The Ultimate Google AdWords Glossary

When it comes to the world of search engine marketing, the terminology can all seem a bit overwhelming. To make sure you’re using Google AdWords to its full extent, being familiar with key terminology, acronyms and abbreviations is a must. There’s no need to worry since we’ve compiled a glossary of 167 of the most common Google AdWords terms so that you no longer have to learn them off by heart. Bookmark this Google AdWords glossary, and use it as a go-to-guide when you need to straighten out your definitions. We've also created a PDF version of this glossary to print, frame or leave on your desktop.

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A

Accelerated delivery

A type of budget delivery where the daily budget is spent as quickly as possible until it is reached.

Account

The basic unit of managing Google AdWords, consists of one or more campaigns. Multiple accounts can be grouped under an MCC.

Active View

A set of metrics to track ads on the Google Display Network that take into account the user's scroll depth so as to only count ads that the user sees.

Ad customisers

A dataset uploaded to a Google AdWords account providing custom information about certain campaigns/ad groups/keywords, which are then dynamically inserted by Google into a text ad.

Ad extension

Additions to your ad that add extra information or features, making it more customised and relevant. These can be manual (added by you) or automatic (added by Google).

Ad gallery

A tool that lets advertisers create ads for the Google Display Network by customising a range of pre-defined templates for different rich media ads.

Ad group

The basic structural unit of an AdWords campaign, contains one or more ads and the set of targeting methods (e.g. keywords, placements) that control the context in which the ads are shown.

Ad preview tool

A tool that lets advertisers see mock Google search results (with all the ads that would normally be displayed) without accruing an impression.

Ad Rank

A proprietary metric calculated by Google to work out each ad's position on a page; the higher the ad rank the higher a position an ad will obtain.

Ad rotation

How Google decides which ad from an ad group to show when (if an ad group has more than one ad).

Ad schedule

A campaign setting that determines what times in the week ads from that campaign are shown. This can also include bid adjustments for particular time periods.

AdMob

An ad network owned by Google that allows mobile app developers to monetise their apps. A Google Display Network campaign has access to AdMob inventory on mobiles.

AdSense

Google's program for publishers to monetise their websites. Using the Google Display network gives advertisers access to all AdSense placements.

AdWords Editor

Google's official desktop software that allows advertisers to manage their Google AdWords campaigns offline and at scale.

AdWords Experiment

The ability to split a campaign into an experiment and control branch, make changes to the experiment branch and have Google collect data for both branches while the campaign runs.

AdWords Script

A scripting language that allows advertisers to create code hosted inside their Google AdWords account to perform certain tasks automatically.

Affinity audience

A targeting method on the Google Display Network that looks at people's historical browsing behaviour and identifies audiences with broad behavioural characteristics (e.g. News Junkies). These can also be specified directly by the advertiser.

Age

A Google Display Network targeting and bidding option that uses Google's behavioural data mining algorithm to identify users who are in pre-defined age groups (vs unknown).

Aggressive targeting

A setting in the Google Display Network that tries to find additional customers at a target CPA.

All conversions

Google's estimates of all the conversions that resulted from a set of clicks, including website conversions, cross-device conversions and store visits.

App extension

An extension that links to the advertiser's app (on Google Play or iTunes) below the ad, while the main ad continues to link to the advertiser's website.

App install conversion

A conversion that measures the installs of an app (on Google Play or iTunes) as the key metric of success for an app install campaign.

Assisted conversion

When an ad click is followed by another ad click to which a conversion can be attributed to, that conversion is an assisted conversion for the first click.

Attribution

The act of assigning credit to campaigns, ad groups, keywords etc. for the user conversions that they resulted in.

Audience

A set of targeting methods on the Google Display Network which targets users as opposed to websites and therefore makes use of Google's data mining of anonymised user behaviour. Audience types include affinity audiences, in-market audiences, remarketing audiences and similar-to audiences.

Automated rule

An option inside Google AdWords to perform a certain action (e.g. pause a keyword) automatically when conditions pre-defined by the advertiser have been met (e.g. there have been 300 clicks and no conversions).

Automatic extension

An extension that Google shows automatically along with an advertiser's ad if its algorithm predicts that this will result in more clicks. An example of an automatic extension is the social extension.

Automatic placement

A placement that was found automatically by Google (through targeting methods such as topics and audiences) where an advertiser's ad was shown in a Google Display Network campaign.

