PPC Glossary – What Does It All Mean?

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There are many confusing terms and acronyms in today’s PPC world. What on Earth is Bounce Rate? What is the difference between ROAS and ROI? Why is Ad rank different to Quality Score?

To help you answer these, we’ve put together a glossary of PPC terms you need to know!

Ad Extensions

These are expansions to your text ad that provide additional information to the viewer. There are many types of ad extensions, the most popular are:

  • sitelinks (providing links to other areas of your site)
  • callouts (providing snapshots of what your business does)
  • call extensions (giving viewers a direct call link to your business)

It is recommended to use these as widely as possible, as ad extension impact feeds into an ad’s overall Ad Rank

Ad Rank

This is the rank your ad receives based on Google’s algorithm. It is a combination of historical performance, relevance and the bid you set.

Ad Schedule

Scheduling allows the marketer to set up times of day when an ad shows. This can be useful for businesses using ads to generate calls to their business, enabling them to turn off their ads after hours.
It also allows bid adjustments a key times of day, when a business may deem specific hours to be critical (for example a takeaway service)

Ads Editor

Google’s offline editor program allows you to edit your account without the worry of making an error to a live ad or campaign (we’ve all been there!).
It’s a free piece of software so there’s nothing holding you back!

Attribution Models

Users have many touchpoints with your business on their way to converting. Google Ads provide multiple attribution models giving you control over how you value each touchpoint.

Traditionally, the Last-click model was used by marketers, putting all the value of the conversion with the last clicked ad and unfairly taking away value from other touchpoints.

Data-driven attribution is a fairer way to divide up value between your various ads and marketing. This takes into account all the individual touchpoints the customer has had with your business using data from your account. (Warning – this requires a lot of data in your account)


When a user searches in Google, a real-time auction is triggered where all relevant ads are entered. Each ad is assigned an ad rank and if it is high enough will be shown.


Audiences are lists of users that have exhibited a certain behaviour or browsing history. For example, audience lists can be made up of visitors a certain site or browsing specific products terms and are in the market for that product.

Google has a selection of pre-filled audiences, such as in-market audiences, and tools to create your own (Customer match allows you to upload your emailing list)

Automated Rules

Automated rules are a useful way to create an action in your account based on certain criteria. For example, a rule can be used to pause a campaign if it goes above a certain spend threshold in a day.

Automated Bidding

Automated bidding allows you to set one goal and Google will use it’s machine learning to run your campaigns itself. For example, if you have a specific CPA goal you’re aiming for, Target CPA can be used.
Word of warning, you need to have at least 30 conversions in 30 days for automated bidding to work effectively in your campaign

Bounce Rate

This is percentage of users that leave your site, or ‘bounce’, immediately after they arrive on your site.

An Analytics metric, you can use this to see whether you have any issues with your site or activity (a high bounce rate can be caused by poor targeting or by a broken URL)

Click-through Rate – CTR

CTR is the ratio of clicks to impressions, showing you how many people click on your ad vs just seeing it.

It is a good gauge of whether a – your ads are of good quality and b – whether you are targeting the right people.

Conversion Rate – CVR

CVR tells you ultimately how effective your activity is. A high CVR can be indicative of a number of things such as good targeting, great UX/UI on your site and a fantastic product.

Low CVR can be caused by multiple things, like poor targeting, site issues and a weaker product vs competitors. It is worth addressing as soon as possible.

Display Network

The Display Network is Google’s collection of sites and apps with display ad space contained within them. This encompasses 1000s of sites and apps.

Display campaigns provide you with strong control over where your ad is shown.

Google Analytics – GA

Google Analytics is powerful, free software that can give you vastly more in-depth information than Google Ads about the performance of your ads and site.
Additional metrics such as bounce rate, avg. session time and more can help to decipher issues that may not be obvious in Google Ads.

We highly recommend using this product and linking it to your existing Ads account to unlock its full potential.

Keyword Planner

Google’s Keyword Planner can help you discover the keywords that are right for you. Setting a category or theme will provide you with a large list of terms that can be added straight into your existing campaigns.

The planner also provides further details such as historical search volumes, competitiveness and likely CPCs

Long-tail Keyword

These are keywords that have more than 3 terms in them
They are generally phrased as questions e.g. “Where can I buy a new oven?”
Nearly 30% of all searches uses long-tail keywords so it’s important to think about.

Life-time Value – LTV

Life-time Value is an incredibly important part of any marketing plan, but most of the time it’s not taken into account with Google Ads marketing

Businesses tend to only look at the short-term, immediate value of a click and therefore may be missing out on customers by setting the CPC they’re willing to go up to too low.

By calculating the LTV of your customer and feeding this into your budget and CPC calculations, this will give you a better value-for-money estimate of your activity.

Match Type

Keywords in every account have an associated match type, allowing them to match with search terms that are either exactly the same as the keyword itself, or variants that Google deem similar.

Best practice is to use a combination of exact match (i.e. search term matches exactly) and broad match modified (Words within keywords can match to a search in any order)

Avoiding broad-match completely can be a good idea. Broad = very broad!

Quality Score

Quality score is a calculation of your ad’s quality, using Google’s own algorithm.
It is made up of 3 elements: Expected CTR (based on historical CTR of the ad), ad relevance and landing page experience.

A common misconception is that Quality Score is used in real-time auctions but it isn’t, rather QS gives you an historical view of your ad’s performance using similar stats that give your ad a rank in the auction.

Return on Ad Spend – ROAS

A useful metric to use when calculating the value that your ads are providing, based on the money you are putting into it

As it doesn’t take into account additional costs to your business, Google uses the term ROAS rather than just ROI

Combined with LTV, it can give you an accurate picture of exactly how valuable your activity is to you.

Search Partners

Search partners are Google’s partner sites that use it’s search engine embedded into the page. For example The Guardian and The New York Times websites both have this functionality.

These tend to have worse CVR, but generally have much lower CPCs so it does provide a trade-off.

We recommend having these enabled for your activity initially, to give you an idea of their performance – You can always switch these off later!

And there it is.

Your need-to-know list for all the terms and acronyms that are important!

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