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Google Expands Pay-Per-Action Beta

Google today expanded its pay-per-action (PPA) advertising beta to include all advertisers with more than 500 conversions from their pay- per-click and pay-per-impression based campaigns in the past 30 days.

The search company said it would only show the pay-per-action ads on publisher sites in the Google content network, also known as Google AdSense for content sites. You can recognize a Google Adsense for Content site as one with advertising on its margins brought to you "by Gooooooogle."

Google began more limited PPA testing in March.

Traditionally, Google charges advertisers using a pay-per-click model, getting paid when an Internet user goes to an advertiser's site through a link in a Google ad. With Pay-per-action, however, advertisers only pay when a pre-defined action is completed on their site, such as when a user makes a purchase, signs up for a newsletter, or completes any other clearly defined action.

Google advertising customer Thomas Pitts of Flagstuff.com told internetnews.com the PPA beta expansion is wonderful news.

Pitts is a long time Google AdWords advertiser, which means advertisements for his site show up on Google search results pages. But so far Pitts has been reluctant to participate in Google AdSense for content.

That's because unlike Google's search marketing product, Google AdWords, which only shows a link to an advertisers site when users search for any keyword in a set selected by the advertiser, Google AdSense for Content advertising distributes links to a participating advertiser's site across the Internet.

And, as much as Google tries to place these links on sites relevant to what the advertiser is selling -- matching a sporting goods store with a golfer's blog, for example -- the targeting can never be as exact as it is when it's based on user search queries. The results page for all searches on the terms "sporting goods store," is probably the best place to put an ad for such a store.

That is, unless the hypothetical sporting goods store only had to pay Google for distributing its link when a shopper clicked on it and then bought something from the site.

That's Pay-Per-Action advertising. And Pitts is in.

"It's wonderful," Pitts said. "You have control of your costs. You know how much it will cost to get an order."

Pitts and all other Google advertiser who qualify will have their chance to join in starting today. Google said advertisers who have already joined the beta will see an alert in their AdWords account informing them that they can now create pay-per-action campaigns.