Digital ad spend is dominated by Google and Facebook. Of the $330 billion spent on digital advertising platforms last year, the vast majority went their way.
However, even a small percentage of that massive overall figure is worth squabbling over.
YouTube accounted for a paltry 5%, but that’s still over $16 billion.
What’s most surprising is that some of the biggest platforms on the planet are still barely making a scratch on the overall figures.
That’s great for you and me, because while most people try and stand out on the biggest, most competitive platforms, there are plenty of relatively untapped opportunities out there where you can make a great return on your investment.
In this article I’m going to to show you seven platforms that make up a tiny proportion of all digital spend (less than 5% between them), but are still well worth your time and effort.
Let’s get started.
The best platforms that most marketers ignore
TikTok is a social video app which allows users to share short videos. It is most commonly used to create short dance and lip-sync videos, normally around 15 seconds long.
Its other features include stickers, augmented reality and filters. It competes with the likes of Instagram and Snapchat for the youth market.
TikTok is one of the most popular social platforms in the world right now.
It’s the most downloaded app of 2020, beating Whatsapp into second place.
- It has more than 550 million active users across the world, making it one of the most downloaded apps of all time.
- It’s geared to a younger age group, with over 67% of users below 30, and 54% in the key demographic group of 15-25 year olds.
- This all combines to make it more popular than Snapchat or Twitter, but with far, far fewer ads.
Why are there so few ads on TikTok?
One of the reasons TikTok is so popular is precisely because it has so few ads. Users see it as an opportunity to genuinely interact with other users.
That means that advertising comes at a premium. TikTok is unlikely to sell their audience out by turning it into a Facebook-style ad feed any time soon.
If you have got the budget, it’ll cost you a minimum of $500 to get started. For bigger businesses this isn’t a lot for the chance to stand out on a platform that has so many eyeballs, but for smaller businesses that’s a big investment.
But due to its highly visual nature, sheer scale, soaring popularity, and scarcity of ads, it still qualifies today as one of the best opportunities to steal a march on the competition.
If you want to go viral, it might be the right platform for you.
Here’s how you do it.
How to market on Tik Tok
TikTok advertising is in its infancy, hence its presence on this list. However, like any platform with an audience, all you need is a little creativity.
Currently, I would recommend steering clear of the official ads while TikTok works out how it wants them to work. Instead, I would use the channel in the following ways:
- Brands / individuals can create a channel and upload videos. This is a way of creating your own content and interacting with an audience.
- The second way is to utilise the power of users by creating branded challenges, through hashtags or by working with influencers. TikTok users love a challenge. For example, you might be a fitness company that decides to pay an influencer to promote a branded challenge whereby people try to lip-sync their favourite songs while running. The idea would be to inspire user-generated content which still has great organic reach on TikTok.
- The third way I would recommend is to user traditional influencers and pay them to interact with your product.
Keep checking for updates on TikTok. With a platform that has such incredible reach and engagement, early adopters and advertisers could be set for a big payout by getting ahead of the competition.
Twitch is a gaming streaming platform owned by Amazon.
Gamers can live stream games they are playing on, while engaging in commentary and interactions with their audience.
Gaming is one of the fastest-growing industries on the planet. In 2019, the industry was worth $152 BILLION.
Twitch is the biggest social platform in this space.
It’s quite incredible that more advertisers don’t use Twitch. It generates a high volume of users, with extremely high levels of engagement in live streams.
- Twitch reaches 45% of millennial males in the USA.
- It has over 16 million daily users.
- It has 2.4 million content creators every month.
- It has over 100 minutes watched per person, every day.
- As if all that wasn’t enough, it also commands over 2% of US internet usage, every day. That’s more than Facebook and Amazon.
Not only are the numbers quite staggering but the level of trust people have in those they follow is also incredibly high.
It makes it an ideal platform for advertisers to make the most of.
How to market on Twitch
One way an advertiser might increase their presence on Twitch would be with a paid partnership with a user (or influencer).
The user would give a shout-out to the brand during their live stream, which is also an incredibly organic way to reach users.
This might take the form of singing an off the cuff song, or mentioning a product they’ve used.
This feels like less in-your-face advertising, and users may not even realise they are being advertised to.
It also means advertisers can align with gamers who perfectly encapsulate their brand.
If you’re after an organic way to reach your millennial audience, then Twitch is completely underrated as a platform. Very few businesses are tapping into its vast potential.
Reddit is a discussion website. It’s one of the most engaged communities on the planet.
The front page of Reddit is known as The Front Page of the Internet, because most of the links that end up going viral every day originate on the front page of Reddit.
That’s how powerful it is.
- Reddit generates over 10 billion page views per month
- It has over 250 million monthly visitors!
- It is the biggest, most engaged website community on the entire internet.
And yet, despite the relatively low advertising costs (compared to other tech giants), it still gets a fraction of the usage.
Well, advertising on reddit can be like entering a shark tank.
Get it right and your brand will fly, but get it wrong and the community can rip you to pieces. Never has a platform been so divided by success and failure. Brands have been made and broken on its pages.
If you’re a business that takes the time to get it right then I would say absolutely do it. But research it first and get your campaign in shape.
Reddit is not a censored, fenced platform like Facebook, and lacks the slickness and celeb buzz of Twitter.
However, if you do invest the time to make your campaign a success, then this is my number one suggestion on this entire list.
It’s super targeted, cost effective advertising.
How to market on Reddit
Best tools for Reddit
Snapchat is a messaging app. It made its name mainly through its key features, with pictures that are only available for a short time.
