Google AdWords Glossary
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Google AdWords

Google AdWords Glossary: 200 Terms + FREE PDF

We’ve talked at length about how painful AdWords can be when you’re setting up your campaigns for the first time. What does that button do again? How do I target women in Chicago? Where in the hell do I set up conversion tracking? A number of questions are endless.

Unfortunately, the pain for most advertisers doesn’t begin and end with clunky dashboards and a confusing user experience.  What we have yet to talk about is how challenging superfluous phrases and acronyms can be for those that are not hip with the lingo. Sometimes it makes us want to ROFC (roll on the floor crying).

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The Ultimate Google AdWords Glossary: 200+ Terms to Keep You Sharp

To make your life a little easier, we’ve assembled more than 200 of the most important digital marketing and AdWords specific terms to help you avoid confusion in the future. Think of it as the ultimate Google AdWords glossary for you to refer back to any time you come across a phrase or an abbreviation that doesn’t seem to make any sense.

See below for our comprehensive Google Adwords glossary, and don’t forget to shoot us an email ( if you have any questions:

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A/B Testing: an ad optimization strategy that compares the performance of multiple variations of a single ad. Some important variants to test are:

  • Different Landing Page (Final URL)
  • Ad Text Variations (something as simple as using an exclaimation point or not)

Active View: A piece of technology on Google’s Display Network that lets AdWords know if your display ad is actually viewable by potential customers. This term might be found on display specific columns when you pull reports.

Ad Delivery: how quickly Google serves your ads. Or, another way of looking at it, how quickly you spend your daily allocated budget. AdWords offers two choices for Ad Delivery — Accelerated and Standard. Your campaign is set to Standard Delivery by Default.

Ad Delivery (Accelerated): A form of Ad Delivery that serves your ads as quickly as possible. This method rapidly spends your daily allocated budget. Here’s how to set it up

Ad Delivery (Standard): The default form of Ad Delivery that spaces out the serving of your ads throughout the course of the day to balance your daily budget. We recommend this option if you want to create an even distribution of your ads throughout the day.

Ad Extensions: An AdWords feature that shows additional information in your ads like your business location, phone number, business ratings, and links to your webpage.

Ad Formats: “Visual enhancements” to help make your search ads more compelling to your customers. Ad Extensions are an example of Ad Formats.

Ad Group: The structure that contains one or more ads and a target set of keywords for Google Search, and a target set of placements for Google Display.

Ad Group Default Bids: A specified bid that applies to all keywords and placements within a given Ad Group that do not have individual custom bids at a keyword or placement level.

Ad Position: The order in which your ad appears in Google’s search results. Ads 1-3 will appear on the top of the search results page, while ads 4-11 appear on the right.

Ad Preview and Diagnosis Tool: A tool Google created to help you test what your ads look like and troubleshoot issues without artificially increasing the number of impressions your ads see (so you don’t have to go type your keywords into Google search to see what your ad looks like).

Ad Rank: The formula Google created to determine your ad’s position in the search results.

[Formula] Ad Rank = Your Max CPC Bid x Your Quality Score.

Sitelinks and use of other extensions are also factored into this equation.

Ad Relevance: An indicator that lets Google know how closely related your keywords are to your ads and website landing page. Google’s Quality Score values Ad Relevance above anything else. Make sure your keyword is featured in your ad text and is somewhere on your website landing page to increase Ad relevance and thus Quality score.

Ad Rotation Settings: A feature in AdWords that allows you to determine which one of your ads within an Ad Group should be served the most. It’s important to note that no two ads are created equal. Some will perform better than others, which makes the Ad Rotation Settings so important. There are 2 settings to choose from:

  • Optimize: According to Google, this setting, “optimizes your ads for each individual auction using signals like keyword, search term, device, location, and more.” 
  • Rotate Indefinitely: Google will keep switching which ads enter auctions for an indefinite amount of time, but it will not optimize or prioritize which ones are entered over others.

Note: AdWords used to offer two more options, “Optimize for Conversions” and “Rotate Evenly” but those options are no longer supported. 

Ad Scheduling: A setting within AdWords that allows you to select the time of day and day of the week to serve your ads. This is a great option for businesses that only want to serve ads during their hours of operation.

