How to reach new audiences with multi-platform search advertising


For years, Google and Bing have dominated paid search. Brands have focused most of their PPC budgets on these two search titans.

However, the search landscape is evolving rapidly. Platforms like TikTok, Pinterest, YouTube, Reddit and Instagram offer exciting new opportunities for savvy advertisers looking to expand their reach.

These alternative platforms come packed with engaged users actively searching for products, inspiration and information. Each also enables targeting options using keywords, interests and more. This allows you to get your brand and products in front of massive new audiences beyond just Google and Bing.

This article explores how to leverage these additional search platforms to complement your existing PPC efforts and connect with customers throughout more touchpoints in their journey. 

Redefining search advertising: Other platforms to explore

Search advertising is the placement of ads within search engines when a user searches for a particular product or service. With this in mind, any platform with a “search” bar could yield potential as part of a search advertising strategy.

This helps us redefine platforms we typically may not associate with search advertising. Let’s explore the platforms I deem to have the most potential to support and complement your search advertising through traditional means.

Dig deeper: Search universe analysis: A deep dive


Known to most as a social media platform, TikTok has been making huge strides to disturb Google’s search dominance.

The platform has carved a hole in the market by offering the most potential to ecommerce brands through TikTok Shop. It is currently positioned as a disruptor, with an Adobe study showing 41% of people surveyed having used it as such.

The growth of TikTok as a search engine lies with a surge in usage from Gen Z, but the user demographic has been expanding, creating further opportunities for brands.

There are many reasons users are drawn to TikTok as a search engine, including:

  • Short-form video content, making information more digestible.
  • Personalized content experience.
  • Higher user reviews for products.
  • User-generated content (UGC), making the content more relatable.

To position itself further as a search engine, TikTok released a search volume tool, TikTok Keyword Insights, to help businesses understand trending keywords within their platform content.

TikTok Keyword InsightsTikTok Keyword Insights

From inspiration to impulse buys, TikTok Shop offers the most potential wins for ecommerce businesses on the platform. TikTok was the second-largest social media platform for purchases, behind only Instagram in 2023, per Statista.

Dig deeper: Is TikTok a search engine? Why meeting searchers’ needs matters more than semantics


Pinterest is a social and search platform. Users go to Pinterest to gain inspiration through searches and recommended content.

From an advertising perspective, brands can take advantage of keyword targeting. Those familiar with Google Ads will know these as the building blocks of search advertising.

Like Google Ads, Pinterest allows you to choose match types, including negative keywords. But unlike Google, the match types on Pinterest still work as their names suggest.

While Pinterest caters to user searches, advertisers should bear in mind that it does sit higher up the purchasing funnel but can be utilized effectively as part of a multi-touchpoint strategy.

Dig deeper: 8 new and updated Pinterest products for advertisers

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YouTube is the second largest search engine, behind its sibling engine, Google.

While Google is typically used for finding products or services, YouTube is more commonly used for inspiration, information and education.

The billions of views on YouTube offer advertisers an enormous opportunity to influence users at different points of their purchasing decisions. You can create the initial need and support post-purchase campaigns to build retention.

YouTube ads can be targeted using interests, demographics and keywords. 

Dig deeper: YouTube advertising: The ultimate guide


Users go to Reddit to express opinions and seek advice from individuals and communities with experience in a given area.

This often incorporates product reviews and suggestions, providing an opportunity to reach an already engaged audience.

The caveat is that you want to ensure the community is positively engaged with your product or service. You also want to check whether an active community talks and shares about your product or service.

In Reddit, you can target specific communities, but in true search engine fashion, you can also target based on keywords.

Reddit - audience targetingReddit - audience targeting

Dig deeper: 5 must-know Reddit Ads tactics for B2B marketers


As TikTok gains popularity as a search engine, Instagram is repositioning itself as an alternative, which is evident in its recent ad campaign.

Instagram ad as a search engineInstagram ad as a search engine

Instagram’s ad targeting options align with Facebook and other Meta platforms.

Despite this, there’s a chance to optimize your organic Instagram posts for better search visibility and boost ad delivery within search results and Discovery pages.

Dig deeper: Instagram Ad formats: Best practices for effective ad creative

How to incorporate more search engines in your PPC strategy

Changes in consumer behavior create opportunities for businesses to innovate in responding to user searches. This involves incorporating creative visuals to engage and inform potential customers more effectively.

To understand which platforms will benefit your business, consider:

  • Your sector.
  • Where you have an active community.
  • How they may respond to seeing your brand in each environment.

Tools such as KeywordTool and Glimpse offer insight into search volumes, helping you understand search intent and trends within each platform.

Glimpse works as an add-on to Google Trends.

Glimpse tool - Multi-platform searchGlimpse tool - Multi-platform search

Tailor your creative to each platform environment and user intent and launch any activity with a test budget. Develop a comprehensive measurement plan so that you can determine what success in each platform could look like.

Expanding your search advertising across multiple platforms widens your audience reach, boosts engagement with existing audiences and enhances brand awareness and recognition, ultimately capturing more demand for your product or service.

Dig deeper: How to optimize your social media pages for search

Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land. Staff authors are listed here.


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