Upgrade Your Online Advertising Strategy: The Best Advertising Platforms in 2023

Growth Tactics
0 min read
October 20, 2022
Jenner Kearns
Chief Delivery Officer

Curious about which online advertising platforms exist beyond your current advertising strategy?

I’m sure you’re already familiar with Facebook and Google as online advertising platforms. These behemoths are the best-known online advertising platforms out there, boasting the biggest online user bases and powerful self-service ad managers. Together with Amazon, they absolutely dominate the online advertising market. 

Top 3 ad platforms by 2021 advertising revenue:

  • Google: $209.49 billion
  • Facebook: $115 billion
  • Amazon: $32 billion

Given Facebook and Google’s popularity as online advertising platforms, you’ll face high competition with millions of other advertisers to get your ads shown and capture users' saturated attention. It’s a challenge. It also means ad prices can be comparatively high.

However, there’s a whole advertising ecosystem out there that could offer your business more reach amongst niche demographics for less cost or greater ROAS. Especially if audience targeting is more effective, regardless of the cost-per-mille (CPM) or cost-per-click (CPC) prices.

We’re not saying you shouldn’t use Google or Facebook as leading platforms within your online advertising strategy. You definitely should be using Google for paid search results. But there’s a whole ad ecosystem out there just waiting to be tested, ready to open up more opportunities for your business. As always, some testing is the best way to find out what works and what doesn’t.

The team at Half Past Nine live to help our clients develop ad strategies that maximize the reach and return against budget. To help you, we’ve pulled together this comprehensive guide to where you can advertise online, selecting the best online advertising platforms we’ve come across so far. 

This guide is exclusively for brands that want to expand the impact of their paid advertising strategy; we’re not listing out free sites and directories to list your business on. It’s applicable for both B2B and B2C brands.

Keep in mind that ad prices and results fluctuate greatly by variables such as country, industry, target audience, demand and seasonality, placement, ad format, ad quality, landing page quality and audience engagement with your ads. Platform-specific benchmark data by industry and country is a valuable tool where you can get it, alongside running your own test campaigns on platforms of interest.

Search Engines

search engine marketing

It’s an easier task to consider which search engines should be included among your online advertising platforms given the limited choices! As of September 2022, global desktop search engine market share is almost monopolized by Google at around 92%, trailed by Bing 3%, and Yahoo at approximately 1%.

US search engine market share
Sources: Statcounter & Startup Bonsai

Note, DuckDuckGo is powered by Bing and ads are managed through Microsoft Advertising, so isn’t covered separately here.

In the US in 2022, around 50% of search traffic comes from mobile, 45% from desktop, and 3% from tablets.


Google Ads offers a powerful self-service ad management and reporting platform covering a wide spectrum of advertising functionality across search engine, display, in-app and video ads. 

User Demographics:

  • Reaches around 75% of the US population
  • Google Chrome App accounts for 49% market share in the US
  • Google Maps, another search-related product, has over 5 billion downloads

Search ad pricing can vary widely and you’ll get to select the pricing models you want to use based on your search campaign objectives and the ad formats. You can set campaign and daily budgets, and there’s no minimum spend required.

If you're an eCommerce brand, leverage Google shopping results ads within your search strategy.

Check out some mind-blowing Google statistics, and Google Ad statistics.


Bing is a Microsoft company, and Bing ads are managed through the Microsoft Advertising platform. In 2009, Microsoft was in partnership with Verizon Media, which has since been acquired by Apollo Global Management and rebranded itself as Yahoo (combining AOL and Yahoo Gemini). 

That means your Bing search ads are also shown on: 

  • Yahoo
  • MSN
  • Other platforms in the Microsoft-owned network, such as DuckDuckGo, Ecosia and Cortana

Joining forces has provided more incentive for advertisers to use Bing and Yahoo companies in competition with Google. In comparison to Google, there is also less competition for ad placements within Microsoft-owned platforms and lower ad prices. 

User Demographics:

  • Older user demographics - average user being 45 years old.
  • Users have above average incomes with a third making $100k+, and almost half making $75k+.
  • Microsoft Ads say they have an equal gender split.

Like Google, Bing’s adverts are auctioned by CPC for selected keywords. You can target by demographics, geographic regions, and also the time of day or week. Budgeting is flexible on Bing Ads, and there’s no minimum budget to get started.

Ecommerce works particularly well on Microsoft Ads, which has shopping partnerships with companies like Amazon. 

  • Bing shopping campaigns have a 45% higher ad click through rate (CTR) than on Google
  • CPC on shopping ads is 30% lower than Google’s average.

Get more Bing insights, and the pros and cons of Bing vs Google.


Powered by Bing’s search engine, Yahoo is managed through Yahoo Native. The ad manager states that your ads may run on Yahoo, MSN, AOL, TechCrunchand Engadget -Yahoo brands. It offers search and native advertising options from one platform.

User Demographics:

  • Yahoo AdTech says 20 million daily unique visitors use Yahoo
  • 180 million monthly unique visitors in the US - accounting for 45% of its global traffic
  • 66% of Americans visit the Yahoo homepage with an equal gender split
  • If Yahoo Mail users are an indicator of Yahoo search users demographics, Statista reports that 45-54 is the biggest age group, followed by 65+, and 54-64.

With less advertiser competition, you’re guaranteed to benefit from lower CPC costs on Yahoo than you’ll get with Google or Bing, and you’re likely to get more clicks. Targeting can be done by basic demographics, keywords and search phrases.

Social Media

social media advertising

Globally, the most popular social platforms had the following number of monthly active users (MAU) as of January 2022:

top social media platforms by monthly active users
Sources: Statista & Business of Apps

Market share and demographics for social media continues to evolve.

In the United States in 2020, around 80% of the population used some form of social media. And in the US, YouTube just surpasses Facebook for reach.

top 5 social media platforms in the US
Sources: Statista, Statista, Statista, Linkedin, Backlinko

Looking at social platform growth rates in the US, TikTok is set to overtake Instagram soon, although its exceptional growth rate is starting to plateau. Reddit is another one to note because despite having a smaller user base, it currently has above average growth in the US.

US social media user growth by platform
Source: Insider Intelligence

Most social media content is consumed in-app on mobile devices (around 80%), so it’s a given that most of your placements will be viewed on a mobile screen. However, we’ll look at mobile advertising networks separately.

For eCommerce marketers, social commerce allows in-app purchasing, a growing trend to leverage on aligned platforms.

Social media in-app purchasing
Source: Hubspot

See more interesting social media statistics for marketers.


Facebook Ads is ideal for creating demand in consumer-oriented FMCG marketing. However, it’s still somewhat popular with B2B users. A Hootsuite study found that 48.5% of B2B decision makers use Facebook for conducting research, and users do also go to Facebook for news to a lesser extent.

Why people use facebook
Source: Statista

Facebook’s US user demographics tends towards Millennials as the biggest user group.

US facebook users by age
Source: Statista

In the US (as of January 2021): 

  • 69% of the adult population has an account, exceeded only by YouTube usage.
  • 54% of users are female.
  • 49% of users visit several times per day.

The price of ads tends to be mid-range, whether you choose CPC or CPM. However, Facebook ad costs can vary widely depending on your audience, ad goals and the season.

US Average Facebook CPM
Data is calculated from Facebook campaigns targeting audiences in the United States. Source: Revealbot

The Average Click-Through Rate (CTR) for adverts on Facebook is 0.89%.

Powerful targeting and real-time reporting are provided plus a wide variety of ad placement options.


YouTube is the best-known video sharing platform globally. Launched in 2005 and acquired by Google in 2006, it has achieved steadfast popularity. It’s the second largest social platform in the world, but the largest in the US.

As a Google platform, YouTube videos can also rank highly in Google’s organic search results. Google Chrome features a video section on the first page of search results showcasing a selection of the most popular videos for the given keyword or search term.

Why People Use Youtube
Source: Think With Google

YouTube has a relatively unique position in that it spans the age demographics rather evenly, also engaging those in older age brackets. In terms of gender, the global average is around 56% male and 44% female.

In the US specifically: 

  • 81% of adults use YouTube, out-performing Facebook for total US population reach.
  • 54% of users are male.
  • 77% of 15-35 year olds use YouTube, and represent the biggest demographic.
  • 62% of users visit YouTube daily.
percentage of US internet users by age group
Source: Statista

According to Google Ads, 70% of viewers bought from a brand after seeing video content on YouTube. 

A range of YouTube ad placements are available and ad content doesn’t need to be in video format. Ad content can be pulled through from Google search campaigns rather than YouTube-specific campaigns.

youtube advertising format

Manage your video ads through a Google Ads account by linking your YouTube channel, which gives you access to powerful targeting and reporting tools. For the best results, create YouTube ads in video format. This does require some extra content investment. 

In terms of YouTube ad costs, you’ll only pay when someone watches at least 30 seconds of a video or clicks on your TrueView ad. There’s no minimum investment required and you can start with a $10 daily budget. Learn more about YouTube pricing strategies

Read more YouTube statistics.


A Facebook company, Instagram advertising can be run from the Facebook Ad Manager or by promoting posts you’ve already shared from within the app. The third biggest social platform globally, it has just over 1 billion monthly active users. 

