On of the ways to market your products and services on the internet is paid online advertising. This video provides an overview of what paid online advertising is and how it can benefit your business. You may have heard the terms pay-per-click, or PPC, sponsored ads, and cost-per-click. All of these refer to paid online advertising and mean essentially the same thing – fee-based tools used to increase the visibility of your website on search engines and other high-traffic sites.

When you use search engines like Google, Bing, and Yahoo the first few links they see at the top of the results page are usually paid ads. In addition, any links in the right column of the search results page are typically paid ads as well. High-traffic websites like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn also display paid ads. Companies that sell online advertising, such as those just mentioned, are referred to as ‘publishers.’ There’s no shortage of publishers.

And there are a wide variety of paid advertising plans to choose from. Ranging from do-it-yourself kind, where you set up, track, and manage your ad campaigns, to fully managed plans where the publisher handles all aspects of your ad campaign for you. One major advantage of paid online ads is audience targeting. Targeting for specific demographics, locations, interests, and devices increases your chance of reaching the right prospects. You can even set up your ads to display at specific times of day, on specific days of the week.

Payment models for online advertising are constantly evolving and can be complex. One of the mainstays is the basic pay-per-click model, also called PPC. You pay a set amount each time someone clicks on your ad. The amount is either a flat rate agreed upon by you and the publisher or an amount determined through a keyword bidding process. Paid advertising done right can generate a lot of traffic right away.

But traffic doesn’t spell success unless visitors become customers – and that depends on the quality of your website. The page people see first when they click your ad, the landing page, must be compelling, with relevant, focused content, a prominent call-to-action, and clear navigation to the rest of your site.

Paid online advertising takes an investment in money and time, but one that can generate big returns. If you are considering it, invest first in a little research to be sure you understand your options, the various payment models, and the pros and cons of this type of online marketing..

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