Google Ads

Google Ads Glossary: 90 Terms You Should Master

Google Ads is one of the most popular online advertising platforms in the world, allowing businesses to reach their target audience through various advertising channels such as search, display, video, and shopping.

In order to get the most out of the platform, it’s important to have a solid understanding of its terminology. This article provides a comprehensive glossary of common Google Ads terms, helping you navigate the platform and make informed decisions about your advertising strategy.

From “Ad Group” to “Conversion Rate”, this Google Ads glossary covers all the essential terms you need to know to succeed with Google Ads. Let’s dive in.

Basic Terms

Keywords: These are the words or phrases that individuals input into Google Search, which cause your ad to be shown. When creating an ad campaign, you can pick a list of keywords that you feel people may type in when they are looking for what you have to offer.

Bid: This is the maximum amount you are ready to pay when someone clicks on your ad. (With Google Ads, you don’t pay to be seen – only when someone clicks on your ad and goes to your website or calls you.)

Quality Score: This metric lets you know how pertinent your keywords are to your ad – and to your landing page (i.e. the web page people will go to when they click your ad). A good Quality Score can decrease your bid costs and enhance your ad rank in the search results.

Ad Rank: This metric helps decide where your ad will be placed, compared to other ads, when it is triggered to show up on Google. Your rank is determined by your bid, your Quality Score, your expected CTR, and other elements.

CPC: With CPC (cost-per-click), the precise sum you are charged when someone clicks on your advertisement is determined. (You may not always pay the full amount of your bid each time someone clicks on your ad; this just establishes an assorted range of potential CPC costs you may be billed with.)

Conversion: A conversion is recorded when a person who has clicked your ad completes an action you have determined to be important – purchasing, downloading, subscribing to a newsletter, or calling you.

PPC Glossary

Ad Campaign: A collection of ads that share the same concept, theme, and goal. The ad campaign can have one or multiple ad groups, meaning that the PPC ads in the ad groups and the whole ad campaign will generally target related keywords.

Ad group: Set of ads that target related keywords generally under one bid. Ad groups are used to keep your account and campaign organized.

Ad copy: Refers to any text that occurs with an ad. For PPC, this generally indicates the headline, any descriptions, and the URL. The best ad copy engages the viewer.

Headline: First line of your PPC ad. It contains a maximum of 25 characters and is what users notice first.

Call-To-Action (CTA): Any action you encourage your visitors to take, such as calling in, signing up for email newsletters, or buying a product. For PPC, this means clicking on your ad’s link and heading to your landing page (which can have additional CTAs).

Ad extensions: Google Ads features that allow additional pieces of information like price, extra links, and ratings, you can add free of charge to your pay-per-click ad. If a user clicks on the additional information, you will be charged the same as when they click on your PPC ad’s main link.

Automated Extensions: Set of Google Ads features that automatically generate information snippets for your paid ad.

Call extensions: Also called “Click-to-Call.” Google Ads feature that allows you to add your business phone number beneath the text of your PPC ad, which will enable users to click the number to place a call.

Callout extensions: Google Ads feature that you can use to promote offers such as free shipping, price matching, or 24-hour service beneath your ad’s text.

Location extensions: Google Ads feature adds your business address and phone number beneath your PPC ads.

Structured snippet extensions: A feature that allows you to show more information on specific products and services beneath your PPC text ad in the form of a header and a list of features.

Message extensions: A feature on Google Ads adds text messaging capabilities directly to your ad so potential customers can quickly contact you for more information.

Price extensions: Google Ads feature that showcases a list of products or services and their prices beneath the text of your PPC.

Promotion extensions: Free-to-add Google Ad feature that highlights current sales for your target audience by adding promotional offers beneath text ads.

Sitelinks extensions: Google Ads extension that promotes additional links (with separate URLs from the main one) to your site below the text of the paid ad.

Seller ratings extension: Google Ads extension that displays the number of ratings gathered from Google and approved third-party sites on a five-star scale beneath ad text. The extension helps generate quality leads from users making informed decisions and enables you to examine the performance of your ad.

Ad rank: The value that is used to determine your ad position in the SERPs is calculated by the amount you bid multiplied by your ad keyword’s quality score.

Ad position: The position that your advertisements show in the search engine results pages (SERPs). There are, on average, ten paid ad positions on each page. Usually, the first ad on the search page, ad position “one,” earns the most clicks.

Ad rotation: Google Ads setting that allows you to rotate the set of ads within your ad group automatically every time the SERP is refreshed. You can either rotate your ads evenly or have Google select the best-performing ads to rotate.

Ad scheduling: Also called “dayparting.” It allows you to customize the periods that your ads run so that you can target times of the day in which your ad would be more successful.

Automated Rules: Google Ads feature that will make automatic adjustments to your ad campaign based on customizations, such as seasonal factors, that you set in place beforehand.

