The news that the average cost of a Facebook ad had jumped 123 percent compared to a year ago was disheartening for small businesses.

Until recently, growing businesses and startups had found the social media site an affordable place to post ads. But competition for Facebook’s limited ad space had become fierce, prompting the company to look for ways to offer more effective ads for a premium price.

Since many small businesses have limited ad budgets, blowing an entire month’s advertising budget on one Facebook ad is likely not an option. Because Facebook advertisers pay for each click, the extra expense snuck up on many of them, appearing on their monthly statement gradually over the past few months.

What’s more, brands haven’t exactly been enthusiastic about the results they get when advertising through the site, claiming little ROI.

If your small business is looking for an alternative to Facebook, here are a few options to explore.


While Twitter still hasn’t passed Facebook in popularity, the site has 271 million monthly active users. The micro blogging site tries to attract SMBs through the Twitter Ads program, which allows businesses to set their own campaign objectives. Once those are in place, businesses pay only for user actions that specifically align with those objectives, helping save money on wasted clicks. The fact that campaigns are based on a business’s overall objectives also ensures each ad placement is as effective as possible.


With more than 17 million unique visitors each month, Reddit is a serious contender for small business ad dollars. The company is specifically reaching out to SMBs with ad prices as low as $5 with a CPM of $0.75. The site has Subreddits, where users are divided into categories based on their specific interests, and businesses can take advantage of that by placing ads to users in categories relevant to their products or services.


This scrapbooking-style website has a customer base that enjoys sharing information about unique products with other members. Its business model makes it ideal for small business advertisers who are often interested in introducing new products to consumers. Pinterest allows advertisers to bid on ad units specific to various categories, such as home décor or fashion.


For B2B brands or companies that target professionals, LinkedIn can be a great resource. The site offers ad prices beginning at $10 per day. With LinkedIn, businesses get to choose which of the site’s members see the ad and where ads are displayed. Advertisers also set a budget for their campaigns, including how much they’re willing to pay for each click. Because ads are targeted to only those members you want to see them, you’ll reduce the amount you pay on wasted clicks from people who wouldn’t be interested in your brand.

The rising costs of advertising on Facebook are sure to send many small businesses in search of alternatives. There are many other similar sites that can offer a better ROI while still allowing you to remain within your advertising budget. Find the demographics that are right for your brand and choose your ad strategies accordingly.

Drew Hendricks is the COO of AudienceBloom, a digital agency. He’s also on the board of advisors for an incubator in San Francisco called Founders Space.