Google Ads Glossary: 86 Terms & Definitions You Need to Know

Google Ads, formerly Google AdWords, is a pay-per-click platform offering a wide range of ad solutions for businesses of varying goals and budgets. So let’s get to the terms that matter when promoting your brand on the world’s biggest search engine, from Google Ads to Z.


A/B Testing

A/B testing, or split testing, is a method of comparing two or more variations of an ad to determine which one performs better in terms of generating clicks or conversions. This involves creating multiple ads with slight variations, displaying them to different sets of users, and analyzing the results to determine the winning ad. Google Ads has Experiments and Optimize (runs until September 30, 2023) for conducting A/B experiments and tests for ad campaigns.

Ad Auction

Ad auction refers to the process of determining which Google ads will show up in a user’s search and in what position. This process hap pens in every Google search, as ads eligible to appear in that search go through this “lightning-fast” auction. Ads must contain matching keywords with the search query to be eligible for display.

Ad Copy

Ad copy refers to the written content of a Google Ads advertisement, which includes the headline, description, and display URL. The ad copy is designed to promote the benefits of the product or service being advertised and should contain relevant keywords and a clear call to action to encourage users to click on the ad.

Ad Delivery

Ad delivery refers to how often Google will show your ads based on your daily budget. Standard delivery is the only ad delivery method left for Search, Shopping, and other campaigns after the removal of the accelerated delivery option. The standard ad delivery option is designed to maximize performance, so your ads can still show within the day.

Ad Extension

Ad extension refers to additional information that makes the ad more useful or engaging. An image, lead form, and other bits of information could show up in an ad, as determined by Google Ads. Ad extensions were rebranded to assets.

Ad Formats

Ad formats are defined as visual enhancements to search ads. Ad assets represent a type of ad format.

Google Ad Formats by Campaign Type

Here are the ad formats that are applicable to Google Ads campaign types:

  1. Text ads: Search
  2. Responsive ads: Search, Display
  3. Image ads: Display
  4. App promotion ads: App campaigns
  5. Video ads: Video
  6. Shopping ads: Shopping
  7. Call-only ads: Search

Ad Group

An ad group is made of ads and keywords sharing a common theme, like a specific product. Each ad group has a keyword list, so ads can appear when their related keywords are used.

Ad Placement

Ad placement refers to where you want your ads to appear. Display ads show on Google Display Network and video ads on YouTube.

Ad Position

Ad position refers to the position the ad takes up on a search results page relative to other ads. The ad position is determined by ad rank.

Ad Preview and Diagnosis Tool

The ad preview and diagnosis tool helps you determine why your ad is not appearing or how it appears in the search results. You can access the ad preview and diagnosis tool from your Google Ads account or

Ad Rank

Ad rank is a value used by Google Ads to determine the position of an ad on the search engine results page (SERP). The ad with the highest ad rank will be displayed in the top position on the SERP. Google Ads calculates this value using these factors:

  1. Bid amount
  2. Quality of ads and landing page
  3. Ad rank thresholds
  4. Competitiveness of an auction
  5. Context of a person’s search
  6. Impact of assets and formats on ad performance

Ad Relevance

Ad relevance looks into how well an ad matches a user’s search intent. This ad relevance can be above average, average, or below average. Ad relevance is one criterion of Quality Score.

Ad Rotation

Ad rotation is a setting allowing you to control how often ads belonging to an ad group will be displayed. Under the Optimize option, better-performing ads will be shown more than other ads in the same group.

Ad Schedule

Ad schedule lets you set the hours or days for running ads. The setting also lets you make bid adjustments for certain times.


AdSense or Google AdSense is a program offered by Google Ads that allows website owners to earn revenue by displaying targeted ads on their sites. The program works by matching the content of the website with relevant ads, and the website owner earns money whenever a user clicks on the ad or views it.

Audience Targeting

Audience targeting lets you define the target audience for your ad. You can set your ad target audience based on who they are, what they’re actively searching for, and other variables. These audiences are categorized into segments for every campaign or ad group.

