Google Ads Glossary

Google Ads, it’s all about ‘optimising’ campaigns and maximising returns.

And with it comes a whole series of ‘optimised’ words and paid search acronyms you’re likely to stumble across.

That’s why we’ve created a comprehensive Google Ads glossary of the most commonly used terms in our Google Ads services from an insider’s perspective; so you can unravel the language on what they mean and how they’re used.

# A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

Automated Rules #

A set of variable rules advertisers can use to help automate the management of Google Ads campaigns.

Ad Rank #

The final hidden metric behind the Google Ads auction system. The explicit calculation behind ad rank isn’t in the public forum, however Google indicates it’s a function of bid price multiplied by quality score. An advertisement’s ad rank determines its order on the page when a search result is served to a user.

Adsense #

The advertising placement service whereby publishers of content can monetise areas of their site to Google’s advertising network. Publishers can display video, text or image advertisements and earn revenue when the site visitors view or click the ads.

Attribution Model #

The framework through which a Google Ads campaign has its conversion points attributed. It’s important to have an attribution model in place to be able to properly identify how your campaign is performing on a more granular level. Popular attribution models include, last click, time decay and linear.

Audience Manager #

The goto control centre within the Google Ads backend for managing audiences and their segmentation. A starting point for establishing remarketing within a Google Ads campaign.

AdWords #

Google AdWords is the former name of Google’s search pay per click platform prior to its 2018 rebrand to Google Ads.

Ad Copy #

In PPC advertising, ad copy is the headline, text and URL implemented in the actual online ad. It is used to persuade users to click through to a website.


Broad Match #

The most open of criteria for a keyword match. Broad match allows keywords to match a search query with variants, semantic phrases, expanded phrases and more. It is generally not best practice to use broad match, but instead to tend towards the more refined match type, broad match modified.

Bid Strategy #

The goal and execution behind the automated bidding on keywords within a Google Ads campaign. Having a strong bid strategy that is constantly being refined is one of the keys to being competitive within the Google Ads auction.


Call To Action (CTA) #

A key part of writing ad-copy. The call to action compels the customer to take action. Common examples include ‘call now,’ ‘free quote,’ or ‘try for free.’ 

Cost Per Acquisition (CPA) #

A more advanced attribution metric. Cost Per Acquisition is attained by dividing total conversions by total cost.

Conversion #

A term used to describe when a customer triggers a predefined campaign goal.

Cost Per Click (CPC) #

The average cost of a click. CPC is a topline measure of the cost of serving an ad, Google Ads managers often use this metric as a measure of campaign efficiency early on prior to establishing more robust attribution models.

Click Through Rate (CTR) #

Indicates the number of times an ad was served relative to the number of times it was clicked. Click Through Rate when framed correctly is a good measure of ad relevance and objectively, the relative improvement in ad relevance.


Dayparting #

A bid strategy whereby the advertiser chooses to modify bids within certain time segments or pause ads altogether. This is an effective strategy when there’s identifiable fluctuations in demand & supply in the auction.

Display Advertising #

A visual format of advertising with Google’s network. These include text, banner, interstitial, video and in-app advertising. Display advertising is served by the Google Display Network.

Description Text #

The line of advertising copy that sits below the headline titles in an ad. Depending on ad-format, these can be up to 90 characters in length and Google can show up to two descriptions in one ad.

Dynamic Keyword Insertion #

The addition of a variable field to ad-copy where a keyword is dynamically inserted from the searcher’s query. This allows for the personalisation of ad copy without very granular ad copy structures.


Extension #

A label for a number of add-ons to the standard headline + description ad structure. These include location, callouts, promotions, structured snippets, reviews, app extensions, message, affiliate and sitelink.

Expanded Text Ads #

An ad format, that allows for up to 3 headlines and 2 descriptions. ETA’s are one of the most common ad formats available in Google Ads and a staple of most campaigns.


Frequency Capping #

A method of controlling the number of impressions a user might get from a piece of display advertising. This helps maintain a level of control over the user journey when it comes to paid ad impressions, as nobody likes getting spammed with banner advertising.


Google Shopping #

Google’s comparison shopping engine that enables advertisers to list products within a carousel on Google search results.

Google Partner #

The first tier of Google advertising affiliation. A Google Partner has surpassed a minimum time period on the network along with a threshold of advertising clients and performance. Being a Google Partner opens up a level of internal services, support and training.

Google Display Network (GDN) #

A network of sites publisher site that host Google advertising space in various formats. Over 2 million websites are opted into the network and can reach approximately 90% of web users.


Headline #

The opening line of text on any text based advertisement within the Google Ads network. Headlines are typically limited to 30 characters and are separated with pipe “|.” An expanded text ad can potentially show as many as 3 headlines in one ad.


Impression Share #

A good foundation metric for optimising search campaigns, impression share defines the number of times a search was served, relative to the available number of impressions. Advertisers in general should aim for a 90%+ impression share, budget allowing.

Impression #

How often your ad has been shown. Each time your ad has been served on a Google search results page, it counts as an impression.


Keyword Planner #

An internal tool for building search campaigns. Keyword planner has a limited amount of access to internal search query data from Google’s search database and allows advertisers to see research keywords and project how specific keywords might perform.


