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Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Pay Per Click Advertising

Pay Per Click advertising (PPC) is a marketing strategy that is unique to our times. Never before in history has it been possible to use this amazing and efficient method of reaching out to potential customers. But even so, it must be used carefully if it is to give optimum results.

Most readers will know basically how the system works. An ad appears on a website page (or on a search results page) and if the viewer is interested by the ad they click on the ad in order to find out more about the advertiser who has placed the ad. This opens up a page on the advertisers website. Whenever someone clicks on the ad, the advertiser pays a sum of money to the owner of the website in which their ad appeared. Hence the name, Pay Per Click.

The reason why we say it is an efficient advertising method is because you don't have to pay for your ad to be merely looked at, as you do with other forms of ad, such as billboards, classified ads, tv commercials and the like. With PPC you only pay for those people who are already interested in your products or services.

So how does it work?

There are a number of companies that provide systems dedicated to PPC advertising. Of these systems, by far the largest and the most well-known is Google AdWords. Google have had a great deal of experience at this kind of service, and on the whole they provide the advertiser with a powerful, flexible and efficient tool for displaying ads. You can write your own ads, within certain parameters, such as word count, and also meeting certain guidelines of taste and/or legality. AdWords also allows plenty of scope for experimentation, and they provide a useful back up in the form of Google Analytics, so you can see who is clicking on your ads. Further, they have many training pages, and optimization advice.

The counterpart to AdWords is Google AdSense. This is where you allow some space on your website or blog to be used by Google to insert PPC ads. Every time a visitor to your site clicks on an ad, you get paid! And Google uses its search robots to determine what type of ads are suitable to appear on your site, so you do not have to do anything, except watch the money roll in. In our opinion, this is where Google scores big plus points over its competitors, in that AdSense ads are more finely tuned to the website than other PPC providers.

You might think that all you need to do is to use AdWords to bring visitors to your site, who will then click on the AdSense and give you a profit for nothing. But experience has shown that if this is your sole strategy, you will make a steady loss over time. You need to have something of value on your site, in addition to AdSense, if you are to make a profit. The AdSense should be considered as a back up or a fall back to your main product line.

There are a number of other companies providing Pay Per Click ad systems, such as Bidvertiser, Adster, Adbrite and others. Our researchers have discovered that, although in many ways these companies provide a reasonably good alternative to Google, they still have not reached the level of contextual matching which Google AdSense has achieved. But the situation is constantly developing so it is worth keeping these companies in mind.

Author : Robert Paterson
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