Average position

For search campaigns, the average position that an ad was shown in, with 1 being the highest on the page and 4 representing to top-right corner.

Average session duration

The average amount of time a session spends on the advertiser's website.

B

Bid adjustment

A percentage change that is applied to a bid during the auction on the Search or Display network. Advertisers can set bid adjustments for mobile, ad schedules, locations and any display targeting method.

Bid only

A setting on the Google Display Network where a new targeting method is added to specify bids but where users who don't match the new targeting method can still see ads. See also "Target and bid".

Bid strategy

A setting that lets the advertiser specify how they want to bid in a campaign.

Bounce rate

The percentage of sessions that view only one page.

Broad match

A match type where Google shows ads for search queries that relate to the advertiser's keyword using Google's semantic algorithm, even if the search query doesn't contain the words from the keyword itself. This is also the match type used for keywords on the Google Display Network.

Broad match modifier

A modified version of Broad match type where the advertiser adds a plus (+) before one or more words in the keywords in order for Google to only match search queries that contain close variants of that keyword (and not synonyms).

Budget

A campaign setting that lets the advertiser specify the maximum amount that a campaign will spend per day.

C

Call extension

An ad extension that shows the advertiser's phone number on desktop or a call button on mobile.

Call-only ad

A text ad which is shown on devices that can make calls and only allows the user to make a phone call (as opposed to clicking through to the advertiser's website).

Callout extension

An ad extension that shows additional snippets of text (usually unique selling points) below a text ad.

Campaign

The basic unit of organisation below account. A campaign contains its own settings and one or more ad groups.

Change history

A tool that shows the changes that have been made to the account by relevant users.

Click

When a user clicks on an ad and is directed to the ad's landing page. For CPC campaigns, this is when the advertiser is charged.

Close variant

Close variants of a keyword are its misspellings, singular/plural versions and other variations where the same dictionary word is being referred to (e.g. plumber vs plumbing).

Conservative targeting

A setting in the Google Display Network that tries to find additional customers at the same CPA that the display campaign is currently achieving.

Contextual targeting

Another term for Display keywords.

Conversion rate

The percentage of clicks that result in at least one conversion.

Conversion category

A field that lets the advertiser classify what type of conversion they are defining (e.g. sale and lead) in order to ensure more relevant reporting.

Conversion value

A monetary sum associated by the advertiser with a particular conversion, used to model ROI inside Google AdWords and to assist with optimisation.

Conversion window

The amount of time after a user clicks that they have to complete a conversion on the advertiser's website for the conversion to be attributed to that click. The default conversion window is 30 days.

Conversions

Any user action on an advertiser's website, app or offline that the advertiser deems valuable as a KPI for their campaigns.

Converted clicks

The number of clicks which resulted in a conversion (i.e. this maxes out the number of possible reported conversions to one per click).

Cost

The amount incurred in advertising according to the cost model (e.g. CPC and CPM). This excludes any click quality adjustments that may be made later.

Countdown

A syntax that can be used in text ads to automatically display and update the number of days left until a milestone (e.g. end of sale) in order for the ad copy to create a sense of urgency.

CPA

Cost-Per-Acquisition, the average amount the advertiser is paying for a conversion. Calculated by dividing cost by the number of converted clicks.

CPC

A model where the advertiser pays for each click on an ad (cost-per-click).

CPM

A model where the advertiser pays for 1000 impressions of an ad (cost-per-impression). This is now deprecated, see "vCPM".

CPV

Cost-Per-View, a bidding model when the user pays for each view of a video ad.

Cross-device conversion

The number of times a user clicked on the ad on one device and then completed the conversion on another device, as estimated with Google's machine-learning algorithms.

CTR

Click-through-rate, the percentage of impressions that result in an ad click.

Custom parameter

Additional attributes about a campaign component (such as a keyword) that can be passed in the URL using ValueTrack when the user clicks on the ad.

Customer email list

An audience type where the advertiser uploads a list of email addresses which are anonymised and (if sufficiently large) made available for remarketing on the Google Display Network.

D

Default bid

The bid specified at ad group that will be used by Google in an ad auction by default, if there is no more specific bid available at keyword level.

Delivery method

A setting where the advertiser specifies how the ads for a campaign should be delivered throughout the day if the budget is limited; can be Standard or Accelerated.

Description

The lines of text below a headline in a text ad. There are two lines of description of 35 characters each.

Device preference

An attribute of a text ad or ad extension that lets the advertiser indicate to Google that this version of the ad/ad extension is meant specifically for smartphones.

