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Narrowing the search

Pay per click (PPC) advertising helps direct people to your website through strategically placed ads on search engine pages. These are selected through common keywords and search terms that are relevant to your target market and product or service. So a pay per click ad for saucepans for instance, might appear when the consumer was searching for recipe ideas.

The big benefit for the advertiser is that the ads are charged on a results only basis, so you only pay when the viewer actually clicks through to your site. The ads appear next to and sometimes above the 'organic' search results as sponsored links. Google AdWords, Yahoo!Search Marketing and Microsoft adCenter are all pay-per-click services.

Name your price

PPC ads work on a bid basis, with advertisers setting a maximum price they will pay per click (the hosting service will set a minimum price). This not only helps decide where (or if) their ad appears in the listings but also allows them to control and vary their expenditure on a day-to-day basis. Other factors that affect the listing are other advertiser's bids, relevance, historical click-through rates and an overall 'quality score' decided by the hosting service.

Click through rates range from around 8% for the top ad to 5% for the second ad and 2.5% for the third. Searches can return anything from 0 to 12 ads.

Targeting

As well as defining target audiences through search terms, PPC ads can also be targeted more precisely by region or town and excluding specific IP address ranges. You can also limit the number of times your ad appears to the same user.

Special considerations

Pay per click campaigns need to be closely monitored and managed to ensure you are optimising your exposure and getting the best results possible. Campaigns can grow to become quite complex and need constant adjustment.


Ads

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