Google Ads Glossary: 20 Common Terms to Know
Don’t know what a term means? See definitions of common Google Ads features and concepts via this basic Google Ads glossary.
- Ad group
- Ad position
- Ad Rank
- Contextual targeting
- Cost-per-click (CPC)
- Daily budget
- Destination URL
- Display URL
- Final URL
- Google Account
- Google Ads
- Landing page
- Maximum CPC bid
- Quality Score
An ad group contains one or more ads which target a shared set of keywords.
- Each of your campaigns is made up of one or more ad groups.
- Use ad groups to organize your ads by a common theme. For example, try separating ad groups into the different product or service types you offer.
The order in which your ad appears on a page in relation to other ads. For example, an ad position of “1” means that your ad has the highest position on the page relative to other ads of the same type. It doesn’t necessarily mean that your ad is above the search results. If there are no ads above the search results, then it means that your ad is the first ad shown beneath search results.
- Ad position is determined by a formula called Ad Rank that gives your ad a score based on your bid, the quality of your ads and landing page, the Ad Rank thresholds, the context of the person’s search, and the expected impact of extensions and other ad formats. So even if your competition bids more than you, you can still win a higher position — at a lower price — with highly relevant keywords and ads.
- Your Ad Rank is recalculated each time your ad is eligible to appear, so your ad position can fluctuate each time depending on the context of the person’s search and the competition among other advertisers at the precise moment of the person’s search.
- Ads can appear on the top or bottom of a search results page.
A value that’s used to determine your ad position (where ads are shown on a page relative to other ads) and whether your ads will show at all. Ad Rank is calculated using your bid amount, your auction-time ad quality (including expected clickthrough rate, ad relevance, and landing page experience), the Ad Rank thresholds, the context of the person’s search (for example, the person’s location, device, time of search, the nature of the search terms, the other ads and search results that show on the page, and other user signals and attributes), and the expected impact of extensions and other ad formats.
A set of ad groups (ads, keywords, and bids) that share a budget, location targeting, and other settings. Campaigns are often used to organize categories of products or services that you offer.
- Your Google Ads account can have one or many ad campaigns running.
- Each campaign consists of one or more ad groups.
- Settings that you can set at the campaign level include budget, language, location, distribution for the Google Network, and more.
- You can create separate ad campaigns to run ads in different locations or using different budgets.
When someone clicks your ad, like on the blue headline of a text ad, Google Ads counts that as a click.
- A click is counted even if the person doesn’t reach your website, maybe because it’s temporarily unavailable. As a result, you might see a difference between the number of clicks on your ad and the number of visits to your website.
- Clicks can help you understand how well your ad is appealing to people who see it. Relevant, highly-targeted ads are more likely to receive clicks.
- In your account statistics, you’ll see the clickthrough rate (CTR), which tells you how many people who’ve seen your ad end up clicking on it. This metric can help you gauge how enticing your ad is and how closely it matches your keywords and other targeting settings.
- Note that a good CTR is relative to what you’re advertising and on which networks. To help increase your clicks and CTR, start by creating great ad text and strong keywords to make ads that are highly relevant and very compelling to your customers.
The process that matches ads to relevant sites in the Display Network using your keywords or topics, among other factors.
- Here’s how it works: Google’s system analyzes the content of each webpage to determine its central theme, which is then matched to your ad using your keywords and topic selections, your language and location targeting, a visitor’s recent browsing history, and other factors.
- Google Ads uses contextual targeting when an ad group has keywords or topics and its campaign is set to show ads on the Display Network.
Cost-per-click (CPC) bidding means that you pay for each click on your ads. For CPC bidding campaigns, you set a maximum cost-per-click bid – or simply “max. CPC” – that’s the highest amount that you’re willing to pay for a click on your ad (unless you’re setting bid adjustments, or using Enhanced CPC).
- Your max. CPC is the most you’ll typically be charged for a click, but you’ll often be charged less — sometimes much less. That final amount you’re charged for a click is called your actual CPC.
