Pay-Per-Click: Which option is right for your business?

Written on 28 November, 2013 by Karen Lim-Sam
Categories Pay Per Click Tags merchant

If you’re looking into pay-per-click advertising you’ll find lots of options in a crowded marketplace that can be confusing if you haven’t navigated it before. We go through the differences and show you how to determine which is the right option for you.

Performance and distribution

The first thing to look for is the network distribution of the ad service you’re signing up for. The two key stats here are the network reach and click-through rate (CTR). The network reach is how many page views per month the network or site is actually serving up your ads on, and CTR is a measurement of how many actual clicks you can expect to get on your ad.

CTR is an important measurement, as even though one network may have a greater audience, if another’s CTR is much higher, your best return on investment (ROI) is going to be on the latter.


PPC ads can be billed in three ways generally: fixed rate, bidding and percentage. Fixed-rate billing is easy to calculate your spend on, but may end up being a higher actual cost per click.

Auction bidding is the most common method, pitting you against competitors for the right to advertise on a given keyword. This can get expensive if you’re fighting a popular subject, but if you have niche keywords then bidding can be much cheaper.

Percentage payments tend to be a percentage of your overall revenue derived from the clicks. This is a more complex and less common way of doing things, but may be optimal depending on your specific needs.

Reporting & Analytics

Different services will provide different reporting options – some emailing you a PDF of details, others providing an interactive backend. Be sure the reporting options you’re signing up for cover your needs and let you identify exactly where your spend is paying off and where it’s being wasted.

Targeting options

While AdWords links your ads to specific keywords, some services will offer more detailed options for targeting specific browsing habits or even demographics. Your campaign needs will dictate what you require, so be sure any service you’re looking at investing in allows for the targeting you need.

Google AdWords

Google AdWords is the 800-pound gorilla of search marketing PPC and is a well-established marketplace. You bid a pay-per-click amount (competing against other marketers), and while this can get expensive for common keywords, it is the usual starting point for PPC.

Google Display Network

Google Display Network is an expansion upon the AdWords world, allowing you to create region-specific ads that are displayed to any network site that supports Google ads. These ads can be targeted to content keywords on the supporting pages, giving you a highly specific avenue for targeting ads. In many cases a network ad will be cheaper than a normal AdWords search ad, as you’re not competing at the same level, even on popular keywords.

Google Display Network ads also allow you to diversify your traffic and not rely purely on search engine results.


Re-marketing is the practice of serving ads to those you’ve already advertised, sold or provided content to. Essentially a cookie is stored on the user’s browser and future ads on the network are served and targeted. This lets you target recommended items or services to someone who has previously purchased something from your site, or even a similar site in the network.

Merchant accounts

Merchant accounts allow much more detailed control in your ad campaigns and allow you to directly upload your product data to the network, to be served in a targeted manner in various network sites that do comparison shopping or similar. This can be another great way to target buyers who do a lot of research before making a purchase.

As you can see there are many options, and the trick is determining your audience and how you’d best like to target and track your ads. If you put a little planning into your campaign before signing up it will help you immensely in choosing the right service for the best possible ROI.

WebCentral can help you decide what the best online marketing solution is for your business.  Simply give us a call on 1800 800 099 to speak to one of our expert consultants.

Looking for some help with domains, hosting, web design or digital marketing?

Send me marketing tips, special offers and updates