The Ultimate PPC Glossary

There's a lot of glossaries on the internet for PPC and Adwords in particular to help with your PPC Management, so myself and my colleagues decided to formulate the ultimate PPC glossary of terms. If we've missed anything, let us know in the comments section at the bottom of the page!


Accelerated Ad Delivery – a method of ad serving that displays ads as often as possible until the daily budget is reached.

Ad Auction – this takes place each time a search is performed to establish which ads will show for the query and in what order.

Ad Campaign – usually a series or set of advert groups containing bids, keywords and ads. It’s possible to have one ad campaign or multiple ad campaigns.

Ad Center - The Microsoft pay-per-click (PPC) ad network (this includes PPC traffic from the Bing and Yahoo! search engines). In the UK Google Ads has a greater share of the market than Ad Center.

Ad Delivery – this is essentially how quickly ads will show in a single day. There are two main choices offered by Google Ads - Standard or Accelerated.

AdWords Editor – Google’s free software application that allows non-live account changes to be made. This means you can add new campaigns/ad groups/keywords or to make bid changes, among other things, without going live until you’re ready.

Ad Extensions – an ad feature that allows extra information to be added, for example contact details, reviews, extra site links, photos of products.

Ad Group - a subset of a PPC campaign made up of either a single ad or group of ads focused on a specific set of keywords. Usually represents specific areas, themes or products being advertised.

Ad Placement – these are locations online where a specific ad can appear. They are determined by target keywords and relevancy to the ad. Might be on a single page of a website or across the entire site.

Ad Rank – this is the Google value that decides the position and location of the ad on a page. It is calculated using the Quality Score and the bid amount.

Ad Rotation Settings – it is only possible to show one ad at a time so this is the order in which ads are delivered. Two rotation settings are offered by Google – these are: the default, Optimise, which delivers those ads that are the best performing more often. The idea is that this will hopefully generate increased impressions and clicks overall, since they are more attractive and usually have better positioning. The Rotate option delivers ads more evenly.

AdSense – a program provided by Google that pays website owners to display relevant Google Ads on their site.

Ad Scheduling – timetabling when ads are to be shown. Also known as day parting. This allows an advertiser that is using a PPC search engine to control the day and time their ads appear. It’s also possible with some PPC search engines to control bids during a certain time of day.

Ad Variations – this is were there are numerous versions of an ad in the same ad group with the same keywords targeted for a single product or service. You can use ad variations to test different ad copy to see what is the most effective in getting the attention of your target audience.

AdWords – the advertising platform offered by Google to advertisers looking to hone in on a specific market/audience with a range of adverts on the Google Search Network and the Google Display Network.

AdWords Express – the abridged version of Google Ads. This version has been designed for local businesses that aren’t as accomplished in Google Ads.

Analytics – a way of measuring and analysing web data to get some insight into whether strategies are working, to track progress and to attempt to boost performance.

API – stands for Application Program Interface. In this instance, it is a Google Ads program developers can use to access applications that can be used to efficiently manage large Google Ads accounts and which interact directly with the Google Ads server.

Assisted Conversions: The amount of conversions that were aided by a specific campaign, ad group, or keyword. Assisted conversions do not include last click conversions.

Audience – the audience is essentially the market or group of people that you want to target with your advertising. This also includes remarketing lists.

Automatic Bidding – where the ad platform automates the bidding process on your behalf after a user sets a maximum bid.

Automatic Placement – where ads that are automatically matched to keywords can appear on websites and other places online. This is only available on the Display Network.

Auto-tagging – automatically creates custom destination URLS, which helps in tracking the performance of an ad using programs like Google Analytics.

Average Cost-Per-Click – a calculation of the average amount paid each time an ad is clicked. This is worked out by dividing the number of clicks by the cost of all clicks.

Average Position – the position in which an advert appears on average. Appears numerically i.e. 5th would be #5. 


Bid – the highest price that an advertiser will pay for a given keyword when an advert is clicked on.

Bid Management – the process of managing the highest price the advertiser will pay for a given keyword to try and lower the minimum bid using effective keyword grouping and optimisation.

Bounce Rate – the number of people who visit a site and then leave straight away without visiting any other pages on the site. Expressed as a percentage.

Broad Match – a keyword matching type that is very wide ranging. This type will show a broad spectrum of terms that are related to the term but not exactly like it.

Broad Match Modifier (BMM) – this is a type of keyword match that employs a plus symbol around certain key phrase words to target searches for any near variations entered by a web user. Won’t include related searches for a given keyword or synonyms. 


Campaign – the first stage of the AdWords structure, this is one or more ad groups each one with a set of keywords and ads. It can represent a wide spread of products or services and specific single products and services within that.

Click Fraud – clicking dishonestly i.e. with malicious intent. For example, clicking numerous times on a PPC ad to diminish a competitor’s pay per click budget.