Learn how to set up Ad Scheduling with our tutorial

Ad Status: A description that will inform you if your ads are eligible to run. If your ads are not eligible to run, the Ad Status will give you some information about the policy restrictions you violated. Ad Status can be found in the “Status” column in your AdWords campaign or ad group.

AdSense: The tool Google built to give publishers of all shapes and sizes the ability to host ads on their site to make money off ads. If you’re serving ads on Google’s Display Network, your ads are likely to show up as AdSense ads.

Advertising Policies: Rules that determine what your ads can say and advertise. Ads that violate these policies will be marked as “Disapproved” or “Suspended”, meaning they are not allowed to run. See the full list of policies and prohibited content here

Ad Variations: The different combinations of text and imagery you create as part of your “ad”. Multiple variations are a good way to test which photos, text elements, and designs resonate most with your customers.

AdWords API: The piece of technology that lets advanced AdWords users build software applications to interact and make changes to their campaigns. To use the AdWords API, you will need a My Client Center account and a developer token. API stands for Application Program Interface.

AdWords Editor: A free tool from Google that allows advertisers to make bulk changes to their account (bids, keywords, ads, and other settings changes).

AdWords Promotional Coupon Code: A monetary “credit” that’s applied to your AdWords account after completing some sort of necessary action. Promo codes are usually given out by Google and their partners to help get new advertisers to spend on AdWords. “Spend $25 and get $100 in AdWords credit” is a common promotion for first time advertisers, or advertisers working within a brand new account. Here’s how to apply a promo code to your account.

All Conversions: The total number of conversions AdWords drives for your business. All Conversions take into account the data in your Conversion column, all “conversion” actions you may not have included in your Conversion column, and “advanced conversion sources” like specific types of phone calls, store visits, cross-device conversions and more.

Alternate Email Address: The alternate email address you add to AdWords that will allow you to sign into AdWords in case you forget your primary log-in information.

Analytics: A free tool Google created to help you better understand the types of customers that visit your website, how much time they spend there, where they come from, and other important metrics that AdWords can’t provide in as much detail. Google Analytics takes a few minutes to set up, requiring you to add a small amount of code to your website.

Approved: The status given to ads that are allowed to run on the AdWords network.

Approved (Limited): The status given to ads that adhere to Google’s policies, but are limited in where they are able to be shown. Common reasons why ads are given the “Approved (Limited)” status include mobile rendering issues, gambling content, healthcare offers, and more.

Auto-tagging: A feature that helps AdWords “talk” to Google Analytics through dynamically generated URL parameters. You can use this information to import complex conversion data into AdWords.

Automated Rules: A feature that helps you spend less time monitoring your campaigns by allowing AdWords to automatically change your bids, budgets, and statuses. Remember to create maximum and minimum budgets so that you don’t accidentally over or underspend.

Automatic Bidding: The bidding strategy that lets Google automatically adjust your maximum bids across keywords. This is a good option for advertisers that are willing to give up a little control to free up some time. We recently put together a complete guide to AdWords automated bid strategies. 

Automatic Payments: The AdWords billing feature that allows Google to automatically bill you after accruing costs in your AdWords account. You are billed after one of 2 things happen:

  1. 30 days after your last payment
  2. When your costs reach the set amount that triggers your bill (bill threshold)

Automatic Placements: The website placements that Google will serve your ads on based on the targeting you set in your Display campaign. You can find these placements by drilling into the “Dimensions” tab in your display campaign.

Average Cost-Per-Click (Avg. CPC): The average amount you are charged after a potential customer clicks on your ad. Average CPC is calculated by dividing the total cost of your clicks by the total number of clicks.

For example, if you saw 1,000 clicks and it cost you $100, the Avg. CPC would be $0.10.

Average Position (Avg. Pos.): This statistic will show you the position your ad ranks compared to other ads on average. The highest position is #1, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s showing on the top of the page, just that your ad is the first ad to show. Note: Google used to display ads on the right side of the SERP but has since changed and now ads only show at the top and the bottom of the results page. 


Below First Page Bid: The alert Google will apply to your keywords when the bid you have selected is not high enough to get your ad on the first page of the search results due to the competitive nature of that keyword.

