The Ultimate Glossary of Google Ad Terms

Johnathan Dane
Johnathan Dane

Having a handy dandy notebook with all the possible Google AdWords glossary terms is a must if you’re serious about your AdWords agency skills.

Whether you’re looking to understand the language of PPC or help train someone else, this Google AdWords glossary should be the most complete one you’ve ever laid your eyes on.

I seriously hope so. I only spent a good week of my life compiling it

This AdWords glossary should not only make you smarter, but it should help you get on with your life and be more eloquent when speaking about Google AdWords.
The beautiful part about this, is that it will help you master all AdWords definitions and prevent you from falling flat on your face back.


A/B Split Testing: When you set up two ads or landing pages against each other with equal traffic weight to see which performs better. Allowing one part to be the control and the other part to be the test.

Ad Auction: This happens in split seconds when searches are typed into Google and algorithms decide which ads to rank where. Every new search determines a new ad auction.

Ad Copy: This is the text part of a text ad. Also known as copywriting, hence the name “ad copy”.

Ad Delivery: Determines how quickly your ads will show. Google AdWords offers two choices for ad delivery – Accelerated and Standard (default).

Ad Delivery (Accelerated): This is an ad serving method that shows your ads as often as possible with no regards to spacing out your budget. Don’t care for spacing out your conversions? Choose this method.

Ad Delivery (Standard): This is the default ad serving method where you won’t show for all valid searches, but ad impressions are being spaced out to balance your daily budget.

Ad Group: This contains one or more ads with a target set of keywords and/or placements (for Display Network).

Ad Placement: Locations on the Google Display Network where your ad can appear based upon target keywords and relevancy to your ad. This could be across an entire Website ( or on a single page of a site (

Ad Preview & Diagnosis: A tool within Google AdWords that allows you to test and troubleshoot what your ads’ look like without racking up impressions.

ad preview and diagnosis

Ad Positioning:
The order in which your ad appears based upon the keyword maximum bid, Quality Score, and ad extensions. For the Search Network on desktop, this is between positions 1 through 11. 1-3 usually being above the organic listings and 8-11 being on the right hand side of the Google search results.

Ad Ranking: This is a unique equation determined by your keyword quality score multiplied by your max cost per click with an influence of the ad extensions you’re using. The advertiser with the highest product (result of the multiplication) gets the highest position.

Ad Rotation Settings: If you have multiple ads, the ad rotation settings help you decide which ads should be showed most often to potential visitors. Google has four ad rotation settings:

– Optimize for clicks (default): Shows the ads in the ad group that are the best performing based on click through rate more often. This will likely receive more impressions and clicks overall, since they are more attractive and usually have better positioning.

– Optimize for conversions: Shows the ads in the ad group with highest conversion rates more often.

– Rotate evenly: Shows the ads evenly within the ad group for 90 days and then it switches to optimize for clicks.

– Rotate indefinitely: Just like rotate evenly, but doesn’t have a 90 day limit.

Ad Scheduling: This is also known as day parting. Ad scheduling allows you to decide which days and times your ads should run. If you don’t want clicks, calls, or submissions after hours, then you can use ad scheduling to prevent that from happening.

Ad Variations: These are different ways that ads are put together through text, imagery, or design. The more ad variations you test, the faster you can figure out what messaging resonates best with your potential customers.

AdSense: The publisher version of Google AdWords that allows website owners to make money off of having ads placed on their site.

AdWords API: Also known as Application Programming Interface, the API allows you to communicate and make changes to AdWords through other programs at scale.

AdWords Discounter: This is a somewhat unknown feature that not a lot of people believe or trust in. It’s a tool within the backend of Google AdWords that makes sure you don’t pay more than 1 cent compared to the advertiser’s ad below you.

AdWords Editor: This is Google’s free bulk editing program that allows you to mass change bids, keywords, ads, settings, and other things that you can’t easily do within the regular AdWords interface. You can get it here.

Assist Clicks & Impressions: This report shows the clicks and impressions that have helped get to the last click that ultimately lead to a conversion.

Assisted Conversions: This report is similar to the one above in that it shows which keywords are helping to drive the most conversions.

