Guess what? Ads cost money – big money.
As you are tooling around on the internet, doing Google searches, reading news sites, or whatever, you may see ads. Clicking on those ads cost advertisers money.
On the internet ads are sold in a variety of ways. Generally, pricing is determined by impressions per thousand displays, or- in the case of Google- by clicks. Google has an entire business called AdWords, which determines through demand bidding the value of particular key words. The higher the demand for a particular word, the higher the cost per click they charge. Some key words cost hundreds of dollars per click.
Ads are shown many, many times to get a single click. Hence prospective advertisers receive some value in product name recognition, but the key is to get “conversions” – e.g. someone to buy your product.
So, every time you click on an ad, the advertiser who is behind that ad has to pay Google for that click. For example, search for the word Obama on Google and you’re likely to see this ad right at the top of the page.
Or if you search for Affordable Health Care, you might see this ad
If you search for election 2012, you might see this ad appear to the right:
Google and other advertisers try to filter out repeated clicks coming from the same user. Were you to open a different browser and repeat, the advertiser would be charged for those clicks as coming from different users, as different browsers register differently with ad servers.
Similarly, if you were to click on an ad using a different computer (say at work, school, library), this could also result in a charge to the advertiser.
Finally, advertisers also persist small files on your computer known as cookies. In order to avoid being inundated with related ads, you may even wish to delete your cookies inside the browser’s preference section or to use an anonymous mode in browsers like Chrome.
I hope you found this information about how advertisers have to pay for clicks for their ads on the internet useful.