- If you enter a max. CPC bid and someone clicks your ad, that click won’t cost you more than the maximum CPC bid amount that you set.
- You’ll choose between manual bidding (you choose your bid amounts) and automatic bidding (let Google set bids to try to get the most clicks within your budget).
- CPC pricing is sometimes known as pay-per-click (PPC).
An amount that you set for each ad campaign to specify how much, on average, you’d like to spend each day.
- You set an average daily budget for each Google Ads campaign, and then the system will aim to show your ads as much as possible until your budget is met.
- When your budget is reached, your ads will typically stop showing for that day. How quickly your ads are shown during a given day is determined by your ad delivery option.
- It’s possible that you’ll be charged less or sometimes slightly more than your average daily budget amount on a given day. To help make sure that your ad can run a little more on days when it’s very popular, your daily budget is used like an average: on any single day, you can spend up to 2 times your daily budget, but on other days your spend will be capped at a lower amount to make up for it. This is called overdelivery. For campaigns where you pay for conversions, your daily spend may exceed your average daily budget by more than 2 times.
- However, in a given billing period, you’re never charged more than the average number of days in a month (roughly 30.4) times your daily budget. For campaigns that are paused in the middle of the month or that otherwise don’t run for the full month, you may see discrepancies between your average daily budgets and your total charges.
A visual and customizable summary of your account’s performance data.
- Dashboards are created by inserting scorecards, charts, tables, or notes on your performance data, into a customizable grid. You can place these cards on any square in the grid.
- Scorecards: Show you the performance of key metrics.
- Charts and tables: Let you insert visual data reports created in the Report Editor.
- Notes: Give people you’re collaborating with more context on your dashboard.
- Scorecards, charts, tables, or notes can be rearranged and resized to help you customize your dashboard.
- You can change the date range for each individual scorecard, table, or chart to see performance over a particular timeframe. You can also change the overall date of your entire dashboard to see how it would have looked on a particular day.
- Dashboards let you collaborate with anyone who has access to your Google Ads account.
- For those with email-only access, you can share your dashboard by email.
- To share with those who don’t have access to your account, download your dashboard as a .pdf.
The webpage address that appears with your ad, typically shown in green text.
- Display URLs give people an idea of where they’ll arrive after they click an ad. The landing page that you define with a final URL tends to be more specific. For example, if your display URL is www.example.com, your final URL might be example.com/sweaters.
- For expanded text ads, your display URL consists of the domain of your final URL (and the subdomain, if you have one) and your two optional “Path” fields of up to 15 characters each.
- Your display URL may appear in your ad with a “www.” prefix in lowercase letters (even if you enter it with capitalized letters). If your URL begins with a subdomain, your display URL may include it (for example, the support in support.google.com).
The URL address of the page in your website that people reach when they click your ad.
- If you maintain separate landing pages for mobile users (like AMP pages), then enter them in the final URL for mobile field (under the “Ad URL options” section)
- The domain of the final URL needs to match the domain of your display URL.
- The final URL isn’t displayed on your ads (the URL shown is your display URL).
A Google-wide username and password that can be used to access various products, including Google Ads.
- Your Google Account also contains information that applies across products, such as your preferred language and some privacy settings.
- If you created a Google Ads account or have signed in to access any Google product, then you’ve created a Google Account.
- A Google Account can be associated with up to 5 Google Ads accounts, including manager accounts.
- You can view and change the information in your Google Account at any time by signing in at google.com/accounts
Google Ads is Google’s online advertising program. Through Google Ads, you can create online ads to reach people exactly when they’re interested in the products and services that you offer.
- Google Ads is a product that you can use to promote your business, help sell products or services, raise awareness, and increase traffic to your website.
- Google Ads accounts are managed online, so you can create and change your ad campaign at any time, including your ad text, settings, and budget.
- There’s no minimum spending commitment, and you set and control your own budget. You choose where your ad appears, set a budget that’s comfortable for you, and easily measure the impact of your ad.
