Alternatives to Facebook Ads That Won’t Break the Bank

Marketing 28 minute read 4th January 2021

If you’re scouring the internet for alternatives to Facebook ads? You’re not alone. Plenty of business owners experience burnout from Zuckerberg’s app. This is because Facebook advertising campaigns make it extremely easy for clients to spend money without solid results.

The social media platform regularly prompts you to open your wallet for an ad. You might even receive messages asking you to work with an account-based marketing expert at Meta.

But if you’re new to marketing and ads, you might waste money. (Especially if you’re not a social media maven. If you’re still working on ideas for social media posts for your restaurant or other business, hold off.)

Successfully advertising on Facebook takes a lot of trial and error, knowledge, and a sizeable marketing budget. That’s not to say Facebook isn’t the right platform for your business. But it’s not your only option.

In this guide, we’re walking you through other ad formats worth your time. Plus, we’ll explain how to get the most out of Facebook advertising if it’s right for you.

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Why Look Beyond Facebook?

The number one reason you should look beyond Facebook ads is that so many other platforms exist. To have a successful online advertising strategy, you want to have a broad reach. You also want to try out different platforms to see which best aligns with your audience.

Relying too much on one marketing channel in hospitality is dangerous. It also means you’re missing out on lots of potential business elsewhere. Diversifying your marketing approach also means you won’t be left in the lurch if one channel goes dark.


Why You Shouldn’t Completely Ignore Facebook Ads

Before we dive into the alternatives to Facebook ads, it’s important to note that we’re not dismissing Facebook Ads entirely. Sure, this whole article is about Facebook Ads alternatives. But FB could be perfect for your business if that’s the platform most of your clients use. For example, Facebook advertising campaigns are ideal if your company caters to an older demographic (folks over 50).

We just think there are some more cost-effective advertising channels worth exploring.

The average cost-per-click (CPC) for Facebook Ads across all industries is around $1.86, and the average click-through rate (CTR) is just 0.89%. Those figures show why you need serious chops to avoid wasting your budget.

Let’s look at different inspiring marketing campaigns for restaurants and other small businesses.

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What’s the Best Alternative to Facebook Ads?

There isn’t one best alternative to Facebook ads. Why? Because each business, whether you own a hotel, restaurant, cafe, etc., has unique needs. Even within your industry, your audience and budget might be totally different from your peers.

For example, you may know someone with a booming restaurant and kitchen shop on the other side of the country. For them, investing in something like Amazon ads could be totally within budget. Or maybe your customers don’t like using Google as a search engine, and you’d prefer to use Bing ads.

Everyone’s different. That’s why it’s best to learn about all the possible advertising options to find your best fit.


Start your search for hotel or restaurant advertising campaigns with Google ads. After all, you probably found this article via Google search results. So why not look into Google ads and their marketing strategy?

The average CTR for Google Ads in the hospitality industry is around 4.68%. Moreover, the cost-per-click has increased very little over the years compared to Facebook.

This is where it gets interesting. While the average CPC for hospitality search ads on Google is $1.53, it falls to just $0.44 for display ads. The latter makes Google Ads hard to ignore. Compared to Facebook advertising, you’re getting more bang for your buck.

Unlike Facebook Ads, Google Ads can infiltrate your audience’s general web browsing activities. This way, you don’t have to wait for customers to log into an app or the right social media platforms. Instead, you’re popping up in their searches thanks to Google Adwords and Google Display Network.

Here are some of the benefits Google Ads offers which make it more cost-effective than Facebook Ads:


Facebook Ads Alternative: Pinterest

Don’t count Pinterest ads out when looking for an alternative to Facebook ads. Pinterest is more than just that place you go to when creating a vision board. (It could be a handy place to gather all your favorite marketing ideas and trends.) For marketers - particularly in hospitality - it hides a potential goldmine of business.

There are over 300 million active Pinterest users. And with 78% of them happy to view brand content, why not give Pinterest Ads a whirl?

Pinterest offers three types of ads: promoted pins, video pins and promoted app pins. You can then run campaigns based on building awareness, increasing traffic to your website or raising engagement with your content.

Pretty standard stuff, but because Pinterest is so visual, it suits specific industries better. For instance, if you’re running a restaurant, use Pinterest to build brand awareness by posting photos of your best-selling dishes.

This is where image ads thrive over so many other social media platforms. Here’s additional information about the different ad formats and paid advertising routes you can try.

Promoted pins are those ads that look like regular Pinterest posts. They show up in your feed or search results just like organic content.

