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Where Should I Advertise My Business Online?

image of mobile device being held next to laptop
Jessica Bernabe

With so many places to advertise online, it can be difficult to know where to start.

To help guide your decision, we’ve provided a brief overview of some of the world’s most popular digital ad platforms, highlighting the benefits of each one.

Paid Search Platforms

Advertising on paid search platforms is critical, as they are the #1 way consumers look for local products and services.

Under the pay-per-click (PPC) model of paid search, your business pays to display an ad that links to your website on a search engine results page (SERP).

The result is instant visibility.

And because your ads are triggered by keywords, you’re able to reach people who are actively searching for the types of services you offer.

Here are the top paid search platforms we recommend:

Google Ads

Advertising on Google is a MUST for pretty much every business looking to do paid search.


Because Google is the world’s leading search engine, with Google sites claiming a 63% market share for all search queries in the US.

Share of search queries handled by leading US search engine providers as of July 2018

Every year, more than 2 trillion searches are conducted on the search engine.

That’s more than 250 search queries per year for every person on the planet.

Not to mention, Google is one of the top two digital advertising platforms in the U.S. (the other being Facebook) in ad dollars spent.

The search engine is known for its innovation in digital ad products and online searches. However, popularity comes with a price, which is why Google Ads tend to have more expensive keywords than other paid search platforms.

The Verdict:

Advertise on Google if you want the highest level of visibility in your paid search campaigns, as well as access to the latest innovations in online advertising.

Bing Ads

Bing may be the underdog when it comes to paid search, but it’s steadily gaining momentum in the search engine marketing (SEM) landscape.

Microsoft sites (which include Bing) claimed a 24.2% share of search queries in the U.S., which is up from 8.9% 10 years ago.

And there are benefits of going with the underdog.

Due to the decreased competition of Bing, businesses that advertise here often benefit from a lower cost per click, cost per lead, and cost per customer acquisition.

The Verdict:

Bing is a great choice if you want to diversify your paid search advertising strategy (an Internet marketing best practice), and reach the top of search results at a lower cost.

Paid Social Platforms

Nearly three-quarters (73%) of Americans say they use more than one social media platform, and the typical American uses at least three, according to Pew Research Center.

So it’s no wonder businesses are flocking to social media sites to advertise their businesses to potential customers and stir up interest around their brands.

With social media ads, you can raise brand awareness, engage with potential customers, and generate new business.

Here are a few of the top social media platforms to consider:


If you’re looking to advertise your business on the most well-established social media platform, Facebook is the way to go.

Facebook is the most popular social media site, with more than 2.23 billion monthly active users worldwideRoughly two-thirds (68%) of U.S. adults are on Facebook, and 74% of those users visit the site daily, according to Pew Research Center.

When it comes to ad spend, Facebook is one of the two leading digital advertising platforms (the other one being Google), according to eMarketer.

Facebook offers a wealth of audience targeting options, which include targeting by demographics, location, interests, and behaviors.

The Verdict:

Facebook is a strong starting point if you want to reach specific audiences on social media and raise awareness about your business or brand.


Instagram, one of the few true mobile-only apps, is a photo and video sharing platform comprised of 800 million active monthly users. Gaining traction in the world of digital advertising, Instagram’s ad revenue is expected to double by 2019.

This social media app is especially popular among young adults. While only 35% of U.S. adults use Instagram, that percentage shoots up to 71% for U.S. adults between the ages of 18 and 24.

The Verdict:

If you’re looking for a way to visually engage potential customers (especially those in the younger demographic) while building interest in your products or services, try running ads on Instagram.

Your business could benefit from various types of ads on this platform, including photo, video, carousel, and Instagram Stories ads.

Paid Video Platforms

People are consuming more video than ever before, and that’s only going to increase in the years to come.

Video will represent 82% of all IP traffic by 2021, which equates to a million minutes of video transmitted through Internet networks every second.

As consumer attention shifts to video, it’s becoming even more important for businesses to create engaging video ads on the right digital channels.

Here’s today’s go-to video ad platform:


With over 1 billion users, YouTube is watched by nearly a third of all people on the Internet, with users collectively watching more than 1 billion hours of YouTube videos a day.

As a place where people can watch and share entertaining videos, and also explore new topics, YouTube has become so popular that some have recognized it as the Internet’s second-largest search engine.

guy holding white ipad

When you advertise on YouTube, you can choose which audiences to show your ads to, and target viewers by location, demographics, and interests. You only have to pay when someone watches at least 30 seconds of your video or clicks on your ad.

The Verdict:

YouTube is the way to go if you want to significantly boost brand awareness and create online content that’s more engaging and memorable.

[Facebook and Instagram are also great platforms for running video ads.]

Some businesses make the mistake of thinking they need to be on every ad platform.

When you try to launch ads on too many channels at once, you’ll stretch yourself thin—especially if you’re handling your online advertising on your own.

It’s best to start with one or two ad platforms that best align with your customers’ online behaviors and your business goals. For many businesses, Google and Facebook are the best places to start. Once you get your campaigns up and running, you can then branch out to other platforms.

If you need help creating the right digital advertising strategy for your business, our experts at Scorpion are here to help.

Click here to send us a quick message and find out how you can get more business from your online ads!

[This blog post was originally posted in 2017. It has since been updated and reposted to reflect more recent developments in the Internet marketing industry.]