Top 10 Ways to Stretch Your Advertising Dollars

Smart advertisers always want to stretch their budget while being more efficient with their ad spend. With the online holiday shopping in full swing after a record-breaking Black Friday, you’ll definitely want to make sure you’re getting the best bang for your budget bucks.

From spending more efficiently, to finding new outlets to explore through advertising, stretching your budgetary dollars is doable in many different ways. This is all dependent on what you’re already doing with your digital marketing.

Let’s dive into my top 10 favorite ways to make those dollars do more!


1. Negative Keywords for Google AdWords

This might seem obvious, but with so many online advertisers involved in AdWords, it bears repeating. Many PPC accounts that have been running for months or years have zero negative keywords. Zero!

How does this happen? Do people have a “set it and forget it” attitude? Some agencies work tirelessly on bid management, but neglect this area, one of the most powerful tools in their toolbox.

When was the last time you separated the wheat from the chaff from your PPC account? Here’s a great guide on filtering out bad paid search clicks.

2. Negative Placements or Only Targeted Placements in Google AdWords Display Network

By default, most advertisers will end up “opting-in” to using the Google Display Network for their advertising. This is usually wrong on so many levels. It means that your ads on the display (content) network are delivered by keyword relevance.

So if you’re bidding on “shoes” your ad might display on any website that has Google ads running where “shoes” is the topic. This might be fine, but most times… it’s not.

Run a report to show you which sites your ads are displaying on:


Look at your metrics and see where you’re blowing money without conversions. Add these as negative placements. Even better, look at the list of sites where your ads are being displayed and start only targeting placements that work for you.

If this tip has you lost, check out these Google AdWords placement targeting campaign tips.

3. Branded Campaigns in AdWords & Bing Ads

“Why would we pay to advertise on our brand name? We already rank number one!”

How many times have you heard this when reviewing a PPC account, after you’ve discovered the advertiser isn’t running a branded campaign? Ninety-nine percent of the time?

Here’s why advertisers should pay for their brand name:


Even if paid advertisements on your branded name cut into your organic traffic, they can exceed this metric and actually give you more traffic at a lower overall cost. Added bonus: these are usually people at the tail-end of the buying cycle. Who doesn’t want more for less?

4. YouTube In-Search & In-Display Ads

Youtube is the second largest search engine in the world. While their advertising platform has become more difficult to navigate, it doesn’t make it any less efficient.

If you have even a handful of videos that you have published to YouTube, advertising there can be dirt cheap. How cheap? How about a CPV (cost per view) of 1 penny per view.

“I like YouTube because it is in many ways a meritocracy,” said Than Thein from, who has been producing high quality videos for a very niche audience for many years. “It is abundantly clear when you watch a video whether it is high quality or not. You can’t fake good content and production value.”

So keep that in mind when you’re deciding what content to promote.

Here are some solid guides as to how you can make that happen:

5. Facebook Promoted Posts

Do you have a Facebook Fan Page? Many businesses do. If not, there’s no better time to start one. Invite all of your friends and family and get your Page to 25 “Likes”.

Once you do that, you’ll be able to set the name/URL of your Facebook page and start publishing content. This is currently all free.

Once you hit the magical 400 likes on your Facebook page, you can then promote your posts to either your current fans or your fans plus their friends. This is where the real magic lies. Everything on a social network relies upon that word: “social”, so don’t forget that Facebook is a social network and not just a placement for your ads.

Here are four critical things to know about Facebook Promoted Posts.

6. Facebook Contests through Wildfire

Are you looking for more Facebook fans? Ironically, the quickest way to that might be through Google’s Wildfire App. Recently, Google purchased Wildfire for around $250 million. Luckily for you, it doesn’t cost anywhere near that to run a contest through them.

At a base starting cost of around $50, marketers can now run a social/virally run contest that will yield them many new Facebook fans at a very low cost. Your Facebook fans are essentially a list that you can market to over and over again. Have you run a contest recently?

7. Advertise on Reddit

Do you have a product or service that would appeal to a lot of people? If you answered “Yes” then advertising on Reddit might be just the thing for you.

Take for example DuckDuckGo. So many times we’ve all heard that Google shouldn’t be the be all and end all for search engines. DuckDuckGo offers a welcome alternative to those who don’t want to be confined by the algorithmic constraints we’ve all been working around for years.

That said, there’s not much tougher of a platform to advertise than an alternative to Google. Where did DuckDuckGo turn? Reddit!

A clean image coupled with simple ad text yielded great results:


This ad ran for 13 days, from 3/7/ to 3/20. It cost $650, and I spent $50 per day. In total it had 1,288,378 impressions (282,732 uniques) and yielded 20,700 clicks (18,420 uniques). That’s a CTR of 1.61, or 6.49 percent per unique redditor. This CTR works out to a CPC of 3.14 cents, or 3.53 cents per unique visitor, and a CPM of $1.98, or $2.30 for uniques.

I’ll let you do the math from there.

Is this for everyone? Obviously not. But if you have a topic/product with a wide reaching audience, then this is certainly worth looking into. Here are the full results of the DuckDuckGo ad campaign on Reddit.

8. Advertise on Etsy

As a converse to the wide appeal that you might benefit from Reddit, there are a ton of people who are dealing with a smaller, though no less targeted audience. Last year I was introduced to a handful of individuals that had started their own Etsy shops and were looking for ways to increase their marketing audience.

I quickly came across a multitude of sites that cover various Etsy marketing techniques. While these are full of good tips for the amateur marketer, it quickly became apparent that many Etsy shop people might like to directly advertise to their potential customers. This wasn’t lost on Etsy and therefore Etsy Search Ads were born.

Read more on how to adverise on Etsy and dealing with Etsy Search Ads.

9. StumbleUpon Paid Discovery Ads

As many organic and social traffic providers can tell you, StumbleUpon can provide a massive amount of visitors to your site. This number can be seriously staggering. Have you ever considered paid placement there?

While most StumbleUpon users are bound to “look and bounce”, with the proper Ad targeting you could easily turn this into an engaged audience.

Learn what paid discovery through StumbleUpon could do for you.

10. Alternative Ad Networks

Aside from Google/Yahoo/Bing, there are actually many alternative ad networks that can provide a very cheap cost per click for budget conscious advertisers, which can help your brand excel far beyond your wildest dreams.

Two you should take a good look at are:

ProTip: While there are many alternative advertising sites that might benefit you, these are two of the most popular. Regardless of how popular they are, your strategies with them bear testing.

Ask yourself if the advertisers you’re targeting here are also available to advertise via AdWords. Are the AdWords advertisements cheaper than what they want you to spend on these networks? Ask yourself if the dollars you spend here actually turn into conversions for your brand.

Above and beyond these tips… never stop testing! That’s what online advertising is all about.

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