FMCG and B2C brand content performs well here, as does influencer content. Instagram isn’t typically used by users as a news source and generally performs better for brands using inspirational content opposed to factual content. 

It attracts users with higher than average household incomes and higher-level education.

In the US: 

  • There are 159.75 million users (as of Jan 2022).
  • 59% of users login daily.
  • The gender balance swings in favor of females at 56%.
  • The biggest age group is 25-34 year olds.
US instagram users by age group
Source: Statista

There are six types of Instagram advertising formats to choose from.

US average Instagram CPM
Data is calculated from Instagram campaigns targeting audiences in the United States. Source: Revealbot

Delve into more Instagram statistics, and learn more about Instagram ad pricing.


Launched in 2017, TikTok grew at a viral rate, mostly among teenagers and those in their 20s as the early adopters.

It is a harder channel for B2B brands to leverage effectively, although that’s not to say it can’t be done with a more personal and UGC approach. Bear in mind that today, 73% of people involved in the B2B buying process are Millennials, and 81% of non-C-suiters have a say in purchase decisions.

As of January 2022, it has 1 billion users globally and gender is almost evenly split with 53% male and 47% female.

In the US:

  • There are 100 million active users.
  • 47.4% of active users are aged between 10 and 29.
  • Females notably outnumber males, with 61% of users being female.
  • Most users are active multiple times daily.
US tiktok users by age group
Source: Statista

On average, TikTok posts get the highest follower engagement rates out of all the social platforms. In terms of ad pricing, you can get started for as little as $20 with an ‘in-feed’ ad group daily budget. The TikTok Ad Manager user-experience and reporting capability is competitive.

See more TikTok statistics, and guidance for TikTok marketers.


LinkedIn Marketing Solutions is a B2B favorite for leveraging the world's biggest professional network. It’s a no-brainer for B2B ad strategies. 

LinkedIn specializes in ad targeting by professional roles and company types right down to specific companies. This career-specific targeting is not available to anywhere near the same extent through other ad platforms. 

It has around 822 million active global users as of Q1 2022, and users are more likely to have higher education and earn more than average. However, LinkedIn users are less likely to use this platform daily, with most logging in either weekly or monthly.

  • Around 191 million users are in the US.
  • Males outnumber female users at 57%.
  • 37% of users are 46-55 years old, followed by 34% aged 36-45.
  • 51% of US adults who have a bachelor’s or advanced degree say they use LinkedIn compared with 28% of those with only some college education (Pew Research Center).
US linkedin users by age group
Source: Statista

For ad placements, LinkedIn requires a minimum bid of $2 for CPC and CPM campaigns. Given its niche reach into B2B audiences, it’s a more expensive platform to advertise on. Despite higher prices, B2B brands could see significantly higher ROAS here.

Enjoy more LinkedIn stats for marketers, and LinkedIn user statistics.


Pinterest Ads offer a more niche audience that’s ideal for eCommerce and female consumer audiences.

There are just over 400 million monthly active users, and the demographics are skewed towards mature females in the US:

  • Up to 50% of all users are located in the US.
  • Females make up around 76% of users.
  • 38% of users are aged 50–64, followed by 34% of users aged 30-49 years old.

If that fits your target audience, Pinterest claims that 89% of their US audience use the platform for inspiration on their path to purchase. It boasts a higher conversion rate than most, with 50% of users having purchased an advertised product on the platform, and even more having purchased a product based on what they’ve seen from brands here. 

However, it can prove a more time consuming platform to get results from given the hours needed to create ‘boards’.

Here are some more helpful Pinterest marketing insights.


Reddit Ads are available on this community platform where users share links, text posts, images, or videos, which other users can vote up or down. Posts are organized by subject into user-created boards called "communities" or “subreddits” and cover a wide variety of topics.

Reddit says they’re particularly popular with gamers, tech enthusiasts, TV & film buffs, sports enthusiasts and health-conscious visitors. You’ll be able to target users based on interests, location, by communities in ‘subreddits’ and devices. 

Fresh user data for 2022 is elusive, but Reddit said they had 430 million active users as of 2020, and 222 million of those were in the US. This was a 30% increase on the year before. Views and the number of monthly comments had been growing too, with 52 million daily active users.

In the US (as of December 2020):

  • 49% of all traffic came from the US, followed by the UK and Canada at 8% each.
  • Users are estimated to be around 56%+ male.
  • 58% of users are 18-34 years old.

Reddit requires a minimum ad budget of $5/day using their self-service ad platform, which isn’t particularly advanced. You’ll pay around $0.75 for CPM and can choose display ads, Sponsored Q&As, Link post, Text Post, or Video Post.

Check out some more Reddit user statistics, and insights for advertising on Reddit.


Twitter advertising gives you access to a male majority audience representing a whopping 70% of Twitter users. The use of hashtags is king here and makes it easy to find followers highly engaged with a topic. 

Unlike other social platforms, getting current news is the top reason to use Twitter. A preference for factual content makes Twitter a better fit for B2B brands, not to say B2C brands shouldn’t use it.

Why people use Twitter
Source: American Press Institute

There are around 396 million monthly active users globally: 

  • Most users are from the US at around 73 million, followed by Japan and then the UK.
  • 61% are male.
  • Popular with Gen Z users, 42% are aged 18-29, followed by 27% at 30-49 years.

Twitter users are more open to trying new products and engaging with brands. Ads tend to receive higher engagement, and it’s popular with B2B marketers also. It works particularly well for video content. Video-based ads represent good value at around 50% less cost per user engagement.

In terms of pricing, there’s no minimum required budget to get started. Promoted tweets are charged per user ‘action’ that you’ve chosen, such as when a user clicks your link. As always, ad costs can fluctuate greatly.

Read more Twitter stats for marketers, and Twitter user statistics.


If you haven’t encountered Tumblr yet, this Automattic-owned company is a pop-culture micro blogging site where people follow topics of interest suited well to B2C or DTC brands. It also uses hashtags like Twitter, but offers far more freedom on content length and format. There are 7 different post types available; text, photo, quote, link, chat, audio and video.

As of February 2021, it had around 518 million registered users. Tumblr says that around 12.8 million blog posts are published daily.

  • The US accounts for the vast majority of traffic at around 46% (followed by the UK at 5-6%).
  • It has the most reach with Gen Z and Millennials (15-35 years).
  • Gender is reported to be a 50/50 split in the US.

Tumblr ads are shown to users based on other content they view, created as sponsored posts, video posts, or ‘Sponsored Day’. You don’t get the level of targeting features or analytics that Google or Facebook’s ad manager tools provide. However, there are still basic targeting features like gender, location, and interests.

Tumblr is targeting big brands with its ad offering; the minimum investment is reportedly $25,000 and you’ll need to submit a request to get started. 

Here are some more Tumblr statistics.


Quora Ads allows you to promote your brand on this popular question & answer community site. Users create both the question and answer content, they can vote on the helpfulness of answers, and follow topics that interest them. It lends itself better to B2B content, particularly if it can be posted by company thought leaders in a personal context focused on value-added knowledge sharing. 

Quora attracts around 300 million monthly active users globally:

  • Around 40% of traffic is from the US, followed by India at 12%.
  • Quora says the gender ratio is in favor of females at 54%.
  • This user base has above average education and income; 39% are in management positions and users are 45% more likely to be senior decision makers.
  • The biggest age demographic is 18-24 at 45% of users.

Adverts can be targeted by topics or keywords, by audience demographics or behavior. Placements include text ads, image ads, promoted answers and Lead Gen forms. Optimize for conversions, clicks, or impressions, and see real-time reporting in the Ads Manager. 

Required investment is low, with a minimum starting budget of $25.

See more Quora statistics, why marketers should use Quora, and a marketers guide to Quora.


Snapchat Ads utilizes a unique format of picture/video messaging and news. It shows photos or short videos for a limited time, which disappear after they have been viewed. However, they can also be screen-grabbed or use a replay option. 

Snapchat has 238 million daily active users globally:

  • Around 107 million of them are in the US.
  • 48% of users are aged 15-25, followed by 30% at 26-35.
  • 55% of users in the US are female.

If this is your demographic, content is low maintenance to produce and the ad platform also offers very low CPMs. It’s a cheap channel to get a large volume ‘top of the sales funnel’ views. The Ads Manager platform allows you to get started with as little as $5, and pricing can be optimized according to your goals. You’ll be able to target users by demographics, location, interests and behavior.

Enjoy more Snapchat stats, and guidance for Snapchat marketers.


Houzz is a US community network specifically for home improvement, architecture and landscape design. Users can create image-based ‘ideabooks’ for inspiration, connect with suppliers and plan home renovations costs. Launched in 2009, Houzz states that it has around 40 million homeowners using its platform. Advertising is not automated/self-service on this platform, so you’ll need to get in touch with the customer support team to get started with advertising. Learn about marketing on Houzz.


Nextdoor connects people in the same neighborhoods and areas. Uses can share local news, tips, buy and sell items or promote businesses. Founded in 2010, Nextdoor claims to reach a quarter of US households and has around 10 million users. A range of ad formats and placements are available on their self-service ad center.

