A pay-per-click banner is an Internet advertising format that embeds a link inside an advertising banner that is shown on a website or among the results of a search engine. Pay-per-click banners generally display content that is related to the website on which it is being hosted or to the results of the search engine. Pay-per-click banners generate revenue for the hosting website through an affiliate system that rewards partners for each click or sale generated from the banner.
Advertisers can advertise using pay-per-click banners by submitting an advertisement through a network, such as Google or AdclickMedia. These advertising networks generally use a category matching system that displays banners in a highly targeted system to generate traffic to the advertiser's product or website.
Pay-per-click banner advertisements are typically referred to as a sponsored advertisement. Pay-per-click advertisements can also be displayed through a sponsored link on a search engine and can be located either before or after the engine's organic results. Pay-per-click advertisements are susceptible to click fraud that can result in increasing advertisement costs with little to no result.
Pay-per-click advertising was first documented in 1996 as part of the Planet Oasis web directory. As of 2015, the largest pay-per-click advertising network operators include Google Adwords, Microsoft adCenter and Yahoo! Search Marketing.