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The Complete Google Adwords Glossary

Johnathan Dane
Johnathan Dane
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Having a handy dandy glossary with all the possible Google Ads terms is a must if you're serious about your Google Ads skills.

Whether you’re looking to understand the language of PPC or help train someone else, this Google Ads glossary should be the most complete one you’ve ever laid your eyes on.

Having this Google Ads glossary should not only help you throughout your digital marketing career, but it should also help you be more eloquent when speaking about Google Ads.

Ready to impress your team or your clients with your advanced Google Ads terminology?

If so, then you’re already speakin’ my language.


A/B Split Testing: The comparison of two versions of a landing or web page, app, ad, etc., against each other to see which results in better performance. Both versions of what you’re testing are used equally, and (typically) the change is minor (e.g., a change in CTA or hero image).

Ad Auction: Within Google, the ad auction determines the bid you’ll pay for a click and is used to select the ads that will appear on Google’s search engine results pages, search partner sites, or Display Network sites.

Ad Copy: This is the advertising copy of any ad. In Google Ads, it is composed of three elements: headlines (3), display path, and descriptions (2). 

Ad Delivery: Determines the rate at which your ads will be served and how long your daily budget will last. There used to be two options: (1) standard delivery, which would deliver your budget evenly over the day, and (2) accelerated delivery, which would try to frontload all spend early in the day. Accelerated delivery was sunsetted for all campaign types in 2020, leaving standard delivery as the only option.

Ad Extension: Additional features you can add to your ads that show more information about your brand or business, including phone number, hyperlinks to relevant pages, etc.

Ad Group: In Google Ads, an ad group is a group that contains one or more ads. The ad group itself controls the keywords that the ads within it will show for. Each campaign contains one or more ad groups.

Ad Placement: This is where you choose to allow your display ads or video ads to be placed within the Google Display Network, YouTube, or Google video partner sites. Examples of ad placement include an entire website, a YouTube channel, a mobile app, a single web page, etc.

Ad Preview and Diagnosis: Within Google Ads, Ad Preview and Diagnosis is a tool that lets you see what serving issues your ad may be having. It helps you to determine why your ad may not be showing up or why extensions are missing. 

Additionally, Ad Preview and Diagnosis shows you a preview of a Google search results page for a specific term. This helps you see which ads and extensions appear for your keyword and how you measure up to your competition.

Google ad preview and diagnosis
Ad Preview and Diagnosis at work

Ad Position: Ad position refers to the position in which your ads appear in the Google SERP. The highest position is "1," and the lowest is infinite. Average ad position as a metric was sunsetted in Google Ads in 2019 and replaced with the Search Top Impression Share and Search Absolute Top Impression Share metrics as the closest substitute. 

Ad Rank: This is the value that Google uses to determine which position your ad will take within any given auction, whether it’s on the SERP, search partner sites, Display Network sites, or video partner sites. Within Google, your ad rank is a complex value calculated using your bid amount, Quality Score, ad rank thresholds, how much competition there is, etc.

Ad Rotation: How often Google Ads chooses to deliver each of your ads on the Search and Display Networks. When there’s more than one ad in an ad group, Google will rotate the ads in that ad group because only one of them can be shown in a single auction at a time. You can set your ad rotation to

  • “Optimize”: prefer best performing ads
  • “Do not optimize”: rotate ads indefinitely

Ad Scheduling: Ad scheduling allows you to decide which days and times your ads should run. If you don’t want clicks, calls, or submissions after hours, then you can use ad scheduling to prevent that from happening.

Ad Variations: An ad creation tool that allows you to test and create different versions of your ad across your entire account or individual campaigns. You can change copy, CTAs, and headlines to see which perform better and get the most results.

AdSense: A Google program that allows Google Search Network website publishers to show Google Ads on their website for compensation.

Assist Clicks and Impressions: Any clicks and impressions that have helped users get to the last click that ultimately led to a conversion.

Assisted Conversions: Conversions that assisted interactions, helping lead to the final click before a conversion.

Attribution Modeling: The science of understanding which paths a visitor took before conversion and how to weigh the importance of those different paths in a manner that produces the highest ROI. In Google Ads, there is also an “Attribution” tool that helps you understand these paths.

