Search engines for affiliate marketing campaigns

13 December 2021
Reading: 6 min

Why do affiliates need search engines

A search engine is a software system that operates thanks to data analysis and allows users to carry out web search. Whatever you need to find, first type it into the search bar of a search engine. You get your search results and become a part or the giant search traffic flow.

Search traffic consists of users who post queries via search engines, get to a search engine results page (SERP), and get to your website by clicking on one of the SERP links.

Search engines are sources of both organic and paid traffic. To attract more organic traffic, you need to invest your time and effort in SEO — search engine optimization. It involves posting relevant and high-quality content while optimizing your timing, tags, formatting, etc. for better search visibility.

To get paid search traffic (PPC), you need to choose a search engine that caters to your needs, register an ad account, and start running ad campaigns.

Is there any need for anything but Google?

Search engines for affiliate marketing campaigns

Most offers have GEO specifications from the advertiser, because not all traffic is relevant and desirable. How so? It often happens that a product that needs to be promoted is only available on a limited territory or cannot be shipped far. For example, as an affiliate marketer, you promote a finance offer with a target action “to open an account with the specific bank in Portugal”. And only people with Portuguese passport will be eligible. 

Why this GEO limitation affects our choice of search engine? Google seems omnipresent. Actually, it’s not true: Google is partially or completely banned in some countries. Cuba, Iran, China, North Korea, and Syria are some of them. Moreover, usually it is better to use local search engines even in those regions where Google is operating. Sometimes it happens that Google’s localized version fails to provide relevant and fast search results.

Let’s take a look at the search engines with the biggest market share. For your convenience, we have separated Asian search engines from the rest of the world because the region has its peculiarities.

Most popular search engines


Google is a giant search engine that holds №1 position in many countries worldwide.

Google Ads service offers three basic ad formats:

  • Text ads in search results
  • Image ads that are mostly displayed with the GDN (Google Display Network) websites
  • Short videos that act as pre-roll or in-feed advertising


bing is a search engine created by Microsoft. It often ranks second to Google. From 1998 to 2006 it was known as MSN Search, then Windows Live Search, then Live Search, and from 2009 to our days it is known as bing. The engine supports search in 43 languages. Since 2009, bing also serves most searches of the once popular Yahoo! search engine.

Your ads will appear in search results on Bing, Yahoo, and MSN. You can target your audience by GEO, time period, day of the week, demographics, etc.

In addition to traditional ad formats, there are dynamic and interactive ads available on the platform. For more details, refer to the support page.


Yahoo! is another former market leader, the search engine keeps losing its positions to Google and is now running on Bing which makes their search results virtually identical. At the moment, Yahoo’s market share is 1.47%.

In addition to traditional ad formats, you will find audio ads, Digital Out-of-Home ads (DOOH), and Augmented Reality ads.


Search engines for affiliate marketing campaigns

Ecosia exists since 2009, it is an environment-friendly search engine that sponsors forestation from its revenues (45 searches = 1 new tree). As for ads, Ecosia operates using Bing Ads infrastructure and supports the same ad formats.

Search engines in Asia

Search engines for affiliate marketing campaigns


Baidu is the leading search engine on the Chinese market. Its operations are similar to those of Google which is prohibited in China. For now, Baidu holds about 63.56% of the Chinese market, offering AI features and voice-assisted search.

Baidu allows for text, video, and image ads (including floating banners that follow the user as he scrolls the page).

Search engines for affiliate marketing campaigns


Sogou by Sohu company is the second most popular search engine in China. Its market share by revenue is 6.24%. As a local search engine, Sogou mostly shows content in Mandarin and this is your option for ad creatives for this search engine.

Sogou offers text ads, sitelink extensions, banners, and branded search queries.


Search engines for affiliate marketing campaigns

Naver is often referred to as the “Korean Google” as it is very popular in South Korea since its launch in 1999. Naver outperforms both Google and Yahoo on the Korean market.

Unlike with most search engines, you have to be a licensed business to launch ads in Naver and your business should be compatible with the company’s line. You will also need several accounts if you want to promote more than one site.

Naver offers the following format groups: Brand Search Ads, Content Search, Website Search Ads, Shopping Search.

How to launch ads in a search engine

To launch a search engine ad campaign, you need to navigate to the ads manager section of the website and create an account. Once your account is approved, you will get access to a variety of ad formats, targeting, payment, and optimization options. Usually, ads in search engines are displayed based on the results of a real-time bidding auction and much depends on the bid you have set.

Why you should consider search traffic

Search traffic can be both paid and organic. To get more organic traffic for your webpages, you need to run search optimization and fill your site with useful content. SEO is not a two-step journey, it will be some time until you get to see any results.

Contrary to organic search traffic, paid search ads are an easier and faster way to increase your visibility. Paid ads usually appear on top of the organic search results, they are noticeable, and attract more attention. Paid ads are more predictable, they are easier to target and to optimize. Advertisers value search traffic as users come of their own volition because they entered a search query, not because they saw a weird ad on an unrelated website. These are solid reasons to try working with search engine traffic.

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