Display Networks

display networks for display ads

Display networks show display adverts - a graphic ad format featuring banner images, rich media or text. It’s usually referring to static banner ads or video ads, which appear in allocated placement areas on websites or social media. 

If you’re not familiar with display networks, they’re online platforms that own and/or purchase advertising space from other ‘publishers’, which is known as ad inventory. Networks sell ad inventory to advertisers via self-service platforms.

Display networks use programmatic purchasing technology. Programmatic means that software is used to automate the process of pricing and buying ad inventory using real-time bidding (RTB). It can optimize your bid prices to get ads shown based on your chosen pricing model against other bids that are being placed at the given time. This improves cost efficiency, ROAS, and removes the time-consuming need to manage bids manually.

Programmatic real-time bidding

Display networks can have their own ad inventory to sell, they may have partnerships with third-party websites selling ad inventory, and may also buy/sell inventory from other ad exchanges too. 

Ad exchanges are online platforms that facilitate the programmatic buying and selling of ad inventory from multiple publishers in larger volumes. The inventory can come directly from publishers and through connected ad networks. As an industry, it’s not exactly completely transparent how all the networks link up.

Outside the biggest display ad networks (Google AdSense and Facebook’s Audience Network), a demand-side platform (DSP) subscription is usually needed. DSPs refer to software that facilitates purchasing directly from ad exchanges, networks and publishers.

Theoretically, this removes the need to manage your ad purchasing individually on multiple publishers/networks/exchanges, saving time on campaign management. You can also better manage dynamic targeting and personalization across multiple platforms or ad networks.

Programmatic advertising

Looking at the downsides of programmatic display networks, there are some issues in the form of ad-blocking software (used by 47% of internet users), third-party cookie blocking and inaccurate reporting due to bots. For example, in the first half of 2021, 64% of all internet traffic was bots, 39% of which were ‘bad’ bots. And with less control over where your ads appear, you might also receive undesirable ad placements and associations that don’t serve your brand. Nor will you have transparency on direct publisher prices if the network is purchasing inventory through an ad exchange. 

As an SME business, if you only wish to advertise on a few specific platforms, it could be that managing your ads through the individual display networks makes most sense. They cater to smaller budgets and ad inventory requirements, plus they generally require less resources than DSP platforms, whether in-house or agency managed.

Here are the top ad exchanges, display networks, and then DSPs which give you access to their respective integrated ad exchanges.

Ad Exchanges


OpenX is the world’s largest independent ad exchange, with 30,000 advertisers reaching nearly 1 Billion consumers globally with 100 Billion targeted ad requests each day. In the US, the unique consumers reach up to 250,000 million.

There are over 130,000 active publishing domains that OpenX works with to meet the advertisers’ ideal audience and they claim to have the highest quality standards in the industry. They offer first party data activation, PMP tools and premium omnichannel inventory.

OpenX works with Basis Technologies and theTradeDesk to name a few DSPs, but according to their website they are compatible with whatever DSP the advertisers are currently using. For pricing information you need to contact the website directly, no public information is available. 

Read OpenX user reviews.

Applovin Exchange

Applovin Exchange or ALX is a powerful platform with a focus on mobile and connected TV channels. With the acquisition and integration of MoPub (currently Applovin MAX) as their in-app bidding medium, ALX connects buyers to over 2 billion mobile devices globally. 

As an advertiser you will have access to ALX’s omnichannel premium inventory through any of the 100+ DSPs they are compatible with. 

Pricing information is not publicly available, however the RTB tool MAX buys the inventory programmatically on a per-impression basis. 

Read ALX user reviews.  

Yahoo AdTech

As touched upon in the search engine section, Yahoo operates a search and native ad network using its owned brands called Yahoo Native, but also has a group of display ad publishing partners. 

Their owned publishing platforms are Yahoo, AOL, and TechCrunch. Their publishing partners include ESPN, ABC News, Apple News (in select locations), and MSN, among others. They say they serve 2 billion ad impressions a day to 1 billion monthly active users.

In addition to the Yahoo Native platform, Yahoo AdTech offers a DSP platform, giving more advanced access to Yahoo & Microsoft properties, plus their premium native marketplace of partners. Pricing information for this platform is not publicly available, and is suited to larger advertisers. However, you can get started on the Yahoo AdTech network with as little as $5.

Read Yahoo AdTech DSP.

Index Exchange 

Index Exchange is a programmatic advertising platform that connects every involved party in its systems. It has solutions designed for publishers, advertisers and DSPs. According to the website, Index offers premium omnichannel inventory through its partnerships with the world’s most trusted media owners.

The platform proudly offers placements for “any ad format, on any screen”; including display, CTV, native, video and mobile apps. 

Index Exchange partners with over 150 DSPs, meaning you can most likely use the ad exchange with your preferred DSP with no compatibility issues. Pricing information is not publicly available.

Read Index Exchange user reviews.

Display Ad Networks


Google's ad exchange allows the advertiser to manage ad campaigns across multiple channels from Google Ads to YouTube and Google’s Display Network.

As an advertiser, you have access to Google’s display network through the Ad Manager. There are over 2 million websites in the Google Display Network (GDN). They have, of course, been screened by Google before inclusion in the network. Your display ads will be shown on the most relevant sites based on the user demographics and targeting you have chosen.

You have the option to manage the bidding manually or let the platform manage the bids for you. Google provides automated bidding strategies depending on your goals. There’s no budget requirement to get started on Google Ads.

Read Google Ad Manager user reviews.


Adsterra is an ad network with self-service functionality, offering banner advertising among other formats such as pop-under, native and pre-roll video. Ecommerce is one of their main industry verticals. They have 18,000+ publishers in their network and serve 1 billion ad impressions a day. 

The minimum deposit for advertisers is $100 and there’s no license fee, and there are some minimum bid prices in place to note.

Read Adsterra user reviews.


Media.net is a smaller programmatic advertising network that offers a network of ‘premium’ publishers with a particular focus on blogging websites and delivering contextually relevant ads. 

You benefit from their relationships with DSPs, Agency Trading Desks, Horizontal Networks, Vertical Networks, Performance Networks, AMPs and DMPs. They’re also partnered with platforms such as Facebook Audience Network, and most network traffic is from the US, Canada and the UK.

Media.net manages ad supply on over 500,000 websites. They currently manage traffic that generates 70+ million ad clicks each month. Pricing information is not publicly available.

Read Media.net user reviews.



Adform is an independent modern marketing advertising platform that offers DSP and SSP solutions with over 2,000 global clients. In 2022, Adform’s DSP was awarded the “Best DSP” by Adweek Reader’s Choice. 

Adform offers cross media activation via FLOW, which uses augmented reality to “amplify business results”. With this, advertisers can utilize programmatic and direct buying with campaign reporting and optimization for channels such as display, audio, video and CTV.

Adform provides access to inventory through its 100+ partners. Pricing information is not publicly available.

Read Adform DSP user reviews.


TheTrade Desk is the world’s leading independent demand-side platform (DSP) that enables advertisers to access and buy digital advertising inventory across “every channel and device” in real-time. 

The DSP platform offers a range of sophisticated targeting and optimization features that help advertisers reach their desired audiences more effectively, including cross-device targeting and multiple buying models. 

The Trade Desk has become known for its commitment to transparency. With OpenPath, TheTradeDesk’s transparency pipeline, advertisers can access premium inventory directly from the platform and have a direct representation of how the media dollars bring value with each purchase.  

As a guideline keep in mind that the minimum monthly spend starts at 100K, but for specific info you would need to set up an account. 

Read TheTradeDesk user reviews


Formerly known as the Rubicon Project, Magnite was born after a 2020 merger that combined Rubicon’s experience as a programmatic exchange and Telaria’s extensive CTV capabilities. Today, it is the “world’s largest independent sell-side platform (SSP)”, working with thousands of publishers; but it also serves advertisers as an omnichannel supply partner.

To advertisers, Magnite offers a programmatic advertising marketplace where they can buy inventory for display, video, audio, and connected TV (CTV) advertising. Pricing information is not publicly available.

Read Magnite for buyers’ user reviews


Beeswax DSP is a programmatic advertising platform offering real-time bidding, audience targeting and optimization tools for inventory across various channels such as display, video and CTV. The platform creates custom algorithms and data models for each ad campaign which provides transparency and control over the campaign materials

One of the unique aspects of Beeswax is that it allows you to build your own programmatic advertising platform using its infrastructure called Baas (Bidder-as-a-service) which allows for greater customization. 

Since there is a personalized aspect to the service Beeswax provides, pricing varies and you would need to contact an expert on the website. 

Read Beeswax user reviews

Amazon Ads 

For ecommerce advertisers, Amazon Advertising offers a range of advertising services, including display ads. A self-service option lets you advertise on a smaller scale within Amazon, however they also cater to larger budgets with a more advanced DSP. It’s an ideal place to reach shoppers who are on Amazon with a high intent to purchase.

Amazon’s DSP solution enables advertisers to programmatically buy display, video, and audio ads both on and off Amazon. And you don’t need to sell products on Amazon to use it. Amazon has publishing partners and connects to third-party ad exchanges to give you reach. However, the Amazon DSP service requires a minimum spend of $15,000 (may vary by country).