Location Extensions #

An extension that allows the Google ad to show Google My Business information and allow the user to click directly through the Google My Business page from the search ad.

Last Click Attribution #

An attribution model where each channel in the attribution path (social, paid search, organic e.c.t) shares each credit on the final attribution.

Local Stack #

The embedded Google My Business listings with a search query page on Google. These are often visualised as a Google Map area followed by 3 local GMB listings. Google Ads advertisers can utilise the local stack by enabling locations extensions on their campaign.

Landing Page #

The page that a user “lands” on post-click on a google ad. It is important to customise the user experience of a landing page to match the user intent of a searcher’s query.


Match Type #

There are 3 core match types within Google Ads. Broad, phrase and exact match. Each of the three dictate in varying degrees the flexibility a keyword has to match with a user’s search query.

Mobile Friendly #

In reference to landing pages. Mobile friendly landing pages are built to be fast and functional when viewed from a mobile or tablet device. It’s increasingly important that your landing pages are mobile friendly when advertising with Google Ads so that your quality score and conversion rates don’t suffer.

Merchant Center #

Google Merchant Centre is the sub-platform within Google Ads for managing shopping feeds. Merchant Centre enables advertisers to list their products on Google’s comparison shopping engine Google Shopping.


Native Ads #

A display format that seamlessly blends into the publishers content around them. Native ad formats are usually embedded within content rather than in specifically designated positions within a site.

Negative Keyword Lists #

Negative keyword lists are lists of keywords that help exclude irrelevant and wasteful search queries that are commonly matched in a search campaign. It is important to review keyword match data on an ongoing basis in an effort to build these lists and as a result further mature and refine your search campaign.


Overdelivery #

The accrual of daily ad spend that exceeds the average of your monthly budget. Google Ads no longer has the functionality to put a hard cap in place on daily spend, and daily cost could go as high as 2x your daily limit. This will however balance over the month and is in response to fluctuations in query demand.


Phrase Match #

A keyword match type where the ad only shows if the exact phrase has been mentioned, an arrangement of the exact phrase or a close variation with additional words before or after it.

Pay-Per-Click (PPC) #

A digital advertising model whereby the advertiser only pays when the ad is clicked by the user as opposed to more traditional methods where the advertiser pays on impression or a flat fee for the advertising real-estate.

Placement Exclusion List #

The display advertising equivalent of a negative keyword list. A placement exclusion list outlines a list of sites within the Google Display Network that the advertiser has deliberately excluded from showing their advertisement on.


Query #

The explicit search string that a user types into Google’s search engine. Also referred to as a search query.

Quality Score (QS) #

A quality estimate of ads based on the expected click through rate of an ad served for your query, ad relevance and landing page experience. Combined with your bid price to form your ad rank, which determines ad position on the page.


Remarketing #

The practise of retargeting users that have visited your website through the use of advertising cookies. Remarketing allows advertisers to segment a high valuable audience and work towards nurturing them towards a sale.

Return On Advertising Spend (ROAS) #

A target metric for most advertisers, ROAS when attributed correctly allows the advertiser to understand the more direct impact each incremental dollar of additional advertising spend has on generating additional revenue for the business.

Responsive Search Ad (RSA) #

A more modern iteration of the expanded search ad format whereby the advertiser writes up to 15 headlines and 4 descriptions with Google using machine learning to combine them into successful ETA formats. 


Single Keyword Ad-Group (SKAG) #

The creation of ad groups with a single keyword and three match variants, broad, phrase and exact. A SKAG campaign structure is highly targeted and effective when campaign size is manageable on that level.

Smart Lists #

Audience segments created through machine learning. They provide a ready made effective user segment based on website engagement signals such as time on page, page depth & session time.

Script #

A piece of executable Javascript code that interacts with the Google Ads typically to automate functions that can’t be done or can’t be effectively done by automated rules within the Google Ads system.


Time Decay Attribution #

An attribution model where the closest channels to the sale are given the largest amount of credit for a sale.

Tag Manager #

Google’s proprietary tool for ‘tagging’ of a website to establish a link between user interaction points and conversion goals. Tag manager is a helpful tool as it maintains all the required code within one container and has a user friendly interface.

Text Ads #

The standard format for advertisements on the Google Ads network. Text ads will typically serve on a search results page in a 4 above the fold, 3 at the bottom of the page format.


User Experience #

All the elements, functional or felt that end up defining the emotional experience of visiting your website. The user experience is key to developing the perceived value of your good or service and amplifies the effectiveness of any Google Ads campaign.


View-Through Conversion #

A set period after an ad impression (typically 30 days) at which point a conversion action is recorded. View through conversions expand the attribution window on conversions and help provide larger datasets for display formats to optimise to.

Video Advertising #

Video formats such as skippable in-stream ads, non-skippable in-stream ads, video discovery ads, outstream ads and bumper ads served across the Youtube advertising ecosystem and partner sites.


Youtube Advertising #

A video sharing website bought by Google in 2006. Youtube is the world’s second largest social sharing platform by monthly average users. Users watch over a billion hours of content on the service every day. For advertisers, Youtube provides a strong social network to serve video and display advertising formats which are simple to setup and manage through a Youtube account.

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