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Differences between PPC, Affiliate Marketing and eCommerce

november 7, 2012

Ever since the internet has gone viral, people are making money of it. Both big companies and your regular Joe have found ways to use the way the internet connects people to make a few, or a lot of bucks. Surprising enough, the ways people use the internet when trying to make money, are very limited. The three main strategies are PPC (pay per click), affiliate marketing and eCommerce. Three very different approaches, with exactly the same goal.

Pay Per Click
PPC has manifested itself into the internet thanks to Google Adsense, everyone is free to sign up with Google, and within an hour they will be able to get a piece of code which represents advertisements that are specifically suited for the page you put the code on. This means that you don’t have to find advertisers, and you don’t have to deal with the technical side of the process. When people click on these ads, Google receives some money from the advertiser, and the publisher will receive some money from Google, so the only party the publisher needs to deal with in order to receive his money is Google.

Affiliate Marketing
Affiliate marketing is a more targeted way of advertising. When dealing with PPC, the publisher needs to write about a certain topic, and Google Adsense takes care of the rest. Affiliate marketers, however, publish an article with the goal of recommending their readers to buy a certain product. When someone takes the publishers advise, and buy the recommended product by using a link that is unique for that publisher, the publisher will receive a commission.

Therefore, there is a difference in the way affiliate marketing is used, and the way PPC is used.

When an article is related to a general topic, and not to a specific product, PPC is the way to go. When the article is there to recommend one, or a collection of products, the publisher should find a way to get affiliated with a company that sells one or more of these products.


eCommerce is a 21th century term for webshops. With a potential costumer base of literally hundreds of millions of people, a webshop has obvious advantages as opposed to a physical shop. When we were talking about PPC and Affiliate Marketing, the word advertisers came along quite a few times. The advertisers are the people that have a product, and want to sell it through eCommerce websites.


The differences

The business model for eCommerce is completely different than the ones for PPC and Affiliate websites. The only thing to get started as an affiliate or advertisement driven publisher, is a place on the internet where you can tell your story like a blog or a website. In order to start an eCommerce business, you need a company that ships your product, budget for advertising and wholesale goods, some way to seem reliable and much more. If anyone wants to start an eCommerce enterprise, they should have a solid business plan, enough time on their hands and quite a big capital to start with.

It seems like there isn’t much difference between PPC and Affiliate Marketing, but that isn’t true at all.

Both models are used to convert traffic to an article with a certain topic, to paying costumers and receiving commission for doing so. The way people find your article is inherent in your article itself, and is the key to knowing which model is best.


For example:

Hugh is wondering about what guitar strings are made of, or how they are made.

Search terms Hugh might use are “What are guitar strings made of” or “How are guitar string made”. 

We know from the keyword Hugh used to search, that he isn’t directly interested in buying strings. In this case affiliate links will feel obtrusive to Hugh, because he came on your page on How Guitar Strings Are Made, just to find out about the production process. If you get Hugh to an article with your guitar string recommendations, the site will look cheap. 

Still we know something valuable about Hugh, because what kind of people are interested in the production process of guitar strings? Indeed, guitar players.

Using Google Adsense is the best choice for monetizing this web page, because Hugh will be satisfied with your (Note: Strictly and exclusively informative) page, and on the side of the article that just explained what he wanted to know, there will be ads about guitars, amps, strings, picks and many more products he might be interested in. 

A great rule of thumb: People that are using the internet just to get informed, want to make their own choice.


A short overview:

eCommerce: Best suitable for you if you have a great product and you want paying costumers. You should, however, be prepared to invest a lot of time and money into your business.

PPC: Best suitable for you if you are a writer, and you think that your articles might be the best ones to get people informed about any topic.

Affiliate Marketing: Best suitable for you if you can get targeted traffic, consisting of people that are looking for a product in general, and you feel your article is the best way to recommend those visitors to your page the product that suits them best.


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