The paid ad channels giving the biggest opportunities for positive impact brands in 2022 and beyond!

You’re a business that’s looking to the future of 2022 and beyond, trying to find the next big opportunity to scale! You want rocket ship growth for your business! You want a graph with a steep upward trend!

This matters especially so for business owners that have a company with a purpose. As every extra lead you find or sale you make helps deliver that extra bit more impact! 

Every extra sale for an electric company means one less gas guzzling car on the road. One more reusable water bottle sale means many fewer plastic bottles in the ocean. Paid advertising is a game of money but when that money supports a business with a positive purpose that translates to real world positive impact!

In this article, we’re going to run through which paid advertising platforms are the rising stars, and which are the steady immovable giants specifically with positive impact businesses in mind!

This entire article is based on my own experience (Max Sinclair), running a paid advertising agency that specialises in snowballing purpose-driven brands called Snowball Creations. We work with all the major digital paid channels of our day and are constantly testing the newer platforms too.

This article will hopefully save you from wasting thousands on a platform that A, isn’t right for your business and B, might not have much lifespan left anyway…

Factors to consider

When judging any particular platform there are several factors that you want to consider:

Scale

Scale

How big is the network in terms of users and attention available from those users to be purchased through ads. Ultimately, the larger the network, the more you will be able to scale. 

Also, larger networks often allow for better data analysis to end up with a more targeted audience. Facebook with it’s 2b+ users being the perfect example of this!

Return on investment

Return on investment

How strong the return on investment is from the channel. This is a very tough one to generalise as each business will experience each platform differently but it is still worth accounting for as some just are better than others.

Note that this is return on investment too, not just how expensive one or the other is, as a higher cost can often be countered by higher conversion rates or more valuable conversions.

Audiences the platform may have a particularly strong base with

Audiences the platform may have a particularly strong base with

Some networks have an especially large percentage of their users in one particular area/demogrpahic. If this fits in well with your business then it can give results disproportionately stronger than others will experience. A great example of this is with Twitter and developers or cryptocurrencies.

You should also consider the opposite of this. There may be one platform that ticks all your boxes but your audience just doesn’t spend their time there.

Longetivity

Longevity

Will this platform still be here in 5 years from now? Is it on the rise or declining in terms of user growth? Are the users still active? 

Facebook is an interesting example here as Facebook itself has continued to drop in users and engagement but Instagram, the other part of that network continued to grow and so props up the entire network.

Search networks to consider

Firstly let’s look at the various search networks available as contenders and consider each of the above factors.

Google search ads

Scale

There are approximately 5.6 billion searches every single day through Google. Almost all of these you’re able to advertise on. So it is one of the largest advertising networks that exists in the world.

Your true limit though is down to how many of those searches are actually attractive to you as a business. If you’re trying to sell a bamboo toothbrush then searches for a local cleaning service aren’t so valuable! (duh).

The keyword planner within Google ads itself is the best place to go and play around with keywords to try to judge the search volume and demand for your niche.

Return on investment

Google ads is expensive on average per click compared to display networks. However it also drives users with the highest possible buying intent of any channel. Users are in that exact moment trying to solve the problem that your product or service satisfies.

So Return On Ad Spend, or ROAS, of Google ads we see from our ad agency as the most consistently high of any platform.

Particularly great for

Google is actually one of the broader platforms that can help the vast majority of companies to be discovered by their target audience.

My agency, Snowball Creations, describes it as often a great foundational channel as it’s usually the best place to start advertising online. Why not start with the low hanging fruit? The potential customers already searching for what you do.

However, If people aren’t googling to solve the problem that your business solves, Google won’t work. 

Longevity

While Google is one of the oldest networks in the game, we actually see it as the most secure in terms of confidence that it will still be the number one search engine on the market in another 5 years from now.

Youtube ads

Scale

With over 2.6 billion users, Youtube is the largest video focused network in the world. 

This leaves you with huge potential scale with various forms of ads like in-stream, in-feed, bumper and more.

Return on investment

Youtube ads can have great potential for return on investment for certain products and services. Ultimately it’s quite a unique format and audience compared to other social networks.

Particularly great for

Anyone with a value proposition that’s well suited to video or skills in video in general easily available will find opportunity with Youtube.

It’s also more heavily weighted to men so better suited to those after that audience.

Longevity

We see it as almost as strong a standing as Google search. While it does have more competition in comparison from companies like Tiktok and Netflix for users attention, no other long-form video platform comes even close.

Bing ads

Scale

Bing sees more like 900 million searches (so only a tiny fraction of Google’s). Though still a worthy size to be a worthwhile audience to market to. But likely with smaller budgets compared to Google.

Return on investment

It’s quite similar to Google, though in general a fraction worse. This is mainly because you don’t have the ability to scale like you do with Google, and so with smaller quantities of data the algorithm has less ability to optimise and your ads become more efficient.

Particularly great for

Older demographics are on this more than younger as it’s the default for computers so older audiences that don’t think to switch stay with it. This also means of course the counter that it’s less great for businesses with a younger target audience.

Longevity

While Bing isn’t really growing, it doesn’t seem like it’s going anywhere either. Microsoft seem to have accepted their lot as the 2nd place search engine. So it’s a safe but small bet. I’d generally recommend looking to it once you’ve reached the maximum that Google has to offer in terms of relevant searches.

Bing ads

Scale

While Bing isn’t really growing, it doesn’t seem like it’s going anywhere either. Microsoft seem to have accepted their lot as the 2nd place search engine. So it’s a safe but small bet. I’d generally recommend looking to it once you’ve reached the maximum that Google has to offer in terms of relevant searches.