Google Ads attribution modeling
Google Ads attribution modeling

Auction Insights: This report lets you compare your share of voice (SOV) compared to your competitors in Google Ads.

Audience: In all PPC platforms, an audience is a group of people who you wish to target to purchase your product or become a lead. Audiences can be defined by things like age, location, interest, education, etc.

Audience Manager: A tool in your Google Ads Shared Library where you can create new audiences and review the statuses and sizes of audiences already created.

Audience Segment or Segment: A new Google Ads term for “audience.” In your Audience Manager, an audience segment is a group of people who are identified by Google as having expressed a specific interest. This may be a purchase interest, general interest, or interest based on site-browsing history.

Automated Bidding Strategies: These are any bid strategies that allow Google Ads to automate your bids to achieve the goals you’ve set for it. Examples of automated bid strategies are

  • “Maximize Clicks”
  • “Maximize Conversions”
  • “Maximize Conversion Value”
  • “Target Impression Share”
  • “Target CPA” (formerly)
  • “Target ROAS” (formerly)
  • “ECPC “ (enhanced CPC)

Automated Rules: Automated rules allow Google Ads to automatically change things like ad status, budget, and bids based on conditions you choose.

Auto-tagging: This is a feature for tracking offline conversions and overall ad performance back to the initial click(s) by automatically adding a GCLID (Google Click ID) parameter to your ad URLs.

Average Cost-per-click (Avg. CPC): This is the average amount of money it costs you when someone clicks on your ad. Google averages the cost-per-click from all your ads and displays them at all levels (account, campaign, ad group, keyword, etc.) within your Google Ads account.

Average Position (Avg. Pos.): The average position metric would show you the average position of your ads over a selected time period. The highest average position was 1, and the lowest was infinite. Average ad position was sunsetted in Google Ads in 2019 and replaced with the Search Top Impression Share and Search Absolute Top Impression Share metrics as the closest substitute.


Below-the-fold: The part of a web page or landing page where you have to scroll down to see what’s beneath. In Google Ads, reference to the fold of a web page is commonly used to explain how much of a display or video ad must be visible above the fold to count as a viewable impression.

Bid Adjustments: Allow you to increase or decrease your bids by percentage amounts depending on things like time, location, and device. For example, you can increase bids by +30% when ads are shown on mobile devices or decrease bids by -10% when ads are shown to people in the city of Los Angeles.

Billing Threshold: The dollar amount you set that triggers a bill to be sent to you. Google bills at every $500 spent unless you specifically set otherwise.

Bottom Feeding: This is a strategy that involves breaking out broad match keywords into their own campaign and combining them with audience targeting (like in-market or affinity audiences). In successful bottom feeding campaigns, the audiences targeted are those that have shown beneficial performance in other campaigns when placed in Observation Mode. The point of this strategy is to achieve better performance with higher reach.

Broad Match Keyword: This keyword match type is also the scariest of all the match types. It allows your search ad to appear for searches on similar phrases, synonyms, variations, and anything Google deems relevant to the original keyword. You could be selling black leather couches, but for some reason, Google could show your ad for the search terms “leather,” “snuggie,” and/or “black beans.”

Broad Match Modified Keyword: A variation of the broad match keyword that allowed you to be more specific about searches you wanted your keyword to show for. The “modifier” in the keyword was represented as a “+” sign before each word in the keyword. Placing a “+” in front of any word in the keyword meant that word exactly (or something very close) needed to be included in the search term to trigger your keyword. For example, a broad match modified keyword +black +leather +boots would show for the search “black leather boots sale,” but not the search “black boots.” Broad match modified keywords have been retired as of 2021 and replaced with more flexible match functionality in phrase match keywords.

Bounce: When someone lands on your website and leaves immediately without visiting another page. If a Google Analytics account is connected, you can see the bounce rate associated with your campaigns within Google Ads.

Bulk Edits: Making a series of edits in one go instead of one edit at a time in Google Ads Editor

Bulk Uploads: Uploading CSV files containing a large number of edits you wish to make to your account. These edits can be made to keywords, locations, negative keywords, etc.


