The Ultimate Google AdWords Glossary

UPDATE: You might be interested in my updated Google Ads Glossary that has been refreshed to cover all of the latest terminology.

I’m here to help you understand the most important terminology you’ll find inside Google AdWords. This is your Google AdWords dictionary, your go-to guide for all things CPC, PPC and all the important elements you’ll find in your account.
You can also download my Google AdWords Glossary to keep on your hard drive or to print out as a handy reference.


A Google AdWords account is designed to store everything an individual organization needs for online advertising, in one place. At the account-level you’ll find billing details, grant account access, tools and more. Inside the account you will find one or more campaigns which allow you to create your top-level account structure. Multiple accounts can be grouped under a Manager Account.

Ad Customizers

Ad customizers allow you to upload information that can then be automatically included in the final text ad that is displayed. For example, you can upload the prices of different products and have them automatically inserted into your ads as people are searching. They work in a similar way to Dynamic Keyword Insertion. Learn more about ad customizers.

Ad Extensions

Ad extensions provide additional information to complement your ad text. They are designed to make your ad more relevant and engaging. Ad extensions are a factor in calculating Ad Rank. There are a range of manual ad extensions you can configure and Google can also add automatic ad extensions if there isn’t a manual ad extension available. Ad extensions include:


Affiliate Location Extension

Directs people to nearby retail stores that stock particular products. They’re designed for manufacturers of consumer products to direct customers to stores like Walmart, Target and Staples.

App Extension

Allows you to include a link to your app on Google Play and the Apple App Store. The headline of the ad will continue to link through to your website.

Call Extension

Adds a phone number to your ad which is displayed across mobile, tablet and desktop devices. You can include your own phone number with your ad or use a Google forwarding number (in certain countries) for integrated call reporting. See also Google forwarding number.

Call-out Extension

Shows short snippets of additional text with your ad. Ideally, call-outs should include additional features, benefits and selling points that aren’t included in the main ad text.

Location Extension

Adds location details to your ad, so that people can find your business location. Details come from a linked Google My Business account which includes your locations listed on Google Maps.

Message Extension

Gives customers the option to contact you by sending a text message from your ad.

Price Extension

Adds individual products or services to your ads along with their price. Each item becomes clickable and sends people through to the relevant page on your website. 

Review Extension

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

Seller Ratings Extension

An extension that shows overall customer satisfaction. Ratings are gathered from reputable sources and then displayed automatically.

Displays additional links with your ad. Sitelinks provide more opportunities for people to click through to your website. Two to six sitelinks can be displayed with your ad, each sitelink needs to link to a separate page on your website.

Structured Snippet Extension

Allows you to highlight details about your products and services. After selecting an overarching category (called a ‘header’) you then enter a list of items for the category. For example, I could select ‘Courses’ as a header and then list ‘Data Analysis’, ‘Reporting’, ‘Data Visualization’ and so forth which would then be displayed with the header.

A tool that lets you create ads for the Google Display Network by selecting a template which you then customize. The Ad Gallery allows you to create dynamic ads, lightbox ads, Gmail ads and more.

Ad Group

Used to structure your ads, keywords (for search campaigns) and targeting (for display campaigns) inside a campaign. Each campaign can contain one or more ad groups. For a search campaign it’s best practice to create small groupings of related keywords inside each ad group, this allows you to write compelling ads which are displayed with those keywords. See also campaign.

Ad Preview and Diagnosis Tool

A tool that lets you preview Google Search results to see ads that are being displayed without accruing impressions. If your ads are not being displayed for a particular search query you will see details about why your ads aren’t being displayed. This tool also allows you to change language, location and device details to preview search results.

Ad Rank

Google’s method for determining each ad’s position on a search engine results page. The advertiser with the highest ad rank will be placed in the top position followed by the ad with the second highest ad rank and so forth. Ad Rank is calculated based on the bid received, Quality Score and ad extensions, for each ad eligible to appear. 