Below the Fold: Refers to the content, ads, etc. that are only seen after you begin scrolling down the page. The term was taken from print newspapers where stories “below the fold” were actually below the physical fold on the front page of the paper. In the digital context, this is also known as “below the scroll”.

Bid Adjustment: A specific percentage increase or decrease on your bids across keywords, locations, devices, schedules, and more. They give you more control over the circumstances in which your ads are served by Google.

For example, if you are advertising a mobile app it would make sense to serve more ads on mobile than on desktop. You can set up to a 300% bid adjustment on mobile devices, which will let Google know you want your ads to be served more on mobile than any other device.

Billing Threshold: The amount of money or time that, when crossed, will trigger Google to charge you for your accrued costs. This applies to automatic payments only.

Bounce Rate: The rate of visitors to your website that leaves without visiting more than one page of your site.

Broad Match: The keyword setting that allows your ads to be triggered when any type of similar variation, synonym, or phrase is searched. It will have the largest reach (impressions) compared to all other match types but will be far less targeted.

Let’s say you sell women’s hats and only women’s hats. If you selected “women’s hats” as a broad match keyword, your ad could trigger anytime someone searches for women’s hats, men’s hats, baby hats, dog hats, and more. Broad match keywords typically cause advertisers to spend money on irrelevant traffic.

Broad Match Modifier: The keyword setting that will give you reach (impressions) similar to broad match keywords, but also give you more control over who you’re serving your ads to. They tell Google certain words in your keywords phrase need to be present in the search term of your customers. Broad match keywords are indicated by a ‘ ‘ sign.

The broad match modified keyword ” women’s hats” will only cause your ads to trigger if the term “women’s” is in the search phrase. The order of the words does not matter.

We wrote an awesome blog post around match types if you’re interested in learning more.

Budget Order: A payment feature that allows you to tell Google how much money you want to spend over a specific period of time. This feature is only available to advertisers that have set up monthly invoicing.

Bulk Edit: The feature that allows you to make edits to campaigns across your account all at once.


Cache: Data that is stored temporarily on your computer by your internet browser as you visit different websites.

Call Extensions: An AdWords feature that allows you to include your phone number in the ad text to increase phone calls to your business. We show you how to include call extensions in this post.

Call Extension Example

Callout Extensions: Additional text that appears with your ad that calls out some piece of value for your customer. Basic examples of Callouts include: 24/7 Support, Free Shipping, and Cancel Anytime. Callouts are not clickable.

Call Only Campaigns: A campaign feature that allows you to make calling your business the only action your customers can take from viewing your ad. Call Only campaigns will not direct clicks to your website. If a customer calls you through your Call Only campaign, youCall to Action:

Call to Action: A word or phrase to promote an immediate response from your customers. “Call Now!”, “Shop Today”, and “Subscribe” are all example of calls to action.

Call Tracking: The ability to track how many calls your business received as a result of your AdWords campaigns. You need to enable a Google Forwarding Phone Number in order to effectively leverage Call Tracking.

Campaign: The structure within AdWords that holds your keywords and ad groups. All ad groups within a Campaign share a budget and similar settings around targeting. You can have one or many campaigns as part of your AdWords account.

Campaign Status: An indicator to let you know where or not your ads can run or are running at that moment. A few examples of Campaign Status’ include: Eligible, Paused, Removed, and Ended.

Card Verification Number (CVN): The 3-digit security number that most often located on the back of your credit card. CVN is needed to complete the AdWords billing requirements.

Change History: A report that allows you to look back at all the changes you made to your account and campaigns. All changes are timestamped and include the person that was signed in to make the changes.

Click: The act of clicking the link in your ad. A click most often leads to a website visit.

Click Through Rate (CTR): The percent of people that click on your ad after viewing it. The formula to determine your CTR is the total number of clicks divided by the total number of impressions.

Consolidated Billing: A feature that allows you to receive one bill for the costs accrued across multiple AdWords accounts.

Contextual Targeting: The method Google uses to target specific websites on Google’s Display Network by leveraging your keywords and topics. If one of your keywords is “ski gear”, Google will find all the websites that include that keyword and serve your ads on those sites.

