The advent of the pay-per-click (PPC) model produced a new breed of Internet marketer. Instead of the technological expertise required for search engine optimization (SEO), anyone with marketing savvy could set up, manage, and optimize PPC campaigns. Its simplicity and accessibility led to extensive adoption by all sizes of companies, even home-based entrepreneurs. Paid search surged ahead, morphing Google into a financial behemoth expecting 600,000 AdWords advertisers by 2008 (source: 2004 “leaked” forecast on SFGate.com).
But the easy times of PPC marketing are gone. Increasing competition, shrinking inventories, and a proven “black box” revenue model have made paid search increasingly sophisticated, especially on the top search engines.