Ad Rotation

Since Google will only show one ad at a time from an advertiser, ad rotation determines which ad to display if there is more than one ad contained in an ad group. 


Optimize for Clicks

Displays the ad more likely to receive a click, more often than an ad that’s less likely to receive a click.

Optimize for Conversions

Displays the ad more likely to result in a conversion (based on conversion tracking) compared to an ad that’s less likely to result in a conversion.

Rotate Evenly

Shows ads evenly for 90 days. For example, if there are two ads in an ad group each ad will be shown approximately 50% of the time.

Rotate Indefinitely

Shows ads evenly. For example, if there are two ads in an ad group, then each ad will be shown approximately 50% of the time.

Ad Schedule

Allows you to control when ads are displayed based on the hour of day and the day of week. Apart from turning ads on and off, you can also use the ad schedule to adjust the final bid amounts at particular times. For example, if you see a higher conversion rate in the afternoons, you could adjust bids up by +10% which would mean a default bid of $1 would become $1.10 at those times of the day.


Google’s network that allows owners of mobile apps to monetize their apps. Space is allocated to display ads from advertisers within apps. AdMob is similar to Google AdSense (which is for monetizing websites).

AdWords Editor

A desktop application from Google that allows you to manage your Google AdWords account. Campaigns can be downloaded and then managed offline before being uploaded back into the live account. AdWords Editor is useful for making changes at scale.

Aggressive Targeting

A targeting option for Google Display Network campaigns that uses conversion tracking to find additional customers around your current cost per customer (or cost per acquisition). Aggressive targeting is designed to achieve as many conversions as possible and can vary from your current cost per customer. See also conservative targeting.

All Conversions

A count of all the conversions from your conversion tracking and estimated conversions for actions like phone calls, cross-device conversions, store visits and more. See also conversion.

App Install Conversion

Measures the number of times your app has been installed from Google Play or the Apple App Store.

Assisted Conversion

When someone clicks on an ad and later converts after clicking another ad, then the first click will be seen as assisting the conversion inside Google AdWords.


Attribution allows you to control how credit for conversions is given to the campaign, ad group, keyword, match type and device inside Google AdWords. You can choose from a range of attribution models inside your account.


First Click

Gives all of the credit for a conversion to the first ad click in the path to conversion. There is a limit to the amount of historical data used for the attribution models, the ‘historical window’ has a default of 30 days, but can be increased to 60 or 90 days.

Last Click

When a user converts the last click receives all of the credit for the conversion, even if they previously clicked on another ad. This is the default attribution model inside Google AdWords.

Linear Attribution

All of the credit for a conversion is evenly divided between the clicks in the path to conversion.

Time Decay

Gives the most credit to the last click leading to the conversion but assigns cascading credit to clicks that assisted the conversion.

Position Based

Gives 40% of the credit for the conversion to the last click, 40% to the first click and evenly divides the remaining credit between the other clicks in the path to conversion.


Allow you to target users based on previous behavior. Audience lists are used for remarketing, including people who’ve previously been to your website (website visitors), used your mobile app (mobile app users), provided their email address (customer emails) or engaged with your content on YouTube (YouTube users). Audiences can also be targeted based on Google’s understanding of user behavior, they include affinity audiences and in-market audiences.

Automated Rules

Allow you to define conditions to automatically make changes to your campaigns, ad groups, keywords and ads. For example, pausing keywords that have received less than 100 clicks and zero conversions.

Automatic Placement

Unless you’re specifying where you want your ads to appear on the Google Display Network, Google will automatically place your ads based on the targeting methods that have been selected. See also managed placement.


A query parameter that is automatically added to the URL of your landing pages that is then used by Google Analytics to pull data about the click (and other attributes) into your reports. See also GCLID.

Average Position

Provides detail about where ads are placed and is calculated by dividing the actual position by the number of impressions. For example, if you received 2 impressions with one impression in position 1 and the other impression in position 2, then you would have an average position of 1.5 reported inside Google AdWords.