Snapchat took the world by storm in 2018. It has continued to grow ever since.
Its mix of clever filters and popularity with 18-24 year olds had brands such as Disney flocking to it.
The biggest compliment that all of the other social media platforms paid to Snapchat was to steal its core features, such as stories.
In fact, even before stories, Facebook tried to replicate its key features on no fewer than six occasions.
- Snapchat currently has over 229 million daily active users.
- Every day there are more than 10 billion video views.
- Nearly 20% of all social media users are on Snapchat, particularly the 18-24 age group.
- The Snapchat community spends an average of 30 minutes on the platform, every day.
- Instagram stories was entirely modelled off Snapchat.
Snapchat remains a great platform for marketers due to two major reasons:
- It’s different. While ad formats on Facebook, Linkedin, Twitter and Instagram can feel very sam-same, Snapchat is an opportunity to present your content in a totally new light.
- There is much less competition. This can help your product or campaign stand out in a way that’s hard to do on the more popular channels.
How to market on Snapchat
Best tools for Snapchat
Quora is a question and answer website.
Users answer, follow and ask questions. These answers can either be facts of opinions.
In 2020 the website was visited over 300 million times a month.
- Three out of every four visits are on mobile.
- Over 37% of Americans use Quora, making it one of the world’s most popular websites
- 65% of Quora users have a college degree, and 54% record a household income over $100k
- People spend x2 as much time on Quora than Linkedin!
- There are over 400,000 topics available on Quora
One of the major reasons for advertising or marketing on Quora is its user base. It’s increasingly the place for business audiences – even more so than Linkedin.
What’s surprising is that its ad revenue doesn’t even nearly scale up to Linkedin’s, which makes it one of the biggest hidden opportunities out there.
However, with it attracting such loyal, engaged audiences, the cat is out of the bag.
More and more marketeers are heading to Quora to get their messages across and keep up with marketing trends.
How to market on Quora
Best tools for Quora
Few messaging apps have aver got close to the impact of WhatsApp.
WhatsApp currently has over 1 billion users. Over 1 million more are joining every day.
In 2019, Facebook (who own Whatsapp) announced that they were to put ads on the platform in 2020.
They U-turned on that decision, but recent reports suggest that Whatapp will eventually feature ads, possibly as soon as 2021.
However, the company have launched WhatsApp Business which is a seamless way for business owners to interact with customers.
What is WhatApp Business?
WhatsApp Business is a free app that was created to serve small business owners by allowing users to create a profile to showcase products and services.
It enables you to connect with your customers by using automation tools to sort and quickly respond to messages.
As a messaging app, it’s also a highly personal way to deal quickly and efficiently customer support, and deliver notifications direct to customers.
How to use Whatsapp Business
Here’s a step-by-step guide to setting up WhatsApp Business:
- Download the WhatsApp Business app from Google Play for Android. Or from iTunes Store for iPhones.
- Assuming you already have the WhatsApp app, you’ll be asked if you want to use your existing number.
- If you don’t, click Use a different number.
- You can’t have both a WhatsApp account and a WhatsApp Business account with the same number. Just know that if you transfer your conversations from your personal account to your Business account then you won’t be able to switch back again.
- When you enter your business number, you’ll be sent a verification code.
- Set up your business name and fill out your profile. To do this, click on More Options > Settings > Business settings > Profile.
- You can’t go back to change your name once the set up is complete, so take care entering your business name.
- Once you’ve completed your name, logo, phone, email address and status message you’re done.
You’re all set up and good to go!
Best tools for WhatsApp
Pinterest describes itself as a visual discovery engine.
Different images are called Pins, and vary from recipie ideas, to infographics, to how-to-visuals, to interior design ideas.
Everything that can be captured in an image is on Pinterest.
Users can either create and upload their own images, or create boards and save a collection of pins. For example, you might create an interior design pinboard and save all your inspiration to one place.
In principle, it’s incredibly simple. Which is why it has taken off, big time.
- Pinterest now gets more than 600 MILLION searches a month.
- Related Pins account for over 40% of engagement
- 85% of Pinterest’s activity takes place on mobile devices.
- There are 335 MILLION monthly users
- There are more than 200 BILLION pins in total!
How to advertise on Pinterest
Pinterest marketing is first and foremost about showing value in a visually compelling way. If you create great content, here are 10 simple steps you can follow:
Share your products in your images. Group your pins according to product category. For example, Interior Design, Gardening
- Add price tag. This means that your products will automatically appear in the gifts section of Pinterest.
- Show visual case study examples. This tip is key for businesses who don’t necessarily sell physical products, but services. Showing the impact of your services can help people understand what you do. For example, a website you have designed.
- Create tip lists. This tip is similar to the last in that it helps you sell services. For example, if you’re a languages tutor, you don’t necessarily have something to showcase. But if you create an infographic with 10 tips to learn a language then you can still market your services.
- Use mobile format. Create infographics in portrait mode as these will maximize the space on mobile. This is crucial since 85% of Pinterest activity is on mobile!
- Engage with others. Like any platform, Pinterest rewards those who truly engage with other users. Make yourself part of the community.
- Think of Pinterest as part of your SEO strategy. When people go to your pins you’ll have the chance to drive them back to your website. By writing your descriptions and including your keywords, you can drive traffic to your site from Pinterest.
Take a look at the screenshot below. It’s from an infographic I created on voice and visual search. Notice the sections in red that I have highlighted containing a link back to my site, as well as a description including my keywords.