Facebook and Instagram, owned by Meta, remain two of the most popular advertising platforms thanks to their wide reach and mid-low ad costs. However, advertisers are turning to Facebook ads alternatives as they realize the risks of spending their whole ad budget on Meta’s channels.

Most notably, Meta ads campaigns can reach a saturation point, causing results to plateau even while prices increase. Facebook, Instagram, and even Google also lock their data behind walled gardens, making it tough for advertisers to measure attribution and optimize online marketing campaigns for different channels.

That’s where Meta ads alternatives can help.

By diversifying their spend, brands can tap into new and unique audiences across the web and even build on their social media engagement, more effectively driving website traffic and conversions. That’s why it’s so important to consider Facebook, Instagram, and Google ads alternatives — so you can innovate beyond saturated social platforms and continue to enhance performance results.

In this article, we’ll delve into the pros and cons of advertising on Facebook and Instagram, and explore advertising alternatives to Facebook to help you achieve your business objectives and improve attribution.

Facebook and Instagram Advertising: Important Considerations Before Choosing Your Platform

It’s important to thoroughly research and assess Facebook and Instagram ads alternatives to find the most effective advertising solutions for your campaign goals.

When considering these alternative advertising platforms, be sure to ask these three questions:

  1. Who is your target audience? Understand exactly who you are trying to reach by identifying your audience demographics, interests, preferences, and behaviors. With this information, you’ll be able to personalize messaging to each customer’s needs.
  2. Where are your customers most engaged? Once you’ve narrowed down who your target customers are, find out where they’re most active online. Are they posting about their work on LinkedIn, live-streaming on TikTok, or commenting on articles across publisher sites? These are the platforms you’ll start to consider adding to your media mix. If your customers use apps more than they do search engines, for example, you might look for a Google Ads alternative.
  3. What’s your advertising budget? To start, consider choosing a few platforms and running small test campaigns on them to see which are most effective among your target audience. You might also use one platform to cast a wide net and build awareness, and another to retarget audiences and drive conversions. Be sure to build some cushion into your budget so you can optimize campaigns as needed based on audience response.

Pros and Cons of Facebook’s Ad Platform

Before exploring Facebook competitors, let’s unpack the biggest advantages and drawbacks of Facebook as a paid advertising platform.

The most notable pros of launching Facebook ads include:

  • Granular targeting. Facebook offers advanced targeting options so advertisers can narrow their audiences by location, age, gender, language, interests, and other custom settings.
  • Wide reach. Facebook is the most widely-used social media platform with over three billion monthly users (Statista) and a diverse user base of customers, making it a suitable advertising channel for both B2B and B2C businesses.

Still, these benefits don’t necessarily make Facebook one of the best advertising platforms. That’s why advertisers might consider exploring a Facebook alternative to help boost e-commerce ROI.

Going further, the biggest cons of FB advertising include:

  • Declining performance. Since iOS 14 introduced new privacy protections for users, Facebook’s reach and targeting capabilities have declined. Now advertisers need to spend to test more audiences until they find the targeting parameters that work for them.
  • The walled garden. Advertisers can only target audiences on Facebook and its partner sites. That makes it tough to contextualize Facebook within the marketing funnel and retarget users on other channels to drive sales.
  • Technical complexities. Just because Facebook Meta ads are widely used doesn’t mean they’re easy to use. Especially now with increased privacy restrictions, Facebook is largely moving to a CAPI (conversions through API) setup, which means advertisers will need the budget and technical expertise to set up and track their own campaigns.
  • Rising costs. Facebook ad costs have been steadily rising over the last several years. Meaning, if advertisers want to continue scaling their reach and driving results on the social platform, they have to invest quite heavily. Even then, performance is not guaranteed.

Pros and Cons of Instagram’s Ad Placements

Instagram has ballooned from just a photo-based platform to a complex feed of short videos, Stories, reels, and carousels. As powerful competitors of Instagram, like TikTok and Snapchat, emerged over the years, the social network was forced to adapt and overload its channel with copycat features — demonstrating its vulnerability to industry changes.

Going further, here’s a look at the biggest advantages and drawbacks of Instagram ads for marketers.

First, when brands advertise on Instagram, they can access the following benefits::

  • Growing user base. Instagram reached 1.35 billion monthly active users in 2023 (Statista) — up from 1.04 billion in 2020. That number is expected to reach 1.44 billion by 2025, demonstrating continued growth but at a slower pace.
  • Shoppable ads. Advertisers can launch Instagram targeted ads for niche audiences and sell products directly on the app. They can do this by leveraging shoppable IG ads with tagged products and creating built-in shops with curated catalogs.