Automated Bidding

Automated bidding allows Google Ads to automatically set bids for your ads based on your business goals. It includes bidding strategies for increasing clicks, conversions, etc. Here are examples of automated bidding strategies and their corresponding goals:

  • Maximize clicks to increase site visits
  • Maximize conversions to get more conversions
  • Maximize conversion value to get more conversion value
  • Target Impression Share to increase visibility
  • Target CPA to get more conversions
  • Target ROAS to get the target return on ad spend

Average Daily Budget

Average daily budget can be set to control ad spending on every campaign per day. While it’s possible for the daily cost to exceed the daily budget, Google says that one will not pay more than their (a) daily spending limit or the maximum amount one will be billed for a campaign on a given day, and (b) monthly spending limit or the maximum amount one will be billed for a campaign over a month.


Better Ads Standards

Better Ads Standards is a set of policies created by the Coalition for Better Ads that includes Google. The standards aim to improve user ad experiences online.

Bid Adjustment

Bid adjustment refers to an increase or decrease in the user’s bid as expressed in percentage. The adjustments let the user control the frequency of ads being shown by device, location, etc., in applicable ad groups or campaigns.

Bid Strategy

The bid strategy in Google Ads is tied to a goal you want to achieve. For example, users can use smart bidding to increase conversions. Learn more about bidding strategies and their recommended uses.

Bounce Rate

Bounce Rate is the percentage of single-page sessions on a website, where users leave without interacting further. It is calculated by dividing the number of single-page visits by the total number of site visits. A high bounce rate (e.g., above 70%) typically indicates poor user engagement or irrelevant content.

Bumper Ad

A bumper ad is a short, non-skippable video advertisement lasting up to 6 seconds, typically played before, during, or after online content. Designed to maximize brand exposure, these ads are optimized for mobile viewing and billed on a CPM basis, with impressions counted in YouTube’s TrueView ad platform.


Call to Action (CTA)

Call to action is a crucial part of the ad copy. A CTA tells the viewer of the ad to take action, whether it’s to buy, book, learn, or something else. Google advertisers can add a clickable CTA button to a Google ad for increased click-through rates.


A campaign consists of one or more Ad Groups with their respective keywords, ads, and bids. Google ad campaign types are as follows:

  • Search campaigns refer to text ads showing up on Google Search.
  • Display campaigns refer to images or visual ads displayed on websites.
  • Video campaigns serve video ads on YouTube and other websites.
  • App campaigns let you promote your app on various channels.
  • Performance Max pertains to upgraded Local and Smart Shopping campaigns. Local campaigns let you promote your physical business location, while Shopping campaigns refer to product listings on Google.
  • Discovery campaigns are for reaching new customers across Google properties.
  • Smart campaigns refer to advertising on Google Search, Google Maps, etc.


A click is when a user clicks on an ad. Google Ads or Google Ad Manager counts a click when it receives the click request from the user, once the click on the ad was made.

Clickthrough Rate

Clickthrough rate (CTR) represents the proportion of clicks your ad receives relative to the number of times your ad is displayed. To calculate CTR, divide the number of clicks by the number of impressions. CTR is a crucial metric in Google Ads.

Content Targeting

Content targeting is an option for video and display campaigns, where you set your ad’s visibility primarily by topic, placement, and keywords.


A conversion occurs when a user completes a desired action after clicking a Google ad. The business defines this desired action (e.g., making a purchase) as a conversion.

Conversion Rate

The conversion rate is the number of conversions divided by the total number of ad interactions. This percentage can be tracked using a conversion tracking tool in Google Ads.

Cost Per Action (CPA)

Cost per action is an advertising model where an advertiser is charged only for conversions resulting from an ad. The average CPA refers to the amount you will be charged for conversions, which is the total cost of conversions divided by the total number of conversions.

Cost Per Click (CPC)

Cost Per Click (CPC) is the amount you pay each time someone clicks on your ad. You can set the maximum CPC, which is the highest amount you are willing to pay for a click on your ad, although it’s possible to be charged less than that amount. This pricing model is also known as pay-per-click (PPC).