Conversion: The action of your customer taking the desired action as a result of your marketing/advertising. Conversions are defined by the advertiser, but often include sales on your website, sign-ups on a lead gen form, or phone call to your business.

Conversion Optimizer (No Longer Available): An AdWords tool that predicts which types of clicks are the most valuable to your business, and then automatically adjusts your bids to attract the clicks that are most likely to drive conversions.

Conversion Rate: The average number of conversions you will see per click on your ad.

Conversion Tracking: The method of tracking the important actions your customers make (sales, sign-ups, etc.) that come as a result of Google AdWords ads.

Conversion Window: The number of days after a click that a conversion can still be recorded. You can set the conversion window to be more or less than the default (30 days).

Cookie: A small file that’s saved on your computer by the websites you visit. Cookies are used by websites to recognize your preferences.

Cost per Click (CPC): The price you pay Google each time someone clicks on your ad.

Cost-per-thousand Impressions (CPM): The price you pay Google every time your Display ad sees 1,000 impressions.

Cost-per-view (CPV): The price you pay Google every time someone views one of your video ads.

Customer ID: The unique number that’s assigned to your Google Adwords account. It’s a 3-part number that can be found on the top right corner of your AdWords dashboard.

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Daily Budget: The maximum amount of money you tell Google you want to spend across your campaigns per day. It’s important to note that Google can spend up to 20% over your daily budget on some days, so long as the average number of dollars spent over 30 days does not exceed your daily budget.

Dayparting: A setting within AdWords that allows you to select the time of day and day of the week to serve your ads. This is a great option for businesses that only want to serve ads during their hours of operation. Dayparting is also known as “Ad Scheduling”.

Deep Link: A specific type of URL that takes your customers to a specific page in your app.

Description Lines: The two lines of text that exist between the headline and display URL of your text ad. Each line allows for 35 characters. Note: This term only applied to standard text ads which are no longer available in AdWords. 

Destination URL: The “real” URL that will take your customers to your website after click on your ad. The Destination URL often looks a little different than the Display URL. Note: Google announced that the Final URL was replacing the Destination URL in a “URL Upgrade.” 

Disapproved: The status your ad receives if it violates one of Google’s policies.   

Display Network: One of the internet’s largest content networks. It contains more than a million websites and apps that can serve your ads.

Display Partners: The websites that partner will Google to serve Display ads.

Display Planner: A tool that helps you determine which display placements would be the best fit for your business goals.

Display URL: What the URL looks like as it’s displayed on your ad. The display URL can look different than the destination URL to keep your ad looking tidy. Your display URL can look like this:

  • while your destination looks like this


Eligible: The status your ad receives before it’s officially reviewed by Google. Eligible ads can still be served and will be seen on Google’s search results page.

End Date: A feature that allows you to select the length of time you want your campaigns to run. After that date, your ads will stop running.

Enhanced CPC (ECPC): A bidding feature that allows Google to automatically bid up 30% when it thinks a click will lead to a conversion. You want between 50-100 conversion before you enable eCPC. Here’s how to set up Enhanced CPC Bidding in AdWords. 

Exact Match: A keyword setting that makes it so your customers have to enter in the exact keyword phrase in order for your ad to show. You create exact match keywords by placing brackets around the keyword phrase: [women’s hats]

Expanded Text Ads: Launched in early 2017, this is now the primary form of text ad in Google AdWord and standard text ads will no longer be supported. They have 3 main parts:

  1. Two headline fields that can hold up to 30 characters each.
  2. One descriptive line, with up to 80 characters.
  3. The Display URL based off of your final URL.

Extended Headline: The trick that allows you to create a larger headline by including a period after the last word in the first description line. This feature has become outdated ever since Expanded Text Ads have gone live. 

Expected CTR: Expected click-through rate is a measure of how likely your ad will get clicked on using a particular keyword. It is one of the three major factors in determining your quality score.


Family Status: A status given to every ad noting its maturity level with 1 of 3 options upon approval:

  1. Family Safe — Approved
  2. Non-family safe — Approved (non-family)
  3. Adult — Approved (adult)

The family status affects what websites & countries your ads can show in

Filter: A basic capability in AdWords that lets you restrict the type of data that you see in your tables and charts.

