Top Digital Marketing Networks for Small Businesses


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The network of marketplaces is changing and expanding at a staggering pace, and by the time this article is published surely there have been more marketing networks for small businesses brought into the mix. While the options are expanding, there are still a few networks that are a great starting point for your first attempt at using digital marketing networks, especially for small businesses. We have carefully selected this list with criteria that takes into account impression impact, brand reputation, limited budgeted, and emerging opportunities.

Table of contents

Start with key concepts

Before we get into any of the networks that could be useful for your business, it is good to know some key concepts. Here are two supplementary articles to get you up to speed on concepts that could be applied in each of these networks.

  1. Create a Marketing Wormhole = Digital Marketing Wormhole
  2. Understanding Attribution / Contribution = Digital Marketing Channel Interaction Attribution Models

If you were able to take some time out of your schedule to review the foundation information above, the following networks can help move your targeted participants into your marketing funnel and ultimately to your goals.

This table is a guide to broadly understand the best use of each platform and avoid some of the common pitfalls. There are exceptions to every rule, and the ZAMARTZ team is happy to help provide guidance and perspective related to your business.

Digital Marketing Network Overview

Google AdsAll around for brand and product discoveryMost common and far-reaching ad platform for brands. Helps boost brand authority.Highly competitive if you are paying for non-brand ads and a detailed network to learn to set up.
Social mediaStill has pretty good organic reach and ability to capitalize on many forms of creation.Their parent company is deplorable on a grander scale than any other advertiser mentioned here.
RakutenAffiliate network and display networkConnected to many credit card reward networks as well as individual affiliates.Has a tendency to be upper-funnel or take credit for some last-click attribution.
EtsyGreat for small-batch and made-to-order DIY brands and creators.A mix on both on-site and off-site networks that gives you a combined reach through a single platform After a certain amount of revenue your shop will need to participate on off-site network ads.
AmazonLarge volume and high traffic direct shopping marketplace.Low cost / high Volume. Maintains its own solution internally that works directly with product selling.Highly competitive and may cut into your product margins if you aren’t careful.
YouTubeAwareness and well…video, duh.Vast network with interest based targeting.Can become costly and often upper funnel.
TikTokShort-clip social video sharing.Emerging. First comprehensive shopping videos.Generational acquisition group that is hyper-interest based.
Bonus : HuluThe new spot for infomercials and smart clips.Highly creative and targetable content in a modern media consumption format.Traditional tracking through view provider. Will need to use vanity tracking or other metrics to understand on-site performance.
Bonus : Outbrain or TaboolaAdvertising on publishers and media networks.Highly trafficked and highly frequented networks. May be hard to capitalize on higher price-point or luxury items.

Where do I start?

If you are reading this article, you are probably trying to understand all of the marketing networks that may help you and ultimately want to know where to start. Sadly, depending on multiple factors, there is no “one-size-fits-all” way to go about this process. What we can share with you is a foundation where everyone should start.

  1. Claim your user/brand name on every network as business accounts.
  2. Start receiving quality analytics data on your website or point-of-sale as soon as possible (Google analytics, platform pixels or API data).
  3. Create branded/product content in all of the “free” / “organic” places you can, i.e. blog posts, new product, instagram feed posts.
  4. Start with Google-branded text ads and Smart Shopping
  5. Choose where you want to TEST next based off of similar brands or competitors.