Clicks – literally when a web user ‘clicks’ on a pay-per-click ad.

Contextual Targeting – a system of ad targeting that will match ads that use keyword targeting to relevant and related sites on the Display Network.

Conversion – this is essentially a valuable action by a visitor to a website. It could be anything from making a purchase to signing up to receive a regular newsletter or submitting a request via a contact form.

Conversions (1-per-click) – as multiple conversions can be completed after a single ad click, this number records only one conversion per click.

Conversions (many-per-click) – this is a tally of all of the conversions completed after a single click on an ad.

Conversion Optimiser – this is an AdWords specific feature that predicts those clicks that are likely to be the most valuable and adjusts bids to ensure an advertiser is maximising the number of profitable clicks.

Conversion Page – the specific page on which a visitor completes the action that is to count as a conversion.

Conversion Rate – the number of visitors to a website who buy/register/signup/contact etc (‘convert’). Expressed as a percentage.

Conversion Tracking – this allows various steps or actions on a website to be tracked, for example purchases made, newsletter signups etc. This is usually used in tandem with an analytics structure like Google Analytics.

Content Placement Ad – this is a PPC advert that has been placed not on a search results page but on a content page instead. This is also known as a contextual ad.

Cost-Per-Conversion- an average figure that expresses how much it cost to get a conversion on a website.

CPA – stands for Cost per Acquisition – this is an advertising pricing model where the cost is worked out using conversions rather than clicks

CPC – stands for Cost-per-Click. This is the amount an advertiser will pay when someone clicks onto an advert on a PPC network.

CPM – an model of online advertising payment where the charge is per impression i.e. the number of times the ad is shown, rather than each time it is clicked on. The cost is calculated per 1,000 impressions.

CTR – stands for Click Through Rate. A percentage figure that divides the number of clicks an ad receives by the number of times it is shown. 


Daily Budget – the amount of money set aside per day to have an ad displayed on a PPC network.

Description Lines – this is the text used in a search ad that comes after the headline. Both descriptions are normally up to 35 characters of text.

Destination URL – this is the page location that a visitor will be directed to after clicking an ad.

Display Network – there are two networks relevant to PPC on which ads can be displayed. One is Display Network and one is Search Network. Advertisers can create images, text, video and animated ads for Display Network and these will appear on millions of videos, apps and websites.

Display URL – the web address (URL) that is displayed to an online user when they see a PPC advert.

Distribution Preference – an indicator of whether ads will appear on the Google Search site and/or the Google Display Network.

Double Serving – where more than one ad is displayed for the same company at the same time.

Dynamic Keyword Insertion – AdWords automatically replaces a special piece of code inserted into the ad text with the keyword that fired the ad. 


End Date – the point at which an ad campaign is scheduled to end. Could be an indefinite date.

Enhanced Campaigns – this is a feature of Google Ads that is designed to allow advertisers to manage bids. It allows for management of bids from a single campaign across numerous multiples including locations, devices and time of day. It allows ads to be edited to various user context and calls and application downloads can be tracked as conversions.

Exact Match – the most targeted type of keyword matching used in PPC advertising. Using this means only people who searched for the exact entered keyword will see the ad – or close variants. 


Frequency – is the lowest number of times a unique user saw an ad during a specific time period.

Frequency Capping – this essentially limits the number of times the ad may be seen by a unique user over a set period of time on the Google Display Network. A way of setting the impressions allowed over a period of a day, week or month. 


Geotargeting – using location specific information to target visitors for example, post code, city, area or region.

Google Analytics – a system of metrics and reporting that Google provides as a free program to show website owners how the site is being used. This includes the ability to see what people do after they click on an advertiser’s ads.

Google Forwarding Phone Number – this is a number that Google provides that can be used in Google Ads to track phone calls that are made to a business. 


Headline – this is the first line of a search ad and it can be up to 25 characters long. It is the first thing that potential customers are likely to notice.

Headline, Extended – this is the extension of an ad headline by 35 characters or more by adding a period. Doing this also displays ad copy as a hyperlink. When typing the headline copy with the period, it is possible to see a preview of the ad. Sometimes, the extended headline will show the company name or phone number. 


Impressions - the number of times a PPC network shows an advert within a time period.

Impressions per Day – this is the number of times an ad has been shown for a single day.

Impression Share - the number of impressions that ads have received divided by the estimated number of impressions that the advertiser was eligible to receive.

Interaction Rate – this measures the percentage of time that is spent by a user interacting with an ad, for example how many times a video is watched via an ad. 


Keyword Bid – the upper limit on the amount of money a business is willing to pay each time a PPC ad is clicked on via a search engine and a user visits that business’ website.

Keyword Matching – these are the different ways of matching search terms that are entered by web users to the keywords associated with adverts. May be Broad Match, Broad Match Modifier, Phrase Match, Exact Match, Negative Match or Content Match (Bing).

