Pay per click (PPC)
The concept of paying for advertising based on clicks (or click-throughs) was originally devised by a company called Idealab in the mid-nineties. Their search platform, GoTo.com (which would later become Overture), revolutionized online advertising by charging advertisers only for clicks on their ads and not simply for ad impressions. In parallel with this, ads were only shown on relevant searches, as opposed to just any search. PPC has come a long way since then, though the keys to its success are still present in today's systems. Despite the umbrella term 'pay per click' the way advertisers pay is in fact dependent on their bidding strategy, of which there are several: CPC (Cost Per Click), CPM ('Cost Per Mille' where 'Mille' is a thousand impressions) and CPA (Cost Per Aquisition or Action) whereby the advertiser only pays when a specified goal has been reached, such as a purchase or signup, following an ad click. Naturally, certain conditions need to be met before a campaign can be allowed to bid by CPA.
In order to measure the affect of any search engine marketing campaign, statistical data from the activity of your website, such as visits per day, bounce rates and conversions, need to be gathered and analyzed. Google Analytics was first made available in 2005 following Google’s acquisition of Urchin Software, and has rapidly become a standard tool in the SEM business. The service is free and forms part of the product range available to anyone with a Google account. A tracking code inserted into every page of your site relays data back to Google following each page access or on-page event. As well as the standard statistical metrics common to most stats tools, Analytics now offers a wide array of sophisticated features such as Real-Time, Experiments, Events, Conversion Goals, In-page Analytics, Visitor Flow and integration with AdWords accounts. Each of these features leads to deeper analysis of your website's performance and more accurate conclusions about how it can be improved.