First Page Bid Estimate: Google’s estimated bid you will need to set in order for your ad to appear on the first page of the search results. These are positions #1-10.

First Position Bid Estimate: See Top of Page Bid Estimate for more information on reaching the top result (#1).

Flexible Bid Strategy: One of the core bid strategies that automate your budget allocation across multiple campaigns, ad groups and keywords. Google allocates your budget to maximize performance. You can create and store a flexible strategy in the Shared Library. You can then apply your strategy from the Campaign, Ad group, or Keyword level

Frequency: Definition from Google – “the average number of times a unique user sees your ad in a position of “1” over a given time period”. Google will, by default, continue to show your ad even if a user has seen it before. *Note* an ad is counted as viewable/impressionable when 50% or more of the ad shows for one second or longer for display ads and two seconds or longer for video ads

Frequency Capping: A feature that lets you control the number of times your ad appears to the same person on the Display Network. Check out our AdWords Frequency Capping Guide for setup and best practices. 


Geo-Targeting: See Location Targeting. Find the full list of Google geo-targeting options here

Global Site Tag: Adds visitors to your basic remarketing lists and sets new cookies on your domain, which will store information about the ad click that brought the user to your website. You must install this tag on every page of your website. 

Google Account: Your Google-wide username and password that can be used for all Google products, including AdWords

Google Forwarding Phone Number: A phone number provided by Google to use in ads so it can be traced. This is essential for call-only ads and call extensions to make sure you only get charged when an actual call is made

Google My Business: A Google product that allows you to create and manage a business listing on Google Maps while offering a number of other perks while using Google products like Google Merchant Center and AdWords (through location extensions)

Google Network

Google+ Brand Page: a Page on Google+ that you can use to represent your product, brand, business or organization. Create your Google Brand Page


Headline: The first line of your image, text, and search ads. This is the first thing people will see, so make sure it not only draws people in but also gives people an idea of what you are promoting/offering. Note: With the updated Expanded Text Ads, you now have two headlines in your text ad (H1 and H2), with up to 30 characters in each. 

Historical Quality Score: A feature in Google AdWords that allows you to compare the quality score of different keywords based on historical data. Prior to this update, you could only see the current quality score but could not compare it to past ones. Similar to a regular quality score, the historical one is based off:

  • Historical Ad Relevance
  • Historical CTR
  • Historical Landing Page Experience.


Image Ad: A type of display ad that includes an image, title, description, and link to your Landing Page

Impressions (Impr.): A core performance metric that tells you how many times your ad has been shown on the Search and Display networks

Impressed: How we’re feeling if you’ve gone this far down our Google AdWords glossary.

In-line Editing: The ability to change your ads, keywords, placements, bids, and other information about your campaigns from the performance table & dashboard within AdWords

Interactions: A core performance metric that tells you how many times users performed the main action for the specific ad format. More simply, an interaction can be:

  • Click for Text Ads
  • Click for Image Ads
  • Video Views for TrueView video ads
  • Engagements for Lightbox ads

Invalid Clicks: Clicks on ads that Google marks as illegitimate. Google claims to examine every single click. There are a number of qualifications for an invalid click:

  • unintentional clicks
  • software generated clicks (crawling, malicious software)
  • clicks from owners of the site your display ad shows on
  • robot clicks
  • a double click  

Inventory Filters: A tool to exclude certain products in your Merchant Center from appearing in your Product Listing Ads

IP Address:  An ID number for every computer or device connected to the internet. You can exclude certain IP addresses from seeing your ads like your co-workers, family, and friends.


Keywords: Words or phrases describing your product or service that you choose to trigger your ads. The keywords determine when your ads show. When your keyword matches what people search on Google, your ad will appear. For more information on the impact of keyword selection see: Quality Score, Page Rank, Top of Page Bid Estimate.

