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10 Best Online Advertising Tools for Small Businesses to Boost Marketing Efforts

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10 Best Online Advertising Tools for Small Businesses to Boost Marketing Efforts

Small businesses can compete with larger competitors in online advertising, but they must be smart about each and every decision. Advertising tools can take that burden off of small business leaders' shoulders. Discover the best tools to revolutionize your digital strategy. 

Small businesses often need help to compete with larger firms in marketing and advertising. This is sensible — between email marketing tools, content marketing, social media marketing, and search engines, it can feel nearly impossible to keep it all straight.

However, with the rise of online advertising, it has become easier for small businesses to reach their target audience and compete on a level playing field. Still, even with tons of tools that integrate and automate, you’ll need to know which tools are appropriate and most effective in meeting your needs.

This guide sets out to demystify complications around advertising tools, making it easier to help small businesses maximize the success of their marketing efforts.

Need more support for your marketing team? Connect with the best advertising agencies on The Manifest.

10 Best Online Advertising and Digital Marketing Tools for Small Businesses

Online advertising tools should be a building block in every business’s marketing plan. These online marketing tools will transform your digital marketing strategy:

  1. Google Ads
  2. Meta Ads
  3. LinkedIn Ads
  4. BuzzSumo
  5. Microsoft Advertising
  6. AdRoll
  7. Hubspot
  8. Hootsuite
  9. Mailchimp
  10. Canva

Whether you’re a business owner that needs analytics tools or a beginner looking for help with social media posts, these are the top tools to put you on the right track.

Google Ads

Google Ads is a powerful advertising tool that allows businesses to create ads that appear in Google's search results and other websites.

how Google Ads helps businesses

Source: Google

Google Ads uses a pay-per-click (PPC) model, meaning businesses only pay when someone clicks on their ad. This makes it a cost-effective way to reach potential customers.

Ads that appear in search results will appear at the top of the page, meaning that ad content jumps above organically ranking content despite search engine optimization (SEO) techniques.

What activities does Google Ads support:

  • Keyword research and targeting
  • Ad creation and management across various formats
  • Advanced targeting options to reach specific audiences

One primary benefit of using Google Ads is the tool’s compatibility with other helpful tools, such as Google Analytics. The ease of use when using Google’s suite of marketing tools in unison shouldn’t be overlooked.

Further, Google Ads lets users target specific keywords, locations, and demographics with their ads. This makes segmentation and A/B testing for ads super straightforward. 

By ensuring ads are targeted, companies can launch campaigns to fit business needs while ensuring that website visitors coming through Google Ads are qualified leads.

Meta Ads

Meta Ads is a popular advertising tool that allows businesses to reach their target audience on Facebook and Instagram.

how users are able to target with Meta ads

Source: Meta

Meta Ads often work on a PPC model like Google Ads, where businesses only pay when someone clicks on their ad. However, like Google Ads, Meta offers a spending cap functionality that helps customers stay within their budget.

What activities does Meta Ads support:

  • Targeting based on demographics, interests, and behaviors
  • Variety of ad formats, including photo, video, and carousel
  • Detailed analytics and insights on ad performance

Social channels are a great way to connect with audiences in a way that feels far more organic to customers than intrusive pop-ups. Especially for lifestyle and e-commerce brands, social media can be one of the stronger marketing channels for lead generation and conversions.

Additionally, Meta Ads targeting makes it easy for businesses to reach the right audience with their ads. Meta Ads also provides detailed analytics, allowing companies to measure the performance of their ads and optimize their campaigns.

LinkedIn Ads

LinkedIn Ads is an advertising tool that allows businesses to reach their target audience on LinkedIn. LinkedIn Ads works on a similar PPC model as Google Ads and Facebook Ads, where companies only pay when someone clicks on their ad.

example of types of LinkedIn ads

Source: LinkedIn

What activities does LinkedIn Ads support:

  • Targeting based on job titles, industries, and company size
  • Ad formats include sponsored content, sponsored InMail (similar to direct message or SMS), lead gen forms, conversation ads, and display ads

Because LinkedIn is a career-oriented marketing platform, job ads and business event ads are typically what you see being advertised on the platform.

By targeting based on job title, industry, and company size, users are able to target and connect with audiences in a different way that isn’t available on other advertising platforms. 


BuzzSumo is a content marketing tool that allows businesses to research and analyze popular content in their industry.

how BuzzSumo provides content marketing insights

Source: BuzzSumo

The platform intends to provide users with the inside scoop on how certain content performs across social media platforms. Users can search by topic or keyword to discover possible competitive avenues along with influencers best suited to promote content on the queried topic. 

What activities does BuzzSumo support:

  • Content research and curation for trending industry topics, which makes BuzzSumo both a research tool and ideal for sharing research
  • Competitor analysis
  • Influencer identification
  • Social media monitoring

As mentioned, BuzzSumo helps small businesses identify trending topics in their industry, analyze competitors' content, and find new influencers to collaborate with. However, the platform also expands into digital PR, allowing users to optimize and market content one step further.  

Microsoft Advertising

Microsoft Advertising is a search engine advertising tool businesses use to build ads that rank Bing, Yahoo!, and DuckDuckGo search results.

example of native advertising with Microsoft Advertising

Source: Microsoft

Microsoft Advertising works on a similar PPC model as Google Ads, where businesses only pay when someone clicks on their ad. Using the platform, companies can create ads, bid on placements, and adjust their budgets over time.

