The Full History of How PPC Evolved Into the Modern-Day Incredible Advertising Platform (Updated in 2021)

The first affiliate marketing program was released in 1996 by a company called LinkShare. At the time, affiliate marketing programs were still new and it was difficult to track how much of an impact they had on sales.

But this all changed throughout the years as it got more and more popular. Today, affiliate marketing is huge. The industry pulls in millions of dollars monthly and it’s likely that it will only continue on growing.

One of the biggest parts of affiliate marketing today is PPC ads. But what are they and how did they get to the point where they are today?

Why did affiliate marketing start?

Affiliate marketing was started to encourage website owners to create content about a company. Each time that affiliate created an article or page, they would have their affiliate tag in it that was linked to the affiliate’s unique ID.

When people visited this affiliate link, the affiliate program provider would check to see if any money should be paid out for that click. The affiliate marketer would get paid even if the affiliate link did not lead to a direct purchase, but instead encouraged someone to go on to their affiliate provider’s website and make a purchase.

What are PPC Ads?

PPC Ads are ads that are targeted to keywords, meaning a business will pay every time someone searches for their product, and the ad network (Like Google Ads) places an ad at the top of the search results.

In order to place these ads, a business must set up a campaign using Google Ad or another PPC platform, which allows them to choose keywords relevant to what they are selling, and target people who have done a search similar to that. For example, if I am selling antiques in Texas, Google will place my ad at the top of the list for keywords such as “antique store texas”, or “texas antique store”.

The History Of PPC

The first PPC ad was created in the year 2000 by Goto.com, which was later acquired by Yahoo! As affiliate marketing evolved into PPC advertising, affiliate networks began to pop up left and right. Some of these affiliate networks included Commission Junction, ClickBank, LinkShare, MaxBounty, etc., which were all started years after affiliate marketing began.

The earliest form of affiliate marketing was actually done through email, where the affiliate would promote the product to his or her list and then receive a commission if they were able to convince someone. As this grew in popularity, affiliate marketers started buying space on other people’s websites for their affiliate links rather than just doing it themselves, which is how affiliate marketing became what it is today.

  • In 2000, Google launched AdWords which allowed advertisers to pay only when somebody clicked on their ad and not for every time somebody saw it. This is largely considered the model we use today because this means that if you advertise about something people don’t want or aren’t interested in, you won’t be paying anything at all! Advertisers can also set a maximum amount they’re willing to spend per day or per click (known as cost-per-click) so that they never go over budget. In 2001, Google came out with AdSense which allowed publishers to put ads on their websites and get paid a portion of the ad revenue.
  • In 2003, affiliate marketing became more popular as affiliate marketers would track visits from affiliate marketing programs and pay people for sales they made.
  • In 2007, Facebook Ads was released which is an advertising platform that allows the targeting of specific demographics.
  • In 2009, Twitter released Promoted Tweets which is a form of affiliate marketing where advertisers pay for their tweet to show up first in some searches.
  • In 2012, Pinterest Ads was released and it’s very similar to Facebook and Twitter ads as they’re also affiliate marketing programs that allow targeted advertising.
  • In 2014, Instagram Ads was released which is affiliate marketing like Facebook and Twitter ads.
  • By 2015, affiliate marketers were making 21% of all e-commerce sales made online! This shows how affiliate marketing has evolved into the modern-day advertising platform we know and love today.

What Is PPC Like Today?


Today, PPC Ads are quite popular and a quick way to get targeted traffic on your affiliate links. There are affiliate networks such as Google Ads, Bing Ads, and Amazon affiliate that host thousands of affiliate marketers who target potential customers by their search terms.

Some affiliate marketers use PPC ads instead of email marketing because you can see exactly how many people click the affiliate link which means affiliate marketers can make more money.

Businesses like to use PPC ads because it is very specific advertising that allows you to target people who are already looking for your affiliate product! By using PPC ads, businesses can also track exactly how many sales or leads they’ve gotten from the ad and pay only when they get something out of it, which is why PPC advertising has become so popular.

A lot of affiliate marketers like to use PPC ads because they’re a good way to make fast affiliate commissions and you can see exactly how many people go through the affiliate link and buy something, making them very easy to track!

PPC ads are also great for affiliate marketers because affiliate networks like Google Adwords give great affiliate support and education, which affiliate marketers can use to help them rank higher in search engines.

While affiliate marketing still accounts for 21% of all e-commerce sales, PPC ads are quickly growing due to their efficiency. This is why it’s important for affiliate marketers to learn how to advertise on PPC platforms such as Google Adwords and affiliate networks.

Affiliate marketers can also earn more money by becoming a part of affiliate network programs such as the Google Affiliate Network, CJ Affiliate, and Rakuten Linkshare which create affiliate programs for big companies. These affiliate marketers would work to advertise these affiliate links rather than affiliate links of affiliate marketers.

As you can see, affiliate marketing has evolved from advertising on a website to creating specific affiliate programs and affiliate networks. This is why affiliate marketing plays such an important role in the modern world as it’s provided many people with an easy way to make money online as well as helping companies grow their business!


PPC affiliate marketing is what we use today to advertise our businesses online. It all started back in the days of just print media where advertisers would buy space on a page of a magazine. Eventually, this progressed to buying space on a website, which eventually led to targeting potential customers by their search terms. This practice has completely revolutionized how we advertise today and is one of the most popular forms of advertising that businesses use!

Affiliate marketing started affiliate marketers tracking visits from affiliate marketing programs and paying people for sales they made.

Pinterest ads, Facebook ads, Twitter ads, Instagram ads, affiliate networks all had to start somewhere in order for the affiliate marketing world we know today to exist. The evolution of affiliate marketing has to lead to the online advertising platform we know and love today.

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