Attribution Modeling: The science of understanding which paths a visitor took to convert and how to attribute and weigh the different paths in a manner that produces the highest ROI.

adwords attribution modeling

Auction Insights:
This is an AdWords report that shows which competitors are in the same auctions as you and how you compare against them.

Audience: This is in regards to remarketing/retargeting that sums up the size of people you have successfully cookied/pixeled to show your remarketing ads to at a later time.

Automated Rules: These allow you to save time by performing specific actions such as pausing/activating, raising/lowering bids depending on criteria you set.

Automatic Placements: These are website placements that Google automatically puts your display network ads on based on your targeting methods. You can locate these in your dimensions tab within the Google AdWords interface.

Auto Tagging: A feature that allows AdWords to communicate with Google Analytics through dynamically generated URL parameters.

Average Cost Per Click (Avg. CPC): This is the average amount of money it costs you when someone clicks on your ad. Google averages out the cost per clicks and display them at all levels (account, campaign, ad group, keyword, etc) within your AdWords account.

Average Position (Avg. Pos.): This shows you the average ad position you have since you may rank low and may rank high sometimes depending on the competitive circumstances.



Below The Fold: This is the part of a page where you have to scroll down to see what’s beneath.

Bid Modifier: This allows you to change bid percentages depending on certain specifics like time, location, and device. You can for example bid up 30% on mobile devices or decrease bids 10% in the city of Los Angeles.

Billing Threshold: This is the amount of time or volume of ad spend that triggers a deduction from your bank or credit card on file.

Broad Keyword Match: This keyword match type is also the scariest of all the match types. It allows your ad to appear for searches on similar phrases, synonyms, variations, and anything Google deems relevant when it comes to the search network. You could be selling black leather couches, but for some reason, Google could show your ad for the search term: leather, snuggie, and/or black beans.

Broad Match Modifier: This keyword match type gives you more control over the search terms you want to appear for compared to regular broad match, and gives you more flexibility at the same time.

By adding a “+” in front of the words in the keyword (like, ‘+rent a +bouncehouse’), you’re telling Google that you want the words ‘rent’ and ‘bouncehouse’ to appear in the search term for your ad to show. Order of words don’t matter.

Bounce: Speaking of bounce houses, this is the term used to describe the action of a visitor leaving your site or landing page without going to any other page.

Bulk Edits: Allows you to perform large actions across your entire AdWords account from campaigns to keywords.

Bulk Uploads: Allows you to upload CSV files to make large-scale changes at once.


Call to Action (CTA): This is a specific written action you want visitors to do from your ads or on your landing pages. Common CTAs like:

Call Now
Buy Now
Get Pricing & More Info

Are all in relation to what you want to person act upon so that you as the advertiser can achieve your goals.

Call Extensions: This is simply an extension to your text ad that allows you to have a phone number alongside it.

Callout Extensions: These are non-clickable ad text extensions that appear with your search ads.

callout extensions

Call Only Campaigns: 
Type of AdWords campaign that allows you to only give your visitors the option of calling and not clicking through to your landing page.

Call Tracking: This is the method of tracking which PPC campaigns are driving you phone calls so you can measure the ROI against your ad spend.

Campaign: This is the second highest level of settings after the account level. The campaign is where you specify all network, geographic locations, budgets, languages, ad scheduling, bid strategy and more. These house all ad groups, along with keywords, text ads, display ads, and display targeting.

Campaign Placement Exclusions: Allows you to create a list of unwanted website placement targets for your display network campaign(s).

Change History: This is an AdWords report that lets you see time stamps of different actions that have happened within your AdWords account.

Click: This happens when a person clicks on your ads. Pretty self-explanatory. Why did you even read this?

Click-Through-Rate (CTR): This is the number of clicks and ad has gotten divided by the amount of impressions (ad loading on a page) that same ad has received. CTR = # of Clicks / # of Impressions.

Contextual Targeting: This is a display network targeting setting that matches ads that use keyword, topic, or interest targeting to relevant and related sites on the Google Display Network.

