The terminology used in Google AdWords can be daunting and difficult to understand when you’re first starting out. This is a comprehensive list of all the terminology you need to know when getting started with Google Ads, as well as practical examples of how to use different settings and understand ad performance. This list doesn’t cover every term used in Google Ads, but it does cover the most common and important of those terms.
General Terms and Conditions
These are some of the most common and common advertising terms that will be served to you. These are the foundation of all Google Ads, so it’s important to understand what they mean.
Goal – This is the goal you want your campaign to achieve. There are 7 different campaign objectives. You also have the option to create a campaign without a goal in mind, but we recommend that you don’t. It’s best practice to have a set goal for each campaign.
- Sales – Increase sales online, through an app, or from your store.
- Leads – Get leads and other types of conversions by encouraging customers to take action.
- Website Traffic: Encourage web visits and clicks to attract the right people to your site.
- Product and Brand Evaluation – Force people to explore your products and services and see your brand as a trusted buying point for those things.
- Brand Awareness and Reach – Reach a broad audience and increase awareness for your brand.
- App Promotion – Get more installs, engagements or pre-registrations for your app.
- Local Store Visits and Promotions – Conduct visits to local stores and physical locations, including restaurants, dealerships, or service centers.
Campaign A campaign is an organizational unit of smaller ad groups. All settings in a campaign are the same, and one campaign shares 1 set budget. You can run as many campaigns as you want. Their primary purpose is to help you organize and group your ads together.
- The way you organize your campaigns can be different in many ways, none of them is more or less accurate than the next one. If you own a clothing store and you’re trying to sell your products with Google Ads, you can split your campaigns into clothing types like “Shirt,” “Pants” and “Shoes,” or you can split your campaigns by gender (ex: “Men’s,” “Women’s” and “Children’s clothing”). Both are a great way to organize your campaigns, just do what makes the most sense for your business.
Campaign Type There are six different campaign types you can use in Google Ads. Your campaign type determines how your ads show. Different campaign types can appear on different platforms on Google, with different ad formats that affect how your ad will appear visually. Here are the 6 different campaign types:
- Search campaigns – This campaign type allows you to reach people searching for your product or service by showing text ads in Google search results.
- Display ads – Display ads are a more visually appealing type of ad that can appear on a wide variety of websites, apps, and Google-owned properties like YouTube or Gmail.
- Shopping campaigns – This campaign type connects with Google Merchant Center to advertise your products on Google. Shopping ads differ from other ads in that they don’t contain any ad text and focus only on the product itself.
- Discovery campaigns – Discovery campaigns are similar to display campaigns in that they appear on a wide variety of platforms and websites. However, they differ in their ultimate goals. Display Network campaigns focus on getting conversions, while Discovery campaigns focus on brand awareness and reach. Discovery campaigns are best used to spread news about your company or announce a new launch, but are less effective at generating direct sales.
- Video campaigns – This campaign type hosts video ads, mostly on YouTube videos and on mobile apps or websites that show as pop-ups.
- Maximum performance campaigns (formerly known as smart campaigns) – Performance Maximum campaigns contain items instead of ads. These are headlines, descriptions, images, videos strategically combined into various ad combinations to create the most successful targeted ads for your audience. and a collection of targeted audiences. When done right, they can be quite successful.
Ad Groups Ad groups organize all your ads within a campaign. It allows you to separate topics in more detail and group similar ads together. An ad group is a colleckeywords, budgets, targeting objectives, and all of the ads in a campaign that focus on a specific goal.
- For example, if you have a campaign focused on selling a skincare product, each of the ad groups in that campaign might focus on a different benefit of the product.
Keyword -s Keywords are search terms that trigger your ad to appear below a search result. All terms related to your product or service that you want your ad to show must be entered as keywords.
Keyword Types There are three different types of keywords. They serve to control how broad your keywords are and limit your ad from showing on irrelevant searches.
- Broad match – Shows searches related to your keyword. If you have a broad match keyword for “blue t-shirts,” your ad will show on searches like “best t-shirts” or “blue shirts.” They may not exactly match your keyword, but they are closely related.
- Phrase matching – Shows searches that mean the same thing as your keyword. A phrase matched keyword for “blue t-shirts” will cause your ad to show for searches like “big blue t-shirts” “women’s blue t-shirts.” This provides some space for search terms that don’t exactly match, but still contain your keyword phrase and share the same meaning.
- Exact match – Shows searches that have exactly the same meaning or purpose as your keyword. An exact-match keyword for “blue t-shirts” will trigger your ad to show only on searches like “blue t-shirts” or “blue t-shirts.”
Negative Keyword – This is a search term that you don’t want your ad to show. Negative keywords allow you to filter out search results that might be relevant to your keywords but aren’t relevant to what you’re selling. This will prevent your ad from showing on irrelevant searches.
- For example, if you sell a pepper grinder, you don’t want your ads to show for pepper spray or hot pepper. When you add negative keywords like “spray” or “spicy,” unwanted search results will filter out while your ads will continue to show on relevant searches.