Bid Adjustment

Changes the final bid by a percentage. Bid adjustments can be set for devices, ad schedules, locations, top content, display targeting methods, remarketing lists for search ads and interactions (in the new version of Google AdWords). If multiple bid adjustments apply to a bid, then these are combined to calculate the final bid. For example, a mobile bid adjustment of +20% and a location bid adjustment of +10% would mean that a default bid of $1 would become $1.32 as the final bid. This can be calculated by turning the bid adjustments into a decimal, for this example we would use $1 x 1.2 x 1.1 = $1.32.

Bid Only

A setting applied to each targeting method in a display campaign. Setting ‘Bid Only’ means that if there are multiple targets applied to the ad group, then any of the targets can be matched in order for the ad to be displayed. For example, if remarketing and a topic are applied as a target, then either of them can be used to display ads. It’s like saying ‘or’ for the targeting methods. See also target and bid.

Bid Strategy

Lets you choose how you want to pay for people engaging with your ads. Bid strategies for search campaigns include target search page location, target CPA (Cost Per Acquisition), target ROAS (Return On Advertising Spend), target outranking share, maximize clicks, maximize conversions, enhanced CPC and manual CPC. Bid strategies for display campaigns include target CPA, target ROAS, maximize clicks, viewable CPM and manual CPC. Learn more about bid strategies.

Broad Match

A keyword match type that will display your ads for the keywords you’re bidding on, along with other related terms. Keywords using broad match will provide the greatest coverage, but will likely include some less relevant search queries. When using broad match it’s important to also use negative match. Learn more about keyword match types.

Broad Match Modifier

Allows you to specify a word (or words) within a broad match keyword that you would like to target more precisely by ensuring the specified word or close variants are included in the search queries used to display your ads. To use a broad match modifier you need to add a plus (+) before the word (or words).


A campaign setting that lets you specify the amount you want a campaign to spend each day. On any given day the budget might overspend by up to an additional 20%, this is to account for changes in impressions and clicks on your ads. If you don’t change the budget in a calendar month you won’t be charged more than 30.4 times your budget amount.

Bulk Operations

A set of tools that allow you to automate particular actions in your account. Bulk operations include automated rules, scripts, bulk edits and bulk uploads.

Bumper Ad

A short video ad format designed to increase awareness. Videos need to be six seconds or shorter.

Call-only Ad

An ad format that includes the phone number as the headline and is shown to people on mobile devices. When people click on the ad they can call you directly, rather than clicking through to your website.


The top-level structure of your account, think of campaigns as folders within your account. You can create one or more campaigns inside your account based on your advertising objectives. There are multiple ways to structure your campaigns, for example, you can use campaigns for different targeting (search vs. display), for structuring keywords, allocating budget and more. Each campaign contains one or more ad groups to create a more granular structure inside your account. See also ad group.

Campaign Groups

Allow you to monitor performance by setting a target for the amount you want to spend on a click or conversion for one or more campaigns. 

Change History

A tool that allows you to view changes that have been made by users inside the account.


When a user clicks on an ad they are taken to the ad’s landing page (or final URL) for the ad. This is when the advertiser is charged for a campaign using a CPC bid.

Close Variant

Phrase match and exact match keywords will automatically show ads to people searching with misspellings, singular, plural and other close variations of the keyword we are bidding on.


You can modify the columns of data (metrics) that are shown for your campaigns. There are a wide range of metrics to choose from relating to interactions with your ads, conversions, cost and more.

Conservative Targeting

A targeting option for Google Display Network campaigns that makes use of conversion tracking to find additional customers around your current cost per customer (or Cost Per Acquisition). Typically conservative targeting shouldn’t exceed your current cost per customer. See also aggressive targeting.

Contextual Targeting


Any action that is valuable to your organization. Conversion tracking allows you to measure the number of people viewing important pages on your website (such as thank you pages), making phone calls using a Google forwarding number, downloading apps, actions within an app and offline conversions. Google AdWords allows you to use dedicated AdWords conversion tracking or import conversion data from Google Analytics.