Keyword Insertion – a strategy that considers where to insert actual keywords searched for i.e. headline or ad text description. The keyword appears in bold which can, if done carefully, increase click-through rates.

Keyword Mining – a name for the process of seeking out relevant keywords for ad groups.

Keyword Planner – provided free by Google, this is a way of identifying relevant keywords & phrases to target. Formerly known as the Keyword Tool.

KPI – this means Key Performance Indicators. These are essentially the metrics that a business uses to set out and measure its progress toward certain goals. 


Landing Page – the page on a website that clicking on an advert directs the web user to. Usually tailoring a Landing Page to a specific query will produce more effective results.

Location Targeting - a Google Ads setting that will help an advertiser’s ads appear to customers in specified geographic locations.

Longtail Keywords – two or more words making up a specific keyword phrase. These are often used to target users who are either near or at the buying stage. 


Managed Placement – one of the choices on the Display Network. This is where ads are placed in locations that an advertiser specifies.

Manual Bidding – this is where bidding takes place by the advertiser setting, choosing and adjusting maximum bid amounts manually.

Maximum Cost-Per-Click - A Google Ads term that identifies the maximum an advertiser will pay for one click on an ad. It’s not how much will actually be paid but simply the maximum. Other factors such as Quality Score and competition are also taken into account.

Minimum Bid - an amount specified as the minimum by a pay-per-click search engine for either a specific keyword or type of keyword. It may also be the amount for the overall minimum bid acceptable for any keyword.

Mouseover Rate – the number of times users mouseover an ad for 1 second or longer. Expressed as a percentage.

My Change History – a tool in AdWords that provides users with a history of changes made to campaigns, ad groups and keywords. For example, it will identify changes like bid increases, ad text edits and more.

My Client Center – a way of handling multiple Google Ads accounts. Often used by large advertisers or PPC specialists with more than one account. 


Negative Keyword – a specific phrase or word added to a campaign that, if included in a search time, will prevent an advert being shown. 


PPA – stands for Pay Per Action. This is where the advertiser pays when the user carries out a specific action, for example completing a purchase or filling in an online form.

Page Views – this is the number of times that a page on a website is viewed.

Pay per Call – a similar system to Pay Per Click. However, with Pay Per Call the payment is required from the advertiser when a phone number is called rather than when an advert is clicked on.

Phrase Match – a keyword matching type that sits in between a broad match and an exact match. Usually a phrase match needs certain words to be searched in the same order to bring up the advert.

Placement Tool – this tool is part of Google Ads. It helps advertisers to find websites and other placements to help target a particular audience.

PPC - Stands for Pay Per Click – this is online advertising that is used to drive traffic to websites. Payment is only due when a web user actually clicks on the advert. 


Quality Score – a score that measures how relevant a keyword is to its associated advert and the pages people are directed to. The score is provided by Google Ads. When a new keyword is set up an estimate of the score is provided – this is later refined using real world click-through data. 


Reach – the exposure that an advert has i.e. how many people in total it reaches.

Remarketing – this is a feature that allows users who have previously visited a website to be advertised to, with specific adverts or content.

ROI – stands for Return on Investment. A way of measuring performance that evaluates the effectiveness of an investment. Can also be used comparatively to evaluate investments against each other. ROI is worked out by diving the results on an investment by its cost and the result is displayed as either a ratio or a percentage.

ROAS – stands for Return on Advertising Spend – this is the amount of money gained or lost on an investment relative to the amount of advertising money invested. Expressed as a ratio. 


Search Partners – these are sites within the Google Search Network that display Google Ads.

SEM – stands for Search Engine Marketing. Often used to refer specifically to PPC activities. This is activity that uses search engines to generate business.

SERP – stands for Search Engine Results Page. This is what a user sees after typing a search query into a search engine. This is a combination of organic results and paid advertisements.

Search Network - A network of search engines that also provides a platform for advertisers via Google Ads.

Search Query – in its most basic form this is a keyword or a keyword phrase entered by someone using a search engine to look for information.

Split Testing – testing multiple ad creative to see which performs best.

Sponsored Results - PPC Adverts that are activated when someone searches for a search for a specific keyword or search phrase.

Search Query Report - shows the exact terms and phrases that were entered into a search engine by a web user before they clicked on a specific ad.

Standard Ad Delivery – a way of delivering ads that displays an ad across a day to ensure clicks aren’t all accrued at the start of the day. 


Text Ad – where an ad contains only text to convey its message. This is the main type of ad for Google, Bing & Yahoo search activity. 


Unique Visitor – this shows the number of individual visitors to a website within a given time frame.


Website Optimiser – this allows a user to test changes to website content to try and see what is likely to be the most effective approach when it comes to getting conversions.

 Hopefully you've found the glossary helpful. If you have any further questions, or need some help managing your accounts, why not book a free PPC audit with us?

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