For Sponsored Display ads, there is no minimum ad investment required and you can set daily bid and budget limits.

Read Amazon DSP user reviews.


AdCritter is a DSP especially designed for small businesses, putting self-service programmatic advertising within reach of smaller budgets who want to reach audiences beyond Google and Facebook.

The platform features an ad builder with pre-designed templates or user-friendly design functionality. There’s audience-based targeting functionality with over 200,000 audience characteristics to choose from, including geo-targeting, and automated optimized targeting. You can also select website categories, or even favorite websites, where you want your ads to appear. 

AdCritter can place your ads across the entire internet ecosystem, with functionality to automatically place them on the sites that generate the best results. With AdCritter’s connection to ‘all the major ad exchanges’, you’ll still get competitive pricing for your ad placements.

Start with a 30-day free trial, and progress to a Standard subscription plan for $149 per month (doesn’t include ad budget).

Read AdCritter user reviews.


Choozle lets advertisers plan, buy, execute, and measure ad campaigns from one platform. Using self-service programmatic functionality, its reach gives you access to an impressive 98% of online ad inventory and 40+ ad exchange networks. They serve ads on premium ad networks like MoPub, OpenX, Google Display Network, Yahoo, AppNexus and Yahoo.

Choozle supports multiple ad formats, including display, video, mobile and native. With cross-device and cross-channel targeting functionality, they offer the flexibility to use first-part or third-party data to create campaigns for custom audiences composed of your most valuable users. There are 60+ third-party data providers you can plug in. You can also target specific locations, or web content and page categories.

They have a starter Growth subscription plan for $99 per month and no minimum ad spend required, for “Liberated digital advertising for everyone”.

Read Choozle user reviews.

SharpSpring Ads

SharpSpring Ads provides cross-device retargeting ads for ecommerce across web, mobile, Facebook and Twitter. It will help you set up targeted and personalized product or shopping ads. You can integrate your Shopify store and use the self-service Dynamic Ad Builder to automatically create relevant ads from your products.

In terms of pricing, the self-service platform is free as long as you spend $100 per month, and there’s no set-up fee. A 14-day free trial is available and you’ll get $100 free credit too. 

SharpSpring Ads say: “Set your own campaign budgets and spend as much or as little as you like! We charge on a CPM basis and all campaigns are prepaid for self-service customers.”

Read SharpSpring Ads user reviews.


For ecommerce brands, AdRoll helps you reach customers as they browse the web, use social media, and in their email inbox. It offers a centralized platform to access ad inventory from Google, Facebook, Instagram, and another 500 suppliers. 

Working with over 12,000 brands, they say they ‘predict online shopper behavior and ad and store performance better than anyone’. Their machine-learning platform uses data from billions of customers’ interactions with hundreds of thousands of brands to make better ad placement recommendations.

You can use the Starter version of the platform for ‘free’, or get advanced features on the Growth subscription plan from $19 per month. Get a 30-day free trial for the Growth plan.

Read AdRoll user reviews.


Criteo helps you accurately target and re-engage more of your customer base with dynamic paid display ads across web, mobile browsers, connected TV (CTV) and apps. Particularly well-suited to ecommerce, Criteo offers a programmatic ad platform that lets you run, manage and analyze your ad campaigns. 

Criteo say that 20,000 marketers use the platform. Pricing information is not publicly available.

Part of the Shopify Plus partner program, Criteo says: “Gain access to the best ad inventory available. With thousands of the world's top publishers in our open Commerce Marketing Ecosystem, you get better placements across leading sites.”

Read Criteo user reviews.

Basis Technologies 

Basis DSP solution (formerly Centro) unifies programmatic, search, social, direct, and advanced TV in a single interface. You get built in business intelligence, automation tools, search and social integrations, including Facebook, LinkedIn and AdWords. 

They provide access to 50+ ad exchanges and inventory from 11,000 publishers, and there are 25,000+ audience segments to drill into. Over $1 billion of marketing activity has been activated through Basis in the last 3 years. Pricing information is not publicly available.

Basis says: “Plan, buy, and optimize your omni-channel campaign using the #1 rated DSP on G2 Crowd.”

Read Basis user reviews.

More Display Platforms:

Smaato - This ad exchange reaches 1.3 billion monthly unique users, and also offers a DSP for advertisers. “Manage and optimize campaigns for any device with the Smaato Marketer Solution. Reach quality audiences worldwide and deliver hyper-relevant experiences with contextual targeting optimization.”

AdCash - With banner, push, pop-under, interstitial, native and autotag ad formats, Adcash is a global self-serve online advertising platform for media buyers, affiliates, ad networks and publishers.

AdMaven - This digital display advertising network provides access to 2 billion daily impressions worldwide. AdMaven offers self-service, managed CPA with auto optimization, or programmatic endpoint integration. Supported ad formats are banner, push, pop-under and interstitial.

AdRecover - Use AdRecover to target ad-blocked users (mostly Millennials) with permission-enabled ads. AdRecover lets you show non-intrusive static/text ads.

Ads Compass - This ad network offers in-page, push, pop and native ad formats, with a user-friendly dashboard and customer support. “Having our own Ad Exchange and Self-Served Platform, we are able to provide all our partners multiple options to collaborate.”

Epsilon - Epsilon maintains the industry’s largest set of pseudo-anonymous consumer data, providing complete views of 200 million real people across their online and offline activity. They offer a network of 1.1 million websites, a private in-app exchange and provide access to nearly every RTB ad exchange and social media publishers.

Marin Software - “Marin has helped advertisers manage over $40 billion in search, social and eCommerce ad spend, in the process identifying three principles for growth.”

Exoclick - Access the world's largest entertainment inventory from one single platform, with a premium marketplace for top Alexa sites. Buy on their RTB platform, with multiple ad formats available beyond just display advertising, including push, native, interstitial and pop-unders.

JuicyAds - A provider of banner ads and pop-under on entertainment websites - perfect for promoting video games, gambling, mobile apps, and webcams. They ‘service a wide range of websites including Tubes/Video, Hentai/Anime/Toon, Gaming, and Social Networks’.

NativeAds - “Our demand-side platform makes it simple to launch strategic native, display, video, and retargeting ad campaigns at scale. Choose self-service or have one of our talented marketing experts handle everything for you with our managed option.”

PlugRush - “Receive high quality traffic through deep targeting and automatic optimization from thousands of websites.” Buy display ads, push notifications, pop-under or native formats.

PropellerAds - PropellerAds is a display and mobile ad network with a self-service platform and automated ad optimization, providing access to a billion users. With push, pop-under and native interstitial formats, use beginner-friendly and pro-level tools to deliver your desktop and mobile ads to your target audience.

Vibrant Media - Vibrant Media are focussed on contextual targeting and highly viewable advertising that is relevant to what people are viewing at the moment.

In-App Mobile Advertising

in-app mobile advertising

In-App advertising is, as the name suggests, when adverts are shown within mobile apps. The app developer gets paid per click to serve ads to its users. In-app display advertising can be effectively delivered through self-service social or Google Ads. However, you can go down the DSP route too, with some specializing in mobile app inventory.

Websites are still predominantly accessed by desktop, accounting for around 56% of their traffic. However, with low opt-in rates for website tracking cookies (which usually only work short-term) on top of online ad blockers, website display ads compare less favorably to in-app ads. In-app advertising uses device ID’s to track users, capturing far more accurate and detailed data, right down to GPS locations. Plus, a mobile device ID is generally active for 21 months on average.

Although smartphone ownership is highest in the younger age demographics (at least 93% of Millennials), 2019 research showed that smartphone usage is high across the age demographics. 68% of baby boomers (aged 53-73) owned a smartphone, and 59% were using social media. People aged 65+ actually only spend a third of their digital media time on desktops.

From the average 4 hours people spend using mobile devices daily, 88% of that time is spent within apps.

The Apple App Store has around 1.96 million apps available to download at the moment, and Google Play Store has even more at 2.87 million. See the most popular apps globally and by country, going by number of downloads in 2020 alone. 

Discover the basics of in-app ad pricing, and more insightful mobile statistics for marketers!

Facebook Audience Network Ads

Facebook Audience Network Ads lets you run your ads on thousands of mobile apps outside Facebook through third-party apps who’ve signed up to their ad network. Since March 2020, the Facebook Audience Network only supports in-app advertising. Big brand partners include apps like Tinder and Voodoo. It’s like they purchase from other networks too, acting as a third-party.

You can use Facebook’s powerful targeting capabilities and campaign objective tools, run retargeting campaigns, or reach more people who don’t have a Facebook account. Choose from native, rewarded video and interstitial ad formats.

Although the Audience Network reports lower click-through rates, the lower costs reflect that. CPM prices on Facebook Audience Network over 2020 were around 32% cheaper than Facebook and Instagram newsfeed ads.

Given lower click-through rates resulting in generally higher customer acquisition costs, the audience network works best as a supplement to Facebook or Instagram ads, giving you more audience reach. 

