Think Beyond Google AdWords

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According to Vertical Search Report, 93% of people prefer to use search engine that focus on their specific business. If this be the case, one question that comes to our mind is – can vertical pay per click search engines help online businesses achieve a worthwhile return on investment?

Pay per click advertising offers enormous potential for revenue generation but is seldom extended beyond Google AdWords. In this newsletter, we will discuss a few pay per click search engines that are lesser known to online business fraternity, but can deliver better return on investment. In the end it’s all that matters!

Is it worth a try?

When it comes to pay per click search engines, the big three (Google, Yahoo and MSN) dominate the arena. The total traffic from these three search engines will probably dwarf the combined traffic from vertical search engines (VSEs). But this does not necessarily mean that there is no money to be made with vertical PPC search engines.

Online businesses stick to the big three and shy away from others because of the general (mis)belief that vertical search engines have lower conversion rate. The truth, however, is on the contrary side. Searchers using vertical search engines are deep into the consideration process, and typically closer to purchase.

Even if it was true, a low conversion rate only depicts an incomplete picture, at least in the case of PPC. While conversion rate may be low, so is the average bid price and this effectively translate into positive ROI. An example perhaps would paint a clearer picture.

Let us consider a hypothetical situation wherein each sale generates a profit of $50. With conversion rate of 3% and average bid price of $1, the profit realized for 100 clicks on Google AdWords would be $50. On the other hand, a lesser known search engine with a conversion rate of 2%, and average bid price of 30 cents will generate a profit of $70. The choice is all but obvious.

The road less traveled

One of the best things that you can possibly do to boost revenue is to opt for pay per click search engines, which specialize in your business niche. These engines may not drive the masses to your website, but will definitely drive classified audience.

Using industry specific PPC search engines will give your business the kind of exposure you always wanted, apart from promising a decent return.

Mentioned below are a few search engines that have been identified on the basis of their ability to tap the desired audience, and deliver healthy return.

  1. is primarily a business-to-business search engine. If you are targeting other businesses, this search engine is just for you.

This directory structured search engine has every imaginable business category, which are further divided into sub categories. This allows better ad targeting and delivers much better results.

Depending on your budget, you can choose from premium placement, sidebar placement, and standard inclusion.

  1. has a wide search network that includes popular search engines like, Dogpile web search, Mamma Meta search, etc. However, Kanoodle is more apt for businesses associated with finance as majority of its advertising network belong to this vertical.

It offers a powerful advertising model in which ads can be targeted based on context, keyword, geography, and user behavior.

  1. has one of the largest networks of publishers on the internet. It caters to industry verticals like national news, business and technology, travel, sports, and lifestyle/health/entertainment.

You can target ads based on topic, geography, and even by page or section. This makes it a highly effective search engine in terms of reach and targeting.

  1. organizes ads using categories and is directed towards various vertical search engines, unlike Google type ‘open’ search.

Looksmart offers extensive coverage in markets such as automobile, food, health, travel, games, sports, music and money. Similar to, these categories are further divided into sub categories for enhanced targeting.

In addition to this, Looksmart has more than 200 demographically targeted search sites which make it an attractive option.

  1. Marchex Adhere, formerly known as IndustryBrains, offers a unique pay per click solution wherein ads can be targeted based on specific categories or premium websites.

Its ad network is apt for businesses operating in the field of engineering, home improvement, human resource, information technology, telecommunication, real estate, etc.

Marchex Adhere aslo specializes in local search network, and give advertisers access major US local search engines like OpenList.

  1. AdBrite, like other pay per click networks mentioned above, offers ad targeting based on location, geography, keyword, and an expansive list of category. What makes it unique is the fact that you can target ads based on site quality; quality being a measure of a site’s effectiveness in delivering targeted traffic and conversions.

Also, advertisers have the option to select from various ad formats like text, banner or full page ads.

These search engines will help you derive a better ROI as click waste (irrelevant clicks) is minimized on your ads.

The benefits of using vertical PPC search engines are many and it is imperative that they are part of your comprehensive online marketing campaign. Turning a blind eye to them can be damaging if not suicidal.