What is an Ad?

An advertisement, or ad for short, refers to the sponsored links that people see when they enter in a keyword term for a search query and get a search engine results page back. These sponsored links can be at the very top above the natural or organic search engine results, or at the right side (sometimes known as the right rail) of the page, and are generally marked as sponsored links so that visitors will know that these are the ads. These ads generally consist of three main textual parts, including the title, the description, and the display URL. The title is the title of the web page, and generally has the keyword in the title or pertains directly to the web page. The description is a short paragraph that describes where the link leads, and the display URL is the actual text link to the advertised web page that may be a shortened link so that it is easier to list.

Advertisements that are listed on search engine results pages are generally one of many different pay per click purchasing options that are available to advertisers. These options have been developed over the years and are used by different advertisers who have specific needs. Some of the different pay per click purchasing options include:

CPA (Cost Per Action) – Also known as cost per acquisition, this style of paid inclusion is performance based and used frequently in affiliate marketing. The publisher runs the ad, and the advertiser only pays for the times that the ad actually results in a conversion of a visitor to a customer, whether that visitor buys something or just fills out a form.

CPL (Cost Per Lead) – Similar to CPA, cost per lead paid inclusion involves the advertiser only paying the publisher strictly when a visitor fills out a form.

CPC (Cost Per Click) – Frequently called pay per click, cost per click involves an advertiser accruing a cost every time the sponsored link to their website is clicked on by a visitor.

CPM (Cost Per Thousand) – Cost per thousand, which is also called cost per impression or cost per mille, is a form of paid inclusion that involves the advertiser paying for every 1000 times their ad appears on a web page.

CPV (Cost Per Visitor) – In this form of paid inclusion, advertisers only pay money to the publisher when a visitor is delivered to their actual website through clicking.

Contextual Advertising – A different version of paid inclusion, contextual advertising is when a banner ad or link is automatically put at the top of a page that pertains to the ad, such as an ad for baking pans being put at the top of a page with a recipe on it.

Different types of ads can evoke different responses. This is why advertisers do research with their ads as well. Some advertisers will run tests with different styles of paid inclusion ads so that they can determine which kind is best for their budget and business. Companies often have budgets just for marketing, and even people who manage ads for them, so that they can be sure that when they are paying for these ads, they are making the most out of them.


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