There is more to choosing affiliate programs than just selecting the products that are right for your website. You also need to consider the payment structure offered by an affiliate program before you decide to join. Affiliate programs offer a number of different payment structures, including pay-per-sale and pay-per-click plans. For affiliate marketers, the most lucrative affiliate programs often utilize a pay-per-click structure. However, you need to carefully consider your options and learn more about pay-per-click (PPC) affiliate programs before you decide what is right for your affiliate marketing needs.

What are Pay-Per-Click Affiliate Programs?

Pay-per-click is an advertising model based on paying affiliates every time a link is clicked. Unlike the pay-per-sale model, which requires an actual successful purchase in order to earn a sales commission, the pay-per-click structure is generally much more friendly to affiliate marketers.

How do pay-per-click affiliate programs work? In this model, advertisers and affiliates bid on keywords or keyword phrases that are popular with online searchers. These ads are the “Sponsored Links” you often see listed on many websites, including some of the Internets most popular destinations. These links serve as a major source of income for many websites and are a great way for advertisers and affiliates to promote their products and services to a wide audience.

Some of the most popular pay-per-click affiliate programs include Google AdWords, Google AdSense, and Yahoo! Search Marketing. Smaller programs such as AdBrite are rapidly gaining in popularity as well. Before you choose a programs, spend some time researching your options and the features each affiliate program has to offer.

What are the Benefits of Pay-Per-Click Affiliate Programs?

The greatest benefit on pay-per-click affiliate programs is that they are easy to use and do not require actually selling a product on your website. Once you sign up for the program, you simply add the links to your site. Because the pay-per-click model relies on contextual marketing, the ads are then matched to the content featured on your Web page. For example, if you have a website that promotes blogging tools, the ads that will appear on your site will also be about blogging tools and services. By matching the ads to the page content, readers are far more likely to click on these featured text ads.

What are the Downsides of Pay-Per-Click Affiliate Programs?

The popularity of the pay-per-click model may actually be a potential downside of this type of affiliate program. Thousands of websites now feature some type of contextual advertising, which means that online users come into contact with a significant number of ads. Because of this overexposure, readers actually start to ignore these ads and click-thru rates suffer as a result. In order to maximize the potential of your pay-per-click ads, you need to consider factors such as keyword popularity and text link positioning.

While pay-per-click affiliate programs are among the most popular with affiliate marketers, you need to consider your website content and reader needs before you decide if these programs are right for you. If you have a substantial amount of site traffic, high quality Web content and space to feature keyword targeted advertising, a pay-per-click program may be an effective addition to your site.