Call-to-action (CTA): This is a specific written action you want visitors to take after clicking your ads or visiting your landing pages. They’re all in relation to what you want a person to act upon so that you, as the advertiser, can achieve your goals. Some common CTAs are

  • “Call Now”
  • “Buy Now”
  • “Get Pricing”
  • “Book Demo”

Call Extensions: An extension to your text ad that allows you to show your company’s phone number alongside the ad. On mobile devices, call extensions will show as a clickable call button that will open a searcher’s phone call function and insert your number there. On desktops and tablets, the number will still show on the ad but won’t be clickable.

Callout Extensions: Non-clickable copy that appears below your main ad headlines and descriptions in a Google ad. It is a great place to include UVPs (unique value propositions) and additional information to help you stand out.

Callout extensions
Callout extensions

Call Campaigns: A type of ad campaign that allows you to only give your visitors the option of calling and not clicking through to your landing page.

Call Tracking: Call tracking is how you track which of your PPC campaigns are driving phone calls, so you can measure how successful your ad campaigns are.

Campaign: This is the second-highest level setting after the account level. The campaign is like a large folder containing your ad groups, keywords, and ads. Your campaign settings control the networks you want to advertise on, geographic locations, budgets, languages, ad scheduling, bid strategy, and more for all ad groups within that campaign.

Campaign Placement Exclusions: These allow you to create a list of unwanted website placement targets for your Display Network campaign(s).

Change History: A Google Ads report that lets you see timestamps of different actions that have happened within your Google Ads account and the users that were responsible. You can view changes to things like your budget, keywords, etc. 

Click: When a person clicks on your ads.

Click-through Rate (CTR): This is the number of clicks received divided by the number of impressions received, then multiplied by 100. CTR is expressed as a percentage. For example: 70 clicks / 1,000 impressions = 0.07 x 100 = 7% (your CTR).

Contextual Targeting: A type of targeting that occurs when search ads are allowed to show on the Display Network (a setting available at the campaign level). Contextual targeting uses an ad group’s keyword and/or topic targeting to find relevant Display Network websites to show your search ads on.

Conversion: This is the successful action that is the end goal of your Google Ads campaigns. If a visitor has converted, it means they’ve either filled out a form, called your business, chatted, bought, downloaded, or visited a key page. You decide on what you want to track.

Conversion/Confirmation Page: This is the page your conversion code should be installed on to track successful goal completions. It is usually the page people see right after they’ve completed a conversion.

Conversion Rate: The number of conversions divided by the total interactions that have taken place on your ad. For example, if 100 visitors come to your site and 32 sign up for your monthly newsletter (the conversion you want), then your conversion rate would be 32%.

Conversion Tracking: This is installing pieces of code that allow you to track various actions that you deem relevant and important to the success of your Google Ads campaigns.

Converted Clicks: This is the unique count for all customer conversions. One ad click can, at maximum, result in one conversion. This won’t count multiple conversions from the same visitor.

Cost-per-conversion: Total cost paid for an ad in relation to the success of achieving a conversion. To calculate it, divide your total ad spend by your total number of conversions.

Cost-per-click (CPC): This is the amount of money that you will pay for each click on your ad.

Cost-per-thousand Impressions (CPM): Your CPM is the amount of money you pay for 1,000 impressions on your ads. 

Cost-per-thousand Impressions (CPM) Bidding: This is a Display Network bidding model where, instead of CPC bidding, you’ll pay for every 1,000 impressions. This is usually good for branding or getting more eyeballs on your ads.

Cost-per-view: The amount of money you’ve paid for each view specifically on a video ad.

Cost-per-view (CPV) Bidding: A bidding strategy that allows you to pay for each view on your video ad. A view is counted any time someone watches either your full ad or at least 30 seconds of it. Interactions with your ad also count as views. With this bidding type, you can set a maximum CPV limit that you’d like to stay at or under.

Countdown Timer: This is a string of code that, when inserted into your ad copy, will automatically show a countdown toward a specified time, like the end of a sale or the beginning of an event. Simply type {= in your ad to set it up, and Google Ads will guide you.

Google Ad countdown timer
The ad countdown timer


Daily Budget: This is the maximum monetary amount you’re willing to spend per day on your ad campaigns. Note that Google Ads can spend up to 2x over your daily budget in a given day. However, over the course of the month, it will never spend more than your daily budget multiplied by 30.4 days.

