August 1, 2019

Google Ads Jargon Buster,

A guide to understanding your Google Ads Agency.
(The top 24 Things You Should Know!)

Online advertising is awash with acronyms and initialisms. This simple Jargon buster is designed to help the casual advertiser or the less experienced among us understand some of the basics.


These two terms are often used interchangeably, and for the most part they do mean the same thing. PPC = Pay Per Click and SEM = Seach Engine Marketing.

There are a number of different campaign types available online and search is unquestionably the main one. A search campaign is one that runs directly on Google itself.

Display campaigns are a little different. These campaigns use image adverts to serve different messages to people as they browse other websites.

A rather basic one here, when we talk about clicks, we mean when someone in the real world saw, and then clicked on an advert being run online.

Ads, along with keywords are perhaps the most important aspect of a campaign. With ads we tell the person the details of our offer or our product. Ads are usually text only but on the display network, they can also be images or video on YouTube.

Impressions occur when an advert is served (it shows up) online. It doesn’t need to be clicked to be counted as an impression.

Cost refers to the amount spent, this is usually treated as a total. For example, “Your total of 200 clicks had a cost of $200.”

CTR – Click Through Rate
This is a calculated metric presented as a percentage. It is calculated by taking the number of clicks and dividing it by the number of impressions (the number of times the advert showed up). For example, a campaign that had 100 impressions and 12 clicks would have a CTR of 12%.

CPC – Cost Per Click
Not all clicks are the same price. Because of this, we track the CPC of a campaign on an ongoing basis. We calculate it by dividing the total cost of a campaign by the number of clicks it generated. For example, a campaign with a cost of $2000 and 500 clicks would have a CPC of $4.

CPA/CPL – Cost Per Acquisition or Cost Per Lead
These metrics are interchangeable for most people and are again a calculated metric. They refer to the amount a campaign had to spend in order to achieve its given goal. Perhaps a sale, a phone call or a new lead.
We calculate these by taking the cost of a campaign and dividing it by the number of actions or leads it generated. For example, if a campaign spent $1000 and generated 20 leads it would have a CPA/CPL of $50.

CVR – Conversion Rate
This again is a calculated metric, and it refers to the frequency of the conversions from your account over a given period. For example, if a campaign had 100 clicks and 10 conversions in a month, then it would have a conversion rate of 10% for that month.

Impression Share
This is one of the most important metrics, and one of the most misunderstood. Impression share tells us how many times a campaign showed up out of the total number of searches that it could have shown on. For example, if there are 1,000,000 searches for ‘Hotels in Sydney’ and your campaign has an impression share of 25%, then you know your ads only ran on 25% of the available searches and that you are missing out on 75% of the traffic.

VTR – View Through Rate
View through rate is relevant to YouTube campaigns and it tells us how many times a video was viewed against how many times it showed up. If a video showed up 300 times and was fully viewed 30 times it would have a view through rate of 10%.

Placements is a term relevant to the Google Display Network. Put simply it is a list of all the places where your ads showed online. For example, if your display campaign was running and your ads showed up on Gumtree, then Gumtree would be on your placements list.

Keywords are the most basic part of a Google Ads campaign. These are the words that an advertiser chooses to appear against. For example, if a company selling candles in the Hunter Valley wanted to run campaign they would use the keyword ‘hunter valley candles’

Negative keyword
Negative keywords work in conjunction with keywords. They prevent your ad from appearing if used with your keyword. The same company as in the above example might choose to use the negative keyword ‘free’ to make sure they don’t appear when people search for ‘free candles in the hunter valley’.

Each keyword needs a bid in order to run. This is one of the basics of Google Ads. A bid is essentially how much you are willing to pay for a click on a keyword in your advertising campaign. Bids are varied from keyword to keyword. For example, a plumber in Sydney might bid $10 for a click on “plumber Sydney” but he might also bid $80 for a click on “emergency plumber Sydney” if that job is deemed to be worth more for him.

Match Types
Match types are very important, and every keyword has one. There are three main types, and the following examples will all work with the keyword ‘Blue shoes’.

  • Exact match: For all intents and purposes, a keyword in Exact match can only appear if someone types in [blue shoes]
  • Phrase match: This match type means that the main keywords need to appear in order. For example, a phrase match ‘blue shoes’ could appear for ‘men’s blue shoes’
  • Broad match: This search term allows a keyword to be quite varied in what it appears for. For example, if the keyword was ‘blue shoes’ in broad match it could feasibly appear for ‘blue trainers’ or ‘red shoes’.

Tags are one of those things that we explain a lot when working with new customers or advertisers who have not run campaigns before. Put simply, a tag is a little snippet of code that goes on a website (they are invisible) and allows for data to be collected. It is with tags that we know when someone makes a phone call or sends an email as a result of clicking on an ad. They help us make campaigns better.

Auction Insights
For a beginner, the auction insights report is one of the more complex aspects of google ads. it is essentially a clever report that tells us who we are competing with on Google and how many times they show up.

AVG POS – Average position
This is one of the oldest metrics on Google. It explains where an advert is appearing most often. On google up to 10 adverts can be shown on one page. If you have an average position of three, it means your ads are near the top of the page but not at the top – that would be position one.

There are a lot of different extensions available in a Google Ads account but this is not the place to explain each one, that subject could be a series of blogs in their own right! Put simply an extension joins an ad and makes it bigger. This means it will take up more space on Google and makes it more likely to get a click.

SERP – Search Engine Results Page
The SERP is a term we use to refer to a Google page that has ads on it. If you search on the Google home page and visit a results page, that it is a SERP – it’s the Search Engine Results Page.

Remarketing is mostly a display tool used to re-engage your audience. Think of all those times you looked up flights then went elsewhere online and started to see ads for the very flights you were just looking at. That is remarketing in action!

If you have any questions, feel free to reach out – we are more than happy to help (even if you are currently with another agency!)

Gary Devine

Gary Devine

Head of Search

I’ve worked in Advertising & Digital since I graduated from university in 2010. I spent 2 and half years working for Google in the UK where I fell in love with digital and creative work. I now run a great team here in Sydney doing great work.

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