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What is PPC advertising?

PPC is an acronym for Pay Per Click

ppc is often used as a generic term for online advertising. Some other terms that might be used more or less synonymously are “banner ads” or search engine marketing (SEM).

One of the best known PPC advertising services is Google AdWords so that’s another term that might be used generically even though it is actually a trademarked name.


To muddy the water a bit more, ppc is often used to include ‘display’ advertising which maybe billed as cost per click (CPC) or cost per impression (CPM) which is usually on a CPM basis—with ‘M’ being an abbreviation for (1) thousand. Thus, you are bidding and paying per thousand times your ad is displayed.

Google AdWords and Bing/Yahoo! Ads

Google AdWords and Bing Ads (formerly known as Microsoft AdCenter and including Yahoo!), are the industry leaders on the consumer or retail level for ppc advertising. And as actual search engines they actually provide true search engine marketing.

What’s so great about ppc?

What makes these services so powerful is that you can run an ad only to someone searching for the things you specify: A florist can advertise only to people searching for flowers.

Beyond that you can very carefully control the geographic area your ad will show, the times it will show, how much you are willing to pay per click, and per week/month.

What about display advertising on websites?

Display ads (cpc and cpm) are most cost effective when used for branding, awareness or reminders. Whether you have a business or product you’d like to raise the visibility of or you want to show an ad to people who have visited your site before, display ads are an easy way to do so.

What’s the catch?

The services that allow people to run these ads seem much simpler than they really are—at least to get maximum benefit—as it is normally quite competitive.

For instance, in 2006 when I first used AdWords, I was working for a marina and we were able to advertise to the Columbus metro area on less competitive keywords (‘Pontoon’ instead of ‘ski boat’) with bids of 33¢ a click and $1.00 a day. Now, I’d be amazed if ads would even show with a bid that low.

The other thing is it doesn’t always work.

That said, it usually works, and most people who try it find it so effective that they shift a large percentage of their advertising and marketing budget to it.

Google AdWords and Bing Ads both offer introductory coupons, discounts and specials regularly

To induce new customers to try their services there are frequent—nearly always—offers from Google and Bing. One of the most common from Google is an AdWords coupon that lets new advertisers get $100 in advertising for $25. If you’d like to know more, or try it out for yourself please contact us and we’ll be happy to help.

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