understand PPC terminology with our jargon buster
Updated: Jun 10
Welcome to your very own PPC glossary…
PPC is overflowing with jargon and acronyms with new ones popping up here, there and everywhere! Our jargon buster aims to reduce confusion around this terminology and explain the essential terms used by our advertisers. So, grab a coffee and get reading - you’ll soon be fully armed to know your CPAs from your CPEs and everything in between.
Also referred to as “split testing”, this method compares two versions of a webpage or ad copy against the other to determine which one performs better. It’s a simple and effective way of optimising your ad copy or landing page variant based on solid data.
Choose which ads should be shown throughout the day from your AdGroup using Ad Delivery. This tool is broken down into two features:
Standard Delivery: Set as the default option by Google, standard delivery aims to slow your ad spend and use your budget more efficiently throughout the day.
Accelerated Delivery: As you may have guessed by the name, this feature show ads faster until your budget is reached. It’s worth noting, your ads may stop being shown earlier in the day if your budget is used.
A free option providing additional information such as phone numbers and locations alongside standard ad text. These are shown at Google’s discretion when relevant to search intent.
Each campaign has AdGroups, with these groups containing one or more ads that share similar targets, such as keywords. It’s worth noting, Google doesn’t penalise you for having numerous AdGroups.
Refers to the position ads appear on Google’s search results pages. 1 is displayed at the top with following results descending in order. This is calculated for every search based on your budget, auction time and ad quality. Ad Rank thresholds the competitiveness of keywords/auction, the user’s characteristics and the impact of extensions and other ad formats.
Easily test your ads and landing page in a single location on a webpage. If you have two or more ads to test, they can be rotated evenly for a fair A/B split test. Or, the successful ad can be optimised making the top performer the control ad while the lower one will eventually stop being shown. Optimisations can be based on conversions, or you can choose to show your ads more evenly over time.
This one does what it says on the tin: schedule ads at a specific time of the day based on when your target audience is most active.
Avg. CPC (average cost per click)
This is the average amount you’ve paid for one click. An average is given because the value of clicks can vary between campaigns.
Avg. Pos (average position)
Refers to the average ranking position of an ad when displayed in Google’s search term listings. This ranges from 1 onwards. Generally, the higher the position, the higher the CTR and CPC. Essentially, the highest bidder will gain the top spot.
The maximum you will pay for your ad to be shown.
The option to display a phone number with a featured ad, known as ‘click to call’ on mobile devices. A Google forwarding number can be used to track call volumes and duration.
Highlights key selling points. These are like sitelinks however, call-out extensions are not clickable links.
Campaigns are the first layer of your account structure designed to manage the terms you are bidding on. These campaigns are usually generic topics related to your business that you want to promote through PPC.
Click Assisted Conversions
These apply to search campaigns when a user clicks an ad, doesn’t convert and then returns later via a different ad to complete the conversion. These clicks can be defined as the total number of clicks a keyword received prior to a conversion, excluding the last click. It also highlights possible terms used by individuals in the research phase of the purchase.
A click is recorded when a user completes a search using a keyword you are bidding on, sees your ad and then clicks on the ad to visit your website.
The calculated cost of a click that converted. Conversion cost data helps evaluate the ROI of the ad.
This tool allows you to track what happens after the visitor clicks on your ad. It’s executed by using a piece of code generated by Google within your AdWords account. This code snippet should be pasted onto the page your customers see after they complete a conversion such as your thank you page. Conversion tracking will track the number of times that code is called from the page, allowing you to attribute an ROI to your campaigns.
This is the total number of times a conversion occurs following an ad being clicked.
This is the sum of your spend on Google AdWords. Cost can depend on how many times your adverts have been clicked and how many impressions or acquisitions have occurred.
CPA (Cost Per Acquisition - bidding or pricing model)
Cost Per Acquisition is when Google uses your click-through rate and conversion rate to predict how many times your ad needs to be clicked before conversion.
CPE (Cost Per Engagement)
This is a form of bid type. Engagement is a particular action defined by the advertiser and could include an email sign up or starting a video ad.
CTR (Click-through Rate)
This is the number of times your advert has been clicked in comparison to the number of times it has shown up in searches. The higher this percentage, the better.
CvR (Conversion Rate)
The rate at which a click results in a conversion. The higher this is, the better.
This is, on average, the amount you are willing to spend daily on your campaigns. An average daily budget can be set for each AdWords campaign. The system will aim to show your ads as much as possible until your budget is met. When this happens, your ads will typically stop showing for the remainder of that day.
Display Network (Google Display network/ GDN)
Previously known as the “content network”, the Google Display network is a group of more than a million websites, videos and apps where your ads can appear. These can be text ads, image ads, rich media ads or video ads.
This is the URL you want the public to see when they search using your keywords. This doesn’t have to be the same as the actual URL and should actually be a more friendly version. As long as the root domain is the same, anything after the forward slash is customisable.
Enhanced CPC allows Google to automatically raise advertisers’ bids whenever the likelihood of a searcher converting increases. This feature also decreases bids when it thinks the searcher is less likely to convert and works particularly well when your account has history.