Conversion Rate

The percentage of clicks (or interactions) that result in a conversion.

Conversion Category

Allows you to classify conversions which can then be used when reporting on performance or segmenting your data inside Google AdWords. Categories include ‘Lead’, ‘Purchase/Sale’, ‘Sign up’, ‘View of key page’ and ‘Other’.

Conversion Value

The amount a conversion is worth. This value can be defined when configuring the conversion, inside the tracking code (when using Google AdWords conversions tracking) or from the transaction amount (when imported from Google Analytics).

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.


The amount of money spent for the desired actions. For example, clicks for search campaigns, views for video campaigns and impressions for display campaigns.


An ad customizer that allows you to include the number of days until a predefined date and time. To use a countdown, start typing {=COUNTDOWN into your text ad and an editor will allow you to customize your countdown.


Cost-per-acquisition or CPA is the average amount you are willing to pay for a conversion action. CPA is calculated by dividing the total cost by the number of conversions.


Cost-per-click or CPC is the amount you are willing to spend (or are charged) for each click. If you set a manual CPC bid, then you’ll never pay more than this amount (unless you are using bid adjustments) since Google AdWords uses an auction to display ads and you are only charged the amount necessary for the click.


Cost-per-thousand-impressions or CPM is a bidding option where an advertiser pays for 1,000 impressions of their ad regardless of the number of clicks. CPM bidding is designed for advertisers wanting to increase brand awareness rather than drive conversions. Google AdWords uses viewable CPM bidding.


Cost-per-view or CPV is a bidding option where you pay for each video view.

Cross-device Conversion

A conversion that occurs after someone clicks on your ad using one device and then later converts using another device. Cross-device conversions are estimated by Google using aggregated and anonymized user data.


Click-through-rate or CTR is the percentage of impressions that result in a click on your ad. For example, an ad with 100 clicks and 1,000 impressions would have a click-through-rate of 10%.

Custom Parameter

Allows you to pass additional details through to your landing page. These parameters can be used for reporting or customizing the user experience on your website. See also ValueTrack.

Customer Match

Allows you to upload email addresses for your existing contacts as a remarketing list inside Google AdWords. You’ll need a large enough list for ads to be displayed since the email addresses are matched to Google Accounts and it’s likely that only a portion of your list will have a Google Account associated with their email address.

Default Bid

The bid specified for the ad group that will be used by Google in an ad auction. You can override the default bid by entering a specific bid for the individual keyword (or display placement), these individual bids can be higher or lower than the default and will be used instead of the default bid amount. Bids can also be modified using a bid adjustment.

Delivery Method

Allows you to choose how your budget is spent each day. The delivery method setting will also impact how your ads are shown if the campaign is being limited by the daily budget amount. The options are:


Accelerated Delivery

Tries to spend your daily budget as quickly as possible. Once your daily budget is reached your ads will stop showing until the following day.

Standard Delivery

Spreads your budget through the course of the day. On a limited budget your ads won’t appear every time people are searching but they will be just as likely to be seen in the morning as in the evening. Standard delivery is the default delivery method.

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 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

Available as part of the ‘Search Network with Display Select’ campaign type. This campaign type will show your ads on search and selectively on the Google Display Network. Unless you’re just getting started with Google AdWords you’ll want to avoid using this campaign type because separate search and display campaigns will give you more control over where your ads are shown.

Display Targeting

Once you’ve created a display campaign you can apply one or more of the display targeting options to each of the ad groups within the campaign.


Display Keywords

Allows you to choose keywords that are then matched to the content on pages within the Google Display Network. For example, selecting the display keyword ‘holiday’ will automatically find content relating to that theme on sites within the Google Display Network.


