The end of pay per click?


1st January 2019

Print & Design


By Alan Perkins

Managing Director


PAY per click has been around as a digital marketing model since the late 1990s, but are its days now numbered?, a spin-off of Bill Gross's Idealab, first offered online advertisers the ability to bid in an auction to appear at the top of search results as early as February 1998. was later renamed Overture and in 2003 was acquired by Yahoo for $1.63 billion. It's now part of Bing Ads. Meanwhile, in 2002 Google launched AdWords, now called Google Ads, which touched upon some of's original patents. When Google floated, it settled the patent litigation for 2.7 million shares of common stock, today worth over two billion dollars.

But the world is moving on quickly. Google now analyses 70 million signals in order to serve an ad, based on who the searcher is, what they're searching for, where they are, what they've been doing, what device they're using, which advertisers want to be seen by them, and so on. With this many signals, an interface to control the advertising would be several orders of magnitude more complex than a jumbo jet's flight deck. And it's changing in real time.

This is why Google now offers artificial intelligence tools to control its advertising. These tools take care of the advertising mechanic from beginning to end, all the way up to the point of action (lead gen) or sale (retail). And, because it's looking at the entire process, Google is able to change the pricing model from PPC (pay per click) to target CPA (cost per action) or target ROAS (return on ad spend). In other words, rather than specify how much they're prepared to pay per click, advertisers can work towards cost per lead or cost of advertising.

Agencies such as SilverDisc have long since worked on a performance basis, effectively translating PPC to CPA/ROAS/other performance metrics for our clients. Google providing these tools to work with signals on a massive scale, far bigger than has ever been available to us, frees up our time to work with our clients on strategy, creative, display, execution and analysis and create even greater competitive advantage for them.

As it approaches its 21st birthday PPC's days are indeed numbered, but it's not dying, it's evolving into something different and better.

For your business to benefit from this evolution, contact SilverDisc by calling 01536 316100 or visiting