Display keyword

A type of targeting on the Google Display Network where ads are shown on pages that are about the keywords identified by an advertiser.

Display planner

A tool in the Google AdWords interface that returns suggested targeting options (i.e. placements, keywords, audiences) for a display campaign, as well as estimates and demographic data.

Display Select

A network option that shows an advertiser's ad on a subset of well-performing and relevant placements on the Google Display Network (in addition to the Search Network) for the same campaign.

Display URL

The URL that's displayed in a text ad and must accurately identify the domain of the website this ad will lead the user to.

DoubleClick

Google's premium advertising network. Using the Google Display network gives advertisers access to a selection of DoubleClick placements.

Dynamic ad

An ad template used for dynamic remarketing that Google populates with items specified by an advertiser in their dynamic ad feed.

Dynamic keyword insertion

A feature that lets the advertiser insert the matched keyword from a particular ad group into that ad group's ad copy so as to customise ads at scale.

Dynamic remarketing

Remarketing that dynamically populates an image ad with items corresponding to the products/pages that a user previously visited on that advertiser's website.

Dynamic search ad

A type of text ad where Google automatically matches the search query to one of the landing pages specified by the advertiser, thereby not requiring the advertiser to specify which keywords the ad should show for.

E

Earned views

When a user came to an advertiser's YouTube channel after being initially exposed to a video ad and then viewed additional videos by the advertiser organically.

eCPC

Enhanced Cost-Per-Click, a bidding strategy where the advertiser allows Google to bid higher or lower per keyword than the advertiser specified if Google's machine learning algorithm predicts that the click is likely to be higher/lower in quality than average.

eCPM

Effective CPM, a metric used by Google to convert CPC ads on the Google Display Network to their equivalent CPM bids so that CPC and CPM ads can both compete in the auction.

Exact match

A match type where Google shows ads for search queries identically match the advertiser's keyword (or its close variants).

Exact match impression share

Impression share calculated as if all keywords were set to exact match.

F

Final URL

The URL that a user ends up on when they click on an ad (after any redirects).

First click

An attribution model that gives 100% of the conversion credit to the first Google AdWords click in a user's conversion path, even if they clicked on another ad later and converted.

Frequency capping

A setting that limits the number of times users are exposed to the same ad from an advertiser over a given period of time.

G

Gender

A Google Display Network targeting and bidding option that uses Google's behavioural data mining algorithm to identify users who are men vs women (vs unknown).

Gmail ad

A display ad format that appears as an expandable bar at the top of a user's Gmail account.

Google Analytics

Google's digital analytics tool that provides insights on user behaviour on websites and mobile apps. Google Analytics extends the functionality of Google AdWords when the two are linked together.

Google Display Network

Any of the millions of third party websites and apps (including Google properties such as YouTube) that host ads from Google advertisers.

Google forwarding number

A number owned by Google used to track call length and which keyword generated the user's phone call. The phone call itself is forwarded to the advertiser's phone.

Google Merchant Center

A Google product that lets advertisers manage listings for the inventory of their ecommerce website. This is required to be setup and linked in order to run a Shopping campaign in Google AdWords.

Google Search Network

The ad network that search ads appear on. It includes Google properties such as Google Search, as well as a selection of affiliated Google Search Partners.

Google Search Partners

Google properties (e.g. Google Maps) and third party websites (e.g. Amazon) that have partnered with Google to provide Google text ads next to their native search results and can therefore be targeted in a search campaign.

H

Headline

The first part of a text ad, which is also the clickable part. The headline can be short or, if the ad is at the top of the page, extended and can include the advertiser's website or the first description line.

I

Image ad

An ad type that consists of a static or animated image of a pre-determined dimension size.

Impression

When an ad was rendered on a page. Because impressions can occur below the fold, it doesn't always mean the ad was seen by the user, see "Active View" for more.

Impression share

The percentage of times when a campaign was eligible to show an ad (based on its settings, keywords etc.) that it actually did show.

In-app action conversion

A conversion that measures a valuable action performed inside a mobile app (e.g. an in-app purchase).

In-market audience

A targeting method on the Google Display Network that looks at people's historical browsing behaviour and identifies audiences that are ready to purchase/convert for a particular vertical.

In-stream

A video ad format when the video ad is shown before the main video inside the YouTube video player (whether it's on YouTube or embedded on third party websites) and there is no "Skip Ad" option.