Dayparting: Another word for ad scheduling. Dayparting allows you to decide optimal days and times you want your ads to show, rather than having them show 24/7.

Description Lines 1 & 2: These two lines allow you to type 90 characters each (maximum) of ad copy. They’re longer parts of your ad text that show underneath your headlines and display URL.

Destination URL: The URL a visitor will be taken to after they click your ad.

Display Path: This is the “vanity” URL pathing that is shown in your text ad, and it contains two customizable “path” fields. The purpose of these display paths is to shorten and simplify your destination URL as it appears in your ad. In your ad, your root domain (www.website.com) will still match the root domain from your destination URL. But the two display paths you decide on don’t have to match your destination URL (they can be whatever you want, up to 15 characters each).

Google ads display path
Display paths 1 and 2 can be filled out here

Display Ad: These are various sizes of image ads that are either static or animated and are created for the Display Network.

Display Network: The Google Display Network is the biggest content network. It allows you to advertise your image and text ads on various placements across various websites within the Display Network.

Display Planner: Display Planner was a tool within Google Ads that allowed you to figure out which display placements would work best for your goals. The Display Planner is no longer available in Google Ads and has been replaced with reach forecasts that you can see while setting up your display campaigns.

Double Serving: This is when two or more ads are displayed from the same company, at the same time, at the same place. This usually only happens on the Display Network.

Dynamic Ad Targets: A dynamic ad target matches pages on your website with queries from searchers that are related to the content of your page. This method of targeting gives your dynamic ads a wider reach than if you targeted your ads using keywords. Dynamic ad targets have eight types: 

  1. page titles
  2. page content
  3. all webpages associated with your domain
  4. custom labels
  5. URL equals
  6. URL contains
  7. landing pages of all ad groups
  8. themed categories

Dynamic Keyword Insertion (DKI): This is a piece of code inserted into an ad that allows Google to automatically input your keywords into your ad copy.

Dynamic Remarketing: Also known as dynamic retargeting, this is when you target audiences of people who have previously visited your landing page, website, or app and serve them personalized ads that feature products they have previously viewed on your site. You accomplish this by attaching a product feed to your dynamic remarketing campaign and enabling your remarketing list to collect custom parameters.

Dynamic Responsive Display Ads (Responsive Feed Ads): Dynamic responsive ads, or responsive feed ads, are a type of ad that uses a product feed to show ads containing specific products. These ads can be paired with a retargeting list that's collecting custom parameters. When this is the case, Google will show potential customers ads containing products they have previously viewed.

Dynamic Search Ads: Ads that are dynamically built off of your website's content rather than built by you (this even includes the landing pages). The only thing these ads require from you to get them going is a description. A website with a solid SEO infrastructure and excellent site copy stands to benefit most from dynamic search ads.


End Date: This is a campaign-level setting that allows you to specify a certain end date for a campaign. It’s specifically useful for sales or promotions that are limited-time.

Enhanced CPC (ECPC): A bidding strategy that allows Google to raise or lower your keyword bids for an auction depending on how likely it thinks a conversion is (i.e., Google will raise bids if there’s a higher likelihood of conversion and lower bids if not).

Exact Keyword Match: This keyword match type only shows your ad if the searcher typed in the exact term (or a very close variant of it). This is the most restrictive of keyword match types but allows for the most control.


First & Last Click Analysis: This report showed the difference between weighing conversion stats on the first time a person clicks your ad vs. the last time they click your ad, and then on to a conversion. This specific report is no longer available within the Attribution tool but is most closely matched by the new “path metrics” report. 

Frequency: The average number of times an individual has seen your ad per day. This is only for the Display Network.

Frequency Capping: This Display Network setting allows you to set a limit on the number of times an individual can see your ad per day. It’s specifically useful for remarketing. 


Geotargeting: Also known as location targeting, this is how you decide what geographic areas can see your ads. Google determines geographic location based on the device's location and IP address.

Google Ads API: Formerly called "AdWords API," this is a type of programmatic interface for Google Ads users. It was made for developers to work directly with the platform with the goal of efficiently managing large or complex Google Ads accounts and campaigns. Through the Google Ads API, you can create custom reports, automate some account management processes, and more.

