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8 efficient alternatives to paid ads

8 Cost-Efficient Alternatives to Paid Ads

Nowadays, sponsored content and paid ads are everywhere thanks to the internet and social media platforms. 

In fact, as of 2021, it is reported that the average person comes across 6,000 to 10,000 ads daily. 

And digital advertising is undoubtedly here to stay, at least for the foreseeable future, making it a key component of your marketing plan. 

With that being said, there are a lot of obstacles when it comes to paid advertising, which management overlooks, frequently acknowledges (but chooses to overlook). In order to stay competitive, more money is frequently thrown at ineffective advertising as a solution to ad problems.

In this article, we will examine the current state of paid advertising as well as some alternatives that you can implement. 

Advantages and Disadvantages of Paid Ads 

Before we dive in, it’s imperative to note that we at Vavo understand the value of paid advertising. 

However, advertisements aren’t your only option, and there are some solid alternatives to paid advertising that can help with marketing, sales, and hiring. 

Here is a quick rundown of the benefits and drawbacks of sponsored ads. 


  • Easily deliver content, products, and brand stories to target demographics.
  • Various targeting options are available to better reach desired audiences.
  • Campaign, targeting, content, and other factors are all flexible.


  • Rising costs for  sponsored social and paid search. 
  • More competition, so difficult to stand out, which drives up costs even further.
  • Consumers tune out advertisements because they are accustomed to ignoring them.
  • Ad blocking has become more prevalent with 42.7% of internet users worldwide utilising ad blockers. 
  • Only 8% of respondents believe that adverts they see online are relevant to them.


8 Alternatives to Paid Ads 

These are a few paid ad alternatives worth considering if you have a limited budget or just wish to couple your advertisements with other strategies to save money while still generating ROI.

1. Email marketing campaigns

Emails have been around for a while, but a lot of people seriously underestimate their marketing potential. Email marketing campaigns are a must for every organisation because they serve a multitude of purposes, from guiding consumers further down the marketing funnel to driving lead conversion and extending customer retention. 

Email marketing is also extremely cost-effective while still generating a massive ROI.  Another benefit is that it can easily be automated, which is especially useful for companies with small marketing teams. 

Your company can send out a variety of emails, such as: 

  • Newsletter 
  • Giveaways/Competitions 
  • Automated Drip Campaigns
  • Product announcements 
  • Sales/Discounts 
  • Events Invites

2. Social Media Promotion 

Social media enables your brand to reach a large audience without having to spend any money on ads. There are a lot of ways you can use social media as a brand, but one popular interactive method is running contests or giveaways. 

Since there is an incentive, a greater number of people will engage with your post and enter their information, which is perfect for generating leads and retargeting those customers later with email campaigns or other marketing strategies.  

Whatever you choose to give away, rest assured that this activity will not only help you reach your target audience but also increase sales and brand awareness. 

3. Influencer Marketing 

If you can identify the right influencers for your brand, they may be able to generate a lot of positive buzz for your business.

 An emerging business can benefit greatly from an influencer mention, especially if you’re still establishing your customer base. 

With influencers you could either collaborate on a barter campaign or a sponsored post. Regardless of which option you chose, proper execution is crucial. 

An established influencer agency can not only help with selection of the right influencers, seamless execution, but also ensure that you’re provided a good return on your investment. 

4. Affiliate Marketing 

Affiliate marketing accounts for a sizable portion of online advertising. Why market your products alone if you can get others to do the same?  

Essentially, you use other people’s audience as an advertising platform which is especially advantageous for small businesses that are just getting started. 

If you don’t have a large advertising budget, affiliate marketing is a good option because you shouldn’t have to pay anyone up front. Instead, affiliates will receive a modest cut of every sale they bring in. 

Therefore, you are only obligated to pay them if you are paid. This is a powerful alternative to promoting sponsored content and can go a long way.

5.  Podcasting 

Another substitute to paid advertising that is worth considering is podcasting. You don’t have to invest a lot of money to get started, but scaling it requires a little more time and effort. 

People enjoy listening to podcasts, therefore they are an excellent method to attract and reach your target consumers. 

A number of popular platforms, including Apple, Spotify, Amazon, and Google, make it simple and cost-free for you to distribute podcast content to listeners. Additionally, episodes can be reused on social media, blogs, your website, YouTube, and other video channels.

Similar to content production and SEO, the main challenge is that it takes time for people to find you. Utilise these podcast marketing strategies to really help your podcast take off. 

6.  Live Webinar Series

Similar to podcasting, your live webinar series can be a quick and affordable approach to increase revenue.  However, getting people to sign up and regularly attend your webinars requires continued growth, just like with podcasting.

A constant live video series, nevertheless, can have a significant impact on your marketing and sales efforts provided you have excellent content, give viewers access to top subject matter experts, and encourage insightful debates.

Additionally, hosting frequent webinars allows you access to additional video content that you may clip and share via social media, emails, or blog posts.

The majority of what this entails is strategy, planning, and time. But the prices are incredibly reasonable and the ROI is compoundable.

7.  Video Marketing 

Videos are an excellent and engaging way to capture attention online. When used effectively, video marketing can be a very powerful tool for generating brand awareness and increasing client traffic. 

To draw in more engaged users, you don’t need to pay for video adverts. Simply make a helpful video and use it in your promotions. You may enhance the quality of your content by integrating video marketing with your social media and blog. Never undervalue the impact of a good video, even one that was produced on a limited budget.

8.  Guest Blog Posts 

Starting a blog is a smart way to drive traffic to your website, but for newer websites, it can take some time for your blog to gain popularity. Guest posting is an excellent solution because it takes advantage of another company’s readership.

The key is to identify blogs that cater to the same demographic that you’re targeting and offer to write them a post that fits the tone of their blog. You can include a link to your website which is also an effective SEO strategy as all the backlinks will be considered for your website helping you rise the ranks. 

In Conclusion 

Aside from Google and Facebook ads, there is a vast world of possibilities to promote your business online. Creating a broader marketing plan that includes more than display ads might help your company achieve some fantastic outcomes. Implement some of the alternatives we discussed above and your business might see impressive growth and increased revenue without a hefty investment. 


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