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Inbound Marketing Blog

 

Paid advertising showdown: PPC vs Display

Posted by Andre' Savoie on Jan 31, 2011 4:51:07 AM

Why would you use PPC or Display Ads?

If you are seeking to improve online visibility, there are several good options for accomplishing this with paid advertising. Generally speaking, with paid advertising you are either paying for direct clicks, or paying for your ad to show up in front of interested parties.

PPC (Pay Per Click or Paid Search Advertising)

This type of ad is “pay for performance” meaning that you only incur an expense when someone clicks on your ad. These ads are setup to bid on certain key words and phrases within a geographic area that you designate. PPC is most often used with new websites that may be lagging behind competitors in terms of search engine optimization.

Pros of PPC

  • Immediate impact – usually visible within 2-3 days of campaign launch
  • Pay for performance – you pay only for clicks, not impressions
  • Placement control – you have control over which keywords you bid on as well as what search engines. You can also control which landing pages visitors will land on.
  • Branding – even though a user may not click on your ad, it will still be displayed in search results which increases the number of times a user may be exposed to your brand.

PPC Drawback – Because it is paid advertising, once your budget is exhausted your website may not be visible to users in the top results for your targeted words and phrases. That doesn't mean your website is not accessible, it only means your site may not get as much traffic because of lower position in the searches.

Display Advertising

Where PPC ads show up on search engines like Google, Yahoo and Bing, display ads show up on individual websites. A key difference from PPC is that you pay per impression rather than click, which makes it harder to link display ads to direct results (clicks, actions, etc).

Display advertising works on 2 important principles:

  1. Contextual interest – your ads will generally be placed on websites with pages that have topics that are related to your topic. In other words, a display ad for fishing might appear on most pages of a fishing related website, but could also appear on n individual page within a travel related website that was specifically related to fishing.
  2. Geographic location – advertisers have the option to only have their display ads appear in front of users whose IP addresses identify them with a certain geographic location. For instance, a web visitor to Yahoo.com from Florida might see a different set of ads than a user from California. This technology is not perfect, as some users hide their IP addresses, and others show incorrectly. However, it does prove to be reasonably accurate and successful.

Pros of Display Advertising:

  • Pay for impressions - you pay for a block of impressions (usually by thousands) for your ad to show up in front of a targeted web visitor.
  • More room for creative messaging – display ads are larger and allow for creative messaging, special offers, moving graphics, etc.
  • Targeted interest - Display ads show up in front of users on individual websites that may or may not be using search engines like Google to read up on their topic of interest.

Drawbacks to Display Ads – because you pay per impression and not per click, demonstrating ROI from display ads can sometimes be difficult. Display ads should be used as branding tools with expectations similar to other forms of display based advertising – that is to create awareness of your brand where it might have otherwise not been seen.

Topics: display advertising, AdWords, PPC, website traffic

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