AdSense: Google program that compensates sites for showing paid ads. AdSense works by matching relevant text and display ads to the content and visitor demographics on the hosting sites.

Assisted conversion: A measure of the interaction of users leading up to conversion, but not the last click to convert on your site. The value allows you to see which channels perform the best in your multi-channel advertising campaign.

Audience: Group of users with predefined demographics that you want to convert with your advertising campaign. It can also refer to the users who have completed specific actions such as visiting your website or showing interest in your services.

Average Cost-Per-Click (Avg. CPC): The average amount of money spent when users click on your ad’s landing page.

Bid: Also called “Keyword Bid.” The maximum price you want to spend for clicks for keywords that your target with your paid ads.

Automatic Bidding: Google Ads places your bid amount for you to gather the highest amount of clicks possible while staying within your budget. Your bid will automatically go up by the amount you specify after a competitor bids for the same keyword.

Manual bidding: Where you set and adjust custom bid amounts without Automatic Bidding activated. Lets you have greater control over maximizing your cost-per-click.

Smart bidding: Subset of automated bidding strategies that enhance conversion and conversion value across your bidding campaign with machine learning. The automatic bids can be tailored to the bidder’s unique context.

Bidding types: Four ways to bid for your target keywords and their ad space include Cost-per-click (CPC), cost-per-thousand-impressions (CPM), Active View cost-per-thousand-impressions (Active View CPM), and cost-per-engagement (CPE). Advertisers choose which method best suits their advertising goals.

Bid management: Regulating bids to obtain the minimum bid for a keyword by grouping and optimizing keywords. Google has features that will allow you to do this automatically.

Enhanced Cost-Per-Click (ECPC): Google Ad feature that provides automatic bid management for your manual bids. It raises and lowers your custom bids for keywords predicted to be more or less likely to convert, increasing the ROI for your ad campaign.

Keyword research: Also called “Keyword Mining.” The process of finding and optimizing for relevant keywords to your target keyword. Identifying a keyword’s user intent is also a part of keyword research.

Keyword planner: Google’s keyword research tool helps advertisers to find related keywords and negative keywords estimate keyword traffic volume and determine competition pages.

Long-tail keywords: Keyword phrases containing two or more words, like “deep crust pepperoni pizza.” These keywords are more specific than head terms and are often less competitive. Targeting long-tail keywords will help you generate qualified web traffic.

Negative keywords: Keywords added to your account indicated that you don’t want your ads to display on the search pages for search queries containing those keywords. Identifying negative keywords will help your ad campaign draw in more qualified clicks.

Low search volume: Keywords with little to no search history on Google Search will be inactive until searches for them increase.

Search query: Also called “search term,” the term or phrase that users enter into a search bar to find information. Your ad will appear on their search page if the query contains the keywords you bid for.

Search Terms: Reports that are generated by Google Ads that specify how well your targeted keywords are performing against users’ search queries. In other words, the report will identify the search terms users enter before they click on your PPC.

Broad match: Default keyword matching options for ads. It allows you to show your ad when the search query contains your keyword in any order or contains any misspellings, synonyms, related searches, or relevant variations.

Exact match: Allows you to specify whether to show ads only if the search query matches your keyword word-for-word.

Phrase match: This lets you display ads only when users’ search queries include your keyword’s close match.

Key performance indicator (KPI): The performance value of your primary metric. It helps you determine if you are reaching your advertising campaign’s goal.

Primary metric: The measurable value, such as leads, that you determine is most important for your advertising campaign.

Impression: The total number of times your ad is shown in a SERP or a Google Network site.

Impression share (IS): The ratio of the number of impressions you received against the estimated number of impressions you could have received.

Cost-Per-Thousand Impressions (CPM): The maximum price you are willing to bid for every thousand impressions you receive.

Cost-Per-Impression (CPI): The average cost per ad shown in the search pages and an alternate bidding option to cost-per-click.

Reach: The total number of users who view an ad.

Click: The action of following a link to a website. For PPC, this is precisely how many people click on the link to your landing page.

Click-Through Rate (CTR): The ratio of the number of clicks against the number of times the ad was shown (impressions). It’s used to help you measure your advertising campaign’s performance.

View-Through-Rate (VTR): The ratio for skippable ads measuring the number of completed views against the number of initial impressions.

Cost-Per-View (CPV): The average cost per view on a video ad.

Conversion: Any action you want your visitor to take that you deem is valuable, such as calling, filling in a form, signing up for a newsletter, or purchasing a product or service. For a PPC campaign, generating more of a specific type of conversion is often the goal.

Lead: Potential customers or users who show an interest in your brand, product, or services, but have not yet taken action to convert.

Conversion rate: The ratio of the number of conversions divided by the number of clicks. It helps you determine how successful your ad campaign is by determining how often a click becomes a conversion.

Cost-Per-Conversion: The average cost required for a conversion on your site.

Cost-Per-Engagement: The average cost for any time a user interacts with your ad in some manner.

