with creators in their niche.

Platform insights:

Demographic insights:

  • Of the 80 million active monthly users in the US 60% were female
  • 60% of users are Gen Z
  • 32.5% aged 10 -19
  • 29.5% aged 20 – 29
  • 16.4% aged 30 – 39
  • 13.9% aged 40 – 49
  • 7.1% aged 50+

Great for:

  • B2C ecommerce brands
  • B2C services brands with highly visual or thought leadership content
  • B2B services business that want to engage Gen Z and Millennial decision makers
  • Communications and creative services brands that want to flex their skills

Google Ads

With the Google Ads platform spanning search, display, YouTube and even digital out of home (ooh) it’s one of the biggest advertising platforms and offers a cost-effective way for businesses of all sizes to reach an almost limitless target audience.

When it comes to search ads, audiences have such strong intent that it makes the platform perfect for direct response marketing efforts. As for display, YouTube and digital out of home, they’re all fantastic for building brand awareness and lifting brand recall as well as driving traffic to your website.

One of the biggest advantages of Google Ads is precision targeting across the whole customer journey. Google collects such enormous amounts of data all over the web through its platforms and tools, so the targeting options in its advertising offering are almost unmatched.

The best bit? Leveraging user intent on the search network where you’re advertising to people looking for something specific – not mindlessly scrolling on social media.

Platform insights:

Demographic insights:

  • 94% of all searches happen on a Google property
  • Almost everyone uses Google Search

Great for:

  • Literally any brand or business type that has customers who use Google

YouTube Ads

Technically YouTube Ads are part of the Google Ads family, but they’re worth digging into on their own because they’re a little bit different. Firstly, there are a bunch of different formats marketers can leverage – its not just video ads on this video platform. We’re talking: skippable and non-skippable in-stream ads, display ads, bumpers, overlays and sponsored cards, and discovery ads. 

Plus with 2 billion account holders, 5 billion daily video views, and an average of 30-minutes viewing time per visit, this platform has epic engagement rates. And with 70% of people reporting that they have bought a product after seeing it in a YouTube ad, it’s worthwhile considering adding YouTube ads into your video marketing mix. 

Platform insights:

Demographic insights:

Great for:

  • Brands looking to drive awareness with video ads
  • Brand campaigns with precision targeting
  • Re-engaging people who are on the journey to purchase

LinkedIn Ads

Ah, LinkedIn. Since Instagram tried to become TikTok, LinkedIn has become a bit more Instagram-ish. At least with the selfies paired with thought leadership captions. And you know what? We’re kinda liking it. Yeah, social media is always changing.

With +850 million professionals on the platform and 4 out of 5 of them influencing business decisions, LinkedIn claims to be the number one platform for driving leads. Its advertising offering includes sponsored content (like feed ads on Facebook) sponsored mail straight into LinkedIn users’ inboxes, text ads and dynamic ads.

And with LinkedIn users diligently completing and optimising their profiles to put their best foot forward professionally, there’s an incredible amount of information that’s available for targeting – right down to specific roles and companies. Yep, you’ll be able to get laser focussed on targeting and create ideal audience personas.

Platform insights:

  • 850 million users 
  • 134.5 million daily active users 
  • 22% increase in interaction in 2022
  • Members in 200 countries 

Demographic insights:

  • 57% of identify as male 
  • 20.3% aged 18–24
  • 59.1% ages 25–34
  • 17.7% aged 35–54
  • 2.9% aged 55+

Great for:

  • B2B brands seeking to drive awareness, traffic and leads
  • B2C brands seeking to target affluent professional demographics
  • Any brand brand targeting professionals in key decision making positions

Pinterest Ads

With nearly 500 million monthly active users and none of the drama or hectic filters we see on other social media platforms, Pinterest is fast becoming the nicest place on the internet.

They’ve banned weight loss advertising, and embraced diversity and inclusion with a range of different filters and functions. And the best bit? Pinterest users spend twice as much shopping every month compared to non-Pinners, making it a nice place to scroll and a highly effective advertising platform.

Pinterest is both a search engine and a social media platform which means from an advertising perspective it’s kinda like the best of Instagram Ads and Google Search Ads – precision targeting, audiences with strong research intent, and beautiful imagery.

​​In fact, 97% of searches on Pinterest are unbranded indicating the people shopping on Pinterest want something new, but haven’t committed to a specific brand or product yet . They’re on Pinterest to find inspiration, and typically leave when they’ve found something to buy. The best bit? They can spend up to x2 more than users on other social media networks.

Platform insights:

Demographic insights:

  • 77% of advertising audience identify as female
  • 20% of users aged 18–24
  • 39% aged 25–34
  • 17% aged 35–44
  • 9% aged 45–54
  • 10% aged 55–64
  • 4% aged 65+ 

Great for:

  • Ecommerce brands
  • B2C brands selling lifestyle products and services
  • Brands selling products that require significant research and planning

Where to next?

Most brands allocate a large portion of their digital advertising budgets to Facebook Ads and Google Ads because these platforms offer up the largest audience pool. But one of the biggest advantages of niche advertising platforms is that many marketers don’t bother with them because the available audience is too small.

Savvy marketers run campaigns in all of the places where their target audience are engaged and consuming content so that they can build brand awareness and influence behaviour in a cost effective way.

If you’re ready to start exploring digital advertising alternatives to Facebook Ads, get in touch with the Young Folks team. 

Written by

Erin Morris is the founder and director at Young Folks. Packing more than 10 years marketing experience, Erin has worked with start-ups, corporates and everything in between. She loves listening to audiobooks whilst running, oat milk flat whites, and scouring Marketplace for secondhand furniture finds.

Our Melbourne and Mornington Peninsula studios are open 9am – 5pm Monday to Friday. If you’re a brand in the business of doing good, we’d love to hear from you.

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