Like Facebook, however, Instagram has its shortcomings, sending brands seeking alternative social media and marketing channels. Specifically, the most notable risks of Instagram as an advertising platform include:

  • Algorithm changes. As with many social networks, Instagram changes its algorithm often, which can frustrate users and marketers. By prioritizing content that drives engagement, for example, Instagram creates an environment where content from smaller creators can get buried in the feed. These changes could potentially push more users off of the platform in search of an Instagram alternative, resulting in fewer impressions available to marketers and higher costs for PPC strategies.
  • Over-commercialization. The proliferation of sponsored posts and Stories, disruptive ads, and influencer marketing has transformed Instagram into a largely commercialized platform. This could cause users to leave for channels with more authentic content experiences.
  • The TikTok problem. TikTok quickly emerged as a fierce competitor of Instagram, hooking in younger audiences with raw, off-the-cuff content. Unlike Instagram, TikTok’s algorithm allows posts to go viral regardless of the poster’s follower count, making it a more egalitarian platform for up-and-coming creators and businesses. If Instagram fails to win over this market share of hyper-engaged, younger users, the platform could face future challenges in terms of growth and sustainability.

The Best Facebook and Instagram Ad Alternatives for Marketers

Even if you’re already running effective social media campaigns, it’s essential to explore Instagram and Facebook ads alternatives to better meet your business objectives and increase revenue.

It’s also important to understand the different ad formats and creative strategies for each Facebook and Instagram ads alternative, as they come with their own unique features.

To help, we’ll explore five popular advertising alternatives to Facebook and Instagram:

1. LinkedIn

Among the major advertising platforms, LinkedIn is the go-to channel for generating B2B leads, with a user base of over one billion professionals across the globe. This unique social network offers a range of ad formats, including promoted in-feed posts, sponsored messages sent directly to specific users, and PPC desktop ads.

LinkedIn is also known for its granular targeting options, allowing businesses to reach people by job title, industry, and career skills. While Meta provides detailed targeting capabilities as well, they’re largely based on personal interests and attributes. LinkedIn, on the other hand, has cornered the market on workplace-based targeting.

2. Snapchat

Snapchat may sometimes be overshadowed by competitors like TikTok and Instagram, but it’s still ranked among the five most-popular social media platforms in the world (Search Engine Journal). In fact, Snapchat boasts the largest share of Gen Z users among the major social networks — with this young demographic accounting for 51% of the app’s user base (eMarketer).

While Snapchat may not have as wide a reach as Meta, its audiences are hyper-engaged, opening the app nearly 40 times a day (Snapchat). That means brands have an opportunity to use this channel to engage young audiences with less competition and potentially lower costs. To do so, they can choose from a range of ad options, including image and video ads, Story ads, and even branded lenses or filters for an interactive, AR-driven experience.

3. TikTok

Today, TikTok is one of the most talked-about social platforms for sharing short-form videos, memes, and viral moments — bringing in 1.5 billion users worldwide (Business of Apps) across more than 20 markets (TikTok). TikTok is also another a go-to app for Gen Z consumers, who make up almost 45% of the platform’s user base (eMarketer).

TikTok offers some of the most unique and innovative ad formats, too. These include TopView ads, which greet users right when they open the app; branded effects or filters; and video shopping ads, which help drive e-commerce sales directly from TikTok. Advertisers can also build their ads easily with TikTok’s in-app video editor and library of ready-made ad assets.

4. Twitter / X

Twitter or X is commonly used for both personal and professional purposes, making it a prime platform for advertising a range of products to different audiences. With keyword- and hashtag-based targeting, X also helps advertisers tap into trending, topical conversations among niche audiences with specific interests.

Hosting over half a billion users, X may not have the reach of other channels like Meta and TikTok, but it does provide unique opportunities for brands to launch in-feed ads of images, videos, carousels, or simply text.

5. Taboola Ads

Native advertising is one of the most effective Meta ads alternatives. Unlike traditional display ads, native ads match the look and form of their surrounding content, creating a more intuitive and engaging user experience. That’s why the global market for native ads is expected to reach over $402B in annual revenue by 2025.

As a leading native advertising platform, Taboola distributes ads across trusted websites all over the world, rivaling the scale and reach of even the biggest social networks. With Taboola’s programmatic advertising capabilities, marketers can leverage direct integrations with the world’s leading DSPs and tap into an audience of over 600 million daily active users.

Native ads also benefit from the news trust halo — the increased trust consumers feel when they see ads alongside credible news content, making them more trustworthy than many social ads and even other Meta alternatives. On top of this, native ads are easy to create. In fact, social advertisers can repurpose their Meta ads for native platforms in just a few steps — building the assets they need to start capturing attention across the open web.

Meta Ads Alternatives: Conclusion

By focusing solely on channels like Facebook and Instagram, you might overlook more cost-effective options outside of Meta’s display platform and miss out on opportunities to scale your advertising efforts. After all, converting a user into a customer is a nuanced journey that involves multiple platforms across a complex decision process.

So consider one or more of the above alternatives to Facebook ads. By diversifying your media mix with these channels, you can better meet your campaign goals and reach untapped audiences. You can also use different platforms for acquisition and remarketing purposes, rather than sticking to just one.

If you’re looking to generate B2B leads, for example, you might experiment with targeted LinkedIn Ads. On the other hand, if you’re looking to expand beyond saturated social platforms altogether, you can add native advertising to your mix and start reaching expansive audiences across the open web.

Ready to branch out with trusted and proven Meta alternatives? Learn more about launching native ads with Taboola.

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