This type of ad is an example of native advertising. Native ads and native advertising campaigns refer to ads that look like natural, organic content. They look the same as any other content on the site or app. They follow the same format, but they’re actually advertisements. Some marketing agencies also call native ads sponsored content ads.

Buyable Pins

This ad format is a Pin with clickable, buyable content. You know how usually when you click on a Pin, it contains a link to another site? Instead, these Pinterest ads allow you to buy products directly on Pinterest.

Video Ads

Though the other two ad campaign options on Pinterest are image ads, this one uses video. It works like a standard Promoted Pin but with video ads.


YouTube Ads

Youtube is among the top alternatives to Facebook ads. Why? Because YouTube is the world’s second-largest search engine. The fact is, so many people type in questions on Youtube like they would on Google.

The average YouTube user spends around 12 minutes on the platform each day. So, once you get them, you get their attention.

The video network also grabs a colossal share of Google search traffic. Building a YouTube channel for your business can yield fantastic organic results if you spend enough time on it.

We know what you’re thinking: buying a Youtube ad can’t be cheaper than buying one on Facebook. You’re right. Especially if you produce a video ad. However, you’re more likely to reach an engaged, niche audience. Youtube ads have better targeting options. So even if you spend the same as you would on Facebook advertising, it’s worth it.

With that, here are a few different ad formats offered on Youtube.

Skippable and Non-skippable In-stream Video Ads

You know how you can run ads at the beginning or mid-roll of a Youtube video? Advertisers can choose whether they want a skippable ad or not.

With a skippable ad, it plays for about five seconds before viewers can click the “skip ad” button and continue watching their video. The advantage of this is that you only pay for views, so when users don’t hit skip. You can also make your ad as long as you want.

With a non-skippable ad, viewers must watch the whole thing before their video resumes. The advantage here is that they see your entire ad message. However, you have to keep your ad shorter.

Non-Video Ads

Just because Youtube is a video site doesn’t mean that its only marketing channels are video-related.In fact, you can run image or text ads as well. These custom ads appear outside the video stream, either next to search results or around the player. You can also create ads that run as a banner at the bottom of a video.

We recommend these if you don’t have the resources to produce an entire video.

Discovery Ads

Discovery or explore ads are a type of paid search ad. They appear as a thumbnail and a few lines of text at the top of the Youtube search results page. They can also appear on the watch page or Youtube’s homepage. How it works is that your ad appears when someone searches something related to what you’re advertising.

They function similarly to Google ads, which makes sense since they’re partner websites.


Twitter Ads

We know Twitter’s a divisive place these days, and the interface isn’t running as smoothly as it once was. However, it’s still a massively popular social media platform. That means you should look into Twitter ads, especially if your target audience loves the app.

Twitter users spend a lot of time on the app. They use it as a news feed and a source of entertainment. Because of the versatility and simplicity of the app, it’s a great online advertising channel. Keep reading for three of the main ways to market with Twitter ads.

Promoted Tweets are another example of native ads. They look like regular tweets, but they’re actually an ad. These are a cost-saving way to dip your toes into the Twittersphere. If you’re interested in trying these out, you can look into different options for automated ads or dynamic ads.

Another branch within Twitter’s ad groups is a promoted trend. If you’ve ever used Twitter, you know there’s a “Trending” panel. This shows you what most people are talking about at that moment. You can pay for a promoted trend if you want to appear in that panel. You can add a branded hashtag or custom emoji, depending on your budget.

Try promoting your account if you want to use Twitter ads for brand awareness rather than a specific product. This advertising format pushes your account into the feed or the “You Might Also Like” section for particular users.


Advertising Alternatives to Facebook: Instagram Ads

Although technically owned by Facebook, Instagram has its own ad structure. And it’s worth adding to your advertising budget.

For one, the app has incredible engagement. There are over 2.35 billion active monthly IG users. That alone makes it one of the top alternatives to Facebook ads. The Instagram algorithm knows how to serve the right ads to the right people.

For another, Instagram influencers offer a unique way to leverage sponsored content. In addition to conventional ads through the app, you should look into templates for reaching out to influencers for collaborations.

If your content is spot-on, and you’ve found your target audience, you’ll receive loads of engagement and impressions. The two main types of Instagram ads are Story ads and in-feed ads.

Story Ads

Have you ever been tapping through your friends’ IG stories and seen a video or image ad? Those are Story ads. They pop up in between other stories but use the same format. This is another form of native advertising.

In-Feed Ads

The second main type of Instagram ads are in-feed ads. These pop up while you’re scrolling through your news feed or flicking through posts from your discovery page. Again, they look like regular posts, but they’re promoted ads. You can choose a single image or video or use carousel ads to have multiple slides in your post.