Cost Per View (CPV)

Cost per view is the amount you pay for every view on a video ad. A view is countable when someone watches 30 seconds (or the duration, if shorter) of a video ad or interacts with it.


Destination URL

The destination URL refers to the specific URL address that a user is directed to after clicking an ad. The destination URL will eventually be replaced by the ad’s final URL or landing page. The destination URL and display URL must have the same root domain.

Display Ad

A display ad is an image-based advertisement that appears in the Google Display Network, which includes third-party and Google-owned sites and properties. When users click on the display ad, they are taken to a landing page. A responsive display ad is the default ad type for Display campaigns.

Display URL

The display URL is the URL address shown in the ad. This display URL gives users an idea of the page they will be directed to after clicking on the ad.

Dynamic Search Ad

Dynamic search ads allow you to target ads based on your existing web content to capture additional traffic that keyword-based ads might miss. Dynamic search ads work well for websites with well-written content, which serves as the basis for the ads.


Enhanced CPC (ECPC)

Enhanced CPC is designed to optimize your bids for conversions or conversion value within your budget. With this semi-automatic bid strategy, your manual bid will be adjusted (i.e., raised or lowered) depending on the situation.


First Page Bid Estimate

First page bid estimate refers to the approximate bid required for your ad to appear on the first page of Google’s search results for a query related to your keyword. Google Ads system assigns the estimate based on the Quality Score and competition of the keyword.

First Position Bid Estimate

First position bid estimate is the approximate bid you will need for your ad to appear in the first ad position of Google’s search results for a query matching your keyword. The estimate is based on Quality Score and competitor competition for the keyword.


Frequency refers to the number of times a user sees an ad over a certain period. The metric frequency distribution allows you to see the number of people who viewed your ads a specific number of times within a date range, according to Google Ads.

Frequency Capping

Frequency capping enables you to control the number of times a display or video ad is shown to the same user. In a video campaign, the number of views for an individual user can be capped, while for a display ad (ad group or campaign), the number of impressions can be capped.


Google Analytics

Google Analytics is an online analytics software provided by Google. This service offers data and trends analysis, which can be transformed into actionable insights to enhance website performance.

Google Display Network

The Google Display Network (GDN) consists of more than 2 million websites, videos, and apps where ads can be displayed. GDN is reported to reach more than 90% of internet users. Display ads appear on this network, which includes Google sites like YouTube and Gmail.

Google Network

The Google Network collectively refers to all Google-owned and partner sites where your ads can appear online. It consists of the Google Search Network and Google Display Network.

Google Publisher Console

The Google Publisher Console is used to troubleshoot ad delivery problems. It provides information on why an ad failed and how to resolve the issue. The console can be accessed in three different ways.

Google Search Ads

Google Search ads are paid advertisements that appear on the search engine’s results page for a given search query. These Google ads are located above or below the organic results. A Google search ad contains a headline, text description, a link to a landing page, and extensions.

Google Search Network

The Google Search Network is where your search ads can appear. This network comprises Google Search and other search partner sites where ads can be displayed on a query’s results page.



The headline is the first line of an ad. Its purpose is to inform users about the ad’s content and grab their attention. An ad can have up to three headlines, each containing up to 30 characters, separated by the “|” or pipe symbol.


Image Ad

An image ad is an ad format commonly used in Display campaigns. The image in the ad can be static or animated, or in graphics interchange format (GIF). This image ad is displayed on Google Display Network sites.


An impression, as defined by Google, is how often your ad appears on Google Search or Display Network. Each time your ad is shown in any of those locations, it is counted as an impression, or Impr.


An interaction is a user action mainly associated with an ad format as a measure of ad performance. These are quintessential interactions for ad formats:

  • Text ad, Image ad – click
  • Auto-generated video ad – click, engagement
  • TrueView video ad – view
  • Video app promotion, TrueView for action ad – engagement

Interaction Rate

Interaction rate shows the ratio of interaction to impression. To calculate the interaction rate, divide the total interactions by total impressions.

Invalid Clicks

Invalid clicks are any clicks that are considered illegitimate by Google and will be removed. These clicks may be unintentional, due to bots or software, and for reasons determined by the system.



