Thinking Beyond Facebook & Google: 5 Non-traditional Niche Advertising Channels to Try

Published on October 4, 2021

Budding brands can find the best channels for their niche marketing efforts more easily than ever. Once your company has landed on the right market for your target customers, you can improve campaign engagement and increase the return-on-investment of your social media marketing through non-traditional platforms. 

Nonetheless, it takes deep expertise and experience to understand which non-traditional channels work best in which niche industries. For the scope of this article, we’re defining non-traditional channels as online media beyond Google Adwords and Facebook advertising. These five platforms can help elevate niche industries through non-traditional marketing strategies and tactics. 

1. Pinterest

If your industry seeks to target those within the 25- to 45-year-old demographic with highly visual content, Pinterest might be one place you’ll see success. As the platform is largely used for shopping inspiration and discovery, it should be no surprise that data shows people are 7 times more likely to purchase products they’ve saved on Pinterest. This user intent is particularly useful for advertisers, as their ads are less likely to be perceived as disruptive to a user’s engagement with the site (which is not the case on Facebook or Instagram, for example). 

Pinterest offers different formats to drive up campaign engagement. For example, promoted Pins are boosted to appear in the home feed and search results more often, while One-tap Pins take the user directly to the landing page when they tap on your ad. Pinterest’s Shopping feature, meanwhile, allows users to click on merchandise and make a purchase directly from boards, search, or even the new Lens camera search feature. 

The affordable rug brand Ruggable, for instance, links their pins to the check-out page for in-stock products, making it easy for customers to see a rug, imagine it in their home, and click-to-buy in one swift motion. 

Industries that Perform well on Pinterest: 

  • Retail brands of all types — from women’s clothing to home décor and home improvement — do especially well on Pinterest because the platform reaches highly specific demographics with inspiring content.
  • Real estate-related businesses, especially Realtors targeting a local area, can easily create virtual tours and show homes and make new connections with prospective buyers and sellers. Similarly, architects, home designers and home contractors can engage consumers by sparking their imaginations and helping them envision their dream homes.
  • Not-for-profit organizations and crowdfunding campaigns also do well on Pinterest. The reason? People turn to Pinterest for inspiration and imaginative ideas. If your campaign or cause can catch their attention with head-turning graphics, you may also capture their wallet. 
  • Artists and musicians also do well on Pinterest because it’s such a visual medium. Album covers, artwork, photos, and images of art such as sculptures spark attention.

2. Apple Search

Apple Search Ads allow brands and app developers to bid to appear at the top of Apple’s App Store search results for relevant keywords. These ads appear across all iOS devices, providing potential for tremendous reach. In 2019, Apple reported that there were 900 million active iPhones. Ads in the App Store often see conversion rates as high as 50% for downloads.

Any business that has invested in creating an app can benefit from advertising in the App Store. However, apps related to sports, music, utilities, photo & video, business and productivity have the highest average tap-through-rate (TTR), according to a study done by SplitMetrics. 

To increase your TTR on this platform, you’ll want to use Apple Search’s personalization capabilities to customize ads based on your target audience, which can include age, gender, and location, as well as groupings of keywords they might search for.

3. TikTok

The viral video platform TikTok’s strength is in not just its rapid growth, but how it seamlessly blends ads into the user experience. Products, especially for the younger millennial and GenZ audience, can go viral through advertising, affiliate marketing, and videos created by influencers.

From Maybelline’s Sky High mascara to Trader Joe’s snacks, many affordable brands with broad appeal have generated temporary revenue bursts from TikTok viral videos. But to see long-term benefits, consistent advertising of multiple product lines and a variety of strategies – from ads to influencer product placements – is key.

One benefit to TikTok is its cheaper cost per thousand impressions compared to competitors. E-commerce brands, children’s toys, cookware products, and foods or foodie lifestyle brands can do well on TikTok due to the broad demographics it reaches.

4. Snapchat

Statistics show that 200 million users spend an average of 30 minutes a day watching Snapchat stories. While copious amounts come from friends, others come from influencers and favorite brands. Significantly, the Snapchat experience helps businesses share their authentic stories on a platform that has an inherent fear-of-missing-out built in, as experiences are ephemeral – gone in a click.

The Snapchat for Business platform delivers several features that allow brands to promote themselves through creative content, including ads in the form of fun filters, lenses, and video format Snap and Story ads with a CTA at the bottom.

From food to fashion specs like Warby Parker, products that have visual appeal and immediacy do best on the platform. Snapchat users live for the moment, with stories gone in an instant. Brands that thrive on impulse purchases will do well with the right messaging.

Snapchat has a 50% lower cost per purchase and a 30% lower cost per signup compared to other advertising channels. The platform charges per 1,000 impressions and offers goal-based bidding, which allows you to set a maximum price for every engagement of interaction and make adjustments according to the ad performance.

5. Microsoft Ads

Microsoft, as one of the largest companies in the world, is a well-known name brand that older professionals have grown to trust and rely on. For that reason, Microsoft ads targeting the 35- to 65-year-old demographic do well. Users on the Microsoft Search Network, formerly known as Bing, report an average income of $75,0000 or more, which means that brands targeting more established adults, families, and upper-middle-income people saving for retirement can find their audience here.

Niche industries that do well include:

  • Retail, especially luxury brands and high-end retail 
  • Luxury real estate
  • Travel
  • Financial, insurance, and investment brands (thanks to its partnership with Yahoo, where many people interested in finance and investment go for news)

Microsoft Ads let you replicate your target audiences from Google Ads, which can save time for small business owners, and offers an affordable pay-per-click (PPC) format.

The Takeaway

Through non-traditional advertising channels, small businesses and niche industries can find the right audience and boost their ROI for much less than they might spend through Google Ads or Facebook. Whatever social network or search engine they use, people love entertaining, engaging and informative content. Brands that can deliver that type of experience consistently on the Web will find rapid growth and increased sales through their online sales and niche marketing strategy.

CEO & Founder Erik Huberman is a member of Grit Daily's Leadership Network. He launched Hawke Media in 2014, which is now valued at over $150 million. As a serial entrepreneur and marketing expert, Erik has been recognized by his industry peers through honors and awards including, Forbes Magazine’s 30Under30, CSQ’s 40Under40, and Inc. Magazine’s Top 25 Marketing Influencers.

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