How often your ad is shown. An impression is counted each time your ad is shown on a search result page or other site on the Google Network.
- Each time your ad appears on Google or the Google Network, it’s counted as one impression.
- In some cases, only a section of your ad may be shown. For example, in Google Maps, we may show only your business name and location or only your business name and the first line of your ad text. However, when someone searches using Google Instant, an impression can be counted when one of these occur: Person begins to type and then clicks anywhere on the page like a search result, ad, or related search Person types a search and then clicks the “Search” button, presses Enter, or selects a predicted query from the drop-down menu Person stops typing, and the results are displayed for a minimum of three seconds You’ll sometimes see the abbreviation “Impr” in your account showing the number of impressions for your ad.
Words or phrases describing your product or service that you choose to help determine when and where your ad can appear.
- The keywords you choose are used to show your ads to people. Select high-quality, relevant keywords for your ad campaign to help you reach only the most interested people, who are more likely to become your customers.
- When someone searches on Google, your ad could be eligible to appear based on the similarity of your keywords to the person’s search terms, as well as your keyword match types. Keywords are also used to match your ad to sites in the Google Network that are related to your keywords and ads.
- A great keyword list can help improve the performance of your ads and help you to avoid higher prices. Poor keywords can ultimately cause you to have higher prices and lower ad position.
- You can add match types to your keywords to help control which searches your ad can be matched with.
The webpage where people end up after they click your ad. The URL of this page is usually the same as your ad’s final URL.
- For each ad, you specify a final URL to determine the landing page where people are taken when they click your ad.
- Google’s policy is that your landing page and display URL (the webpage shown in your ad) must share the same domain.
- Your landing page experience is one of several factors that helps determine a keyword’s Quality Score. The experience of a landing page is represented by such things as the usefulness and relevance of information provided on the page, ease of navigation for the user, and how many links are on the page.
Maximum CPC bid
A bid that you set to determine the highest amount that you’re willing to pay for a click on your ad.
- If someone clicks your ad, that click won’t cost you more than the maximum cost-per-click bid (or “max. CPC”) that you set. For example, if you set a $2 max. CPC bid, you’ll never pay more than $2 for each click on your ad. The actual amount that you pay is called the actual CPC and is shown in your account’s “Avg. CPC” column.
- A higher bid generally helps your ad show in a higher ad position on the page.
- You’ll choose between manual bidding (you choose your bid amounts) and automatic bidding (you set a target daily budget and the Google Ads system automatically adjusts your max. CPC bids on your behalf, with the goal of getting you the most clicks possible within that budget). With manual bidding, you’ll set one maximum CPC bid for an entire ad group, but can also set different bids for individual keywords.
Quality Score is an estimate of the quality of your ads, keywords, and landing pages. Higher quality ads can lead to lower prices and better ad positions.
- You can see your Quality Score (Quality Score is reported on a 1-10 scale and its components (expected clickthrough rate, ad relevance, and landing page experience) in your keywords’ “Status” column.
- The more relevant your ads and landing pages are to the user, the more likely it is that you’ll see higher Quality Scores.
- Quality Score is an aggregated estimate of your overall performance in ad auctions, and is not used at auction time to determine Ad Rank.
How closely the elements of your ad campaign match what a person seems to be looking for.
Your ads and keywords should directly relate to the content on your website, especially the ad’s landing page. When people see your ad, they should be able to understand what kind of product, service, or other content they’ll find on your site.
To encourage you to create relevant ad campaigns that accurately represent your products or services, the Google Ads pricing system is partly based on relevance. A highly relevant ad, keyword list, and landing page is generally rewarded with a higher position on the page for potentially less money.
Relevance is part of your Quality Score, a formula that Google uses to measure how useful your ad, keyword, and website are to a customer. Relevant ads tend to get higher Quality Scores.
For more information and additional Google Ads glossary terms, visit Google’s setup and basics in the Help Center.
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