Google Ads Editor: Formerly called "AdWords Editor," this is Google’s free bulk editing program that allows you to mass edit bids, keywords, ads, settings, and other things that you can’t easily do within the regular Google Ads interface. You can download it here.


Headlines 1, 2, & 3: These are the top parts of your text ad that people read, and they’re also a clickable hyperlink that takes searchers to your destination URL. Each headline allows you to write up to 30 characters of ad text. Headline 1 is shown first, 2 is second, and 3 is third—they are all separated by a vertical line. Headline 3 may or may not show in your ad depending on the ad space available, but Headlines 1 and 2 will always show.

Google Ads headline examples
Examples of how your headlines will appear in an ad


Iceberg Effect: This is a phenomenon that occurs when one’s search terms list is infinitely longer than the actual keyword(s) targeted, resulting in difficulties with relevancy and control over what searches ads are shown for.

The Iceberg Effect
The Iceberg Effect

Image Ads: Also known as display ads, these are static and/or animated ads that you can show on websites across the Display Network. There are many different pixel dimensions and file sizes to consider depending on your channels and goals.

Impression: This is when an ad is loaded on a page on the Search Network, Display Network, or video partner sites. It doesn’t mean that a person has necessarily seen the ad since it could be below the fold of the web page.

Impressions Per Day: The number of impressions that have accumulated throughout a day.

Impression Share (IS): This metric is determined by the number of impressions you’ve received divided by the total amount of impressions available for the keywords you're bidding on. The higher this is, the more you're taking advantage of what’s available. It’s expressed as a percentage.

In-feed Video Ads: Formerly known as video discovery ads, this video ad type appears as a thumbnail on YouTube search results, the home feed, or the "Watch next" prompt. These ads allow the addition of a headline and a description and, when clicked, they redirect to the watch page on YouTube where the ad is hosted. They're most useful for driving brand exposure, information delivery, or on-YouTube actions like subscriptions.

Interaction Rate: A calculation of the number of times people interacted with your ad divided by its total impressions.

Invalid Clicks: This is the number of clicks Google has determined to be close to fraudulent clicks due to the same IP address or other suspicious factors. You get the cost of any invalid clicks removed from your bill before it accumulates.


Keyword: This is the word or grouping of words you’re bidding on that you want to show an ad for.

Keyword Match Type: Your keyword match type relates to how closely the keyword must match with a user's search query. Currently, available match types include broad match, phrase match, and exact match.

Keyword Mining: The act of researching new keywords to either target or add as negative keywords.

Keyword Mining (Broad Match Style): The act of targeting broad match keywords to collect keyword ideas via the search terms report. You might then decide to bid on some keywords you find this way using more restrictive match types.

Keyword Planner: A tool within Google Ads that allows you to research keywords, get new keyword ideas, and explore keyword volume and bid estimates. You can also get keyword forecasts.

Keyword Tapering: A strategy where you break out multiple campaigns targeting the same keywords, but with each campaign targeting a different match type of those keywords. This is done to assess and address performance differences between match types, as well as enable the use of scripts for excluding close variant search terms from exact match campaigns.


Labels: Labels are like “stickers” you can assign to your campaigns, ad groups, keywords, or ads to better identify or group them together. You can select your label color, as well as what you’d like the label to say, and then apply that label across multiple elements at once. You can then, for example, filter for certain labels to only see elements with that label or make automated rules that only affect elements holding those labels.

Landing Page: This is a specific page outside of your website’s main navigation that you’ve created to appear more attractive to the visitor and guide them toward a singular conversion goal. Landing pages are often used as destination URLs in Google Ads to improve performance.

Languages: This is a campaign-level setting that allows you to target audiences who speak certain languages coupled with your geotargeting and keyword targeting.

Location Extensions: A type of ad extension that allows you to add your business address to your ads to take up more space in search results and guide searchers to your brick-and-mortar location.


Maximize Clicks: A campaign bid strategy that tries to drive the most clicks within your budget.

Maximum Cost-Per-Click (CPC) Bid Limit: A setting that allows you to specify the maximum amount you’re willing to spend on a click on your ad. This doesn’t mean that you will always pay that exact amount. It will vary, but shouldn’t average higher than what you set it to be. The maximum CPC bid setting is available at the campaign level in the Maximize Clicks, Target Impression Share, and Portfolio Target CPA bidding strategies. With manual bidding, it’s available in the ad group level settings but can also be set differently for each individual keyword.

