My Favorite Second Tier PPC Networks

It may be difficult to imagine a successful PPC campaign that doesn’t include Google and Yahoo!, companies that limit themselves to just the top two or three may be missing out on profitable traffic.

The exact same reasons Google and Yahoo! are essentials to any SEM effort is the exact same reasons it has become increasingly difficult for small and medium size companies to generate the same level of returns as they were in 2001.

Almost all companies participating in SEM efforts are using Google and or Yahoo!. This means you are in competition against all companies inside your industry for your keywords. When competition for keywords increases so do prices, when prices increase profits fall. As this trend continues small and medium sized companies are forced to either find areas of their campaigns that can use optimization or explore alternative sources of targeted traffic if they hope to maintain their profit margins on their advertising efforts.

To all of our benefits, there are smaller and niche search engines who can bridge the gap by delivering high quality targeted traffic at an affordable price.

When should we consider using second tier engines?

  • Large budgets and not enough inventory on the major networks
  • The need for a very targeted audience. I had a client that sold alternative Marijuana, Google didn’t want them so I found a search network for hippies were they receive some of their biggest returns ever. Lower cost per conversion.
  • Your client or boss insists on diversification.

Why do I like 2nd tier networks?

  • They tap into niche audiences.
  • Better positioning.
  • Lower costs.
  • Fewer bidders and higher returns.

Second Tier Networks in order from Best to Worst

  1. Searchfeed
  2. Looksmart
  3. Miva
  4. Adbrite
  5. Enhance
  6. Kanoodle


While the traffic volume on Searchfeed is very low I have experienced very high conversion rates. Besides the conversion rates being high so is the amount of competition for a second tier network.


Very well rounded. Decent amount of traffic at good prices and converts well.


Very low cost per click, also very low search volume and acceptable conversion rates.


Good amount of traffic at a good cost but don’t expect to see the same conversion rates as the top four.


I’ve gotten good conversion rates from these guys buy there just isn’t enough search volume.


Actually I should have taken this off the list. While the price is good they just can’t seem to deliver quality traffic. I use this network when I have a client that seems to think (regardless of how I explain what conversions are) that more visitors will earn them more money. Two Must have B2B Networks

  • Thomasnet

The reason PPC marketing is such a successful advertising model is because it delivers targeted traffic at the time they are making a purchasing decision to relevant websites. So if you are trying to reach the B2B audience, this is where you do it.


Over 90% of industrial buyers , government and the military go to find supplier websites, online product catalogs, CAD drawings, and product news at Thomasnet. If this is your target audience you must be here even more so than Google. Important Considerations

  • Manual reporting and maintenance is in most cases necessary
  • Tracking that they do offer tends not to be in real time
  • Typically do not always report on same metrics

The only way to know if these networks will work for you is to experiment with them. With a little investment of your time and money you may discover a powerful new source of profitable traffic. Remember to always Experiment, Evaluate and Adjust.