Keyword Insertion: A feature that updates your ad text to include one of your keywords that matches a customer’s search terms. This requires the use of simple code line in your ad text. If you are selling all types of hats and are bidding on “wool hats” “tweed hats” and “women’s hats” you can enter {KeyWord: hats} into your ad text. The text will show hats unless the searcher used one of your keywords (wool hats, tweed hats, or women’s hats). For more on how to use these, check this tutorial out. There are 3 major benefits:

  1. Match your ad to use the same language as the searcher
  2. Customize your ad to the specific search term without having to create a new ad for each keyword
  3. Improve Quality Score (not guaranteed)

Keyword Matching Options: Also known as Keyword Match Types, these are the different setting for each keyword to control how closely the search term must be to the keyword in order to trigger your ad. Here’s a description of the 4 types of keyword match types


Keyword Mining: the gathering of keywords for your business and ads. You can mine keywords using the Keyword Planner or Search Terms Report

Keyword Planner: an essential tool that lets you test the search volume, bid estimate, and competition for certain keywords. Use the keyword planner right now!

Keyword Status: Google’s prescribed status of your keyword. 


Landing Page: The web page your audience lands or ends up on when they click your ad. The result of the Destination URL

Landing Page Experience: The interaction between the user and the Land Page. There are 3 things you need to optimize for:

1. A consistent user experience. There needs to be a seamless progression from Ad to Landing Page by matching design, copy, and offerings

2. Focusing the reader’s attention by including: 

  • a clear, succinct headline and description of the offering
  • all information “above the fold” – don’t make users scroll to get all the information
  • removing any unnecessary options such as navigation bars, sidebars, and other offerings standard to your core site

3. A SINGLE, CLEAR call to action. If you are trying to increase purchases as well as sign-ups, we recommend creating an ad for each with their own respective landing pages

Language Targeting: One of the core targeting options for Search and Display campaigns. For display campaigns, choose the language of the sites that you’d like your ads to appear on.


Available AdWords Languages

Life Event Targeting: A targeting option that allows you to target your ads based on major life events such as weddings, new children, moving, etc.

Limited by Budget: A Campaign Status that lets you know that your budget is lower than the Recommended Daily Budget. In other words, your ad is not reaching its full potential because your bid is not competitive enough. Your campaign can still be successful. 

Location Extensions: an addition to your ad that shows your business’ address. This is essential for businesses trying to drive in-store traffic. Check out this 1-minute tutorial video to setting up a location extension.

Location Targeting: target audiences based on where they are in the world. You can also choose areas to avoid.

  • Search: simply type in the locations you would like to include or exclude
  • Radius Targeting: Target an area on the map around a certain point, landmark, city, or area.  
  • Location Groups:
    • Places of interest: select the places of interest within a certain area (ie. airports in the united states or Universities in Texas)
    • Demographics: Target household income tier within a certain location you select
      • Top 10%
      • 11-20%
      • 21-30%
      • 31-40%
      • Lower 50%
    • My Locations: create a radius around your Google My Business Locations. This is great for franchises and advertisers working for multiple locations
  • Bulk Locations: if you find yourself targeting a long list of specific locations, you can bulk add them to your campaigns by simply copying and pasting them in the Bulk locations box. 
  • Levels of granularity
    • Country – by name
    • State or Territory – by name
    • County
    • City
    • Town
    • Zip code  
    • Radius around a point on the map:
      • Range: 1 to 800 kilometers
      • Range: 1 to 500 miles

Location Options: A setting option for Display Campaigns that gives you further control over location targeting. Your campaign will default to target “People in, or who show interest in [your] targeting location”, but you can specify your ad to target only people IN that location or those who are INTERESTED IN said location. It allows you to exclude or target people in or who show interest in the set targeted locations.

  • It can be found here:  Google's Location Options Screenshot

Low Search Volume: A status for certain keywords alerting you that the keyword or keywords you selected are not searched very often. This doesn’t necessarily require action – in fact, some look for these keywords because they are oftentimes low competition and highly specific.


Managed Placements: A type of targeting that allows you to choose specific websites, videos, and apps on the Google Display Network to show your ads on. This gives you more control over where your ads appear for “Display Network only,” “Search & Display Networks,” and “Search Network with Display Select” campaign types.

Manual Bidding: Select the maximum cost-per-click bid amount for your ad group’s default bid. When you identify certain placements, keywords, audiences, and times of day that have the best returns, you can use manual bidding to increase returns.