A keyword is a word or phrase used to describe your product and included in your Google ad copy. The right keyword can get your ad to appear in search results when it matches a user’s search query, or in the case of display ads, content that matches the keyword.

Keyword Match Types

Keyword match types or match types are as follows:

  • Exact match shows a tight match whereby ads will be shown to users who are using search terms that have the same meaning as your keywords. Exact-match ads will still be shown to users even if they misspell, abbreviate, etc.
  • Broad match shows ads on searches related to the keyword. Your ads can still show up on searches that don’t contain the exact keywords.
  • Phrase match shows ads on searches that include the meaning of the keywords.

Keyword Planner

Keyword Planner is a tool for conducting keyword research for Google Ads. The tool allows you to discover new keywords, find terms users are searching, and get bid estimates to find the right keywords for your business.


Landing Page

A landing page is the page that a user is directed to after clicking an ad, which is usually the same as the final URL. The landing page experience is one component of Quality Score.

Location Targeting

Location targeting is a setting that allows you to reach people by their geographic location. You can set your ad to appear in an entire country or within the radius of your business’s physical store.

Low Search Volume

Low search volume refers to a keyword with little to no search traffic on Google. Removing the keyword and replacing it with a less specific term are ways to resolve this status.


Manual Bidding (Manual CPC Bidding)

Manual bidding involves setting the maximum bids for your ads. This strategy is also known as manual CPC bidding because you will determine the maximum cost-per-click bid (max CPC) for an ad group, individual keywords, etc.

Mobile Ad

Mobile ad is an ad that can appear on mobile devices, including smartphones and tablets. Types of mobile ads include text ads, image ads, and app promotion ads.


Native Ad

A native ad is a type of advertisement that blends seamlessly and naturally with the page content. Content ads and app install ads are examples of native ads served on websites, apps, etc.

Negative Keywords

Negative keywords are designed for better targeting, ensuring your ads won’t appear on searches or sites that are not related or relevant to your products. Negative keywords can be added to Search and Display campaigns.

Negative Keyword Match Types

Negative keyword match types are a feature in Google Ads that allows advertisers to exclude certain keywords from triggering their ads. When negative keywords are added to a campaign, they prevent the ads from appearing in search results or websites that contain those keywords. By using negative keyword match types, advertisers can better target their ads and avoid showing them to users who are unlikely to be interested in their product or service.

Negative keyword match types are as follows:

  • Negative broad match – your ad won’t show if the search contains all your negative keywords regardless of the order
  • Negative phrase match – your ad won’t show if the search contains exact negative keywords in exact order
  • Negative exact match – your ad won’t show if the search contains the exact negative keywords in the same order and without other words


Offline Conversion

Offline conversion refers to a user action or event that results in a sale offline. You can import offline conversions on the Google Ads platform to track actions that happen after someone clicks your ad (or makes a call from your ad or website).

Optimized Targeting

Optimized targeting in Google Ads refers to the use of data and machine learning algorithms to identify the most relevant audience for an advertisement. By analyzing user behavior and other factors, Google Ads can automatically adjust the targeting settings to reach users who are most likely to engage with the ad and convert into customers. This helps advertisers improve the effectiveness of their campaigns and achieve their desired outcomes more efficiently.

Organic Search Result

Organic search result refers to an unpaid listing that appears in Google Search. It is relevant to the user’s search and shows up naturally. Paid ads, on the other hand, are called non-organic search results and are labeled “Ad” or “Sponsored” in mobile search results.



PPC stands for pay-per-click and refers to an advertising model where an advertiser pays for every click on an ad. Google Ads is an example. Its representative Google Search ad is intended to drive traffic to a website by appearing on a search engine results page.

Performance Max

Performance Max is a Google Ads campaign type that uses machine learning to automatically optimize ad delivery across multiple Google platforms, including Search, Display, YouTube, and Discover. Advertisers provide a budget and desired outcomes, and Google Ads uses data and algorithms to deliver ads to the most relevant audience and achieve the best possible results. Performance Max is designed to simplify campaign management and improve performance by leveraging Google’s vast network and advanced targeting capabilities.


