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Pay per click or PPC is a method of marketing a web site, product or service online. As the name suggests, pay per click refers to paying only when clicked upon, that is paying for a website only when an online user actually clicks and views the advertisement or site and not merely when the site's link comes up on the screen. It is used on search engines, where a bidding system is followed. In this system, the user types a keyword or phrase while searching and all the relevant search results containing the keyword are displayed according to their ranks. Along with this, some advertisements containing information related to the keyword appear on the screen. These advertisements, called sponsored links appear adjacent or above the original result. The location of these links is determined by the webmaster or blogger. Now, according to PPC (Pay per click), the advertisers pay only when the advertisement is clicked upon. The advertisers determine the keywords which trigger their advertisements. In content websites, however, a fixed price mechanism is followed instead of a bidding system.
The cost per click or price per click is determined by the popularity of the search engine and the popularity of the keyword or competition for the keyword. The amount the advertisers are willing to shell per click. This may depend upon the popularity of the ad, which is determined by the history of the click rates also called, quality rate. The most popular PPC providers today are Google AdWords, Yahoo! Search Marketing and Microsoft adCentre.
Owners of these paid to surf. Sites can advertise their own search portals sending more advertisements and hence money to the affiliates who click more keywords and search results. However, this process is not approved, as many suppose that the webmasters manipulate and force that affiliates to commit click fraud.
Bill Gross, founder of Idealab and Goto.com is said to be the founder of the PPC concept even though Jeffrey Brewer, of Goto.com came up with this concept in 1998. Brewer, an employee of Goto.com which was a 25-employee start-up company, displayed a pay per click search engine proof-of-concept to the Technology, Entertainment, Design, an annual conference with an aim to discuss and promote new ideas worth spreading, in California. Thus, PPC mechanism came as a result of this presentation. In December 1999, Google introduced search engine advertising and by October 2000, it came up with the AdWords system. This let advertisers place advertisements on the Google search engine according to cost-per-thousand impressions. The Pay per click mechanism was introduced by Google in 2002, while Yahoo! presented it in 1998.
Types Of Pay Per Click Campaigns
There are two major types of PPC campaigns - Keyword match and Content match. Keyword match: Also called sponsored match, these campaigns resulted in the display of advertisements present on the search engine pages. Content match: These campaigns resulted in the display of publisher websites, newsletters and e-mails. Pay per click programs target product or service searches and product comparison sites which are also present.
This type of PPC advertisers bid on keywords which are comprised of words, phrases and even the model number of the products. When a search for a particular product or service is carried out, a list or advertiser links or advertising links appear on the screen along with the original information. The orders of these links are classified on the basis of the amount bid for the given keyword. There are advertising firms which provide the advertisers their services or software to develop keyword strategies. For example, Yahoo! offers a service called Content Match, which distributes the keyword ad to other partner sites that have a distribution agreement with the search engine company.
The most popular PPC keyword search engines are
- Google AdWords
- Yahoo! Search Marketing
- Microsoft adCentre
Product Engines :
Product comparison engines are search engines for products and enable the advertisers to provide feeds of their product databases. When a user searches for a particular product, the advertisements appearing alongside are ranked according to which advertisers pay more. Google Product Search does not charge for the listing, but still requires active feed function.
Some PPC product engines are :
Advertisers need to provide feeds to their service databases and this is facilitated by the search engines. When the user looks for a particular product or service, the advertisements are lined up according to which advertiser pays more. There are some service engines which operate in specific vertical markets.
Some Service Engines are :
Pay Per Call
This enables the publishers to charge the local advertisers on the basis of per-telephone-call for every sales lead or call the publisher. Pay per call engines allows not only local, but advertisers within the country to create advertisements with local telephone numbers.
Pay Per Delivery
This is used in e-mail marketing and is similar to pay per call (a business model for advertisement listings in search engines that allows search engines to enable advertisers within the nation to make calls at the local rate). In this, the E-mail marketing campaigns are charged only on successful delivery of the entire e-mail.
Pay Per Action
In this the advertiser pays a fixed amount only on the completion of some specified action.
This is an internet crime where a person, automated script or computer program imitates a legitimate or legal user of a web browser clicking on an ad in order to create a charge per click without having any real interest in the ad's link. The advertising companies can suffer immense losses due to this.
Though PPC advertising might seem simple, in order to have a successful PPC advertising campaign, PPC management is necessary.
The various steps in setting a PPC advertising campaign are as follows:
- Review your website and extract your vital keywords and keyword phrases.
- Perform a statistical analysis of these keywords to ensure that you are using niche keywords. A strong and efficient keyword list will result in a better performance, producing higher traffic and sign-ups on your site.
- Implement conversion tracking codes on the web pages which require them so that you can view your real Return Of Investment and conversion statistics.
- After taking care of all your keywords and conversion codes, write your PPC advertisements focusing on the keywords. Make these ads persuasive and targeted enough to gain quality traffic needed to get valuable conversions. Write your PPC ads to include top level keywords so that they are optimized for the network and hence, get a higher
- Review your landing page and try to improve your amount of conversions. If your landing page has a rich content and properly optimized, you will be awarded a lower "cost per click" and higher advertisement ranking .
- After the initial keyword generation and analysis, conversion code implementation, custom ad writing and landing page assessment, the final task is to launch your ad. Once your ad is launched, a manual adjustment of the bid levels will be done daily for every keyword. Addition, deletion and modification of keyword can also be done wherever required.
- You can get monthly reports of your Return Of Investment and hence, the performance of your ads, and you will be aware of the amount spent, returned, and the conversions which have taken place.
Some Important PPC Management Strategies And Techniques
- Eliminate non-active keywords.
- Create fewer ads to increase your click-through rate percentage.
- Turn off the ads during low performing times of the day i.e. from midnight to 6 am.
- Ensure geographic targeting (like city, state, region, country.).
- Analyze and optimize the landing pages.
- Optimize ad copy.
- Avoid click fraud and un-targeted traffic by taking some ads off Google "content network".
- Lower bids on Yahoo! content matching.
- Set some listings to lower than #1 position I order to save money.
- Utilize keyword matching options on Google
- Use images and videos in the ads.
- Pick websites to show ads on Google content network.
- Keep a track of the conversions.
- Keep a track of the Return On Investment.
- Use traffic or budget estimator on Google to predict the amount spent and the number of clicks.
- Monitor the ad performance daily.
- Bid level adjustments on a daily basis.