Includes automatic placements where the other targeting methods are used to automatically find relevant places to display your ads. For example, if you use display keywords Google AdWords will automatically find relevant placements. Placements can also be managed, this is when you specify exactly where you want your ads to be displayed. For example, adding ‘’ will mean your ads are displayed on YouTube.


Similar to display keywords but you select from a predefined list of content topics. For example, you could choose to display your ads on content that’s classified by Google as being related to ‘travel’. 


Allow you to target people who have expressed a particular interest based on their browsing behavior. For example, you could target people interested in ‘concert and music festival tickets’. It’s important to understand that you are targeting the individual, not the content, so once they’ve expressed the interest you can target them regardless of the sites they’re browsing on the Google Display Network.
Interests can be selected based on ‘Affinity Audiences’ which are general areas of interest, ‘In-market Audiences’ which are for people looking to purchase, or a ‘Custom Affinity Audience’ which you build based on interests and websites.


Allows you to target people based on previous interactions with your organization. See also remarketing list.


Allows you to target people based on age, gender and parental status. Demographics can be actual or inferred based on browsing behavior. It’s also important to know that Google can’t determine demographics for all users, so there will be a large portion of ‘unknown’.

Display URL

The URL that’s seen by people in your ads. While the display URL needs to accurately reflect the domain of your website it doesn’t need to be the same as the URL of the landing page that you send people to on your website. See also final URL.


Google's premium advertising platform DoubleClick provides solutions to advertisers managing large-scale accounts and publishers to monetize their content. Campaigns inside Google AdWords that target the Google Display Network will include a selection of DoubleClick placements.


Allow you to create draft versions of campaigns that can then be added to your account. Drafts are also used to create experiments.

Dynamic Ad

For a search campaign, you can create dynamic search ads that automatically select a landing page, create a headline and display URL, so all you need to provide is the description. These are suited to large-scale websites with products that regularly change. For a display campaign, you can create dynamic ads that are updated based on a feed (data that you upload to Google AdWords) to include products and services within the ad variation.

Dynamic Keyword Insertion

Allows you to automatically include the matched keywords from the ad group into the text ad so that it appears relevant to what someone is searching. Dynamic keyword insertion is particularly useful for larger sets of keywords that are very similar, for example, products with different product codes.

Dynamic Remarketing

Remarketing that automatically changes the products or services included in the ad based on what someone viewed on your website.

Dynamic Search Ad

A text ad format where Google automatically matches the search query to a landing page on your website, removing the need to manage keywords.

Earned View

Organic (or free) additional views of your videos on YouTube after someone first watches one of your video ads.

Enhanced CPC

Enhanced cost-per-click or ECPC is a bidding option that will automatically increase the final bid if Google predicts that a click is likely to convert. Google looks at a range of signals and uses machine learning to determine if a click is more (or less) likely to result in a conversion.

Effective CPM

Effective CPM or ECPM (not to be confused with ECPC) is where Google converts a CPC bid to an equivalent CPM bid for ads competing on the Google Display Network.

Exact Match

A keyword match type that shows your ads when the keyword you are bidding on is the same as the search query someone is using. Exact match keywords also include close variants and word order. Learn more about keyword match types.

Exact Match Impression Share

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


A feature that allows you to test changes to campaigns, ad groups and more. To create an experiment you begin by creating a draft, you then apply the changes to the draft and launch the experiment. You will then be able to report on the difference between the experiment and your original version (the control).


Allows you to temporarily narrow your focus inside your account. For example, you could create a filter for campaigns that include ‘Canada’ in their name or conversions that have a value of at least $100.

Final URL

The URL of the landing page that people are sent to when they click on your ad.

Frequency Cap

Sets the maximum number of impressions for your ad allowing you to control the number of times someone sees your ad on the Google Display Network. The frequency cap is based on viewable impressions of your ads and can be set at the campaign, ad group or ad level and by the day, week or month.


Google Click Identifier or GCLID is a parameter added to the URL of your landing page when auto-tagging is enabled inside Google AdWords. Each click has a unique identifier. See also auto-tagging.