Google AdMob

Google AdMob is a mobilead network for app developers who want to earn money showing ads on their app. It supports the following ad formats: native, rewarded, banner, video, and interstitial ads. Google AdMob says that it’s used by 81% of the top 1,000 Android apps, 1 million + apps, and 1 million + Google advertisers.

As an advertiser, you can access the AdMob network by choosing to target mobile users in the standard Google Ad Manager. If you wish to advertise your own app, you can also use Google Ads to create an App campaign. 

Google uses machine learning to optimize your app ad campaigns for you, including placements and bids. Google decides where your app ad will be shown in its network of properties.Your ads could appear across Google Search, Google Play, YouTube, Discover, and over 3 million third-party sites and apps.

Apple Search Ads

Apple Search Ads is currently only for businesses with an iOS app already listed in the Apple Store. Apple says that 70% of App Store visitors use the search function to find apps, 65% of app downloads occur directly after a search, and the average conversion rate of app search ads is 50%. 

Apple’s App Tracking Transparency (ATT) update controversially blocked other ad platforms from collecting most Apple user data for the purposes of ad targeting. Consequently, Facebook in particular has lost a huge chunk of app ad installs to Apple Search Ads, which accounted for 58% of all iPhone app downloads from advert clicks by September 2021. As a result, Apple Search Ads was by far the fastest growing ad network of 2021, radically outstripping the growth of any other network since it implemented the ATT framework.

Use Apple Search Ads Basic with ‘intelligent automation’ functionality, for budgets up to $10,000 per app per month. Or use Apple Search Ads Advanced to manage your own campaigns. Choose your keywords and audiences, and set your own bids and budgets. You pay when a user taps your ad. Detailed reports let you track key metrics, and their APIs help you measure value and manage at scale.

Samsung Ads

Samsung Ads offers you access to their huge user base for Samsung mobile device (as well as their Smart TVs and CTV).

Samsung is the biggest marketshare holder for Android devices at approximately 34% of the global market. There were over 3 billion active Android mobile devices globally - that's double the amount of Apple mobile devices, so Samsung accounts for around 1 billion Android users. Samsung’s market share in the US was 24% as of April 2021.

You can access their audience via Direct IO, Private Marketplace, or the Samsung DSP. Unlike Apple, any advertiser can access their network, not just app developers.

You'll need to contact Samsung to set up an account and get started.


SmartyAds is an ad exchange suitable for SMEs, with a user-friendly Mobile Advertising DSP available, and a self-service option. Their network extends beyond mobile advertising, however you’ll have access to 20k+ mobile apps here in addition to 25K + premium publishers.

The SmartyAds platform lets you deliver a variety of mobile ad formats on a RTB purchasing CPM basis, with audience targeting including GEO, OS, IP, timing, device type, and more.

SmartyAds says: “The self-service ad platform doesn’t require a certain sum of money for the campaign to start, however, it is advisable to make the minimum deposit ($1000) to maintain your ability to bid and compete for the best inventory.”

Read SmartyAds user reviews.

Epom Ad Server

Epom Ad Server offers cross-channel and cross-device display ad options, although it’s also specialized in mobile and in-app ads.

For programmatic purchasing, the Epom DSP is available for a flat tech fee of $2,000. Connect your DSP to Epom Ad Exchange, and you’ll be able to access ‘exclusive mobile and in-app inventory that is hard to find elsewhere’. 

The Bidding Autopilot feature automates bidding optimization for you, keeping you away from underperforming traffic sources. Choose the advertising goals that you want to achieve like CTR, CPA or CR, and see real-time analytics. Varied ad formats are available and are easily customized for mobile and in-app campaigns.

Read Epom user reviews.


Inmobi is an ad exchange that also offers a DSP for advertisers.  Inmobi says its DSP is “the world’s first in-app programmatic buying platform that guarantees ROI and complete transparency”

Use it to reach your exact targeted audience at the lowest possible cost with automated bidding powered by BidQ™ Deep Learning Technology. It includes a creative platform to help you design high impact, mobile-first ad formats, and enables ‘enterprise-grade’ API integrations with over 15 partners. Pricing information is not publicly available.

Read Inmobi user reviews.

Airnow Media

Airnow Media (formerly Airpush) offers programmatic advertising within their mobile display network. Established in 2011, it allows you to target over 100 million monthly active users across 300,000+ apps. They state they have run over 47,500 ad campaigns to date, and TikTok is one of the major publishers they have partnered with. 

Their DSP allows programmatic buyers to bid on Airnow Media inventory via real-time bidding, giving you access to more than 800,000 publishers. A managed service is available, or self-service for ‘the advanced marketer & agencies who prefer to have complete control’. The DSP also offers event analysis functionality, to help you remarket to users most likely to re-engage. Pricing information is not publicly available.

More In-App Networks & Platforms:

AdColony - “With a direct supply of almost 450 million users and a total reach of more than 1.5 billion, AdColony is the trusted source of in-app inventory for brands where direct supply and programmatic expertise combine to create true advertiser success.”

Affle - This ‘end-to-end’ platform helps you acquire new customers, and has reached over 2 billion mobile devices to date. They enable mobile advertisers to acquire users at scale, across directly integrated publishers, programmatic platforms, and relevant app recommendations.

Bidease - “Bidease is the only mobile DSP that provides advertisers with access to the entire mobile ecosystem through the world’s most popular mobile publishers and exchanges.”

Mediasmart - Use Mediasmart’s DSP, a self-serve mobile programmatic platform that provides an integrated mobile advertising solution. It has “unique capability of measuring incremental metrics in real-time for Proximity and App marketing campaigns”.

Spotify - Spotify serves audio and video ads to your audience while they’re on the app, whether they’re listening to music or podcasts.

start.io - “With the support of Start.io’s mobile data expertise and partnerships with publishers and DSPs across the global app ecosystem, you can reach your precise audience and maximize your marketing ROI.”

Tapjoy - "We make it easy for advertisers to connect with exclusive audiences in the world’s most popular mobile games and apps.”

Taptica - “We serve all mobile goals and cover every publisher source type, so that we can connect you with your ideal audience.”

myAppFree - Grow your app by finding the right users. “It’s very easy: set up your promotional campaigns in a few clicks, choose a cost per install and you are ready to go.”

Liftoff - “Engage more users with your app. Discover and engage high-quality audiences you couldn’t reach before through our extensive ad network. By working with our team of creative experts, you’ll get more eyes on your app.”

Unity - “Unity User Acquisition solutions enable you to easily run ad campaigns and be seen by millions every day on apps and games. A diverse ad supply, advanced targeting tools, insightful analytics, and self-serve dashboards help you manage your campaigns and profitably scale your app or game.”

Native Advertising

native advertising

Native advertising is when ad content matches the look and format of the organic content surrounding it, following the style of the particular website or social platform. So native ads look like an organic part of the page rather than an advert. 

It typically looks like search results, newsfeed posts, content or product recommendations. Sponsored content can be purchased programmatically in some cases. Paid editorial is another example, although it is usually arranged directly with media publications rather than purchased programmatically.

native ad formats

Native is an increasingly popular ad format thanks to its effectiveness at engaging users. Native ad spend in the US is expected to increase 21% in 2021 to $57 billion (eMarketer). Research shows that:

  • Consumers look at native ads 52% more frequently than banner ads
  • Purchase intent is 53% higher for native ads

Native advertising is also increasingly purchased with programmatic buying and the use of DSPs. 

Discover some more fascinating native marketing statistics!


Taboola lets you access ‘premium publishers’ at scale using native ‘sponsored’ content or video ad formats combined with programmatic buying functionality. 

With a focus on high-brow editorial sites and exclusive partnerships, their network includes publisher websites like Business Insider, USA Today, Bloomberg and more. Monthly, they serve 360 billion ads to 1.4 billion people across the web. With 10,000 premium publishers, you can reach 44.5% of global internet traffic.

The Taboola platform gives you user behavior insights, and lets you create native ads with flexible creative tools for a variety of native ad formats. You also get to control where your ads are served and what surrounds them. The self-service option is available for an ad budget of just $10 per day, however they recommend starting with $50.

Taboola say: “Taboola’s Smart Bid feature takes the guesswork out of manual bid adjustments in order to ensure that advertisers are getting their most effective placements at the lowest cost.”

Read Taboola user reviews

Microsoft Audience Network

The Microsoft Search Network show search ads on Bing and partner search sites, and also through Windows 10, Cortana and Office. Search partners include the Verizon Media brands - Yahoo, MSN and AOL.

However, Microsoft’s advertising offering also includes native ads through the Microsoft Audience Network. Cross-device ads are delivered through third-party platforms, which could include Amazon’s devices, web results for Siri, Spotlight Search on Apple devices, maps on thousands of websites, and brands like Fox Business and CBS Sports. Microsoft says: “Connect with millions across devices through high-quality native ad placements and IAS certified brand-safe properties.”

With Microsoft, there’s no minimum fee to get started and you can sign up for free. You only pay for clicks, and can manage your ad budgets on a daily basis. You’ll get better ROI than Google with Microsoft ads, with lower click costs and users more likely to click, compensating for smaller search volumes.

