The alternative to Google AdWords for Canadian businesses in Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, Toronto, Montreal and Ottawa

Canadian businesses enjoyed cost effective advertising costs for a good number of years but over the last few years it seems like the cost for an average business to advertise effectively on Google AdWords went sky high. Yes, Google AdWords is based on a bidding engine and there is no set price, but when investigating the actual business conversion % from the conversions it sometimes seems very nominal and there is a big question mark now days if Google AdWords is still the cost effective advertising media of choice or should Canadian businesses specifically in the locations we have analyzed which are Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, Toronto, Montreal and Ottawa consider other advertising options to leverage their monthly marketing spend?

 So what other solutions can we consider in 2013-2015?  there are many options out there, we can obviously mention that Yahoo and Bing offer similar to AdWords solutions but the traffic in the Canadian cities we looked at is not convincing enough nor is is very appealing to the businesses compared to the traffic from Google. Smartphone advertising is on the rise with cost per click (CPC) still averaging between $0.05 – $0.25 per click, affiliate marketing programs are also a good option with many of them offering low CPC or fixed monthly prices, but what we have found to be very interesting as far as cost effectiveness, relevancy and competitive advantage is CPM. CPM is a form of advertising over the millions of content sites that may include private and business sites, blogs, video sites, reviews, directories and much more. The CPM system is based instead of clicks on impressions, essentially you are buying 1,000 impressions of your ad (banner or text ad) at a fixed cost.

Quick summary of the most common advertising media options available to Canadian businesses online today

CPC Advertising (Cost Per Click)
These are text ads showing on top and side of the search and the advertiser is charged when someone clicks on the ad to visit the site linked to the ad.
CPM Advertising (Cost Per 1,000 impressions)
Cost per 1,000 Impressions allows advertisers who mostly seek to get branded or to promote a message that not always drives clicks to a site (e.g. The bank will now open extended hours on Sundays) or as the owner of a site participating in a CPM program it means you will get paid by the program administrator each 1,000 times an ad airs on your site.
Cost per action. You are paid when someone completes a predefined action after clicking on an ad that shows on your site (completes a sale, registration, fills a quote form etc). Examples for CPA are ClickBooth and MediaWhiz.
Image Ads
Banners can be used for CPC / CPM. Those banners will appear on content network site such as the Google affiliated and many other.
Video Ads
YouTube would be a good example for a site that allows the delivery of video ads and it is integrated into your AdSense account with Google.

Content Advertising

Including sponsored ads on newsletters, email blasts, classifieds and more. This type of advertising is typically paid by the estimated volume of impressions expected.

IS CPM good for my business? your business can be different from other businesses and it is always advised that you should practice cautious when choosing a single venue of advertising as it may not fit your specific business model, industry, audiences and geography. Our suggestion is therefore to ask the following questions to the provider of the CPM:

1. Are there case studies available from businesses similar to mine using CPM?

2. Can you provide an example of 10 sites where my advertising will show up that is relevant to my location?

Also, it is always a good idea to only move a % of your budget to CPM for a test and based on the business results to make a decision or keep the CPM as a portion of your marketing strategy. CPM can average down your cost per business conversion or if part of your marketing strategy has to do with branding, CPM is a great tool to explore.

Affordable Web Design Canada (AWDCA) can help your campaign by evaluating tools such as CPM for your Canadian business advertising strategy. Contact us today.

Brian Miller, AWDCA

Vancouver, BC