Gmail Ad

A display ad format that appears as an expandable bar at the top of Gmail accounts.

Google AdSense

Google's program for publishers to monetize their website content. By creating a display campaign you will be targeting placements that publishers have allocated to display ads within their website through Google AdSense.

Google Analytics

Google's digital analytics tool which provides visitor data for insights into people's behavior on your website. Linking Google AdWords to Google Analytics will provide you with a rich set of reports about the performance of your campaigns and how people engage with your website content after they’ve clicked on your ad.
Read my Google Analytics Glossary for more on the terms you’ll find in your reports.

Google Display Network

Made up of over two million websites and over 650,000 mobile apps, the Google Display Network allows you to show ads to people who are browsing and engaging with different types of content. See also display targeting.

Google Forwarding Number

Uses one of Google’s phone numbers in your ads which then forwards to your own phone number. Using a Google Forwarding Number provides automatic call reporting and can be used to track conversions, for example, based on call duration. This allows you to view performance right down to the keyword level inside your account. Calls are charged the same amount as a click on your ad.

Google Merchant Center

Google’s platform for submitting product inventory from your website for use in shopping campaigns. Inventory is provided to Google Merchant Center as a feed which is then used to manage campaigns inside Google AdWords. See also shopping campaign.

The advertising network that allows you to show ads to people searching. The Google Search Network allows you to target people searching on Google as well as Google Search Partners which include third-party websites.

Google Search Partners

Includes third-party websites that provide search, for example, Yahoo is currently a partner. Google Search Partners also include other Google-owned properties such as Google Maps.

Image Ad

An ad format that consists of a static or animated image.


An impression is counted when an ad is displayed (with or without a click). For display campaigns, you have the option of bidding on a viewable impression. See also click-through-rate and viewable CPM.

Impression Share

Shows you the visibility you’ve achieved with your ads. Impression share is the percentage of times a campaign was eligible to display an ad compared to when the ad was actually displayed. For example, an impression share of 50% means that your ads were only shown for half of all available impressions.


Are the primary actions people take with your ads. For example, clicks on a text ad, views of a video ad, calls for a call-only ad and so forth. You are typically charged for an interaction with your ad.

Interaction Rate

The total number of interactions divided by impressions. For example, video views divided by impressions. The interaction rate is similar to click-through-rate but is based on any primary interaction. See also click-through-rate.

In-app Conversion

A valuable action tracked inside a mobile app. For example, completing an in-app purchase, creating an account or completing an important task.

Invalid Clicks

Clicks that Google determines are either automated or unintentional. For example, clicks made by a bot. Invalid clicks can be added as a column at the campaign-level within your account. These clicks are not billed.


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

Google’s tool to help you research keywords for your search campaigns. You can find keyword suggestions using the tool, along with ad group ideas and estimates for search volume, clicks and cost. The Keyword Planner provides greater accuracy for accounts with active campaigns.


Short descriptions that can be added to campaigns, ad groups, ads and so forth that help you interpret and report on your campaigns.

Language Targeting

Lets you choose the language for your campaign. Language targeting for search campaigns will match to the Google domain someone is searching on (for example, in the UK compared to in Japan). It will also look at a user’s settings and the language they use when searching (based on the keyword). Language targeting for display campaigns will be matched to the content on the placement. 

Is a responsive ad format that combines multiple assets, including images, text, video and more. Lightbox ads are created using the Ad Gallery.

Location Targeting

Allows you to choose the locations where you’d like your ad to be displayed. By default, location targeting will display ads to people in the specified geographic location or people who express interest in the location. For example, if you target Canada your ads will be displayed to people physically located in Canada (such as people searching for ‘hotel’) and people who use search terms that relate to the location (such as people searching for ‘hotel Vancouver’ even if they are located outside of Canada).

Lost Impression Share

The percentage of impressions where your ads were eligible to display but didn’t due to low budget or low ad rank. See also impression share.

