If there’s one thing we love, it’s the underdog or the alternative. We lust for a Tesla, but who else is out there doing electric cars? The iPhone is what most people have, but every once in a while, you see some pretty cool Android phones out there.

Companies like Apple – and Google – are king of the mountain. But they do have competition. Okay, Google doesn’t have much with it’s nearly 90 percent market share. But they’re not the only game in town, and it might be in your best interest to pay attention to some of the underdogs and alternatives out there.

All things being equal

Paid search, also known as Search Engine Advertising (SEA), revolves around bids on search terms known as keywords. If your bid wins, your ad is displayed to users who include the keyword or key phrase in their search bar. The assumption we make is that we’re talking about the Google ecosystem.

Sure, Google’s sitting there with its 90 percent market share. That still leaves 10 percent up for grabs. And let’s do some math. The current population of our planet is a bit more 7.7 billion people. Wikipedia estimates that 56.1% of the world’s population – or about 3.2 billion people will be online by the end of this year. It means that 320 million people are unreachable by Google. How are they making searches if they’re not using Google?

Bing

They could be using Google’s biggest competitor, Bing. It’s less than 2.5 percent of global market share, but it’s billions of people. If you’re a small company with a small budget, you can’t afford to make big bids of popular Google keywords. You might find that they’re highly affordable on Bing – and the process is nearly identical if you’re already used to creatin Google AdWord campaigns.

Amazon

It’s not just for shopping anymore. You can use Amazon. Amazon Marketing Services (AMS) is available to anyone who is registered as a vendor or Amazon seller. You’ll be right at home if you’re used to the auction environment of Google. Bid and win, and then only pay if someone actually clicks on your link. Amazon is an alternative to watch closely because of voice search. Alexa is the market leader, with more than 66 million users.

Yahoo!

Or Oath, which is in cooperation with AOL, and a subsidiary of Verizon. It’s a diminished giant, but Yahoo! is owned by the same company that runs Huffington Post and TechCrunch. There’s enough pedigree to make it a contender. And you also get an interesting efficiency when you use Yahoo’s advertising placement: Bing display ads show up on Yahoo! search results.

Facebook

If anybody’s giving Google a run for the money, it’s this gigantic social media network. The benefit of Facebook granularity. What behavior do you want to accomplish? Your ability to precisely target the way you do with Google is matched by what you want your targets to do.

Unlike Google, the highest bid doesn’t win the campaign. Facebook looks at expected effectiveness and quality. You have a better chance of winning a bid on Facebook based on being a previous advertiser who got promising results.

Playing the field

You can’t buy around Google, but you can make extremely efficient paid advertising campaigns by supplementing Google with these competitors. Besides, it’s exceptional content that will convert prospects into buyers – not just a display ad. Even Google knows that, which is why it ranks you higher when you demonstrate you have content that offers depth and relevance. So, regardless of its 90 percent market share, you can actually beat your competitors in organic search even if you can’t outbid them for a keyword.

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