Mobile Preferred Ad: This was originally a checkbox setting you could set to mostly show an ad to your mobile audience. This setting is no longer available at the ad level, but you can create a mobile-heavy campaign or ad group using +100% bid adjustments on mobile devices and -100% adjustments on desktops, tablets, and TV.

Mouseover Rate: This is the percentage of time users mouse over an ad for one second or longer divided by the impressions.

Multivariate Testing: A testing method that allows you to use multiple variants and combinations of ad text elements and/or landing page elements to test against each other and see which combination works best. The more traffic you have, the faster you’ll see results.


Negative Keyword: This is a word or phrase that you don’t want your ads to show for. You can look at your search terms report to find negative keywords and add them to your negative keyword list at the campaign level or ad group level.

Negative Keyword List: This refers to the list of negative keywords you’re using currently. It also refers to the negative keyword list feature in your account’s Shared Library that houses all your negative keyword lists in named groups that you’ve created. From the Shared Library, you can apply whole keyword lists to one, multiple, or all of your campaigns.

Networks: Within Google Ads, you have the power to advertise on the Search Network (Google SERP and search partner sites), the Display Network and its enormous amount of publisher websites, or the video partner site network.


Outstream Video Ads: A type of video ad that shows on content outside of YouTube —namely, YouTube partner sites. They exclusively show on mobile devices.

Overview Tab: The main dashboard of your entire Google Ads account’s performance.


Path Length: This is how many steps your new customers take or the pages they look at before completing a conversion.

Pay-per-click (PPC): Also known as Paid Search, Search Engine Marketing (SEM), or simply paid ads, this is the sport of Google Ads. It’s a marketing model in which advertisers pay a fee to a platform when their ad is clicked.

Phrase Match Keyword: This keyword match type is denoted with quotation marks around the keyphrase. It originally only showed your ad when that keyphrase was searched with words in the order your keyword had them in. Ads would also appear in searches with your key phrase plus any words before or after it. Currently, the phrase match type has been expanded to allow searches with more variation to trigger your phrase keywords, similar to the functionality of the (now retired) broad match modified keyword.

Pin (As Used In Responsive Search Ads): An indicator in a responsive search ad that determines the position a headline or description will show in. For example, you can pin the headline "Sale Happening - 50% Off" to the Headline 1 position, and if that headline is selected to show in the ad at auction, it will only show in the Headline 1 position.

Placements: These are specific website placements where your ads have or where you want your ads to appear within the Google Display Network.

Portfolio Bidding: This is when you create a bid strategy within your Shared Library that can be used across multiple campaigns at once. Portfolio bidding is typically used when the campaigns in question have similar target goals. It’s also used when you need to speed up the learning phase of the bid strategy you want to use due to low volume of individual campaigns.

Product Listing Ads (PLA): These ads are set up as Google Merchant Center feeds that allow eCommerce products (not services) to be shown with pictures in the Google search results and on search partner sites. They’re now known as Google Shopping Campaigns.


Quality Score: This is a numerical keyword score between 1–10 that is determined by an ad's expected CTR, ad relevance, and landing page experience. The higher your Quality Score, the better. This will help lower your cost-per-click and increase your ad rank.


Recommendations Tab: A tab within your Google Ads interface that comes with automated ideas to help improve the performance of your campaigns.

Recommended Daily Budget: This is a specific budget that Google recommends you use to capture more/fewer clicks depending on the impressions of keywords you're bidding on.

Relevance: Relevance is how well your ad matches your keyword and the searches that trigger your keyword. It can also refer to how well your landing page matches your ad, keyword, and search term(s). 

Remarketing: Also known as retargeting, this is a strategy used to have ads target people who have previously been on your site or landing page.

Remarketing Lists For Search Ads (RLSAs): This is a campaign strategy where broad keywords are bucketed into a campaign and combined with remarketing audience targeting. Typically, RLSA campaigns will be copies of existing campaigns with remarketing audiences added. The point of this strategy is to hone in on the high intent of remarketing audiences using search ads while enabling a wider variety of searches from those audiences using broad match keywords.