Return on investment

While Bing isn’t really growing, it doesn’t seem like it’s going anywhere either. Microsoft seem to have accepted their lot as the 2nd place search engine. So it’s a safe but small bet. I’d generally recommend looking to it once you’ve reached the maximum that Google has to offer in terms of relevant searches.

Particularly great for

While Bing isn’t really growing, it doesn’t seem like it’s going anywhere either. Microsoft seem to have accepted their lot as the 2nd place search engine. So it’s a safe but small bet. I’d generally recommend looking to it once you’ve reached the maximum that Google has to offer in terms of relevant searches.

Longevity

While Bing isn’t really growing, it doesn’t seem like it’s going anywhere either. Microsoft seem to have accepted their lot as the 2nd place search engine. So it’s a safe but small bet. I’d generally recommend looking to it once you’ve reached the maximum that Google has to offer in terms of relevant searches.

While Bing isn’t really growing, it doesn’t seem like it’s going anywhere either. Microsoft seem to have accepted their lot as the 2nd place search engine. So it’s a safe but small bet. I’d generally recommend looking to it once you’ve reached the maximum that Google has to offer in terms of relevant searches.

Amazon ads

Scale

Amazon receives 66,000 orders. Per hour!

Every search that comes prior to one of these orders has a place for paid ads.

So scaling is not an issue with Amazon.

Return on investment

Amazon ads do offer a good return on investment for many eCommerce brands with Amazon taking such a huge chunk of all online eCommerce sales altogether.

However, this is lessened by the nature of Amazon. When customers purchase through the website their relationship stays with Amazon. It’s much harder to build a brand and a direct relationship with your customers. You don’t own any of that customer data exclusively.

So while it’s short term returns are strong, we see that the longer term is less attractive.

Particularly great for

Ecommerce products that customers will know to search for already is the broad sweet spot for Amazon. If users don’t choose to actively search in Amazon with the problem or need you satisfy then you won’t be able to reach them.

Longevity

Amazon is as solid as Google in our eyes. It would need some seriously seismic shifts in the marketplace to go away any time soon.

Display networks to consider

Facebook & Instagram (Meta) ads

Scale

Facebook has over 2b users available to advertise to. This is partly Facebook and then also Instagram. It’s a display network too so this audience can be reached at almost any time as users generally login to use the app many times a day.

Return on investment

Facebook has changed over the recent years, but if managed correctly it still stands as one of the best opportunities for a strong return on investment.

It has one of the largest data sets and so its audience targeting is one of the most effective available. It is important however nowadays to use third party tracking softwares to analyse results as Facebook’s own pixel has become too limited.

Particularly great for

Any kind of industry where visual storytelling is important. It gives a big range of ad types to play with for any kind of medium.

Longevity

While it’s growth has slowed with stronger competition coming in, it is unlikely to go anywhere in the years ahead. Though there is more of a risk than 5 years ago.

LinkedIn ads

Scale

With over 800m users from over 200 countries, LinkedIn is the biggest B2B focused network.

While it is smaller than Facebook or Tiktok, it’s focus on the business life of its users means its data set is in fact richer when you’re selling B2B yourself.

Return on investment

LinkedIn has on average a higher cost per click than other display networks like Facebook, but for fair reason. It’s B2B nature means the average conversion value is far greater than any other. Tiktok for example is focused on a very young audience and so is, in general, a low income group.

Particularly great for

Anyone selling to other businesses. It offers a great range of ad formats too so that even if you’re not strong in the creative department you can still reach out and find business.

Longevity

As a still very fast growing network and one that has a business focus and so takes it away from other networks like Tiktok and the like, we think LinkedIn has a great chance to be a solid advertising opportunity for many years to come!

TikTok ads

Scale

Tiktok is scaling fast! As of writing it has already built a network of over 1.2b users with that number rising to potentially 1.5b by end of 2022!

This means you should be able to scale to your heart’s content! However, I’d caveat that with the below points on age groups.

Return on investment

While Tiktok can be a great return on investment if you find the right product, it’s still sat as more of a secondary channel in a paid ads mix for any brand.

The most effective strategy we’ve seen to date are using Tiktok to drive huge quantities of organic traffic to an eCommerce site. Then converting that into sales with the help of Instagram.

Realistically the ad platform is still developing and organic is still the bigger opportunity on that platform in most cases.

Particularly great for

If you are looking for a particularly young demographic and video storytelling is particularly good for your brand, then Tiktok might just be the winner for you!

Longevity

Generally speaking, Tiktok looks to have a pretty bright future. While its lifespan will likely be a little more chaotic than Google or LinkedIn, it has innovated in its approach and is growing faster than any other network.

Honourable mentions

There are other opportunities out there that can be great in different, more niche scenarios. But to avoid this article becoming War and Peace, I’ll just list those below and I’d recommend doing your own research into each if you feel their particular audience might be well suited to your business:

  • Snapchat ads
  • Reddit ads
  • Pinterest ads
  • Twitter ads
  • Quora ads
  • Vimeo ads

Conclusion

While my agency plays with other paid channels, our favourites remain Google, Facebook (With Instagram as part of that) and LinkedIn Ads.

They repeatedly outperform the other paid platforms on the market in the vast majority of cases. 

A great time to consider more niche channels is when you’re starting to max out those primary platforms. 

If you’re interested in more training and support in all things paid advertising then a great place to head is my Youtube channel, with a new video every couple of weeks!

Want a professional opinion on which channels are right for your business? Head to www.snowballcreations.com and get in touch!

We built our agency focused on positive impact brands as we love to see the positive change they create. So I hope this article helps you in scaling yours!

Max Sinclair
Max Sinclair
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