Voluum DSP

Voluum DSP is a platform to run native ads with a CPM price model on 20+ networks, all managed from one platform. Networks connected with the Voluum DSP include Taboola, Smaato, PubNative, and a number of other well known and high volume ad exchanges. Voluum also offers a private marketplace for the highest premium publishers and placements.

Buy programmatically and automate inventory bidding based on your pricing preference, whether it’s CPC, CPA or more. Targeting capability allows you to promote your ad on sites related to specific topics, powered by deep learning capabilities. There’s also real-time reporting to help you optimize campaign performance.

Access to the platform is free, although they have self-service or managed plan options. For self-service, you just need a $500 initial top up, and there’s no minimum monthly ad spend.


OutBrain is focussed on native ‘recommendation’ ad content for the open web. It delivers 344 billion recommendations monthly. It can help you reach ‘one-third of the world's consumers engaging with content’, and also claims to have 62% cheaper CPCs than Facebook. 

Purchase inventory directly from the Outbrain Amplify platform, or programmatically via the DSP of your choice. Outbrain Amplify functionality includes auto-optimizing of bids for your campaign goals, whether conversions, CPA, or ROAS. You can target new audiences similar to your top existing customers, re-target, and use first or third-party data to reach your most relevant audience. Outbrain also offers their own programmatic DSP solution, Zemanta.

OutBrain’s minimum budget for a campaign is $10/day or $300/month, and the minimum cost per click (CPC) is $0.03.


RevContent is a native content ad network that says it’s for businesses of all sizes. They offer a self-service advertising platform to provide granular targeting & audience optimization tools, real-time reporting and access to their network of premium publishers. Choose your websites and ad placements, devices and OS, right down to audience zip codes. Pricing information is not publicly available.

Read RevContent user reviews.


Zillow is a US real estate marketplace, where people can buy and sell their homes. It’s free for users to list a home for sale or rent. Zillow for brands reaches customers across the nation’s largest real estate network, claiming two-thirds of the market share in online real estate. With native advertising solutions for brand advertisers, you can reach 201 million monthly unique users. 

Zillow’s native ad network comprises Zillow, Trulia, StreetEasy and HotPads. Use their native programmatic platform to automate and optimize your ad bidding for enhanced cost effectiveness. Get started with a minimum campaign investment of $15,000.

More Native Ad Networks & Platforms:

AdBlade - Native formats and content advertising is a strong focus for this network, although display ads are also available.

AdNow - This native advertising network is connected with 160,000 publishers, serving 1 billion daily content recommendations.

Bidtellect - A DSP for native advertising that maintains an ecosystem of native inventory with over 5 billion auctions per day.

Dianomi - “The native ad platform for business and finance.” Adverts are served on premium publications, using technology to secure placements alongside contextually relevant editorial content. It is used by brands in financial services, technology and corporate sectors.

Earnify - A DSP, “Earnify is connected to all major native advertising networks”.

EngageYa - “With our native advertising platform you control and manage every aspect of your inventory to maximize ad revenue potential.”

Evadav - Evadav offers native, push, in-page and pop-under ad formats, and serves 2+ billion impressions per day. “We offer bespoke technology, a 24-7 client care service with dedicated account managers, and a wide range of ad formats and payment options to suit you.”

MGID - A native advertising and programmatic platform, their network includes 23k+ content websites with 850 million unique monthly visitors. 

Nativo - Reach millions of consumers with native articles. “Nativo’s high-performing and exclusive formats tell powerful brand stories and build meaningful connections across the consumer journey. Available through our managed service, programmatic deals and self-service offerings.”

redirect.com - Redirect.com allows clients to buy or sell traffic through a real-time bid system. Purchase native, email, display, pop, domain, RON traffic and more.

Runative - This programmatic native and push ad network offers a self-serve platform where advertisers can start running campaigns with a budget as low as $100.

TrippleLift - “TripleLift has built a portfolio of modern ad products. From our roots in Native programmatic ads, we have expanded into Display, Branded Content, Video and Television. Integrated with the nearly all of world’s top DSPs to provide you with easy access to the most engaging advertising experiences across formats and platforms.”


The advertising landscape is truly extensive, and we haven’t touched on the vast selection of online media publishers and independent publications yet, from news and industry verticals to entertainment. It’s not practical to list out individual media publishers across industry niches.

However, here are some further selected examples of other ad networks, platforms and publishers you can find out there.

Connected TV (CTV) + Streaming

Google Ads - In your video campaign targeting, include TV in the devices category to access users on TVs that stream YouTube content, reaching video game consoles, smart TVs (such as Apple TV), and Chromecast.

Google Display & Video 360 - For enterprise advertisers, this campaign manager tool offers capacity to plan , buy and measure CTV campaigns.

Amazon Advertising - "Our video advertising solutions combine first-party insights, measurement capabilities, exclusive inventory and priority access to third-party content through Amazon Publisher Direct. Use Streaming TV ads and online video ads to engage audiences through an expansive supply of quality streaming content, on streaming TV and across the web."

Apple TV - Like the App Store, Apple TV advertising is restricted to developers with an Apple TV app that they want to promote. (The best way to target Apple TV users is through iOS apps most popular with Apple TV users.)

Samsung Ads - Reach global audiences at home on their Samsung Smart TVs and CTV.

Criterio - "Combine video advertising with performance capabilities to reach and convert consumers across CTV, OTT, and online video."

StackAdapt - "Plan, execute, and analyze your programmatic campaigns in all ad formats on a single platform. Our multi-channel offering allows you to integrate CTV ads into your full-funnel campaigns with confidence and ease."

SmartyAds - Appeal to larger audiences on a cross-screen programmatic platform specially tailored for multiple types of video ads. Build your own creative library with engaging desktop, mobile, in-app, and CTV ad units.

TheTradeDesk - Reach users on CTV, through video, audio, and public spaces. Access a marketplace of 225+ partners, from Fox News to Spotify.

Amobee - "We support planning, activation and optimization for omnichannel campaigns, with a deep reservoir of CTV in our marketplace."

Magnite - "We offer a flexible and scalable solution to access premium television, including live sports on CTV."

VDX TV - “Magnify the magic of your TV/Video ads from the TV to every household member's personal device screens.”

Industry Verticals

BuySellAds - BuySellAds are focussed on niche tech audiences. “We make it easy to connect with tech audiences at scale. Reach developers, designers, early adopters, crypto enthusiasts, and other tech-savvy audiences in a single platform.”

Capterra  - Capterra is a search and review platform for B2B software, with 5 million business software buyers visiting Capterra every month. Advertise to highly engaged business users with a PPC model.

Slashdot Media - Slashdot Media is a global leader in professional B2B & technology communities. Their properties include SourceForge.net, slashdot.org, VoIPReview.org, wirefly.com and MyRatePlan.com - among others. These websites provide comparison tools, reviews, software, and forums where business and IT professionals evaluate and make intelligent decisions on IT solutions, and connect with technology sellers. Advertising options include display, native and email marketing.

Gourmet Ads - Gourmet Ads is the first ad network 100% committed to the food and wine verticals. With managed services and programmatic options, they use their own proprietary ad serving technology, integrated on Appnexus infrastructure and with major SSPs. Access their network of 1,700+ websites and 55 million + users.

Affiliate Marketing

Commission Factory - Specialized in affiliate marketing, they connect affiliates to brands and brands to customers. Their platform integrates with all of the major shopping carts and tag management software.

Performcb - “We specialize in generating consistent, quality customer acquisitions at high volumes through exclusive affiliate channels on native, mobile, social, email, contextual, SMS, and search placements."

Specialized Ad Formats - Audio, Pop Ups + Forms

TheTradeDesk - Reach users through CTV, video, audio, and public spaces. Access a marketplace of 225+ partners, from Fox News to Spotify.

SXM Media - Buy audio, video and podcast advertising, connecting you to the largest share of the US podcast audience. Podcast advertising is a digital audio platform reaching 104 million educated, affluent and mobile listeners every month.

Brave Ads - Brave Ads are supported on Brave VPN Browser. “As consumers browse, they are presented Push Notifications featuring the brand name, a call to action that drives the user to the advertiser’s desired landing page, and a click-through URL.”

Opt-Intelligence - Opt-Intelligence are specialized in serving form-fill ads to enhance your lead generation and/or grow your email subscriber list. No landing pages necessary!

RichAds - Using push, pop or native ad formats, reach new audiences and conversions with RichAds, a global self-serve ad network with 4 billion + ad impressions per day.

PopAds - “PopAds is simply the best paying advertising network specialized in pop-unders on the Internet. We guarantee you that no other pop-under ad network will pay better than us!”

Do you need support with your online advertising strategy? Half Past Nine is a Performance Media and Marketing Intelligence specialist offering a white-glove service perfectly tailored to our individual clients. We work with a select group of brands ready to invest in maximum results from an ad budget in accelerated timeframes. Get in touch with us and we’ll be delighted to discuss the possibilities. 