Conversion: This is the successful action that is your end goal with your Google AdWords campaigns. If a visitor has converted, it means they’ve either filled out a form, called, chatted, bought, downloaded, or visited a key page. You decide on what you want to track.

Conversion/Confirmation Page: This is the page where you conversion code is on to track successful goals. It is usually the page people see right after they’ve completed a conversion.

Conversion Rate: This is the rate at which people convert on your site.

Example: If 100 visitors come to your site and 32 sign up for your monthly newsletter than your conversion rate would be 32%.

Screen Shot 2015-02-22 at 4.32.56 PM

Conversion Tracking: Allows you to track various actions that you deem relevant and important to the success of your Google AdWords campaigns.

Converted Clicks: This is the unique count for all customer conversions. One ad click can max result in one conversion. This won’t count multiple conversions from the same visitor.

Conversions: Counts all conversions no matter how many have been completed. If a person fills out your form five times in one visit, then five conversions will be recorded. Same goes for a person buying and checking out on your ecommerce site three different times after the same ad click.

Cost/Conversion:Shows the average cost per conversion. Total cost / # of conversions.

Cost-Per-Acquisition (CPA) Bidding: This is a bidding model that tries to achieve your set goal cost per action. Let’s say you only want to pay $10 a conversion, Google will automatically try to do that for you.

Cost-Per-Click (CPC): This is the currency amount that you will pay for a click on your ad.

Cost-Per-Click (CPC) Bid: This is the maximum amount you’re willing to spend on a click on your ad. This doesn’t mean that you will always pay that exact amount. It will vary but never average higher than what you set it to be.

Cost-Per-Thousand Impressions (CPM): This is a display network bidding model where instead of CPC bidding, you can pay for every 1000 impression. This is usually good for branding or getting more eyeballs on your ads.

Countdown Timer: A way to have your ad automatically count down towards the end of a sale or the beginning of an event. Simply type in {= in your ad to set up it.




Daily Budget:This is the currency amount you’re willing to max spend per day from your clicks. Note that it can go above 20% but will never average out more over the month of an average of 30.4 days.

Day Parting: Another word for ad scheduling. This allows you to decide what days and times you want your ads to show.

Description Line 1 & 2: These two lines are part of your text and fall between your headline and display URL. They total 70 characters.

Destination URL: This is the URL a visitor will be taken to after they click your ad.

Display URL: This is the URL that is shown with your text ad so that people know where they’re going before clicking on your ad. The root domain ( has to match the root domain from the destination URL, but nothing else has to match.

Display Ad: These are specific sized image ads that are either static or animated that are created for the display network. These are also known as banner ads.

Display Network: The Google AdWords Display Network is the biggest content network that allows you to advertise your image and text ads on various placements around the entire interwebs.

Display Planner: A tool within Google AdWords that allows you to figure out which display placements would work best for your goals.

adwords display planner

Double Serving:
This is when two or more ads are displayed from the same company, at the same time, at the same place. This usually only happens on the display network.

Dynamic Keyword Insertion: Shortcut way to write ad text that allows Google to automatically input your keyword, into the ad headline, description lines, or display URL.




End Date: This is a campaign level setting in which you can have a certain end date for a campaign. Specifically useful for certain sales or promotions that are time sensitive.

Enhanced CPC: Bidding strategy that allows Google to bid 30% more than your CPC bid in order to achieve a conversion.

Exact Keyword Match: This keyword match type only shows your ad if the searcher typed in the exact term. This is the most restrictive keyword match types, but allows for the most control.




First & Last Click Analysis: This report shows the difference between weighing conversion stats on the first time a person clicks your ad vs. the last time they click your ad, and then to a conversion. This is similar to assisted clicks.

Frequency: The average number of times an individual has seen your ad per day. This is only for the display network.

Frequency Capping: This display network setting allows you to set a limit on the number of times an individual can see your ad per day. Specifically useful for remarketing.




Geo-Targeting: Also known as location targeting, this is where you decide what geographic areas can see your ad. Google determines geographic location based on the devices location and IP address.




Headline: The first part of your text ad that people read. Comprised of only 25 characters.