Search Terms Also called a search query, this is the word or phrase that a user types into the Google search bar and triggers your ad to show. Most of the time, this phrase won’t exactly match your keywords, so using broad and phrase matching is often a must.
Ad Extensions – Extensions allow you to add additional features to your ads to show people more information about your products or business. This may include additional links, call buttons, prices, or features that your business offers.
Types of Ad extensions – There are 10 types of ad extensions you can use:
- Sitelink extensions – Adds additional links to various parts of your site below the main text in search ads.
- Callout extensions: 25-character snippets of text used to describe the best qualities and benefits of your business, product, or service.
- Structured snippets – Lists specific benefits or hidden highlights related to a product or service. Callouts can list all the types of shoes a business sells, while callout extensions can advertise their convenience and current size range.
- Call extensions – Add a phone number to your ad, making it easy for people to contact your business.
- Lead form extensions – Still in beta, allow users to fill out a lead form and submit it directly from your ad without having to navigate your website.
- Location extensions – Adds a Google Maps link to your ad that will show people exactly where you’re and give them directions on how to get there.
- Affiliate location extensions – This connects users to other locations that can sell your product but aren’t directly connected to your business. For example, a system where users can also find your product you can link to Walmart or Amazon as an affiliate location.
- Price extensions Lists prices next to your most popular items under your ad. This notifies users about prices in advance, so they’re more likely to make a purchase or make an appointment when they click on your ad.
- App extensions – Adds a link to download a mobile app below your ad. This makes users more likely to download their app if they don’t have to leave Google, enter the app store, and search for the app to find it.
- Promotion extensions – Advertise existing promotions alongside your ad. You can customize how this extension is shown until certain hours and set an end date so that it stops automatically showing when the sale ends.
Quality Score – Your quality score is a numerical score between 1 and 10 determined by the success of an advertisement. Your ads’ click-through rate, ad relevance, and landing page experience all help determine your quality score. The higher your score, the better. A higher score will help lower your cost-per-click and increase your ad rank.
Ad Rank – This is the value used by Google to determine where your ad will reach on the page in a given auction. Your ad rank is a complex value based on many different factors. Better ad rank results in ad placements at the top of the page.
Recommendations Tab – This is a tab in your Google Ads account that comes with AI-generated ideas to help you improve your campaign’s performance.
Landing Page – This is a designated page set up outside of your website’s main navigation, solely for the purpose of directing users to an end conversion goal. It’s a best practice to redirect all of your ads to a landing page on your main site, not a regular page.
A/B Testing Also known as split testing, this is the process of testing two different versions of an ad, using different messages and tactics to see what will be most effective. This is used to improve ad performance and find the most successful version of an ad.
These are the most common terms you’ll come across regarding costs and budgets. Understanding how each of these will affect your spend can be crucial to both the success of your ad and your profitability.
Budget – This is the maximum amount of money an advertising campaign is allowed to spend per day. This means that if you want to spend $300 per month, your daily budget will be around $10. The amount of money you need to spend to get your ads peak can vary greatly from business to business, depending on the industry and competition involved.
Cost – This is the amount spent over a period of time. For example, your daily budget might be $10 (or about $300/month), but your actual cost might only be $150/month. This depends on many factors, the biggest of which is the target market and the competition around your product or service. Sometimes there isn’t a market big enough to spend that much, and sometimes your competition outperforms you, preventing your ads from showing.
CPC (Cost Per Click) – This is the amount you’ll pay for each click you make on your ad.
CPV (Cost Per View) – This is the amount of money you’ll pay for each view you get on your video ads.
Target CPA (Cost Per Action) – This is a bid strategy that uses a specific amount that you’re willing to spend per conversion. Because this is an automated bid strategy, Google automatically ensures that you get as many conversions as possible at your target CPA.
Bid Strategy – A bid strategy automatically sets bids for your ads based on how likely the ad is to convert. Each bid strategy is designed to help you achieve a different goal.
Billing Threshold – The dollar amount determined by you that triggers an invoice to be sent to you. By default, Google sets the billing threshold to $500.
Ad Creative Terms
Title – This is the top of your text ad, and it’s also the click-through bridge in your ad that allows users to visit your destination URL. Titles are short, up to 30 characters, and the audienceit’s the first thing your guys read, so it’s important to make them eye-catching.
Description – This is the “body” part of your ad. This text will appear below the headline and make up the bulk of your ad. Descriptions can be up to 90 characters long, allowing you to delve deeper into your ad and explain to viewers exactly what you’re selling.
CTA (Call to Action) – This is a specific written action that you want your visitors to perform after clicking on your ad and visiting your landing page. Some common CTAs include “Call Now,” “Buy Now,” “Learn More Today,” or “Get a Quote Today.”
Destination URL – This is the URL that your visitors reached after clicking on your ad.
Display URL – This is the URL displayed in the ad and visible to your users. It’s usually a cleaner, shortened version of the actual URL.
