Categorized | Pay-Per-Click Networks

Promotions: Marketing and Sales 8.7. Pay-Per-Click Networks

Search advertising (8.6) distributes text ads on search engine results pages as well as a network of member sites. While ads are “contextually” placed on member sites, that is, they are placed on sites with content more or less matching the keywords you’ve specified, you typically have little control over how and when your ad appears on the network. In many cases, only high-performing ads with the highest bids make it out into the network.

There are Web advertising services that only distribute text-based ads on a network of member sites. Like the search engine pay-per-click networks discussed in 8.6, the ads are placed on the most contextually appropriate pages.

The process works exactly the same way:

  • You write a title, destination URL, and short text description for your ad.
  • You select one or more keywords to describe your ad.
  • You set a bid price for clicks that the ad will generate.
  • You set a maximum daily or monthly spend.

Your ads are then placed on contextually appropriate Web sites in the network based on your bid position and maximum spend.

8.7.1. Miva

MIVA is an independent online advertising network of over 100,000 U.S. and European businesses publishing MIVA ads on millions of Web sites. In addition to the core network, MIVA’s Precision Network allows you access to several vertical networks organized by business categories.

As with search engine advertising, you specify keywords, a minimum bid for each keyword, a title, destination URL, description, and monthly budget. Your text ads are served on a variety of search engines, directories, and other general and industry-specific Web sites based on your bid price.

In addition to pay-per-click pricing, MIVA offers a pay-per-call service. You get charged not for user clicks, but for any calls a user makes to your business. This allows you to connect with Internet users if you don’t have a Web site.

MIVA offers online tools, called Cruise Control, to help you automate and track your campaign. AutoBid automatically optimizes keyword bids; AdAnalyzer lets you monitor key statistics including return on investment (ROI); Campaign Scheduler lets you schedule your campaigns.

MIVA campaigns cost much less than Google or Yahoo! search engine campaigns, so a MIVA campaign should be first on your list.

8.7.2. Bidvertiser

The authors of this book consider Bidvertiser to be the first destination any start-up, small business, or entrepreneur should take when looking for a pay-per-click service or network. Bidvertiser deploys a unique model―rather than a network of partner Web sites, Bidvertiser functions more like an online auction house for online advertising, a marketplace bringing together advertisers with Web publishers. With over 500,000 Web publishers in its network―including a huge array of Web hosting services and domain name registrars―it’s pretty tough for you to not find sites to advertise on.

To understand what’s unique about Bidvertiser, think about the contextual advertising model used by MIVA, AdWords, and Yahoo! Search Marketing. In those models, your ad is served on partner Web sites based on how well your keywords fit with the content on those sites. You have no idea what Web sites your ads are appearing on―the adserving engine makes that decision for you. You also have no relationship with the Web publisher. MIVA, Google, and Yahoo! “own” the members of the network. Because they take a cut of every ad click, they don’t want you setting up a separate relationship with any of their members.

Bidvertiser, on the other hand, not only allows you to specify all the parameters of your ad (title, description, URL, minimum bid, maximum spend, day part, geographical limitations, etc.), but also allows you to choose Web sites. In other words, Bidvertiser looks, feels, and quacks like an auction or RFP marketplace. Bidvertiser is only a transaction medium. The service does not “own” the Web publishers, but instead allows you to set up relationships with publishers to maximize the benefit to you both.

Like most search marketing and PPC services, you bid on clicks. Because you specify individual Web sites, your ads will go into a queue for that site. The highest bid ads will be served first on that site until the monthly maximum is reached. The system then moves steadily down the queue until your ad makes its appearance. The system makes it easy for you to rise to the top of that queue: when you bid for placement, the system automatically adjusts your cost-per-click one cent higher than the current high bidder.

We cannot, however, unreservedly advocate Bidvertiser. Many users express disappointment at the results they’ve gotten, largely because their network is not large enough to fully support their marketplace model. As the number and variety of the Web publisher sites grow on their network, Bidvertiser’s results should greatly improve.

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