Pay-per-click and paid search advertising

Types of pay-per-click advertising


You will find a range of online advertising options that charge you per click to your website.

Paid search marketing

Paid search marketing is one of the most common types of pay-per-click (PPC) advertising. Providers such as Google AdWords and Bing Ads show your ad to users who search for certain keywords. You set up campaigns by writing ad copy, selecting relevant keywords and choosing a suitable landing page on your site.

Display advertising

Display ads are banner, image or text ads that appear on different websites, selected to target particular audiences. These ads will link to your website. They generally return a lower click-through rate than search ads but can be useful for building brand awareness.

See advantages and disadvantages of display advertising.

Social media advertising

Social media platforms, such as Facebook, have high numbers of users who could be your potential customers. PPC advertising on these platforms can help you achieve higher click-through rates to your website. Campaigns can help increase awareness of your product or services. The channels can be used to target specific demographics and interests.

Retargeting PPC advertising

Retargeting uses cookies on a user's browser to show them specific ads based on their previous online actions. It is also called remarketing. For example, a user who searched for holidays could see display ads for a travel agent's latest deals. Retargeting can be used as part of:

  • display advertising campaigns
  • search advertising campaigns
  • social media advertising campaigns
  • email marketing

Price comparison website advertising

Price comparison or aggregator websites gather and display prices and special offers from various providers. This includes comparison websites for hotels or insurance. Users click through on the offers of interest and buy directly from the merchant or from the price comparison portal itself.

This can be useful for spending your PPC budget in a targeted way.  Price comparison websites offer you access to qualified leads - ie customers who are actively looking for a product or service like yours. The downside of these websites is that you will be up against competitors.  

Price comparison websites offer different PPC options. You should check your conversion rate against the click-through rate if you use them. 

Affiliate marketing

Affiliate marketers create PPC adverts promoting your products or services and place these on:

  • search engines
  • price comparison websites
  • targeted content sites
  • heavily-trafficked websites

Affiliate marketing uses a performance-based payment model, eg Cost per Action. Payment is closely aligned with results. You can set up and manage affiliate marketing programmes in house. You could also outsource to a third party provider, eg affiliate networks.

Successful affiliate marketing requires ongoing management and can be quite time intensive. There are also certain risks such as including poor ad placement - which can result in poor response or reputational damage - and competitive keyword bidding on your brand terms by affiliate networks.