Performance Related Terms
Impressions – This represents the number of times your ad was shown below a search result. When someone enters a search on Google and one of your ads appears on its page, that is, 1 ad impression. Impressions help you understand how often your ad is seen.
Interactions/Clicks Interactions represent the number of times a user interacts with your ad. This typically represents clicks on your ads and views on videos. This helps show that people are interested in your ads and are taking steps to learn more about your product or service.
Engagement Rate – This represents the number of people who interacted with your ad after it was shown. It’s represented by a percentage and is a great way to understand how effective your ads are.
- The higher the engagement rate, the better. However, the industry standard states that anything at or below a 1% engagement rate is considered weak, 2-5% is considered a good engagement rate, and anything above 6% is considered excellent.
- Video ads tend to have a lower engagement rate than other ad formats. For video ads, an engagement rate of 1-2% is considered good, an engagement rate of 3% or above is excellent, and anything below 0.5% is considered poor.
Average Cost Average cost represents the amount you spend per interaction. Depending on the industry involved and the competition, this number can range from just a few cents to a few dollars on average. The more competitive an industry is, the more you can expect to pay per interaction.
Conversion Rate – This shows, on average, how many times an ad interaction leads to a conversion. It is represented by a percentage and is achieved by dividing conversions by interactions.
- The industry standard for conversion rates is roughly the same as for engagement rate. A poor conversion rate of 2% or less is considered a good conversion rate of 3-6%, and a conversion rate of 7% or higher is considered a great conversion rate.
Conversion Value Conversion value is the total amount in currency that your ad-driven conversions are worth. In other words, it represents the amount of dollars a customer spent on your site when converting.
- This value is calculated only if your settings are configured to do so. This setting doesn’t work well with all conversion goals, such as services, phone calls, or sliding scale costs. We strongly recommend that you track conversion value for nearly all relevant product sales.
Conversion Value Per Cost – This is also known as your return on investment or ROI and is often referred to as your return on ad spend or ROAS. This value is usually the most important measure of an ad’s success and is calculated as conversion value divided by the total cost.
- This can be represented by a percentage or decimal. Google ads use decimals, while Bing ads and some other platforms use percentages. For example, 4.1 ROAS is equivalent to 410% ROAS.
- The industry standard states that anything above 4.0 should be a good return and is a common metric for ad performance. In general, the higher the ROAS, the better. However, different advertising goals can change what will be considered a good return for your business. For example, if your main goal is to reach as many people as possible, a lower ROAS is alsoha is a good strategy. If your only focus is on returns and profits, and you don’t care how many people you reach, a higher ROAS is probably the right approach. We currently have clients with ROAS targets ranging from 2.5 to 10. All of their ads are still equally successful because each of them has different goals that they are trying to achieve.
Conversion – A conversion usually represents a sale on your website, but you can configure your settings to track conversions for a wide variety of actions. You can track conversions for phone calls, form fill-ins, email signups, or a visit to your physical store. Google Ads also lets you track multiple types of conversions at once, making it easier for you to track sales, email signups, and phone calls at the same time.
Average CPC (Cost Per Click) – This represents, on average, the amount spent per click. This is calculated by dividing the total number of clicks by the total cost. This means that your individual CPC may change, one click may cost $0.20, another may cost $0.40, and your average CPC will remain at $0.30.
Cost/Conversion – This represents the average amount spent per conversion. It’s your total cost divided by the total conversions. If you’re tracking multiple conversion actions, keep in mind that your total cost per conversion may be lower than the cost of each conversion.
End Date – This is the date when your ads will stop running. Set an end date of optional, and you can also manually turn off ads at any time. If you don’t set an end date or manually end your ads, they’ll run forever.
Location – This is the location where you want to advertise, not necessarily where you are. This can be international, advertise to multiple countries and territories, or be as small as 1 selected city.
Languages – These are the languages in which you want to advertise, not the languages in which your ad is written. In most cases, it’s recommended that you only advertise in the language in which your ad is written. However, in some cases it makes sense to step outside of it. For example, if you sell a language learning course, it makes sense to advertise it to non-native English speakers and add other languages to your ad settings.
Ad Scheduling – Ad scheduling is an optional setting that you can set to ensure that your ads only show at certain times throughout the day. This can be useful if you have in-depth data about your target market and what times of day they are most likely to make a purchase. However, if you don’t have this data, it’s likely to be more harmful than useful.
Spectator This is a group of people you want to target to buy your product. Masses can be identified by things like age, location, education, interests, lifestyle, and more.
Change History – This is a log of all changes made to the account, going back to the beginning of the account. This can be especially useful when there’s a sudden change in ad performance. If this change aligns with a change to the account, you can easily discover the reason and adjust accordingly.
Automated Rules – Automated rules allow Google Ads to automatically make changes and apply recommendations on things like ad budget, bid strategies, and even go so far as to create new ads and keywords for you. All of these can be turned on or off individually, not a one-size-fits-all size. It’s up to you to determine which of these might be useful to you and which elements you want to have full control over. By default, all automated rules are turned off.