Cost-Per-Lead (CPL): The average cost it takes to generate a lead.

Cost-Per-Acquisition (CPA): The average cost it takes to generate a customer.

Return on ad spend (ROAS): This is the ratio that determines the amount of money gained (or lost) in comparison to the amount of money invested. Useful when comparing the performances of two ad campaigns. This is the KPI that I work on improving for my clients.

Return on investment (ROI): Similar to ROAS, a ratio that determines the amount of money gained (or lost), including any expenditures made in the process, in comparison to the amount of money spent. ROI is used to measure how efficiently your PPC is performing and to determine whether the investment was worth it.

Customer lifetime value (CLV): Estimate of how much profit a customer will generate over the course of an entire relationship with your business.

View-Through conversion: The number of online conversions within 30 days. Measures users who see a paid ad but don’t click on the ad but are converted through other means.

Conversion optimizer: Google Ads feature that helps adjust your bids depending on which clicks will likely be profitable.

Daily budget: Amount of money you choose to be spent each day for your ad campaign.

Destination URL: The URL of your landing page.

Display URL: The URL shown with your PPC ad. This can be your destination URL or a separate, shorter URL. Only have one display URL for each ad group with the same root domain as your destination URL.

Display network: Also called “Content Network.” A network of partnered sites and apps where it’s possible to show your ad if you agree to pay a part of the ad’s revenue.

Bounce rate: The ratio of users who bounce after visiting your page.

Invalid clicks: Also called “Click Fraud,” clicks on ads that are rendered using automatic and sometimes malicious software.

Landing page: The page on your site, marked by your destination URL, where users find themselves after they click on your PPC ad.

Manual tagging: Tagging your destination URLs yourself instead of through automated software, which allows for flexibility and customization and can be passed on to third parties.

Negative placement: Also called “Placement Exclusion.” Similar to how Negative Keywords work, Google Ads lets you determine which ads you want to prevent from appearing on particular sites increasing the relevancy of your ads.

Geotargeting: Also called “Location Targeting.” Limiting your advertisements to a broader geographical region than geofencing and to demographic criteria such as age range.

Location targeting: Google Ads setting that allows you to show your ads to users in specified geographic locations.

Topic targeting: Google Ads feature that allows targeting of selected topics instead of keywords or placements and leads to more impressions than conversions.

Placement targeting: Also called “Managed Placement,” lets you target sites in the Partner Network where you want to place ads.

Interest categories: Google Ads setting that allows you to target groupings of users based on their interests.

Quality score: Google Ads Quality Score is a rating system used by Google to determine the quality and relevance of both your keywords and PPC ads. It takes into account three factors related to keywords, ads, and landing pages, such as Expected Click-Through Rate (CTR) and landing page experience, to measure how likely a campaign will perform well. Quality Score is used to determine your cost per click (CPC) and is multiplied by your maximum bid to determine your ad rank in the ad auction process.

Remarketing: Also known as “retargeting,” a marketing campaign that involves showing targeted ads to returning visitors to increase the chances of them converting.

Remarketing lists for search ads (RLSA): Remarketing Lists for Search Ads (RLSA) is a Google Ad feature that helps you reach members of your audience that have previously visited your site and serve them targeted ads in queries for related keywords on Google or other Google Display Network sites. Creating specific RLSA audiences helps marketers leverage the already interested highly-valuable audience members, as it may not be as difficult for them to convert.

Search partners: Partner sites of Google that agree to show PPC ads for a portion of the profit generated from the ads. When creating a Google Ads campaign, your ads will appear on these sites as well.

Shared budgets: Budgeting option for Google Ads to spread your paid ad budget across multiple ad campaigns.

Split test: Also called “A/B testing” or “bucket testing.” Testing two versions of an ad with one slight difference to see which performs more effectively.

Product listing ads (PLA): Also called “Google Shopping ad,” a type of paid ad that includes more information on products such as images, price, and brand name. Similar to PPC, you only pay when users click on the ad.

TrueView video ads: YouTube video format that gives viewers a choice over which messages they want to see and when and the ability to skip ads, which means you don’t have to pay for unwanted views.

Tracking code: A snippet of JavaScript that tracks the activity of a user after they visit a site.

Change history: Google Ads tool that allows you to view all changes from a specific date range with filter options for particular changes, such as bid adjustments, status changes, and keyword additions.

Cookies: small pieces of data stored on a user’s device when they visit websites. They are used to store information about the user’s activities on the website, such as their preferences and the pages they have visited. This data can be used to deliver personalized content, such as displaying targeted advertisements or remembering user settings when they visit the site again.

Nothing is ever perfect, so feel free to let me know if you see anything missing from this comprehensive Google Ads glossary!

Hi, I’m Rasti, a digital marketer working on Facebook ads, Google Ads, and whatever allows businesses to get the absolute most out of their ad budgets. When I’m not optimizing ad campaigns, I am striving to visit every country in the world.

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