TikTok Ads

TikTok is more than just the biggest social media platform in the world. It’s also the ripest advertising platform. One of the reasons that Tiktok is so popular (and so controversial) is its addictive nature.

The app’s developers cracked the algorithmic code on user preferences, behaviors, and demographic information. They’ve used it to create a tailored user experience, serving up video after video that they know each user will enjoy.

That’s why in the world of digital advertising platforms, you can’t pass on TikTok ads. Especially if you’re to appeal to Gen Z or young Millennials. There are five main types of Tiktok ads to choose from.

Brand Takeover

A brand takeover is the most expensive and most all-encompassing option. Basically, as soon as someone opens the app, your brand information or chosen ad appears. If you’re a small business, this isn’t the best use of your advertising efforts.

In-Feed Ads

Another social media advertising option on Tiktok is an in-feed ad. These function the same as Instagram ads. It’s an ad that appears in users’ feeds. However, since the same company doesn’t own IG and TikTok, they likely have different targeting options. Check TikTok’s ad platform to ensure you’re choosing the suitable options for your brand demographic.

Branded Hashtags

Remember how we talked about promoted trends in Twitter ads? The TikTok ad equivalent is a branded hashtag. You can pay for a hashtag with your brand’s name, slogan, or other marketing messages. Then, when users use it, it’ll show up under your hashtag and increase brand awareness. Users can also tap on your hashtag to learn more about your company and/or service.

Branded Effects

Filters and effects are all part of the visual language of TikTok. So why not use them for your brand needs? You can work with a designer to develop a filter or effect that TikTok users can access on the app. In the effect you can include your brand name, logo, or slogan. This is an innovative and creative way to up brand awareness.


LinkedIn Ads

Not all of the alternatives to Facebook ads have to cater to Gen Z and young internet users. If you’re looking for professional clients and career-focused customers, Linkedin ads are the way to go. You can use three main ad formats with Linkedin ads to reach your target audience.

Text Ads

Sometimes you don’t need complex designs and strategies to tap into your target audience. Sometimes, clever text ads do the trick. One of the main places these Linkedin ads appear is in your messages tab. Occasionally, you’ll receive “promoted” messages from other brands or Linkedin members. Those are ads.

You can use sponsored content on the LinkedIn advertising platform. If you’re unfamiliar, sponsored content refers to any paid content. In LinkedIn, these usually appear as native ads. You can differentiate these posts from actual posts from other community members by a “promoted” badge. No matter how natural sponsored content looks, they always contain the name of the sponsored brands featured.

Video Ads

By now, you know the drill regarding video advertising options as alternatives to Facebook. These are videos that appear in your feed along with the text. They look like an organic LinkedIn video post. That means this is a form of (say it with us) native advertising.


Where To Advertise Other Than Facebook: Reddit Ads

The last social media platform we recommend using when you’re wondering where to advertise other than Facebook is Reddit. Reddit is one of those spaces that gets less attention than IG or Twitter. But it has millions of users.

Plus, the way the site already segments Reddit users by interests is ideal for targeted ads. For example, say you have an artisanal coffee shop. Buy Reddit ads that appear in subreddits about coffee making. Or in your town’s local subreddit. Again, this doesn’t have to be the only way you advertise. Add it to the list of other trending cafe marketing tips you’ve learned.

On top of that, Reddit users love to share information. If they see an ad that speaks to them, they will spread it to the other forums they enjoy.

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Email Marketing

Not all Facebook ads alternatives are in the social media universe. One of the best digital advertising platforms you can use is email marketing. How email marketing works is simple.

First, you create an email subscriber list. For example, you can gather this information at checkout from your online sales platform. Once you have your list, segment your audience according to the types of emails you want to send out. By doing this, you increase and customize your very own targeting options.

Then, you send out emails according to your marketing goals. One thing to keep in mind about this advertising platform is that it mainly focuses on existing customers. They might share your email offers with other friends. But, for the most part, you’re using this method to increase repeat visits and sales. It’s not necessarily one of your best growth marketing channels.


WiFi Marketing

Let’s discuss WiFi marketing to wrap up our discussion of the best alternatives to Facebook ads. This form of digital advertising is ideal for small businesses with brick-and-mortar locations.

It uses guest WiFi to run ads and send email and SMS marketing messages. This is as targeted as you can get. You’ll know you’re contacting interested people in your area (known as proximity advertising). If you’re interested in using WiFi ads to grow your business, Beambox is here to help.

Beambox offers various specialized, cutting-edge WiFi marketing services and devices, so you get the most out of this marketing strategy. Start your free trial of Beambox today!

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