DuckDuckGo is one of the fastest-growing search engine, currently serving more than 50 million daily search queries.
DuckDuckGo is a privacy-centric search engine, promising not to use your information on their platform to serve search results and ads.
In fact, it has become the default search engine for AdBlock browser.
Those factors make DuckDuckGo the go-to search engine for the privacy-centric, tech-savvy internet users, a potentially high-value customer group for the relevant categories (e.g. VPN, security products, privacy-protection)
As DuckDuckGo has also signed on the Acceptable Ads Manifesto, it's actually possible to reach these users via DuckDuckGo even if they're using AdBlock or AdBlock Plus (which I suppose many are). This makes it one of the few websites where you can still reach ad blockers.
Some ad-blocking solutions will still block ads on DuckDuckGo. I've tested with Ghostery and Ghostery does block ads on DuckDuckGo.
If you're intending to reach the aforementioned users, DuckDuckGo must be part of your marketing plan. In this post, we'll go through the ways to run ads solely on DuckDuckGo.
For those who don't know, DuckDuckGo uses the Microsoft Ads Inventory (aka Bing Ads) to run their ads. This means the algorithm on which ad to serve is controlled by Bing, though the exception is DuckDuckGo does not include user information into that algorithm.
Firstly, go register an ad account with Microsoft Ads.
As ad platform interface changes all the time, I suggest you refer to Microsoft's guide on Bing Ads rather than describing the steps here that could be irrelevant in a few months.
Let me highlight here the specific things you need to do apart from the general set up that will enable your ads to run solely on DuckDuckGo.
Once you've completed the setup (campaign, ad group & ads), go ahead and select an Ad Group to start. Whichever one you want to run ads on DuckDuckGo only.
Then, go to Settings and expand the selection for Advanced ad group settings.
Next, click on Ad Distribution and select the one mentioning "search partners only". Click Save at the bottom of the page
If you want to do this in bulk across multiple ad groups, you can access this option via Microsoft Advertising Editor as well.
Select the ad groups you want to edit, and make the changes under Network Distribution and select the same option.
This setting alone doesn't mean you'll run on DuckDuckGo only. You'll run on all search partner websites which includes Gumtree, Bloomberg, CNet, Ecosia (another cool search engine) and Ask.com.
As there is no specific setting to target a site specifically (as it's probably not profitable for Bing that way), you'll have to gradually exclude certain sites until you run ads (mostly) on DuckDuckGo only.
With enough effort, you'll reach the stage where you only run on DuckDuckGo. However, this has to be done regularly as there is always new websites/platforms that become Bing's search partner.
So let the ad run for a day, and check back in on the Microsoft Ads platform. Select the campaign/ad group and go to Dimensions.
Then select Show: Publisher Website. Sort by Impressions descending. You can also do this on an account-level by not selecting any campaigns
Download the report and copy all the website URL except the DuckDuckGo one. Next, go to the campaign's setting.
Under Advanced campaign settings, find Exclusions and click on Website. Paste your URLs there.
Remember to click Save at the bottom of the page.
Again, you can also do this in bulk on Microsoft Advertising Editor. Go to Campaigns and bulk-select the campaigns you want to edit. Right-click and click Properties.
Click on Exclusions and paste the websites in or you can add one-by-one.
Moving forward, you'll need to do it consistently, preferably starting from daily then moving to weekly then monthly.
Eventually, you'll only serve ads to DuckDuckGo.
As a gift for you reading this post all the way to here, here's the list of websites that were found in this example plus some extra ones for you to start. As the keywords you use are different from mine,
NOTE: This list is in no way an exhaustive list, not even close. As the keywords you use are different from mine, surely the type of websites we appear in will be different.
Before recommending this as a solution to your client/boss, take note of the following: