The Problem With Most Definitions of PPC.

When online advertising began, things were a lot simpler; you’d find a website and offer to place a banner of a standard shape and size on said site for a given fee.

However, as the years have moved on, the online traffic generation industry has grown exponentially and the types of advertising available now has grown into a long list of jargon and acronyms including PPC; Solo Ads; Banner; Display; Contextual; PPV; Media Buying – with all of this going on, it can be quite overwhelming for any newcomer to properly understand.

Why is this happening?

The problem is with the taxonomies (the groups of classification) being used and crossovers when trying to identify what each traffic source actually is.  One might argue that Google Adwords is PPC, but the ads are also Contextual.  Who is right?  Both are, of course, so I feel it’s better if it’s broken down into the following:

Payment Type

PPC/PPM/CPC/CPM/(PPV – Pay Per View)

These, in my humble opinion, should only be used to identify the payment model of the advertising itself. This is regardless of how the adverts are setup. The taxonomy would be called “Payment Model” or “Payment Type”.

Advertising Method

Contextual/Display/Interstitial(PPV – pop-unders)

The different types of advertising are then grouped on their individual methods of displaying the adverts to the target user.  So, Contextual would relate to ads that are displayed based on keywords that are found on the page (usually text, but sometimes images and banners or a combination of both); Display includes mostly any other kind of image or banner advertisement.


Social/Search/Solo Ads/Media Buying/(PPV – the toolbar)

Lastly, we have the “Medium” group which demonstrates which platform the advertising is being purchased on. Social would obviously relate to the social networks such as Facebook or Twitter using their own advertising mechanisms; Search would include Google/Bing etc and then Solo Ads/Media Buying for purchasing ads directly from email lists and websites.

What’s going on with PPV?

PPV is a real oddity in that it should probably be redefined at some point, but for now it really is a Payment Type/Advertising Method/Medium of its own whereby users are shown an advertiser site via a pop-under based on the current website they are looking at via a toolbar they have voluntarily downloaded to their web browser.

Technically, I feel the charging model although called Pay Per View, is almost identical to Pay Per Click – in that you pay when the user sees your site, although, it’s not really been their choice to see it and hence the quality will be lower than that of a click.  Anyhow, PPV is the only real anomaly amongst the group.

That’s it!

So that concludes my little view of defining the online advertising space – it makes things a lot clearer in my mind anyway.  It’s not really intended as a full breakdown of all definitions, but at least grouping the definitions in the first place helps to negate a lot of the initial confusion.  Let me know your thoughts!

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I use this blog of mine as a general brain-dump and to share my witterings about marketing, business, search engine optimisation and web development.

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Jeremy Chow

I use this blog of mine as a general brain-dump and to share my witterings about marketing, business, search engine optimisation and web development.

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