Invalid clicks

A click determined by Google to be not billable because of quality reasons (e.g. if it's a click made by a spambot).

K

Keyword

The main targeting method for search campaigns, a keyword is an instruction (determined by the keyword text and match type) to Google about when to show ads from the keyword's ad group.

Keyword planner

A Google AdWords tool to help advertisers plan search campaigns, the planner comes up with keyword suggestions, automatically groups keywords into ad groups and gives search volume estimates.

L

Label

Pieces of text an advertiser can attach to campaigns, ad groups, keywords etc. in their account that contain custom data relevant to the advertiser's processes/objectives.

Language targeting

A setting that lets the advertiser control what language community their campaign should target; this is mainly based on a user's Google search settings and the language they search in.

Last click

An attribution model that gives 100% of the conversion credit to the last Google AdWords click in a user's conversion path, even if they clicked on a previous ad. This is the default attribution model in Google AdWords.

Lightbox ad

A rich media ad type where the user can interact with the ad (e.g. choosing which video to play).

Linear attribution

An attribution model that splits the credit for a conversion evenly between all the clicks that a user made before they converted.

Location extension

An ad extension that shows the advertiser's location(s) from Google My Business that are nearest to the user and provides directions.

Location of interest

The location a user is interested in (as evidenced by the Google domain they use to search and any location words in the search query), used by Google to determine which campaigns to show the user.

Location targeting

Instructions by the advertiser about which location to show a campaign's ads in. This includes physical location and location of interest.

Lost impression share

The percentage of impressions where the advertiser's ad could have been shown but wasn't (due to either low budget or low ad rank), defined as 1 - Impression Share.

M

Managed placement

A placement that was added directly by the advertiser to an ad group in a Google Display Network campaign.

Manual extension

An ad extension that's added to a campaign directly by the advertiser.

Match type

An attribute of a keyword selected by the advertiser that controls which search queries Google shows an ad for. This includes Broad Match, Broad Match Modifier, Phrase Match and Exact match.

MCC

My Client Centre, an umbrella account used by agencies and large advertisers to group together Google AdWords accounts (or other MCC accounts).

Mobile app engagement ad

An ad shown to people who already have an app installed to get them to re-engage with the app by taking them to a specific app screen.

Mobile app install ad

An ad designed to promote an app to users who are on devices compatible with the app but haven't yet installed it.

Mobile bid adjustment

The amount the default Google AdWords auction bid is modified by (as determined by the advertiser) if the user seeing the ad is using a smartphone.

N

Negative broad match

A match type that tells Google not to show the ad if the search query contains all of the words in the keyword, exactly as specified and in any order.

Negative exact match

A match type that tells Google not to show the ad if the search query matches the keyword exactly.

Negative match

A match type that tells Google which search queries not to show an ad for. Consists of negative broad, negative phrase and negative exact.

Negative phrase match

A match type that tells Google not to show the ad if the search query contains all of the words in the keyword, exactly as specified and in the same order.

Network

The section of Google's advertising inventory that a campaign is showing ads in. This can include the Google Search Network, Google Search Partners and the Google Display Network (including YouTube).

O

Offline conversion

A conversion that happens offline. These can be imported into Google AdWords if the identifier of the converted user's click is known.

Opportunities

A tab in the Google AdWords interface where Google presents some automatic suggestions for improving the account that the advertiser can review.

P

Pages per session

The average number of pages that a user views during their session of interaction with an advertiser's website.

Parental status

A Google Display Network targeting and bidding option that uses Google's behavioural data mining algorithm to identify users who are parents.

Phrase match

A match type where Google shows ads for search queries that contain the advertiser's keyword (or its close variants) somewhere in the search query. The word order must match and there must be no interfering words in the search query.

Physical location

The location a user is actually in (as calculated from signals such as their IP address, network name and advanced mobile location), used by Google to determine which campaigns to show the user.

Placement

Where an ad is shown on the Google Display Network. A placement can be a website (or part of a website), a mobile app or a video.

Product group

A set of products treated by the advertiser as a unit and given a single bid in a Shopping campaign.

Q

Quality Score

Google's measure of how relevant an advertiser's ads are, calculated and used to encourage well-targeted, quality campaigns.

Quartile

A metric that shows how many people viewed up to the first, second, third or forth quarter of an advertiser's video ad.

R

Radius targeting

A type of location targeting that shows ads to people that Google determines to be within a certain radius of a point on the map that the advertiser specifies.