Quality Score

Google Ads Quality Score is a metric, ranging from 1 to 10, that assesses the relevance and performance of your keywords, ad creatives, and landing pages. A higher score leads to lower costs per click and better ad placements, improving the efficiency of your advertising campaigns. It assigns a score from 1 to 10 based on these key components:

  1. Ad relevance
  2. Expected clickthrough rate
  3. Landing page experience


Referrer URL

Referrer URL is a source of web traffic. It is the URL of the webpage that the user was visiting before clicking a link that led them to land on your webpage.


Remarketing refers to re-engaging people who have interacted or shown interest in your brand. This can be done using remarketing lists for search ads.

Responsive Ads

Responsive ads work with multiple variations of an ad to better match a user. For example, Google serves a search ad whose ad copy fits the search query or a display ad whose image adjusts according to the ad format.


Return on Ad Spend (ROAS)

Return on ad spend is a way to measure the effectiveness of an ad campaign based on the ratio of money earned to money spent on advertising. To calculate your ROAS, divide the total revenue by the total spend. You can also add a ROAS column in Google Ads.


Search Engine Results Page (SERP)

A search engine results page contains the most relevant results or likely answers to a query. This SERP can include paid ads and non-paid listings, including featured snippets and “People Also Ask” sections matching the search term entered by the user.

Search Term

A search term refers to the word or phrase that a user types into a search engine. It is different from a keyword, which is used to match your ads with a search term.

Search Volume

Search volume refers to the number of searches of a keyword for a given time period. Keyword search volume and trends data can be obtained from the Keyword Planner tool and can be further refined by date range, location, etc.

Shopping Ad

Shopping ads use product data from your Google Merchant Center account to generate this type of ad. These ads can include product name, image, and title, and can appear next to Google Search results. Shopping ads can be managed using Performance Max or Shopping campaigns.

Smart Bidding

Smart bidding uses machine learning to optimize bids on Google ad campaigns for conversions or conversion value. Smart bidding’s auction-time bidding feature allows it to set bids using contextual signals. Smart bidding is considered an automated bidding strategy and includes these strategies in turn:

  • Target ROAS
  • Target CPA
  • Maximize Conversion Value



Targeting in Google Ads or advertising, in general, refers to processes or settings that ensure your ad reaches the right audience at the right time and place. Targeting can be done in various ways, as applicable to the campaign type, to reach the right people for your ad and achieve your goal.

Targeting Methods

Targeting methods set who you want to reach and where you want your ads to appear. In the case of display campaigns, where targeting is recommended, targeting can focus on a particular audience or context of a specific content.

Text Ad

A text ad is an ad format for Google Search campaigns. It has three basic elements: a headline, a descriptive body of text, and a display URL. Text ads are triggered by search terms that match your keywords, although it’s possible for search page results to contain no ads.

Top-of-Page Bid Estimate

Top-of-page bid estimate refers to the approximate bid needed for your ad to appear among other ads at the top of the first page of search results. Meeting the estimate is not a guarantee for the ad to appear on the first page.


TrueView is an ad format that appears on YouTube, as well as on partner sites and apps. TrueView ads can play alongside other videos on YouTube and can be skipped after five seconds (in-stream) or appear as in-feed ads on YouTube’s search results, video suggestions, and home feed.



URL stands for Uniform Resource Locator. A Google ad has a display URL and a landing page URL, which consists of a required URL and an optional tracking template with tracking information.


View-through Conversion

A view-through conversion is a metric for display and video ads. It occurs when a user sees an ad but does not interact with it and converts afterward. A view-through conversion for a video ad is when an impression leads to a conversion.


YouTube Ads

YouTube ads are advertisements that appear in videos that a user watches. These ads are designed to reach the right audience through various formats, such as bumper ads, in-stream ads, and responsive display ads. These ads help businesses target their potential customers more effectively, increase brand awareness, and drive traffic to their websites or landing pages. By leveraging YouTube’s extensive user base and advanced targeting capabilities, advertisers can create engaging and impactful ad campaigns that resonate with their target audience and achieve their marketing goals.