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Definition: pay-per-click


A Web marketing system in which the advertiser pays when the user clicks on its ad and goes to the site. Also known as "cost-per-click" (CPC), this is a results-oriented method compared to paying for just the placement of a banner ad on a Web page (see impression).

For ads on search engines, the advertiser that bid the most gets its ad to appear at the top of the results list; the second-highest appears next, and so on. After all paid advertisers are displayed, the regular search results appear. If the user clicks a pay-per-click ad, the advertiser's account is charged the amount of the bid. See CPL and CPA.