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The Internet has brought media to a global audience. The interactive nature of Internet marketing in terms of providing instant response and eliciting responses, is a unique quality of the medium. Internet marketing is sometimes considered to have a broader scope because it not only refers to the Internet, e-mail, and wireless media, but it includes management of digital customer data and electronic customer relationship management (ECRM) systems.
Internet marketing ties together creative and technical aspects of the Internet, including: design, development, advertising, and sales.
Internet marketing also refers to the placement of media along different stages of the customer engagement cycle through search engine marketing (SEM), search engine optimization (SEO), banner ads on specific websites, e-mail marketing, and Web 2.0 strategies. In 2008 The New York Times, working with comScore, published an initial estimate to quantify the user data collected by large Internet-based companies. Counting four types of interactions with company websites in addition to the hits from advertisements served from advertising networks, the authors found the potential for collecting data upward of 2,500 times on average per user per month.
With the rise of e-commerce and internet marketing, article marketing has made a move to the online world as well. As in traditional forms of media, online article marketing has served the dual role of providing publishers with what amounts to free content, and advertisers with similarly free advertising.
The website where an author can post an article is known as an article directory. The primary reason an author can post an article without cost is that the directory owner places advertising on each article page and collects the revenue generated from the advertising. The article directory site gradually increases its own search engine popularity as more articles are posted, benefitting both the author and the directory owner with increased visitor numbers and therefore article page views.
However unlike the off-line version, there are additional dimensions to article marketing online. Most notable among the differences is the use of articles for search engine optimization. Articles are written to target particular keyword niches, and distributed to content publishers that cater to those markets. Authors are able to target their audience with informative content, sent to an already-interested group of readers.
Many online article marketers enjoy the low cost of this type of advertising and so have written hundreds and sometimes thousands of articles. One online article writer has written 12,900 articles. These prolific article authors also enjoy abundant backlinks (i.e., links pointing back to the business' website). When the articles are distributed via RSS, the exposure to the authoring business and number of backlinks is increased greatly.
Another article marketing option available is where the author can choose to take control of the advertising space on the page where his article is posted. With this option the author has the choice to either have no advertising to compete with the article, or to have control over the advertising on the page along with the revenue generated.
Article marketing has become increasingly popular as a marketing method under the Web 2.0 generation of business on the Internet. Many subjects have gained popularity through viral propagation of articles via social networks such as Facebook and LinkedIn. Many authors have also joined web 2.0 sites like squidoo and hubpages in order to continue to distribute their articles. The sudden popularity of article marketing has caused an overall reduction in quality in many subjects, mainly due to individuals writing low-quality articles as a quick way of achieving exposure. Efficient use of article marketing as a form of promotion requires invested effort in writing high-quality, relevant articles.
Search engine optimization (SEO) deals with the order in which webpages are ranked when keywords or phrases are typed into search engines. The higher a page is ranked, the more likely that page will draw a greater number of site visitors. For company websites, increased traffic often translates into increased sales, and article marketing has proven to be useful and effective for several leading Internet marketing ventures. One method of SEO encompasses the idea that a website's rank in search engines will rise as it obtains more backlinks. There is no way to know for sure the complete accuracy of this assumption as the algorithm that Google, Yahoo!, Bing and other search engines use is closely guarded. Therefore, writing and distributing articles that contain a link to a business owner's website within the bio box should result in more links back to that website. Theoretically this process will increase that website's rank within search engines. This theory has led to a trend in online marketing toward writing articles solely for SEO purposes, and are commonly referred to as reprint articles. This trend has been matched by a wide selection of article marketing directory websites which accept, vet, and provide redistribution of such articles to online publishers. The free distribution of articles has, however, led to a large amount of duplicated content appearing on websites across the Internet. The quality of articles can also suffer as some authors seek a large quantity of backlinks at the possible expense of content quality. Further, scrapers and scraper sites are contributing to the problem with the copying of others' content and putting them on their own web sites. To prevent this from happening many website owners are using services like copyscape to prevent their content from being used without their consent.
PPC is an Internet advertising model used on websites, in which advertisers pay their host only when their ad is clicked. With search engines, advertisers typically bid on keyword phrases relevant to their target market. Content sites commonly charge a fixed price per click rather than use a bidding system.
