Everyone knows Facebook, Instagram and Twitter ads. But are there any overlooked places online to buy cheap ads?

In 1905, an apothecary named Claud A. Hatcher worked late into the night on his new formula for a sweet, bubbly liquid. Soon, grocery stores around the world would be selling this new trendy cola. Hatcher came up with a name for Coke—and if you yell Coca Cola, you’re wrong. He invented RC Cola, a much cheaper and much less famous version of Coca Cola.

In this article, I will present you the RC Cola of online advertising options. They may not have the branding power of Facebook, Instagram or YouTube ads, but they’re a little cheaper and still get the job done.

Use these ad options to boost your content, impress your customers with cheap media buying, and experiment with your paid media strategy.

My criteria for choosing these ad sites:

Moyens I/O was not paid to mention any of these advertising options. I chose these sites based on two criteria.

  1. They were not well known. For example, everyone knows that Reddit offers cheap advertising. Or that Pinterest advertising really works for certain products. Or that Snapchat geofilters are wonderfully cheap. I don’t go to those sites.
  2. They weren’t too vague. Here you can recognize several brands. I didn’t want to go too niche. They needed to be large enough to work for most businesses.

1. Rent someone’s land

With Syndicateads, you can buy ad space, rent email lists, and get social media promotion from social reading sites like Digg and Pocket, as well as industry publications like Search Engine Journal, CodePen, and LaughingSquid.

How much will it cost?

Prices for different campaigns range from $350 to $4,500.

Interested? You can browse the directories of their sites. Before you can view the list, you must create a free account.

Here are a few examples of how far your money will go. I’ll go from most expensive to least expensive.


Pocket is a popular app where 18 million users share and save articles they find online. I personally love and use Pocket every day. For $3,750 you can buy placements that reach 1 million email addresses on Pocket’s popular “Weekly Hits Newsletter”. You can increase your post (for more money, of course).

  • Option 1: Send it to 1 million for $3,750
  • Option 2: Send it to 1.5 million for $5,500
  • Option 3: Send for $2 million for $6,950
  • Option 4: Send it to 3 million for $10,250
  • Option 5: Send it to 4 million for $13,500
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According to Pocket, these paid promotions provide a seven percent open rate, a 21 percent click-through rate, a 4.4 percent click-through rate, and a “dramatic increase in engagement even if the original content doesn’t have significant organic traction.”

Brands like Squarespace, Hipchat, Asana, and Docusign have used Pocket’s campaigns. You can see examples on their website (you must create a free account to view).

Search Engine Journal

For $1,200 you can get a sponsored post in Search Engine Magazine, including a featured placement in their weekly newsletter sent to 31,000 subscribers. This includes social promotion (mentioning your social handles) to their 270,000 followers via Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook.

Smiling Squid

LaughingSquid is a popular blog with 2.6 million page views per month and a huge social media presence (600,000 Twitter followers and 589,000 Facebook fans). You can buy a sponsored blog post for $800. Your post will also be promoted on their social channels.

Curated by the Startup

You can promote your new app for $575 by partnering with Startup Curated, the startup community’s newsletter that reaches over 20,000 subscribers each week and has the best content for founders.

2. Reach out to ‘real’ people

Targeting Facebook and LinkedIn groups is a common strategy for marketers. But these groups are often resistant to pitches and expensive to reach through social media advertising. This is where advertising on Meetup.com can help.

In the old days, social media was about “meeting” people, shaking hands and making eye contact. People still do this and use Meetup.com to organize their groups. From local entrepreneur meetings to drunken knitting groups, Meetup.com offers direct access to every buyer persona you can think of.

Buying ads with Meetup.com

You cannot buy direct advertising on the site. However, you can sponsor a local group. For example, your new productivity software tool might sponsor a popular small business meetup group in San Francisco.

Learn more about sponsoring Meetup Groups on Meetup’s website.

How much will it cost?

It totally depends. Make an offer to the organizer of the group. I suggest playing low ball.

3. Feed a starving artist on Instagram

“I always put on a show. But it took me a while to learn the business,” says Snoop Dogg. If you scroll through Instagram, you’ll find that musicians, indie bands, and writers are good at creating content that attracts large audiences. But you know what’s bad? Figuring out how to monetize these audiences. Herein lies your opportunity.

Approaching popular celebrities or industry influencers for advertising partnerships is a common strategy. But fewer businesses are approaching independent artists and musicians – despite the fact that these artists have a sizable audience.

How to buy ads from Instagram influencers?

Search for moderately famous musicians, writers and independent artists with 100,000+ followers on Instagram. Approach these influencers with a direct message (DM) and have them promote your product for a fee.

In particular, focus on personalities who are better at building an audience than starting their business (like musicians) because they will be cheaper than celebrities or industry influencers. Getting started with influencer marketing? We wrote a short guide.

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Tools to help you find the right Instagram influencers

Use TrendSpottr to find the best Instagram influencers for your products or services.

We’ve also created a popular toolset to build your influencer marketing strategy. In this free toolkit, you’ll get a guide and spreadsheet to help you specifically target influencers who can influence your customers’ decision making.

4. Get creative with Dribbble

Skip this if you’re not trying to reach creative professionals. Dribbble is a popular community for designers (and those looking to hire designers). It receives millions of views per month and provides access to some of the world’s top design influencers and talent.

There are several ways to advertise on Dribbble.

  • Buy an ad unit. Promote your products to millions of creative professionals. Your ads will appear on Dribbble’s website.
  • Email sponsorship. Dribbble sends out a weekly email to their community, which has around 220,000 subscribers. If you have a new design tool or proposal for creative professionals, this is a good channel.
  • Podcast and meetup sponsorship. You can run a 30-second ad on Dribbble’s biweekly podcast. You can also sponsor one of the 150 Dribbble Meetups that take place in cities around the world each year.

How much will it cost?

Traditional options (display ads, email sponsorship, podcast sponsorship) range from $2,000 to $3,000. You can also purchase high-quality, community-focused sponsorships (contests and events) starting in the $10,000 to $15,000 range.

You can order or ask for more details on Dribbble’s website.

5. ROI = Internet Radio

You’ve probably heard: podcasts are hot right now. Moyens I/O has one. Snoop Dogg has one (82 episodes and more). Even Shaq, known for his quick wit and eloquence, has one.

Creating podcasts is easy. But making money is hard. This means that there are lots of inexpensive advertising options. And who knows, you might find a sleeper hit like our friends MailShrimp.

How to advertise on podcasts

Sites like Ad Feed help you find popular podcasts to advertise. Search for a podcast, check their audience, and then hit a deal. Ask the podcast to promote on their social media accounts. With ad delivery, you can search results with a filter. Choose “YouTube”—this means you can buy ads on YouTube shows as well as podcasts.

This last one is not a social media advertising platform. But still great. The name of the company is MilkMoney. They offer very discounted billboards.

According to their site, thousands of incredible billboards cannot be sold every day. MilkMoney sends you these last minute deals, offering billboard advertisements at “highly discounted prices”.

They also take care of printing and installation. You can register on their website.

Manage your social ad campaigns with Moyens I/O

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