Last Updated on September 20, 2022 by Rovamedia

Advertising is an important aspect of any business marketing strategy. In a previous article, I explored how to understand and apply the ABCs of paid advertising. In the grand scheme of things, paid advertising is crucial to the success of most businesses. And to be frank, there is no business that doesn’t spend money on customer acquisitions. The fact is, there are numerous businesses who are offering the same service your business also offers, but it’s a big world, and not every one of their customers will vibe with your product/service and vice versa.

One of the major paid advertising platforms includes pay-per-click.

Pay-per-click is an internet advertising model used to drive traffic to websites, in which an advertiser pays a publisher when the ad is clicked. Pay-per-click is commonly associated with first-tier search engines.

Paid advertising is any kind of advertising that you have to pay for, versus owned or earned advertising.

There are various PPC channels such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and various others. But I’ve been asked by companies as well as brands if it’s possible to advertise on DuckDuckGo. Well, the answer is a resounding – Yes!

But how do you do this? What are the conversion rates? And how effective is this PPC ad channel?

In this article, I’ll explore this, bringing to light the good, the bad, and the ugly.

DuckDuckGo: An Intro

According to Wikipedia, DuckDuckGo is an internet search engine that emphasizes protecting searchers’ privacy and avoiding the filter bubble of personalized search results. DuckDuckGo does not show search results from content farms. It’s also worth noting that DuckDuckGo is substantially more private than using Google with your web browser’s InPrivate or Incognito mode.

Your activity while in Incognito mode can still be tracked and identified by search engines, so DuckDuckGo is a better choice for avoiding the limitations of that browser setting. 

As Business Insider puts it, though most people tend to use Google for web searches, DuckDuckGo is an alternative search engine that is favored by users who want to preserve their online privacy. Google and other common search tools (like Bing and Yahoo, for example) capture a lot of information about you when you perform a search.

Much of this information is provided to advertisers or passed on to other websites. DuckDuckGo, however, has a policy of not tracking its users – it doesn’t collect personal information, use cookies, or capture your computer’s IP address

How is DuckDuckGo different from Google?

When you click on links from Google and Bing, even in private mode, the search terms are sent to the site you’re visiting in the HTTP referrer header. When you visit that site, your computer automatically shares information, such as your IP address. This information can be used to identify you.

DuckDuckGo calls this “search leakage” and prevents it from happening by default on its search results. Instead, when you click on a link on the site it redirects that request in such a way to prevent it from sending your search terms to other sites. The sites know that you visited them, but they don’t know what search you entered beforehand, nor can they use personal information to identify you.

DuckDuckGo additionally offers an encrypted version that automatically changes links from a number of major sites to point to the encrypted versions, including Wikipedia, Facebook, Twitter, and Amazon.

Can You Advertise on DuckDuckGo?

I am too familiar with this question. And the answer is Yes! This is all because DuckDuckGo partners with Microsoft.

DuckDuckGo is an affiliate with Microsoft, meaning advertising is distributed through the Bing Ads interface and network. This means that you can set up your Bing Ads to be distributed on DuckDuckGo searches.

Microsoft and DuckDuckGo have partnered to provide a search solution that delivers relevant advertisements to you while protecting your privacy. If you click on a Microsoft-provided ad, you will be redirected to the advertiser’s landing page through Microsoft Advertising’s platform. At that point, Microsoft Advertising will use your full IP address and user-agent string so that it can properly process the ad click and charge the advertiser.

How to Advertise on DuckDuckGo

To advertise on DuckDuckGo, please visit Microsoft Advertising. By default, when you sign up for a Microsoft Advertising account, your ads should automatically enter rotation into all of Microsoft Advertising’s distribution channels including DuckDuckGo. If you’d like to double-check that your ad is set up to run on DuckDuckGo, perform the following:

  1. When signed in to Bing Ads, click Campaigns.
  2. Next, click on your campaign’s name.
  3. Then, click on your ad group’s name.
  4. Click the Settings tab.
  5. Click Ad distribution.
  6. Then, click Save at the bottom to finalize.
Screenshot showing the Bing ad network settings

DuckDuckGo Conversion Rate

The conversion rate on PPC ads is essential. Our client base in 2021 has seen a 300% increase in referring traffic from DuckDuckGo. This compares to a 54% growth in traffic coming from Google. While those are some impressive growth numbers, it is of a very small base and represents only 0.2% of total search engine traffic vs. 81% for Google.

When it comes to performance, DuckDuckGo has the second-best conversion rate and lowest average order value.

Assuming equal volume across all engines and forecasted revenue from each engine (50,000 x AOV x conversion rate) Bing would be your top choice with Google and DuckDuckGo at a virtual tie.

Does that make any of these search engines better or worse? Not necessarily. This data is only directional. We didn’t look at the ratio between paid and organic search traffic when considering these metrics. I can tell you that it is different for each specific client and sometimes by very wide margins.

Conclusion: Choosing DuckDuckGo

A quick glance at a few of our clients has shown some pretty significant numbers of pageviews over the past six weeks from DuckDuckGo users. As in, over 400 users for some firms. This may not be a lot percentage-wise (less than 5% of total traffic),  but most of them have been leading to conversions. For a platform that isn’t getting much focus, it has a lot of potentials.

Due to the secure nature of the search engine, DuckDuckGo should be particularly appealing to businesses dealing with sensitive matters. As a law firm, digital agency, and more, it’s likely that you are dealing with sensitive matters.

Every business and marker wants to really make their product and service gain financial traction. Honestly, there are no two ways about, business is meant to solve a problem people really need to be solved, in turn, the people using the service or product return the favor by paying for the service. It’s not actually rocket science when you think about it.

As opined, there’s no need to shy away from paid advertising. What you do want to avoid, however, is throwing money blindly into an ad network because somebody somewhere said it was good.

Remember, what works for one person may not work for the next.

So before you start pumping money into paid ads, consider the ABCs of paid advertising success

You May Also Like
From Zero to Hero on Bing: The Ultimate Optimization Roadmap
Read More

From Zero to Hero on Bing: The Ultimate Optimization Roadmap

Bing may not be as popular as Google, but it still attracts millions of users worldwide. Optimizing for Bing can help you reach a wider audience and increase your visibility online. In this article, we provide a comprehensive guide on how to go from zero to hero on Bing through the ultimate optimization roadmap.