CPC is the amount of money an advertiser pays search engines and other Internet publishers for a single click on its advertisement that brings one visitor to its website. In contrast to the generalized portal, which seeks to drive a high volume of traffic to one site, PPC implements so called affiliate model, that provides purchase opportunities wherever people may be surfing. It does this by offering financial incentives (in the form of a percentage of revenue) to affiliated partner sites. The affiliates provide purchase-point click-through to the merchant. It is a pay-for-performance model—if an affiliate does not generate sales, it represents no cost to the merchant. The affiliate model is inherently well-suited to the web, which explains its popularity. Variations include, banner exchange, pay-per-click, and revenue sharing programs. Websites that utilize PPC ads will display an advertisement when a keyword query matches an advertiser's keyword list, or when a content site displays relevant content. Such advertisements are called sponsored links or sponsored ads, and appear adjacent to or above organic results on search engine results pages, or anywhere a web developer chooses on a content site. Although many PPC providers exist, Google AdWords, Yahoo! Search Marketing, and Microsoft adCenter are the three largest network operators, and all three operate under a bid-based model. Cost per click (CPC) varies depending on the search engine and the level of competition for a particular keyword. The PPC advertising model is open to abuse through click fraud, although Google and others have implemented automated systems to guard against abusive clicks by competitors or corrupt web developers. There are two primary models for determining cost per click: flat-rate and bid-based. In both cases the advertiser must consider the potential value of a click from a given source. This value is based on the type of individual the advertiser is expecting to receive as a visitor to his or her website, and what the advertiser can gain from that visit, usually revenue, both in the short term as well as in the long term. As with other forms of advertising targeting is key, and factors that often play into PPC campaigns include the target's interest (often defined by a search term they have entered into a search engine, or the content of a page that they are browsing), intent (e.g. to purchase or not), location (for geo targeting), and the day and time that they are browsing.
In the flat-rate model, the advertiser and publisher agree upon a fixed amount that will be paid for each click. In many cases the publisher has a rate card that lists the CPC within different areas of their website or network. These various amounts are often related to the content on pages, with content that generally attracts more valuable visitors having a higher CPC than content that attracts less valuable visitors. However, in many cases advertisers can negotiate lower rates, especially when committing to a long-term or high-value contract. The flat-rate model is particularly common to comparison shopping engines, which typically publish rate cards. However, these rates are sometimes minima, and advertisers can pay more for greater visibility. These sites are usually neatly compartmentalized into product or service categories, allowing a high degree of targeting by advertisers. In many cases, the entire core content of these sites is paid ads.
In the bid-based model, the advertiser signs a contract that allows them to compete against other advertisers in a private auction hosted by a publisher or, more commonly, an advertising network. Each advertiser informs the host of the maximum amount that he or she is willing to pay for a given ad spot (often based on a keyword), usually using online tools to do so. The auction plays out in an automated fashion every time a visitor triggers the ad spot. When the ad spot is part of a search engine results page (SERP), the automated auction takes place whenever a search for the keyword that is being bid upon occurs. All bids for the keyword that target the searcher's geo-location, the day and time of the search, etc. are then compared and the winner determined. In situations where there are multiple ad spots, a common occurrence on SERPs, there can be multiple winners whose positions on the page are influenced by the amount each has bid. The ad with the highest bid generally shows up first, though additional factors such as ad quality and relevance can sometimes come into play (see Quality Score). In addition to ad spots on SERPs, the major advertising networks allow for contextual ads to be placed on the properties of 3rd-parties with whom they have partnered. These publishers sign up to host ads on behalf of the network. In return, they receive a portion of the ad revenue that the network generates, which can be anywhere from 50% to over 80% of the gross revenue paid by advertisers. These properties are often referred to as a content network and the ads on them as contextual ads due to the fact that the ad spots are associated with keywords based on the context of the page on which they are found. In general, ads on content networks have a much lower click-through rate (CTR) and conversion rate (CR) than ads found on SERPs and consequently are less highly valued. Content network properties can include websites, newsletters, and e-mails. Advertisers pay for each click they receive, with the actual amount paid based on the amount bid. It is common practice amongst auction hosts to charge a winning bidder just slightly more (e.g. one penny) than the next highest bidder or the actual amount bid, whichever is lower. This avoids situations where bidders are constantly adjusting their bids by very small amounts to see if they can still win the auction while paying just a little bit less per click. To maximize success and achieve scale, automated bid management systems can be deployed. These systems can be used directly by the advertiser, though they are more commonly used by advertising agencies that offer PPC bid management as a service. These tools generally allow for bid management at scale, with thousands or even millions of PPC bids controlled by a highly automated system. The system generally sets each bid based on the goal that has been set for it, such as maximize profit, maximize traffic at breakeven, and so forth. The system is usually tied into the advertiser's website and fed the results of each click, which then allows it to set bids. The effectiveness of these systems is directly related to the quality and quantity of the performance data that they have to work with - low-traffic ads can lead to a scarcity of data problem that renders many bid management tools useless at worst, or inefficient at best.