Pay per click, or PPC, is an advertising technique used on websites, advertising networks, and search engines.
With search engines, pay per click advertisements are usually text ads placed near search results; when a site visitor clicks on the advertisement, the advertiser is charged a small amount. Variants include pay for placement and pay for ranking. Pay per click is also sometimes known as Cost Per Click (CPC).
While many companies exist in this space, Google Adwords and Yahoo! Search Marketing, which was formerly Overture, are the largest network operators as of 2006. MSN has started beta testing with their own PPC services MSN adCenter. Depending on the search engine, minimum prices per click start at US$0.01 (up to US$0.50). Very popular search terms can cost much more on popular engines. Abuse of the pay per click model can result in click fraud. Click fraud is usually not detected very well by smaller PPC engines.
PPC engines can be categorized in “Keyword”, “Product”, “Service” engines. However, a number of companies may fall in two or more categories. More models are continually being developed.
Advertisers using these bid on “keywords”, which can be words or phrases, and can include product model numbers. When a user searches for a particular word or phrase, the list of advertiser links appears in order of bidding.
As of 2005, notable PPC Keyword search engines include: Google AdWords, Yahoo! Search Marketing, GaZabo.com, Miva, which was formerly FindWhat, SearchFeed, Enhance (formerly Ah-Ha), GoClick, 7Search, Kanoodle, ePilot, Search123, Kazazz, Pricethat, Search FAST and others.
An industry of professional services firms that can assist advertisers in marketing their products and services on search engines has also developed. Many of these firms will be members of various trade bodies such as IABUK, SMA-UK and SEMPO, while other reputable firms have chosen to avoid these bodies, as many of them remain heavily biased toward the firms that first got together and founded them.
“Product” engines let advertisers provide “feeds” of their product databases and when users search for a product, the links to the different advertisers for that particular product appear, giving more prominence to advertisers who pay more, but letting the user sort by price to see the lowest priced product and then click on it to buy. These engines are also called Product comparison engines or Price comparison engines.
Some of the PPC Product search engines are: BizRate, NexTag, PriceGrabber, Pricescan, Pricethat, Pricewatch, PriceLeap, Shopping.com
“Service” engines let advertisers provide feeds of their service databases and when users search for a service offering links to advertisers for that particular service appear, giving prominence to advertisers who pay more, but letting users sort their results by price or other methods. Some Product PPCs have expanded into the service space while other service engines operate in specific verticals.
Examples of PPC services include NexTag, Pricethat SideStep, and TripAdvisor.
Pay per Call
Similar to pay per click, pay per call is a business model for ad listings in search engines and directories that allows publishers to charge local advertisers on a per-call basis for each lead (call) they generate. The term “pay per call” is sometimes confused with “click to call”. Click-to-call, along with call tracking, is a technology that enables the “pay-per-call” business model.
According to the Kelsey Group, the pay-per-phone-call market is expected to reach US$3.7 billion by 2010.
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