Responsive Display Ad (RDA): A type of ad available for display campaigns. This ad allows the addition of 

  • up to 20 images (at least two required)
  • up to five videos (optional)
  • up to five headlines
  • one long headline
  • up to five descriptions
  • one call-to-action
  • a final URL
  • a display URL

Your display ad will be shown natively across the Google Display Network in varying formats with varying combinations of your provided assets depending on what Google Ads determines is likely to perform best.

Responsive Search Ad (RSA): A type of ad available for search campaigns. This ad allows the addition of

  • up to 15 headlines
  • up to four descriptions
  • a final URL
  • a destination URL

When your ad serves, Google Ads will decide which combination of headlines and descriptions is likely to perform best in the auction. You can also pin headlines or descriptions to a specific position (e.g., Headline 1, 2, or 3) if you want to be more specific about the order in which your creative is shown within the ad.

Responsive Video Ad (RVA): A type of ad available for video campaigns with the "Drive conversions" campaign subtype selected. This ad allows the addition of 

  • one YouTube video (your ad)
  • a final URL
  • a display URL
  • a call-to-action
  • a headline
  • a long headline
  • a description
  • advanced URL options

Depending on what Google Ads determines is likely to perform best, your video may be shown either in the in-stream format or video discovery format.

Return On Ad Spend (ROAS): A measure of how much profit you’re making on your campaigns. To calculate it, you divide your total conversion value (revenue) by your total ad spend. ROAS as a metric is expressed as a flat number, like 5. If your ROAS is 3, that means you’re making $3 for every $1 you spend on advertising; your profit is 3x what you spent.


Search Funnels: A tool within the conversions dashboard that shows you how people are converting.

Search Partners: These are other websites that Google has partnered with where your Google ads can show. Search partners usually have a cheaper cost-per-click and are home to older demographics. Unfortunately, you can’t select which search partner sites you want to individually target—you just click the button that says you want to include all search partners in your targeting.

Search Term: Also known as a search query, this is the actual word or phrase a person typed into Google that triggered your keyword to show your ad. This is sometimes exactly your keyword, but most of the time, it’s not exact.

Search Term Report: This is a report used to see which words or phrases people have typed in that triggered your keywords.

Search Query Report (SQR): Another name for the search term report.

Scripts: These are automatic JavaScript codes that programmatically control certain actions that occur or reports that are run in your Google Ads account.

Search Engine Results Page (SERP): The page that shows search results (ads and organic) related to your query.

Shared Budget: A single budget that you can share between multiple different campaigns.

Shared Library: A place within your Google Ads account that houses collective assets, bid strategies, negative keyword lists, audiences, budgets, and more.

Shopping Campaigns: The eCommerce ads that you use to showcase images, pricing, and more of your products in Google search results. Once known as product listing ads, these ads pull product data to run in ads from a product feed housed in Google Merchant Center

Single Keyword Ad Groups (SKAGs): These are ad groups that contain only one keyword each. It’s a common structural plan used to help improve relevancy and control within Google Ads campaigns.

Sitelinks: These are additional hyperlinks that accompany your Search Network text ad. They enable people to click them to dive right into other relevant pages within your site. They also take up more real estate space for your ad.

Smart Bidding Strategies: These are a subset of automated bidding strategies that specifically focus on allowing Google Ads to adjust your bids to drive more conversions, revenue, or better CPA (cost-per-acquisition). Examples of smart bidding strategies are 

  • “Maximize Conversions”
  • Maximize Conversion Value”
  • “Target CPA” (formerly)
  • “Target ROAS” (formerly)
  • “ECPC” (enhanced CPC) 

Split Testing: Also known as A/B testing, this is the science of testing different messages and tactics to see what resonates best with the audience. Split testing is used to improve performance. 

Social Extensions: This was another ad extension that allows you to showcase your social followings along with your text ads on the Search Network. Social extensions were sunsetted in 2015. 


Target Cost-per-acquisition (tCPA) Bidding: This is a bidding model that tries to achieve your goal cost-per-action. Let’s say you only want to pay $10 for a conversion; Google will automatically try to do that for you with this bidding model. Target CPA bidding is now an optional target CPA setting within Maximize Conversions rather than its own separate strategy.

Target Cost-per-thousand Impressions (CPM) Bidding: This is a Display Network bidding model where you set the target CPM goal you’d like to maintain, and Google Ads tries to stay at or under that CPM goal.