Match Type

Allows you to control how your keywords are matched to what people are searching for (their search query). Match types include broad match, broad match modifier, phrase match, exact match and negative match. Learn more about keyword match types.

Manager Account

An umbrella account used to manage multiple Google AdWords accounts. Manager accounts are primarily used by agencies managing multiple clients and large organizations with multiple accounts. (Manager accounts were previously called MCC or My Client Center accounts.)

Mobile App Engagement Campaign

A special campaign type that targets your ads to people who already have your mobile app installed on their device. Used to engage with your existing audience to bring them back to use your app or a particular app feature.

Mobile App Installs Campaign

A special campaign type that is designed to drive installs of your mobile app.

Mobile Bid Adjustment

Optional setting to adjust the final bid amount for people using a mobile device. For example, a mobile bid adjustment of +20% combined with a default bid of $1 would mean a final bid of $1.20 for people using a mobile device. You can also bid adjust down. A mobile bid adjustment of -100% will stop your ads from being shown to people on mobile devices. See also bid adjustment.

Negative Match

A match type that prevents your ads from displaying. For example, ‘–free’ used with a broad match of ‘chocolate gifts’ would prevent ads being shown when people search for ‘free chocolate gifts’. Negative match can also be combined with the other match types:


Negative Broad Match

Ads will not be displayed if the search query contains all of the words, exactly as specified and in any order. For example, ‘–free baskets’ would prevent ads from being shown for search queries containing ‘free’, ‘baskets’ or ‘free’ and ‘baskets’.

Negative Exact Match

Ads will not be displayed if the search query matches the negative keyword exactly. For example, ‘–[apple ipad]’ will prevent ads from being shown for ‘apple iPad’ but not ‘apple iPad cover’.

Negative Phrase Match

Ads will not be displayed if the search query contains all of the words in the keyword, exactly as specified and in the same order. For example, ‘–”recipe ideas”’ will prevent ads from being shown for ‘recipe ideas’ and ‘cake recipe ideas’.


Google AdWords allows you to target your ads to the Google Search Network, Google Search Partners and the Google Display Network. See also campaign.

Offline Conversion

A conversion that occurs offline. These can be imported into Google AdWords if you have details about the individual click that led to the offline conversion or if you have details about the call that was used to convert the prospect. See also conversion and GCLID.


A set of automatic recommendations for improving the performance of your account. Recommendations can include budget changes, new keywords and more.

Parental Status

A targeting and bidding option for display campaigns that uses behavioral data to identify people who have children (or don’t have children).

Phrase Match

A keyword match type that shows your ads when the keyword you are bidding on is included in the search query someone is using. For example, “gym membership” will match ‘gym membership, ‘chicago gym membership’ and ‘cheap gym membership’. Phrase match keywords will also include close variants of the keyword. Learn more about keyword match types.

Physical Location

The geographic location of your audience member. Based on a range of available signals including IP address, internet connection details, GPS and more.


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


PPC stands for pay-per-click. See CPC.

Product Group

A set of products combined within a shopping campaign. See also shopping campaign.

Quality Score

Google's measurement of how relevant an advertiser's ads are to what someone is interested in. Quality Score is based on a range of factors, including click-through-rate, relevance and landing page experience. The Quality Score displayed inside your account is different to the calculation used when your ads enter the real-time auction in order to be shown to people searching and browsing.


A metric that shows how many people viewed particular percentages of your video ad. Quartiles are reported based on people viewing 25%, 50%, 75% and 100% of your video content.

Radius Targeting

A location targeting option that allows you to set a radius around an address (or other map location).

Remarketing List

Allows you to target people based on previous interactions with your organization. Remarketing lists can be created inside Google AdWords or imported from Google Analytics. Lists can then be used to show ads to particular people or to adjust bids.


Website Visitors

Add people to a remarketing list based on those viewing a particular page (or pages) on your website.

Mobile App Users

Add people to a remarketing list based on those using your mobile app or taking specific actions within your app.

