What is CPC (cost per click)?
Pay per click (PPC), as it is also termed, is an advertising model used on websites, advertising networks, and search engines 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, on all search engines, when they are looking for a product or service. When a user types a keyword query matching the advertiser’s keyword list, the advertiser’s ad may appear on the search results page. These ads are called a “Sponsored link” or “sponsored ads” and appear next to, and sometimes, above the natural or organic results on the page. The advertiser pays only when the user clicks on the ad. Pay per click advertising is a search engine marketing technique that is low cost, and a better alternative for small businesses in order to compete with large companies.
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.