What activities does Microsoft Advertising support:

  • Supports keyword research and targeting
  • Allows for ad creation and management across various formats
  • Offers advanced targeting options to reach specific audiences

Like other SEM PPC models, Microsoft Advertising enables users to hone in on specific keywords, locations, and demographics they want to target. This system makes sure advertisers get the most ROAS possible. 


AdRoll is a retargeting advertising tool that specializes in e-commerce clients. The platform helps companies target potential customers that have visited their site in the past.

AdRoll retargeting call out

Source: AdRoll

Using cookies, AdRoll can learn more about site visitors and show past visitors well-timed ads for the business on other websites they view. In addition to retargeting options, AdRoll offers brand awareness ad campaigns focused on attracting new customers. 

What activities does AdRoll support:

  • Offers retargeting and prospecting capabilities
  • Supports ad creation and management across various formats
  • Provides detailed analytics and insights on ad performance

AdRoll interests e-commerce companies around the globe with its ability to reach users who have already shown an interest in them. 
Retargeting is a challenge for companies without their own tech and data, but AdRoll simplest this process and helps companies target users wisely.


HubSpot is an all-in-one customer relationship management (CRM) tool and marketing software that offers a variety of features, including email marketing, social media management, and lead tracking.

HubSpot contact interface

Source: HubSpot

HubSpot, as its name implies, acts as a central “hub” that connects and manages marketing and sales activities. Facilitating a harmonious relationship between marketing and sales helps businesses streamline advertising and marketing efforts.

What activities does HubSpot support:

  • Marketing automation capabilities (ex. automated follow-up emails)
  • Lead tracking and management through workflows
  • Real-time analytics on metrics (ex. email open rates, clicks on calls-to-action)
  • Easy plugins and integrations with popular software like Slack and WordPress

Between automating marketing tasks, tracking leads and conversions, and analyzing marketing campaign performance, HubSpot is critical for keeping team members on the same page and focused on customers. 

In addition to its project management capabilities, HubSpot has tools to create landing pages, email campaigns, and social media posts. Marketing teams can build campaigns on-platform, so execution has never been more straightforward. 

With all this, HubSpot's capabilities surpass those of leading email marketing platforms and project management tools.


Hootsuite is a social media management tool that allows businesses to manage their social media presence on multiple platforms, including Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, and plenty more.

example of how Hootsuite centralizes social media content

Source: Influencer Marketing Hub

Hootsuite offers a range of features, including scheduling posts, engaging with followers, and monitoring social media performance. Like a CRM, Hootsuite provides social media marketers with a place to manage all social content in one central location. 

What activities does Hootsuite Ads support:

  • Supports social media management across multiple platforms
  • Offers scheduling and content creation capabilities
  • Provides detailed analytics and insights on social media performance

Hootsuite is touted for enabling multiple social media accounts to be taken care of in one place and allowing users to schedule posts in advance and easily analyze campaign performance. 

Hootsuite also offers a range of collaboration tools, making it easy for teams to work together on social media marketing efforts.


Mailchimp is an email marketing tool that allows businesses to create and send email campaigns to their subscribers. Mailchimp offers a range of features, including email templates, automation, and detailed analytics.

example of Mailchimp customer journey builder

Source: Mailchimp

What activities does Mailchimp support:

  • Supports email marketing campaign creation and management
  • Offers automation capabilities and email templates
  • Provides detailed analytics and insights on email campaign performance

Mailchimp offers many benefits for small businesses, such as the ability to build and manage email lists, create engaging email campaigns, and track the performance of email campaigns. Mailchimp also offers a range of integrations with other marketing tools, making it easy to streamline marketing efforts.

Moreover, Mailchimp has a free plan to introduce startups and small businesses to the intuitive platform. With a cap of 500 contacts and 1,000 monthly email sends, this may be enough for some team members to test the waters. Free plans can easily be converted to one of several paid plans with the company.


Canva is a graphic design tool that allows businesses to create professional-looking graphics for their marketing efforts, including social media posts, presentations, flyers, and more.

examples of templates and themes Canva offers

Source: Canva

We know that imagery is absolutely essential to online advertising. Canva gives advertisers a way to follow best practices and great professional work without extensive design backgrounds.  

Canva offers a range of templates, graphics, and design elements to make it easy for non-designers to create high-quality graphics. Many of the templates and designs are available with the free version of the software, making quick design work more accessible than ever.

What activities does Canva support:

  • Creation of any kind of advertising graphic a business may need: social media posts, infographics, heatmaps, charts, brand imagery, etc.
  • Easy sharing of graphics with easy export and on-platform sharing options

Canva is known for its ease of use, allowing users to build professional-looking graphics quickly. In many cases, Canva replaces the need for in-depth graphic design experience on lean teams. 

Online Advertising Tools Help Build Brands and Drive Conversions

Online advertising is one arena where small businesses can compete with larger companies if they work smarter, not harder. Part of working “smart” is cultivating the research, analytics, and content necessary to connect with an audience. 

These tools can help companies make the right marketing decisions for their niche while targeting an audience that will respond to the brand.

Looking for help getting started on advertising? Connect with a top advertising agency on The Manifest. 

Online Advertising Tools for Small Business FAQs

Q. How much does it cost to advertise online?

Online advertising costs vary depending on the platform, targeting options, and competition. Looking to hire help for advertising? Consult Clutch’s advertising pricing guide. 

Q. Which online advertising tool is the best?

There are simply too many tools to choose this one, and your favorite will depend directly on your business’s needs and audience. No matter your business, it’s good to properly think through your budget, target audience, and advertising goals before choosing a tool or advertising agency.

Q. Can small businesses compete with larger businesses in online advertising?

Yes, with the right online advertising tools and strategies, small businesses can compete with larger companies in online advertising.

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