Google AdWords celebrated its birthday at the weekend, marking ten years since the company first launched its pay per click (ppc) services.

Since becoming available in the US on October 23 2000, AdWords has grown from an initial 350 customers to become one of the tech giant's key revenue streams, according to the Guardian.

The newspaper reports that up to 97 per cent of Google's $22.89 billion (£14.57 billion) revenue comes from advertising and much of that is generated through its ppc services.

Matt Britten, Google's managing director for the UK and Ireland, tells the publication Adwords offers a way for businesses to grow that "wasn't possible to them before".

"The market was just too inefficient," he explains. He goes on to credit AdWords' success to its ability to allow businesses to find customers right when they need their service.

Google continues to expand its advertising network, as evidenced by its $750 million (£476 million) takeover of mobile marketing network AdMob in May, which makes it a major player in the lucrative smartphone market.

Even with increased competition from similar services offered by Microsoft's Bing search engine, the Guardian reports that AdWords continues to grow by 10-15 per cent a year.

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