It is not always possible to achieve good search engine rankings for a website. Even when it is, it takes time to reach the top of the search engine results, and high rankings are rarely achieved for all the topics and keywords the site relates to. There is also the fact that paid advertising reaches places and sources of traffic that SEO does not, such as ads within other websites. For these reasons, pay per click, or PPC, is usually part of most web marketing strategies.
PPC networks place ads in search engine results pages and websites in exchange for a fee, usually set by bidding, from the advertiser. The networks in the following article will be covered primarily from the advertisers’ point of view.
Reasons to consider different networks
While AdWords controls the largest share of traffic, there are good reasons to consider advertising with a number of networks.
- Costs: The smaller networks usually offer lower costs for the same keywords. The price difference can be quite large.
- Varied traffic sources: Each network will have different traffic and more potential customers.
- Tools and ads: There are varied tools and ad types offered by different networks.
- Restrictions: AdWords is very stringent has more restrictions than other networks.
Therefore, it is wise to make use of numerous PPC networks on a single site, keeping in mind that differing networks will work best for particular niches and types of website traffic.
Even though the pay-per-click advertising model is fairly straightforward with advertisers simply bidding for each click, there are various ways to make advertiser dollars go farther. For example, some of the programs will automatically alter bid amounts based on conversion rates, use interactive graphics for ads, show ads on mobile devices and have other features.
The most heavily used and well known of all pay per click networks for both merchants and affiliates is Google AdWords. In addition to the ads that appear on the search engine results page, there are the contextual based website ads based on the content of the specific pages where the ads are being viewed and direct ad placements.
Being the number one search engine in the world has certainly attracted a large number of merchants to their PPC ad network, where they bid on keyword phrases for ad placements. Google also places ads on its associated networks. As a result, there is a lot of competition between merchants and bids are higher.
In spite of the higher costs, AdWords is the starting point for most affiliate marketers for the following reasons.
There are a lot more visitors and potential keywords to use.
A number of useful tools and tutorials are freely available to make setting up campaigns easier
More is done to maintain quality and prevent fraud than many other networks.
Another popular pay per click affiliate program that is often used alongside AdWords is Chitika. Over 100,000 websites are already affiliates with Chitika, and these sites deliver more than 3 billion ad impressions each month, even though the company has only been around since 2004.
Unlike other programs that use the content of the page to deliver ads, Chitika uses the search strings that visitors use to enter sites. This strategy, known as impulse marketing, makes Chitika ads some of the most relevant and likely to convert to sales for the advertiser.
Chitika also offers a decent variety of options for creating ads and advertising types, including local and mobile device targeted ads.
Incorporating Microsoft and Yahoo, it covers a sizable chunk of annual search engine traffic with Bing and MSN. Ads are international and can be set to target geographical regions. It boosts a streamlined data page to help advertisers better optimize their campaigns. It offers free training and even an accreditation to give those who would like it extra exposure.
One of the youngest and most successful of the major pay per click affiliate programs is Infolinks, which was created in 2007. Instead of ads that stand off to the side of the content, this network turns the text of the page itself into links (in-text advertising). It is almost impossible to make the ad any more relevant to what the searcher and potential customer is reading about.
Advertisers are offered personal account managers, advanced optimization tools, an exclusive, international network and flexible ad formats.
While it is also known for its in-text advertisements, it has the added benefit significant social media promotion services.
This network offers what is called free design for its ads. This means that Bidvertiser allows advertisers to decide the dimensions and exact look of their ads. With the right creative effort, this can make ads really stand out and get better CTR. Advertisers can also select the exact categories they would like their ads to appear in.
Other features include customizable toolbars to distribute and XML feeds.
Although it has mixed reviews and generally lower-quality traffic, Miva is often worth a try since it can offer much lower bids than most other networks. It also has some good tools, including AdAnalyzer that shows returns based on keywords and useful scheduling features.
Facebook Paid Ads
These are the sponsored search ads that appear on Facebook. The program provides good targeting (by location, gender, etc.), but the CTR is generally low. Therefore, those using this network need to create ads that are eye catching. However, this low CTR makes it possible to get some free branding coverage since there will be no charge for all the views without clicks the ad gets. Like other PPC, Facebook ads are bid on, and various automation tools such as spending limits are available.
Started in 1999, 7Search.com offers cheaper keywords bids starting as low as .01. It boasts responsive support and great metrics to measure results and the return on investment of campaigns.
While there are other good PPC networks out there, one should always be careful and check reviews before utilizing them. There are fake networks to be wary of that will generate false clicks that quickly eat up ad budgets. Some form of PPC training is also advisable before starting on PPC advertising.