What To Read Next:

Nate Lorenzen
Jenner Kearns
Chief Delivery Officer
Jenner Kearns
Chief Delivery Officer
Jenner Kearns
Chief Delivery Officer
Kenneth Shen
Chief Executive Officer
Kenneth Shen
Chief Executive Officer
Kenneth Shen
Chief Executive Officer
Kenneth Shen
Chief Executive Officer
Jenner Kearns
Chief Delivery Officer
Kenneth Shen
Chief Executive Officer
Jenner Kearns
Chief Delivery Officer
Jenner Kearns
Chief Delivery Officer
Jenner Kearns
Chief Delivery Officer
Jenner Kearns
Chief Delivery Officer
Kenneth Shen
Chief Executive Officer
Jenner Kearns
Chief Delivery Officer
Kenneth Shen
Chief Executive Officer
Kenneth Shen
Chief Executive Officer
Isla Bruce
Head of Content
Isla Bruce
Head of Content
Isla Bruce
Head of Content
Jenner Kearns
Chief Delivery Officer
Isla Bruce
Head of Content
Kenneth Shen
Chief Executive Officer
Isla Bruce
Head of Content
Isla Bruce
Head of Content
Isla Bruce
Head of Content
Kenneth Shen
Chief Executive Officer
Isla Bruce
Head of Content

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In the increasingly competitive digital marketplace, optimizing the effectiveness of Google Ads is a critical undertaking for marketers seeking to increase visibility and convert traffic.

With the help of precise targeting, well-chosen keywords, and a thorough grasp of Google Ads' extensive features, advertisers can precisely customize their campaigns to reach a more appropriate audience.

Starting a Google Ads campaign takes careful planning, from identifying the target demographics to wisely distributing the funds.

The key to achieving greater results is formulating a well-informed plan that complements corporate goals.

To maintain optimal campaign performance, advertisers should place a high priority on ongoing optimization.

This includes regularly reviewing stats, testing various components such as ad content and landing pages, and responding to ever-changing trends in user behavior and Google algorithm adjustments.

Using Google Analytics to make well-informed decisions increases a campaign's likelihood of success.

By using these strategies consistently, one can maximize the return on investment from Google Ads by effectively and economically capturing an audience.

Understanding Google Ads Fundamentals

Before diving into the specifics of enhancing Google Ads performance, it's essential to understand the system's core elements and how they interact to influence campaign outcomes.

Key Components of Google Ads

The fundamental building blocks of Google Ads include keywords, ad copy, landing pages, and campaign settings.

Choosing the right keywords is crucial, as they trigger the appearance of ads in response to search queries. The ad copy should be compelling and clear to improve click-through rates (CTRs), while landing pages must be relevant and optimized for conversions. Campaign settings need to be aligned with marketing goals, ensuring proper geotargeting, budget allocation, and bid strategies.

Google Ads Auction Dynamics

Each time a search query is made, Google Ads performs an auction to determine which ads appear and in what order.

Advertisers place bids on keywords they want to trigger their ads, and Google combines the bid amount with an ad's Quality Score to calculate Ad Rank. Higher Ad Rank increases the likelihood of an ad appearing in a prominent position.

Continuous Google Ads optimization is necessary to adjust bids and improve the chances of winning auctions for the most beneficial search queries.

Quality Score and Its Impact

Quality Score is a critical metric in Google Ads, representing the relevance and quality of both ads and landing pages in relation to the selected keywords.

Factors influencing Quality Score include expected CTR, ad relevance, and landing page experience. A high Quality Score can lead to lower costs-per-click (CPC) and better ad positions, making it a focus of any optimization efforts.

Advertisers must regularly refine their campaigns – keywords, ad copy, and landing page optimizations – to enhance Quality Score and thus the performance of their ads.

Developing a Google Ads Strategy

When embarking on a Google Ads campaign, laying a solid foundation is crucial for success. The advertiser should clearly define their campaign goals and conduct a thorough audience and market analysis to inform their strategy.

Setting Clear Campaign Goals

The first step in developing an effective Google Ads strategy is setting clear campaign goals. Advertisers need to be precise about what they aim to achieve, whether it’s increasing website traffic, generating leads, or driving sales.

Specific and measurable objectives provide a framework for making informed decisions on keyword selection, bidding strategies, and ad copy. The advertiser might decide to optimize for conversions if the key goal is to increase sales or signups.

Target Audience and Market Analysis

Understanding one's target audience and market is essential. It involves analyzing demographic data, interests, and online behavior to tailor the Ads campaign accordingly.

Effective Google Ads optimization tips include:

  • Utilizing tools for keyword research such as Google Keyword Planner or SEMrush to find high-value keywords.
  • Crafting ad copy that resonates with the target audience, using clear language and compelling calls to action.
  • Focusing on targeting options that align with the advertiser's ideal customer profile, like location targeting for local businesses.

An advertiser should continually refine their audience targeting to ensure that their ads are reaching potential customers most likely to convert. They might also leverage insights from Google's optimized segments for prospected audience expansion.

Essential Google Ads Optimization

Optimizing Google Ads is crucial for achieving better performance and higher return on investment. Mastering pay-per-click (PPC) strategies while following a Google Ads optimization checklist can lead to significant improvements in campaign results.

Regular Account Review and Maintenance

Regular review and maintenance are vital for the health of a Google Ads account. They should check performance metrics frequently and adjust bids, budgets, and strategies accordingly.

It's important to remove underperforming ads and refine targeting to ensure resources are allocated to the best-performing segments.

Utilizing Negative Keywords

Incorporating negative keywords is a powerful way to increase ad relevance and reduce wasted spend. They should pinpoint irrelevant search terms that trigger ads and add them to the negative keywords list.

This action ensures ads are not shown for unrelated queries, thereby improving the overall campaign quality score.

Optimizing for Mobile Users

With the increasing use of mobile devices, ads must be optimized for mobile users. They should ensure the landing pages are mobile-friendly and load quickly to prevent high bounce rates.

Additionally, ad copy and calls-to-action (CTAs) need to be concise and effective for smaller screens.

Ad Copy Refinement

Compelling ad copy is essential for grabbing the attention of potential customers. They should employ A/B testing to determine which headlines, descriptions, and extensions resonate most with the audience.

Always using clear, action-oriented language can significantly increase click-through rates (CTRs).

Advanced Google Ads Features

To maximize the potential of Google Ads, understanding and deploying advanced features is essential. They offer the ability to fine-tune campaigns, target specific audience segments with greater precision, and leverage automation for smarter bidding.

Leveraging Ad Extensions

Ad Extensions enhance ads with additional information and can significantly improve the click-through rate.

For instance, Sitelink Extensions provide extra links to specific pages on a website, allowing users to jump directly to what interests them. Callout Extensions give advertisers the space to include additional descriptive text, and Structured Snippets highlight specific aspects of products or services offered.

Using Remarketing to Re-engage

Remarketing is a powerful tool offered by Google Ads that allows advertisers to show tailored ads to users who have previously visited their website.

This is a strategic way to re-engage with audiences who are already familiar with a brand, increasing the chances of conversion. Segmentation further refines the reach, ensuring that the ads are served to people based on their behavior and engagement level with the previous content.

Smart Bidding Strategies

Smart Bidding is a set of conversion-based bid strategies defined by machine learning algorithms. This includes Target CPA, Target ROAS, Maximize Conversions, and Enhanced CPC.

Using historical information and evaluating the context of each search, Smart Bidding strategies can dynamically adjust bids at the moment of the auction to improve the chance of a conversion. Advertisers must provide sufficient conversion data to let the algorithms optimize effectively.

Measuring and Analyzing Performance

To achieve a high level of efficiency in Google Ads campaigns, advertisers must meticulously measure and analyze performance. This ensures that every dollar spent is aligned with the campaign goals and contributes to overall business objectives.

Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)

Advertisers should define and track specific Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) which are crucial for understanding the effectiveness of a campaign. Common KPIs include:

  • Click-Through Rate (CTR): Indicates the effectiveness of ad copy in generating clicks.
  • Conversion Rate: Measures how often clicks lead to desired actions such as sales or leads.
  • Cost Per Conversion: Reflects the cost-effectiveness of a campaign in driving conversions.

Implementing the practice of enabling auto-tagging is advised to garner detailed performance insights.

A/B Testing for Ads Optimization

The process of A/B Testing, or split testing, is instrumental in ads optimization. It involves running two ad variants concurrently to see which one performs better.

Advertisers should consider:

  • Testing different ad copies, headlines, and descriptions.
  • Varying landing pages to find the most compelling content and page layout for users.

A/B testing allows for empirical decision-making by revealing what truly resonates with the audience.

Making Data-Driven Decisions

To really refine Google Ads performance, it's essential that advertisers make data-driven decisions.

This means:

  • Utilizing tools like Google's Search terms reports for insights into which terms are driving traffic.
  • Constantly refining campaigns based on data, such as adjusting bids for better ROI or adjusting budgets for desired conversion volumes.

By leveraging performance data, advertisers can systematically optimize campaigns for effectiveness and efficiency.

Keeping Up with Google Ads Updates

To optimize Google Ads campaigns, advertisers must stay current with the platform's ongoing changes. Staying informed helps in leveraging the latest features for enhanced performance.