Users can be targeted based on location, giving a more precise result if you are a local business or a business with several outlets. If your search term is highly competitive, it can be easier and more successful to target locally with the same term rather than competing on a national level.
Impression Assisted Conversions
This is assigned when an advert is shown and not clicked but the user completes a conversion from clicking a different ad instead.
The percentage of time ads are shown, against the total eligible impressions. Share can be lost to either budget restrictions or Ad Rank being too low.
This is the total number of times your advert has shown up in Google searches.
Any clicks that Google considers to be illegitimate, such as automated tools or attempts to increase an advertisers costs.
Keywords are dynamically inserted into your ads, based on the users’ search query. When this is done well, it increases ad relevancy and CTR. Done poorly, it can have negative effects, so use with care.
Keyword research is one of the first steps when planning a campaign. It is based on predicted search volumes, competitor keywords and uses both free and paid tools to create a keyword plan right for your business.
The word or phrase you want your ad to show for. Your competitors are bid against on these keywords and phrases. The keywords selected should be highly relevant to your audience to ensure targeted campaigns are created. High-level targeting works effectively when your ads are placed on the Display Network, where your keywords are matched to relevant sites.
A type of ad extension showing a local geographical location with the advert.
Match Type - Broad Match
Target phrases which feature your keywords or words related to your keywords. This match type will also trigger your ad for misspellings, words which are related but are not your actual phrase, plural or singular words. If you choose not to specify anything, keywords will automatically be Broad Match.
Match Type - Exact match
Defined using the [ ] symbols, this is the most targeted match type. It means your ad will only be shown if people have searched your exact word or phrase in the order specified.
Match Type - Phrase match
Using the “ ”symbols, you can refine your keyword to a Phrase Match. This means your keyword or phrase, along with text before or after, will result in your ad being shown.
Modified Broad Match
Modified Broad Match anchors specific keywords to a search term. We use this primarily for reach and visibility purposes but also as part of the keyword research strategy.
There are many words that have multiple meanings and can be quite ambiguous. If you are using broad keywords, you may find your ad is being shown and clicked by people searching for something unrelated to your product or service. This can result in huge wastage and high spend. To increase the efficiency of your campaign and reduce cost, use negative keywords to stop your ad being shown for searches which aren’t related.
PLA - Product Listing Ad
These are the ads which appear when a product-related search is conducted. They feature a picture and detailed information about the product. They have their own box on the SERP and should be a key feature of any eCommerce brands’ digital strategy. PLAs will be replaced by Shopping campaigns in late August.
This provides Search Ads 360 the information needed to track visits and sales from your Display or Video activity. By creating placeholder keywords, the system applies tracking parameters to these inactive ‘dummy’ keywords to track Video and Display campaign performance and reporting in the same way as Search campaigns.
PPC (Pay Per Click)
This is the term used to describe advertising that is paid for every time it is clicked on. PPC is a popular form of advertising for businesses as they don’t pay every time the ad is viewed, only when it is clicked.
Quality Score is a measure of how relevant your ads, keywords and landing pages are. Quality Score was introduced to protect the usability of Google’s search engine, ensuring users are receiving relevant content every time they search. It’s made up of several factors including landing page relevancy and content, Ad text relevancy to the keyword and the construction of the account. Google then uses this Quality Score and your bid price to determine where you will rank alongside competitors.
This is a feature in Google AdWords allowing you to show your ads to users who have already visited your site. Remarketing gives you a second chance to promote targeted messages to them, increasing the likelihood of engagement and conversion.
ROAS (Return on Ad Spend)
The return generated from advertising spend, not taking into account stock or overhead costs. It is used to calculate the return on advertising costs when margins are not known.
ROI (Return on Investment)
This is the amount of profit made compared to the cost of promotion.
Absolute Top impression rate is the percentage of your ad impressions that are shown as the very first ad, above organic search results.
Absolute Top impression share is the impressions you’ve received in the absolute top location divided by the estimated number of impressions you were eligible to receive in the top location.
Search lost absolute top impression share (budget)
This estimates how often your ad wasn’t the very first ad above the organic search results due to low budget.
Search lost top impression share (budget)
This estimates how often your ad didn’t show anywhere above the organic search results due to low budget.
Search lost top impression share (rank)
This estimates how often your ad wasn’t the very first ad above the organic search results due to poor Ad Rank.
Search top impression share
Search top impression share is the impressions you’ve received in the top location on the search result page. This is divided by the estimated number of impressions you were eligible to receive in the top location.
Search top position impression rate (%)
Percentage of Impressions on the top of the SERP, similar to top of page rate within Auction Insights. Top of page rate within Auction Insights now has an “Abs.” counterpart showing how often competitors are in position 1.
Search engine results page.
A type of ad extension that gives further information on an advertiser.
View Through Conversions
A conversion that occurs as a result of the user being shown a display advert.
Hopefully, our PPC jargon buster has helped clear up any confusion on the countless abbreviations, acronyms and phrases used across PPC. Bookmark this page, print it off or send it to a friend! Whatever it may be, be sure to keep it nearby so it can always help you along in times of PPC need.
If you’re interested in adopting PPC into your marketing strategy but not sure what campaign will best work for you or where to start, then reach out to us. We can help you develop a PPC campaign that’s right for your business objectives.