Organic traffic is the holy grail of internet eyes on your website, but building your SEO strategy and seeing results can take time. If you’re launching a new business or marketing a new product that doesn’t have strong organic traffic behind it yet, paid advertising can pave the way to your company’s success. 

Of course, when spending money comes into play, it’s important to be strategic about your ad spend. Not every paid ad platform is the same, and some serve niche audiences. Testing ad spend across several platforms is key to finding out if you have an audience there or not.

Before you start doling out the dough, here’s a quick review of the major players in paid ad providers.

Google Ads

Google Ads (formerly Google Adwords) is an extremely powerful service. There are 160 billion+ monthly Google searches, giving Google Ads incredible reach.

Through the Google Ads platform, you can create pay-per-click and pay-per-impression ads for Google searches, display ads on websites, video ads on YouTube, and even email-like ads on Gmail. Ads, when used right, can get you in front of just about everyone on the internet. They also offer targeting options that can easily focus in on local customers within a certain radius (one mile out or more).

Google Ads is incredibly robust, but with that benefit also comes some complications. With so many settings and options, it can be difficult for beginners to get started creating campaigns that get in front of the right eyes, for the right amount of money. It takes seemingly endless trial and error to get it right.

Fortunately, Google Ads offers free training for small businesses, both online and in-person seminars. If that sort of time commitment isn’t in the cards, it may be best to get a certified AdWords professional in your court.

AdWords is the most wide-reaching platform out there. If your goal is to get traffic to your website through web searches and organic traffic isn’t cutting it, Google Ads is the way to go. 

Bing Ads

While it seems like Google completely dominates the search engine field, Bing is starting to catch up. In fact, Bing accounts for about 33% of web search traffic. The benefit of using Bing Ads is you reach a network that is untouched by Google. The users of Bing tend to skew a little older—3/4 of them are over the age of 35. This older demographic tends to have a higher income, as well.

Also, Bing Ads has been reported by many users to have a lower cost per click. 

Google AdWords campaigns are easy to import directly into Bing. If you’re using AdWords, it’d be wise to throw a little money into the Bing pot, especially if your demographic skews older or more affluent.

Facebook Ads

Facebook is the third most used website in the United States. With all those eyes on their feeds, it’s the perfect place to build brand awareness. Facebook Ads integrate into Instagram as well, so your ads can do double-time on Facebook.

Facebook is a great platform if your brand is highly visual, or if you sell a B2C product. Dynamic ads that feature multiple products, videos that educate customers about products in exciting ways, and beautiful product photography can soar to success on Facebook. Facebook ads can also be highly customized, with dynamic ads that retain the same copy but change visuals for different ad segments.

If you’re looking for a cost-effect way to reach your audience, Facebook may be worth a test. While Wordstream reports that across all industries, Facebook ads average $1.72 per click and $18.68 per conversion. Narrowing down your target audience and experimenting with ad copy and creative can help you find big potential in this huge network.

So, who can use Facebook for ads? Just about anyone. Their platform shines for businesses large and small if they have a great visual style. Small, local businesses and large corporations both use Facebook sponsored ads with great success.

Twitter Ads

Twitter’s platform is like Facebook, but there are some key differences. First, Twitter allows you to target potential customers interestingly. So, Facebook allows you to target by location, demographics, and interests—Twitter, on the other hand, targets by keywords. This means if your business or agency has its finger on the pulse of hot trends or you want to focus in on conversations that are extremely relevant to your operations, boom! You’re in. Only people who fit that hashtag or keyword selection will see it.

Once your highly relevant post racks up engagement through reads and interactions, guess what? You can create remarketing campaigns that target those same people again. This is an amazing way to build followers and brand awareness.

Interestingly, 40% of users say they’ve made a purchase because of an influencer’s tweet. If you’re testing ads on Twitter, you may want to consider an influencer strategy to build brand recognition and trust among your target audience.

What type of company suits Twitter ads, best? Ones that can begin conversations. Companies that have an interest in politics, socially conscious messaging, or perhaps just have their finger on the pulse of the latest entertainment or technology trends work great on this platform.

LinkedIn Ads

LinkedIn is for professionals. It has a shorter reach but is great for business networking. The benefit of LinkedIn ads is that their network is already targeted. So, if you sell business-to-business products, work in recruiting or are looking for students for higher education efforts, LinkedIn ads are where it’s at.

If you’re selling a B2B product or service, a test with LinkedIn ads is warranted. The space is dominated by Fortune 500 decision-makers and nearly 45% of LinkedIn users are in upper-level management, according to Forbes. Like any platform, honing in on your audience and aligning your offer is key to engaging with decision makers and driving leads.

Paid advertising is the best way to build brand awareness and get the word out about a new business, product or service. Just remember, even with the best ad platform, you may not find success with your first round. Don’t be afraid to experiment with your ads and to test spend on different platforms — just remember to measure success and monitor your results. You’ll find that special sauce of ad magic in no time.