Pay-Per-Click (PPC) advertising was first introduced in 1998 as a way for advertisers to literally “pay per click” when an advertisement is clicked by a potential customer. The mechanism was an instant success and was adopted by Microsoft, Yahoo and later Google - replacing the standard advertising model of ‘Pay-Per-Impression’ where advertisers pay for the volume of advertisements shown.
PPC is now the standard mechanism used by search engines, shopping portals and social media websites for selling advertising.
There are three major search engines worldwide: Google with 93% market share in Australia; and Microsoft (Bing) increasing its market share in recent times to approx 7%.
Google’s PPC system is called Google AdWords, while Yahoo! & Bing is called Bing Ads. In comparison, in America Google has approx. 60% market share, with Yahoo having 11% and Bing enjoying another 18%.
The three major search engines also have display networks: Google AdSense is by far the largest; followed by DoubleClick which is also owned by Google.
More recently social networks including Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and LinkedIn have adopted PPC options to commercialise their networks.
The options and costs involved in engaging in pay per click activities on each network vary.