Pay Per Click Advertising

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Pay per click (PPC) is an advertising model used on search engines, advertising networks, and content websites, where advertisers only pay when a user actually clicks on an ad to visit the advertiser's website. Advertisers bid on keywords they believe their target market would type in the search bar when they are looking for a product or service. When a user types a keyword query matching the advertiser's keyword list, or views a page with relevant content, the advertiser's ad may be shown. These ads are called a "Sponsored link" or "sponsored ads" and appear next to, and sometimes, above the natural or organic results on search engine results pages, or anywhere a webmaster chooses on a content page. Pay per click advertising is a search engine marketing technique.

Pay per click ads may also appear on content network websites. In this case, ad networks such as Google Adsense and Yahoo! Publisher Network attempt to provide ads that are relevant to the content of the page where they appear, and no search function is involved.

While many companies exist in this space, Google AdWords, Yahoo! Search Marketing, and MSN adCenter are the largest network operators as of 2007. 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. Arguably this advertising model may be open to abuse through click fraud, although Google and other search engines have implemented automated systems to guard against this.

There are networks who use the PPC model but in a different way. One such newcomer to the industry is which is an Ad Management service that helps Publishers effectively promote and sell advertising space on their sites.

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