Headline (Extended): A nifty little trick that allows you to extend your ads headline (if it shows in the top 3 ad positions above the organic results on desktops) by adding a period at the end of description line 1.

Home Tab: The dashboard of your entire AdWords account’s performance.




Image Ads: These are static and/or animated ads that you can use for the display network. There are many different pixel dimensions and file sizes to consider depending on your channels and goals.

Impression: This is when an ad is loaded on a page. It doesn’t mean that a person has to see it since it could be below the fold.

Impressions Per Day: The amount of impressions that have accumulated throughout a day.

Impression Share (IS): This report is determined by the amount of impressions you’ve received divided the total amount of impressions available for the keywords you’re bidding on. The higher this is, the more your taking advantage of what’s available.

Interaction Rate: A calculation of the number of times people interact with your ad divided by its total impressions.

Invalid Clicks: This is the number of clicks Google has determined to be close to fraudulent clicks due to the same IP address or other factors that are clicking your ads. You get that cost removed from your bill before it accumulates.



Keyword: This is the word or grouping of words you’re bidding on to show an ad for.

Keyword Diagnosis: A Google AdWords tool that allows you to see if your keywords are showing for ads or not and what the reasons are if they aren’t.

Keyword Matching Options: These are different ways you can be restrictive or non-restrictive with the keywords you’re bidding on. These include Broad Match, Broad Match Modified, Phrase Match, Exact Match, and negative keywords.

Keyword Mining: The act of researching for new keywords to target or add as negative keywords.

Keyword Mining (Broad Match Style): The act of using broad match keywords as automatic keyword mining tools to then explicitly bid on in the future once they’re uncovered with more restrictive keyword match types.

Keyword Planner: A tool within Google AdWords that allows you to see keyword differences based off of search volume, getting new keyword ideas, and traffic forecasts.

adwords keyword planner


Labels: Allows you to group certain AdWords accounts, campaigns, ad groups, ads, or keywords together to track collective performance.

Landing Page: This is a specific page you’ve created to appear more attractive to the visitor so he/she converts at a higher rate after they’ve clicked on your ad.

Languages: Allows you to target certain people who speak certain languages coupled with your geographic targeting settings.

Location Extensions: This allows you to add your address to your ads to take up more real estate space on Only for the search network.



Maximize Clicks: A campaign bid setting that tries to get the most clicks within your budget.

Mobile Preferred Ad: This is a checkbox setting you can set to mostly show that ad to your mobile audience so you can see how desktop and mobile visitors differentiate in performance.

Mouseover Rate: This is the percentage of time users mouseover an ad for one second or longer divided by the impressions.

Multivariate Testing: A testing method that allows you to use multiple variants and combinations of ad text elements and/or landing page elements to test against each other to see which combination works the best. The more traffic you have, the faster you’ll see results.



Negative Keyword: This is a word or phrase that you do not want your ads to show for. You can find negative keywords to add from your search term report and add them at the campaign level, ad group level, or a list.

Negative Keyword List: This is a simple to use list found in your AdWords shared library, that houses all your negative keywords that you can then apply to one, multiple, or all of your campaigns.

Networks: Within Google AdWords, you have the power to advertise on the search network ( and other partner search engines) and/or the display network and its enormous amount of publisher websites.



Opportunities Tab: A tab within your Google AdWords interface that comes with automated ideas to help improve the performance of your campaigns.



Path Length: This is a report that gives you an inside view on the steps your new customers take or the pages they look at before completing a conversion.

Pay-Per-Click (PPC): The sport of Google AdWords. Also known as Paid Search, Search Engine Marketing (SEM), and simply, AdWords.

Phrase Keyword Match: This keyword match types only shows your ad when that key phrase is searched with words in the specified order within the quotation marks. Ads will appear in searches with the phrase plus words before or after it. If your phrase match keyword was “yellow shoes”, your ad would appear for searches like “leather yellow shoes” or “blue and yellow shoes”, but not for searches like “yellow leather shoes” or “shoes with yellow laces” because the phrase was broken.

Placements: These are specific website placements where your ads have or where you want your ads to appear within the Google Display Network.

Product Listing Ads (PLA): These ads are set up as Google Merchant Center feeds that allow eCommerce products (not services) to be shown with pictures in the search results on the search network.

