The acronym PPC stands for “pay per click” and is a form of online marketing through which an advertiser pays a website or publisher for each click his or her ad receives. The most common instance of PPC advertising is search engine marketing (for more on SEM and SEO, please visit here). However, PPC advertising can be implemented within email campaigns and on websites as well.
The primary difference between search engine PPC and website or email PPC is the cost model. PPC marketing on the search engines is based upon a bid system whereby keywords and keyword phrases specific to a particular industry, product, service, etc… are used to generate the ads displayed. As mentioned in the article referenced above, the keyword popularity (how many other individuals/companies are bidding on it) determines the cost per click. When one thinks of search engine PPC, typically one thinks of Google AdWords and Microsoft AdCenter, although there are other smaller search engines upon which one may advertise.
The cost model for PPC on websites and email campaigns is typically a flat rate model with predetermined cost per click (CPC) which is usually negotiable depending upon the site content, popularity of the page or email message, and so forth. For example, one might choose to advertise on a discussion forum for, oh I don’t know, wedding planners! Let’s say that there is a main forum for general discussion, along with several sub-forums: Choosing Your Wedding Photographer, Choosing Your Wedding Dress, Choosing Your Wedding Cake, and Choosing Your Venue. Suppose that an author has written a book on choosing the ideal location for a wedding. It makes sense that he or she is going to select the “Choosing Your Venue” forum to advertise the book in order to reach only those visitors to the forum who are interested in selecting a location for a wedding. The CPC to advertise on this forum will likely be higher than the main forum, because the type of traffic is more targeted for the author’s audience.
The click-through rates and conversion rates tend to be much higher with PPC on search engines due to the more targeted nature of the ads, keyword selections, and visitors. That said, the ease (and speed) with which one can spend a large sum of money using PPC advertising on the search engines is astonishing. This is why developing a marketing strategy is so important to a successful PPC campaign on the search engines. The potential ROI can be much higher than with website and email PPC, but only with a carefully implemented plan and regular analytics monitoring.