Recent Updates to Note:

  • Ad Strength and Creative Diversity: Google now factors in the volume and variety of creative assets. Diverse images, videos, and text options can lead to better ad performance. More information on the impact of ad strength can be found on the Wordstream blog.
  • New Conversion Goals: Grouping conversion actions for better bid optimization is a notable enhancement. Advertisers can define goals at campaign or account levels for efficiency. Details on conversion goals are discussed by Wordstream.
  • Performance Max Campaigns: Updates to Performance Max campaigns offer advertisers finer control and improved insights for better decision-making across the marketing funnel. A summary of these updates is provided by Search Engine Journal.

Tips for Keeping Updated:

  • Subscribe to official Google Ads Blog and Newsletter.
  • Follow influential digital marketing Experts and Communities on social media.
  • Attend Webinars and Google Ads Events for live updates and expert advice.


Effective Google Ads performance hinges on continuous refinement and strategic structuring.

Advertisers should consistently test and refine their ads, leveraging tools such as Google Keyword Planner to optimize keyword selection.

It's imperative that each ad copy is crafted to resonate with the intended audience, featuring clear language and strong calls to action.

Focusing on audience reach can also be instrumental.

Advertisers are advised to target their website visitors and app users, utilizing “Google Ads optimized segment” for maximized relevance and reach, as suggested in Google’s support resources.

Here are some key takeaways for ongoing improvements:

  • Leverage audience insights for targeted campaigns
  • Monitor and adjust bid strategies for cost efficiency
  • Use A/B testing for ads to find the best performing variations
  • Regularly review your sales funnel and customer journey for any optimization opportunities

In the dynamic world of online advertising, crafting effective Facebook ads is crucial for reaching target audiences and achieving marketing goals.

As we move through 2024, understanding the pitfalls of Facebook ad creative is more important than ever. With constant platform updates and shifting user behaviors, advertisers must navigate an array of potential mistakes that can hamper ad performance.

The landscape of Facebook advertising is filled with opportunities as well as challenges. Advertisers must grasp the basics of ad creatives, ensuring that their visuals and copy resonate with their audience while also aligning with the strategic goals of their campaigns.

The right balance of engaging content and strategic foresight can mean the difference between an ad that converts and one that falls flat. By recognizing common errors and refining their approach to Facebook ads, brands can craft messages that not only capture attention but also drive meaningful results.

Understanding Facebook Ad Creative Basics

In the dynamic landscape of Facebook advertising, mastering the creative foundation is vital for success. A marketer's ability to craft compelling ads can determine the performance of their campaigns on what is now known as Meta's platform.

Essential Components of an Ad Creative

Visuals, copy, and a call-to-action (CTA) are the three pillars of any Facebook ad creative.

A common mistake marketers make in Meta Ad Accounts is not aligning these components with the campaign's objective. For instance:

  • Visuals: High-quality images or videos that grab attention within seconds.
  • Copy: Concise and engaging text that conveys the ad message clearly.
  • CTA: A strong call-to-action button that guides users to the next step.

The Role of Visual Elements in Engagement

Visuals are the first element to draw in a viewer. They must be:

  • Relevant: Directly related to the product or service.
  • High-Quality: Clear, well-composed, and properly formatted for different devices.
  • Engaging: Innovative and capable of evoking emotion or interest in the viewer.

Neglecting image quality or relevance can result in lower engagement, a typical mistake found in Meta Ad Accounts.

Copywriting Essentials for Facebook Ads

A marketer's ability to write effective copy is critical. It should:

  • Match the audience's language: Using the terms and phrases familiar to the target demographic.
  • Be benefits-focused: Highlighting how the product or service solves a problem.
  • Stay concise: Delivering the message in as few words as possible to maintain the reader's interest.

Overlooking the power of well-crafted copy is another frequent oversight.

Common Creative Mistakes to Avoid

When crafting Facebook ads in 2024, it's crucial to pay attention to the creative details that can make or break an ad's performance. Advertisers should especially avoid these key pitfalls in their campaigns.

Ignoring Facebook’s Ad Specifications

Advertisers often fall into the trap of ignoring Facebook's ad specifications, which can lead to poor ad rendering and unintended results.

Facebook provides specific guidelines for ad formats, image sizes, video lengths, and text ratios. Failing to adhere to these can result in ads being truncated or not displaying as intended, leading to reduced effectiveness.

Neglecting Mobile Optimization

In a mobile-first world, neglecting mobile optimization is a significant creative mistake.

Most Facebook users access the platform via mobile, so ads should be designed with mobile screens in mind. This means using larger text, simple layouts, and ensuring that call-to-action buttons are easily clickable on smaller devices.

Using Overcrowded and Complex Designs

Another common misstep is using overcrowded and complex designs.

With only a few seconds to capture a user's attention, ads that are cluttered with too much information or intricate graphics often fail to communicate the main message swiftly and clearly. A minimalistic approach with a clear focal point helps users understand the ad's message at a glance.

Forgetting A/B Testing

Lastly, forgetting A/B testing is a missed opportunity to optimize ad performance.

By testing different variations of ad creatives, advertisers can gain insights into what resonates best with the audience. It's important to experiment with various images, headlines, and call-to-action phrases to determine which combination drives the most engagement and conversions.

Copywriting Pitfalls in Facebook Ads

Crafting effective copy for Facebook ads is crucial for campaign success. This section identifies common copywriting errors that can diminish the impact of your ads and provides insights for avoiding them.

Overlooking Clear Call-to-Actions

Call-to-actions (CTAs) are pivotal, yet often neglected. A vague CTA can result in low engagement and conversion rates.

It's important to prompt action with clarity and urgency, such as 'Shop Now' or 'Sign Up Today'.

Neglecting Audience Language Preferences

Language and tone should resonate with the target audience. Assuming a one-size-fits-all approach can lead to decreased ad relevancy and lower interaction rates.

Tailor your ad copy to reflect the language preferences of the demographic you are targeting. This includes using industry jargon for professional audiences or casual language for a younger crowd, as suggested by insights on creating effective Facebook ads.

Lack of a Compelling Value Proposition

An ad without a clear value proposition fails to highlight what sets a product or service apart.

Your ad copy should succinctly articulate unique benefits or offers specific to your audience, as this directly impacts conversion rates. Not communicating this effectively is among the common copywriting mistakes to avoid for better marketing results.

Visual Content Errors

In the realm of Facebook advertising, visual content can make or break an ad's performance. It's vital for marketers to avoid certain pitfalls that can diminish the impact of their ads.

Mismatch Between Imagery and Message

When the visual content does not align with the ad’s message, the result can be confusing for the audience.

For example, using an image that suggests relaxation when advertising a high-energy event can lead to a dissonant message. Viewers are far more likely to engage with an ad when the imagery conveys a story that complements the campaign's core message.

Poor Quality Graphics and Media

The caliber of visual content directly affects the perceived quality of the ad and, by extension, the brand itself.

Blurry images, pixelated graphics, or improperly formatted visuals can be detrimental. High-quality media furthers the advert's effectiveness and can be the difference between engagement and dismissal by the target audience. It's important for advertisers to invest in professional graphics or use high-resolution media to maintain credibility.

Not Using Brand Colors Consistently

A consistent color palette is integral to brand recognition. Ads that vary widely in color schemes might confuse the audience and dilute brand identity.

Employing brand colors with precision across all adverts fortifies brand awareness and creates a cohesive user experience. This consistency helps build trust and makes the advertisement more recognizably associated with the advertiser's brand.

Strategic Aspects of Ad Creativity

The success of Facebook advert campaigns in 2024 relies heavily on the strategic implementation of creativity. Ads must not only captivate but also align with overarching marketing objectives and be sculpted by data insights to drive performance.

Forgetting to Align Ads with Marketing Goals

Aligning with Goals: A prevalent creative mistake is the production of ads that fail to echo the defined marketing goals.

An ad can be graphically stunning, but if it doesn't communicate the unique selling proposition (USP) or doesn't lead customers toward a specific target, such as newsletter sign-ups or product sales, the effort is not strategically sound. Ad creatives should serve as a bridge between the brand and its desired outcomes.

Neglecting Data-Driven Creative Decisions

Utilizing Data: In the realm of Facebook ads, eschewing the guidance of data is a misstep.

Historical performance metrics, A/B testing results, and audience behavioral data should inform creative choices, from imagery to copywriting. When ads are tailored based on these insights, they are more likely to resonate with the audience and yield higher conversion rates. Ignoring the data can result in creative that is visually appealing but lacks strategic impetus.

Final Thoughts on Ad Creative Excellence

Crafting Facebook ad creatives in 2024 demands a blend of art and science.

  • Know Your Audience: Tailor content that resonates on a personal level.
  • Analytics provide insights, but empathy ensures connection.
  • Refresh Creatively: Regularly update visuals and messages to combat ad fatigue, preserving engagement and relevance.
  • Leverage Technology: Employ advanced tools for precision targeting and trending best practices, optimizing your campaign's performance.
  • Avoid Common Pitfalls: From audience mismatch to stale creatives, steer clear of errors that can derail success.

Advertisers must balance innovative design with strategic targeting. The right combination ensures that a brand not only captures attention but also sustains it, fostering a memorable connection with its audience.