Pay-Per-Click Advertising (PPC)


Websites that make use of PPC ads will display an advertisement when a keyword query coincides with one on an advertiser's keyword list, or when a content site displays corresponding content. These advertisements will be termed sponsored links or sponsored ads. It is usual for them to appear on search engine results pages either next to or just above the organic results (which are lists on search engine results pages that can be viewed as a result of their relevance to the search terms, instead of their being adverts. Alternatively, non-organic search results may include pay per click advertising).

Although there are many operators who offer PPC, the most noteworthy networks are:
Google AdWords - It provides pay-per-click advertising, and site-targeted advertising for text as well as banner ads
Yahoo! Search Marketing – This is a keyword-linked pay per click or Sponsored search Internet advertising product
Microsoft adCenter - Microsoft was the last of the major search engines (Microsoft, Google and Yahoo!) to produce an in-house system for offering pay per click ads.

Each of these networks operates on the basis of a bid system. On the other hand, cost per click (CPC) varies somewhat and is dependent on the particular search engine and the extent of the competition for a specific keyword.

Click fraud is a form of Internet crime inherent in pay per click online advertising when an individual, pre-written script or computer programme falsely represents a bona-fide user by clicking on an ad with the intention of producing a charge per click without there being any form of interest in the subject of the ad's link.
Unfortunately, the PPC advertising model is susceptible to this form of abuse even though Google and other networks have set in place automated systems to minimise such practices by competitors or corrupt web developers.

Evaluating Cost Per Click

Cost per click is calculated in one of two ways, viz. flat-rate and bid-based. In either case, it is necessary for the advertiser to ascertain the potential value of a click from a specified source. This is based very much on: (1) the type of individual that the advertiser hopes to receive as a visitor to his website, and (2) what the advertiser expects to gain from the visit, in terms of revenue, not only in the short-term, but long-term as well.

As is the case with other forms of advertising, the target audience is the key. The factors to be considered in this respect include:
The target’s interests – This is often characterised by the search term they have entered into the search engine, or the content of the page they are browsing
The target’s intention – This may be defined simply as ….. to purchase or not to purchase ….
The target’s location - Geo targeting is the means of establishing the geolocation (actual location) of a website visitor and offering alternative content to that visitor based on their location
The moment – Literally, the day and time that they are browsing

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