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PPC 101: Pay Per Click basics

Anyone who has searched the web has seen their share of ads. Some good, some not so good. For many of us, we’ve conditioned ourselves to ignore most ads.

So why do advertisers still make ads? Because they work! The law of large numbers reinforces that only a small amount of visitors have to click on these ads for the advertiser to make a profit. The goal of any advertisement, especially in the PPC (pay-per-click) world, is to get the message in front of the right people.

I honestly just got off the phone with one of my partners about a client list that we just received from a software giant (they’re headquartered in the Pacific Northwest — you figure it out!). We’re in the process of identifying our audience for a workshop that we’re hosting next month. After reviewing their client list, I felt that it wasn’t targeted enough. One thing I said was that there’s a big difference between 1,000 emails that they’ve collected over time and 100 emails of people who are ready and willing to spend money on our solution today. I, of course, would much preferably have the latter. Just as with PPC, our numbers will improve drastically with the right targeted audience.

As I wrote in my Types of Affiliate Marketing post, PPC, aka CPC (cost per click), advertisers pay every single time their ad is clicked. Below is an excerpt as written for an affiliate marketer:

Cost Per Click (CPC)/Pay Per Click (PPC)
One of the more well-known affiliate types, CPC pays you every time a visitor clicks on the ad. Although this seems like a surefire way to get paid by simply abusing the ads, the top search engines have technology to prevent this from happening.

Anyone can create their own PPC ad campaign. The trick is getting it right, which takes time to perfect; after all, as a PPC advertiser, you are paying for every click, even if people don’t actually do anything when they get to your site. Apparently, you’d rather pay for relevant clicks. That means for your pet site, for instance, you want to bring as many people who want to use the money on their pets as possible. A big part of that is creating a keyword list that is appropriate for your targeted audience.

In my next post, I’ll give you a step-by-step process on how to create your own PPC ad campaign.


There are basically four different methods of getting paid as an affiliate. Some are more common than others and depending on what you’re trying to promote on your site, some types may work better than others. At the end of the day, it’s up to you to choose your affiliate partners.

Alternatively, you could decide to go with a strictly passive approach like using Google AdSense straight out of the box. In that case, Google will control what ads to bring onto your site, and you’ll end up with a mixed bag. As you learn more about the different ways to leverage affiliate marketing, there’s no reason why you can’t start with Google Adsense and integrate your own affiliate ads as you grow. Also read,  

Four types of affiliate marketing

Pay Per Sale

Probably the most common methods of affiliating, Pay Per Sale is pretty self-explanatory. You only paid when your ad brings in actual results, usually in the form of money being passed through.

Cost Per Click (CPC)/Pay Per Click (PPC)

One of the more well-known affiliate types, CPC pays you every time a visitor clicks on the ad. Although this appears like a surefire way to get paid by simply abusing the ads, the top search engines have the technology to prevent this from happening.

Cost Per Mil. (CPM)

For every 1000 page views, you get paid a certain amount. Also abused in the past, CPM is now protected through the top search engines.

Pay Per Lead

You get paid every time a lead is provided. This can be in the form of an email, address, or even phone call. There are plenty of technology tools to track any type of lead.
Choosing the right affiliate marketing type for your site

The logical follow-up question is: which is the best? The simple answer is that it depends. I know that’s not what you need to hear, but there’s no magic formula. A lot of it depends on your niche and your goals.

Even though some methods have worked better for some sites than others, over time, the bloggers who are able to maintain and also increase their revenue are the ones who are able to monitor and adapt. That means changing their affiliate strategies as necessary. Just like anything else in this crazy, fast-paced, tech world that we live in, being able to shift effects at a moment’s notice is critical.

Which type of affiliate marketing has worked best for you?

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