Rating extension

An automatic extension that shows an aggregate user satisfaction rating with the advertiser's website (this can be across multiple factors such as customer service, shipping etc.).

Remarketing

Advertising to people who have already visited an advertiser's website or mobile app.

Remarketing list

An audience defined inside Google AdWords or Google Analytics and then added to ad groups in a search or display campaign in order to engage in remarketing.

Review extension

An ad extension where the advertiser specifies a verbatim/paraphrased snippet of their product/service by a credible third party.

Return on Ad Spend (ROAS)

Return on Ad Spend, a metric that calculates the total revenue from all the goals completed divided by the total ad spend.

S

Search funnels

An older name for the Attribution reports in Google AdWords.

Search term

The raw text of what users type into the search bar when they're performing a search.

Session

A series of interactions between a user and a website (usually requiring).

Shared budget

A daily budget that is applied to one or more campaigns. Google's optimisation algorithm then decides how the budget is split between the campaigns themselves.

Shared Library

A section of the Google AdWords interface where assets that are used for multiple campaigns (e.g. shared negative keyword lists) are managed.

Shopping campaign

A campaign that aims to show product listings from an advertiser's Google Merchant Centre account next to retail-relevant search queries.

Site category exclusions

A feature that lets advertisers exclude a broad range of website categories (e.g. violent content) from their campaign on the Google Display Network.

Sitelink extension

An ad extension that links to an additional page on the advertiser's website that's not the page linked to by the ad's main headline.

Social extension

An automatic extension that shows how many +1’ed the advertiser on Google+ and gives users the option to +1 them directly from the ad. Although this is a removed feature, it is still relevant for the certification exams.

Standard delivery

A type of budget delivery where Google spreads the advertiser's budget as evenly throughout the day as possible.

Structured snippet extension

An ad extension where the advertiser can specify multiple lines of text all belonging to some aspect of their product/service (e.g. brands, destinations) and Google shows these below the ad.

T

Target and bid

A setting on the Google Display Network where a new targeting method is added to both specify bids and to restrict targeting by only showing ads to people matching the new targeting method. See also "Bid only".

Text ad

An ad that consists only of text copy, shown on the Google Search Network or the Google Display Network.

Time decay

An attribution model that the most conversion credit to the last click a user makes before conversion, less credit to the previous click and so on.

Topic

A type of targeting on the Google Display Network where ads are shown on pages about the topics identified by an advertiser (according to Google's classification of its inventory).

TrueView

A family of video ads on YouTube where the user has control of whether they watch the ad or not. The two types are TrueView In-Stream and TrueView In-Display.

TrueView In-display

A video ad format when the video ad is shown as a thumbnail (labelled "Ad") in YouTube search results and in the related videos section of YouTube watch pages.

TrueView In-stream

A video ad format when the video ad is shown before the main video inside the YouTube video player (whether it's on YouTube or embedded on third party websites) and a "Skip Ad" option comes up after 5 seconds.

U

URL template

The form that an ad's URL will take (as specified by the advertiser). This may simply be the landing page on an advertiser's website but can also include redirects and third party tracking parameters.

V

ValueTrack

The insertion of custom data about the user's click into the URL that a user is sent to when they click on an ad. This data is usually used by third party tracking tools.

vCPM

A model where the advertiser pays for 1000 viewable impressions of an ad (viewable cost-per-impression); see "Active View" for more.

Video ad

An ad shown on YouTube or the Google Display Network that consists of a video. These can be TrueView or Instream.

Video partners network

Third party websites that embed YouTube video ad units on specific pages on their website.

Video viewers list

An audience list containing people who have interacted with an advertiser's YouTube content (e.g. by viewing it) that is made available by Google for remarketing on the Google Display Network.

View

When a user viewed a video ad. For TrueView In-Stream, this is at the 30 second point (or when the whole ad is seen); for TrueView In-Display, this is when the user clicks on the video ad thumbnail.

View-through conversion

A metric for image ads on the Google Display Network measuring cases where users see an image ad, don't click on it but still go to the advertiser's website within the conversion window and perform the conversion.

W

Website conversion

A conversion that takes place on a website, can be either a webpage (e.g. a purchase "Thank you" page) or a click (e.g. a phone number click).

Y

YouTube Search network

An area of YouTube where ads can be placed with a video campaign; consists of search results for when a user performs a keyword search on YouTube.

YouTube Videos network

An area of YouTube where ads can be placed with a video campaign; consists of YouTube video watch pages as well as channel/category pages.

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