Now known as shopping campaigns.



Quality Score: This is a numerical keyword score between 1 – 10 that is determined by an ad’s CTR, keyword relevance, landing page relevance and other factors. The higher your quality score, the better. This will help lower your cost per click and increase your ad rank.



Recommended Daily Budget: This is a specific budget that Google recommends you use to capture more/less clicks depending on the impressions of keywords you’re bidding on.

Relevance: A hard to measure score that shows how accurate and good your ad and landing page experience is to a person searching.

Remarketing: Also known as retargeting, this is a strategy used to have ads follow people who have previously been on your site or landing page.

ROAS (Return On Ad Spend): Automatic bidding model that allows you to set certain return goal percentages where Google then automatically determines which bids will achieve those goals. You have to set conversion value tracking in order for this to work. Mostly used for eCommerce transactions and not lead generation campaigns.



Search Funnels: Tool within the conversions dashboard that shows you how people are converting.

Search Partners: These are other search engines that Google has partnered with where your text ads can show. The search partners usually have cheaper cost per clicks and are home to older demographics. Unfortunately you can’t target these search partners directly through AdWords. They are made up by,, and others.

Search Term: Also known as a search query, this is the actual word or phrase a person typed into Google for your ad to appear. This is sometimes similar to your keyword, but most of the times, not exact.

Search Term Report: This is a report used to see which words or phrases people have typed in to see your ad.

Search Query Report (SQR): Same as search term report.

Scripts: Automatic JavaScript codes that programatically control your AdWords account.

SERP: Also known as the search engine results page, which is basically the 1st page of Google.

Shared Budget: A common budget that you can share among different campaigns.

adwords shared budget

Shared Library:
A place within your AdWords account that houses collective ads, bid strategies, negative keyword lists, audiences, and budgets and more.

Shopping Campaigns: The eCommerce feed ads that you use to showcase image ads on Google for physical products. Once known as product listing ads.

Sitelinks: These are additional links that accompany your search network text ad so that people can dive right into other pages within your site. They also take up more real estate space for your ad.

Split Testing: Science of testing different messages and tactics to see what resonates best with the audience. Split testing is used to improve performance.

Social Extensions: This is another ad extension that allows you to showcase your Google+ following along with your text ads on the search network.



Target CPA: A bid setting that tries to get the most conversions possible while staying within your average cost per acquisition (CPA) range.

Target Search Page Location: A bid setting that adjusts bids to your ads to the top of the page or the first page of the search results.

Text Ad: These are the only ad formats you’re allowed to use on the search network along with shopping campaign ads. They are comprised of text only.

Time Lag Path: This is the amount of time it takes for a person from the time they see or click your ad to actually convert.

Top Conversion Path: A report that shows the unique conversion parts (interacting channels like search, then display, then search again) that lead to conversions.

Top Paths: This report shows you the most common paths your visitors are taking to complete a conversion.



adwords upgraded urls

Upgraded URLs: These types of URLs allow you to set a root URL (aka Final URL – where a visitor goes after they’ve clicked your ad) and a tracking URL that you use for tracking purposes. The great thing about upgraded URLs is that your data won’t reset if you need to just change your URL tracking parameters.


Website Call Conversions: These are calls generated from your site or landing page that are tracking within AdWords. With the help of a JavaScript code, Google will swap out the number on your site with a trackable one to show you which keywords and ads produced that call.



Zoo: What some people will call an AdWords account when they see one for the first time. And because we really wanted to have a word that starts with “Z”.

Did I miss any AdWords glossary terms that you could think of? Let me know!

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Chapter 1:
Google Ads Fundamentals

What You’ll Learn: Dive deep into what’s possible, the best way to set things up, ensure tracking is correct, and everything else needed to have a strong foundation.

Chapter 2:
Google Ads Search

What You’ll Learn: Get more people to buy from your store, increase your average order value, all while spending less on acquiring new customers.

Chapter 3:
Google Ads Shopping

What You’ll Learn: Get more people to buy from your store, increase your average order value, all while spending less on acquiring new customers.

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