Customer Emails

Add people to a remarketing list by uploading their email addresses into Google AdWords and matching those email addresses to Google Accounts.

YouTube Users

Add people to a remarketing list based on particular interactions with your YouTube videos and channel.

Remarketing Lists for Search Ads

Allows you to modify bids, show specific ads or target particular keywords in your search campaigns when someone is included in one of your remarketing lists.


Return on advertising spend (ROAS) is a metric that divides the total revenue by the total advertising spend. For example, if your total revenue from Google AdWords was $10,000 and you spent $5,000 on your ads, then your ROAS would be 200%.


Allows you to manage your account using JavaScript. For example, you could use data from an external system to modify your bids.

Search Query

The actual text that someone entered when they performed a search. Remember that the search query someone uses might not be the same as the keyword you are bidding on because of the keyword match types.


Used to see a granular breakdown of metrics inside your account. For example, you can segment your data by time, conversions, the type of click, devices and more.

Shared Budget

A daily budget that is applied to one or more campaigns.

Shared Library

Selection of features that can be used across multiple campaigns. For example, remarketing lists, shared budgets, negative keywords and more.

Shopping Campaign

A type of campaign that shows products from your linked Google Merchant Center account. You can prioritize bids and filter products within your shopping campaign. Products are then automatically displayed for relevant search queries.

Site Category Options

Lets you exclude your ads from being displayed on particular types of content on the Google Display Network. For example, you can choose to prevent your display ads from being displayed on error pages.


The status column inside Google AdWords tells you if your ads are approved to be shown. For example, ‘eligible’ or ‘approved’ means your ads can be shown, while ‘disapproved’ means that your ad hasn’t met the editorial requirements.

Target and Bid

A setting applied to the targeting method in a display campaign. Setting ‘Target and Bid’ means that if there are multiple targets applied to the ad group, then all of the targets need to be matched in order for the ad to be displayed. For example, if remarketing and a topic are applied as a target, then someone needs to be on your remarketing list and viewing content about the topic target for the ads to be displayed. It’s like saying ‘and’ for the targeting methods that are applied to the ad group. See also bid only.

Top Content

For display campaigns, you can set bid adjustments for content that Google sees as being popular. This allows you to increase bids to compete for placements that can provide more impressions and higher engagement.


A video ad format that allows you to pay when people watch (or engage with) your video ads on YouTube.


TrueView In-stream

A video ad that is shown before, during or after the video someone is watching on YouTube, embedded on a website or on the Google Display Network. If a viewer chooses to skip your ad then you are not charged. Views are counted after 30 seconds, when the video is completed if it is shorter than 30 seconds or if someone engages with the video.

TrueView Video Discovery Ad

A video ad that promotes your video content in the YouTube search results and as a related video. Views are counted when someone clicks to watch your video.


Allows you to pass details about how people found and interacted with your ad through to your landing page. For example, you can pass details about the keyword match type, targeting, the type of device used and more. ValueTrack is primarily used by third-party analytics tools.
Note: You do not need to use ValueTrack if you are using Google Analytics since these details are automatically passed into your reports once you’ve linked Google AdWords and Google Analytics.

Viewable CPM

Viewable CPM (Cost Per Thousand Impressions) bidding is where you define the amount you want to spend on 1,000 viewable impressions, regardless of the number of clicks. A viewable impression is counted when at least 50% of the ad is displayed on screen for at least one second (this is two seconds for video ads).


A view is reported when someone watches your video ad. You’re also charged based on the view. See also TrueView in-stream and TrueView video discovery ads.

View-through Conversion

A metric for display ads which measures people who see an ad, don’t click it, but later convert on your website. See also attribution and assisted conversion.


Google’s video platform. See also TrueView and bumper ad.

Download the Google AdWords Glossary

You can also download my Google AdWords Glossary to keep as a quick and handy desk reference.

And check out my accompanying Google Analytics Glossary as a quick reference for your reporting and analysis.