Target Impression Share Bidding: A bidding strategy that allows you to set a target impression share goal you’d like your campaign to hit. Google Ads will then adjust your bids as needed to hit that goal. You can either set impression share goals for anywhere on the search results page, top of the search results page, or absolute top of the search results page.

Target ROAS (tROAS) Bidding: An automatic bidding model that allows you to set certain return on ad spend goal percentages, and Google then automatically sets bids that will try to achieve those ROAS goals. This is mostly used for eCommerce campaigns, and you must have conversion value tracking set up for this to work. Target ROAS bidding is now an optional target ROAS setting within Maximize Conversion Value rather than its own separate strategy.

Target Search Page Location: This was a bid strategy that adjusted your bids to get your ads to the top of the page or the first page of the search results. Target Search Page Location bidding was sunsetted in 2019 and replaced with Target Impression Share bidding.

Text Ad: These are the only ad formats you’re allowed to use on the Search Network aside from shopping ads. They contain only text. This also refers to the original Text Ad that pre-dated the creation of the Expanded Text Ad (now both retired).

Time Lag Path: This is the amount of time it takes for a person (from the time they see or click your ad) to actually convert.

Top Conversion Path: A report that shows the unique conversion paths (interacting channels like search, then display, then search again) that lead to conversions. This report has changed in the current Attribution tab and is now simply called “Conversion paths.”

Top Paths: This report originally showed you the most common paths your visitors were taking to complete a conversion. This report is no longer available in the current Attribution tab; it’s most closely replaced by the “Path metrics” report, which shows averages on how long it takes people to convert and after how many touchpoints


Updated Phrase Match: As of February 2021, the phrase keyword match type has been updated to have similar qualities as broad modified keyword match types. Phrase match keywords are now eligible to show for a broader range of search queries related to the keyword but still won't show for as big of a range of queries as broad modified keywords.

Upgraded URLs: These types of URLs allow you to set a root URL (AKA final URL, where a visitor goes after they've clicked your ad) and a tracking URL that you use for tracking purposes. The great thing about upgraded URLs is that your data won't reset if you just need to change your URL tracking parameters.


Video Bumper Ads: An extremely short video ad format—your ads can only be 6 seconds or less. They show within YouTube videos and can't be skipped. Because of this, bumper ads can only use "cost per thousand impressions" bidding, and data on "views" is unavailable (because when your ad can't be skipped, a view is a given).

Video Sequence Ads: A type of video ad that shows videos to searchers in the order you want them to show. In this format, each video sequence is hosted in its own ad group, all within one overarching campaign. Video sequence order is set at the ad group level, and once a searcher sees the first video ad, they're shown the next ad in the sequence, and so on. You can use many different video ad formats for each step of your sequence, too.

Viewable CPM (vCPM) Bidding: A bidding strategy where you decide how much you want to pay for every 1,000 viewable impressions. This is exclusively a Display Network bidding strategy.

Viewable Impression: A viewable impression is one where at least 50% of a display ad is visible above the fold of a website for one second or more.


Website Call Conversions: These are calls generated from visible phone numbers on your site or landing page that you’re tracking within Google Ads. With the help of a JavaScript code, Google will swap out the number on your site with a trackable one to show you which keywords and ads produced that call.


YouTube Ads: These are video ads that are hosted on YouTube. Because YouTube is a property of Google, YouTube ad campaigns are run within Google Ads.

Closing our Google Ads glossary

Well, there you have it. The complete glossary of the essential Google Ads terms you need to know. 

Feeling like a genius yet?

If you’re looking for a deeper understanding and want to continue with your Google Ads journey, check out our next blog that explores the ins and outs of Google Search ads.

Chapter 1:
Google Ads Fundamentals

What You’ll Learn: Dive deep into what’s possible, the best way to set things up, ensure tracking is correct, and everything else needed to have a strong foundation.

Chapter 2:
Google Search Ads

What You’ll Learn: Learn about keywords, match types, search terms, and quality scores so you can dominate search in no time.

Chapter 3:
Google Display Ads

What You’ll Learn: Take advantage of cheaper clicks with unknown strategies many people don’t use when it comes to the Google Ads Display Network.