Manual Extensions: Ad extensions that you have to set up yourself in your AdWords account. Note: These extensions will not show up in the ad preview section and can only be viewed in the SERP.

Manual Payments: Prepay for your advertising account before your ads run. Google reserves this option for only a few countries.

Maximize Clicks: A bid strategy that optimizes your campaigns for the most clicks.

Maximize Conversions: An automated smart bidding strategy where Google optimizes for higher volume of conversions, rather than the amount of dollars your conversions are generating.

Maximum CPC Bid (Max CPC): The highest amount that you’re willing to pay for a click on your ad. This is specific to your business and marketing strategy. For example, if you are trying to drive sales, we recommend determining the profit margin of each good or service first. Generally, you want to make sure CPA < Profit margin. You can work backward as such: Determine Profit margin = Max CPA. Multiply that by your average conversion rate (% of clicks that result in sales), which will give you a rough estimate of a good Maximum CPC bid.

Mobile Ad: an advertisement that displays only on cellphones or tablets. AdWords campaigns default to show on mobile and desktop. If your Landing Page Experience is not optimized for mobile or you simply perform poorly with mobile audiences, you may want to learn how to turn off mobile ads.

devices in adwords

Mobile Only: Ads that show only on mobile. Though this is not a specific setting or checkbox provided in the AdWords interface

Monthly Invoicing: A billion/payment option that allows you to open a line of credit with Google and pay for your ads on a monthly basis. This option is reserved for high volume advertisers and long-time AdWords customers. You can apply by contacting your service rep here

Multiple Sign-In: An AdWords & overall Google account feature that allows you to sign in to multiple Google accounts (such as your personal and business accounts) and quickly toggle between the two.


Negative Keywords: A type of keyword Match Type that prevents your ad from showing for certain search terms. This is a critical feature of your campaigns because negative keywords assure that your ads do not show for searches irrelevant to your offering. This is especially true for people using Broad Match and Broad match modifier keywords. You can use the Search Terms Report to see what keywords are triggering your ads.

Negative Keyword List: A list you can create in your AdWords Shared Library that houses all your negative keywords. You can learn how to save a bunch of time by bulk-adding negative keywords with this video walkthrough.

Networks: The 6 options to drive your ad placement for each AdWords campaign. You can select from:

AdWords Campaign Types

Not Serving (video ads): A video ad status when a headline, description, or video has been disapproved. These features need to adhere to AdWords’ advertising policies.

Not Yet Serving: (video ads): The status of any video ad that is pending review. You will see this immediately after a video ad is created under the “Status” column in the Ads tab.


Opening Images: The frame or still image that is seen before someone clicks play on your video. This applies to click-to-play ads and is similar to a YouTube video cover image. We recommend uploading an image that

  1. Matches the dimensions of the video
  2. Draws the audience’s attention
  3. Sets expectations for the video so they don’t click just to discover it isn’t what they came for (you pay for that!)

Opportunities Tab: One of the 5 main tabs on your AdWords dashboard that contains a list of suggestions for your campaigns. New Opportunities will appear in the notifications tab in the upper right corner.  

AdWords Opportunities Tab

Organic Search Results: The natural or free results from certain search terms on the Google Search results page. Note: not all search terms produce ads.  

Overdelivery: When a day’s ad spend exceeds your average daily budget. Note: Due to a recent update, Google will not spend up to 2x over your daily budget. 

Overdelivery Credit: Advertising credit added to your account anytime your ads overdeliver for the month.


Pacific Time (PST or PDT): The default timezone for your AdWords account unless edited otherwise. It is good to check this setting if you want to make ad schedule bid adjustments

Parked Domain Site: This is a site whose URL//domain is owned but has no website built. AdWords will not allow your ad to run when the Destination URL leads to a Parked Domain Site.

Path Length:  You can find the Path Length Report by:

  • Click the [Tools] tab
  • Select [Attribution] from the drop-down
  • Choose [Path Length] from the left sidebar

Paused: Ad Status that means your ad is not currently running or being seen and you will not be charged until you resume the ad.

Payment Method: The way you pay for your advertising spend on AdWords.  

Pending: The status of a campaign when it is still going through the approval process from Google. Learn more about the advertising policies here

Phrase Match: One of 4 keyword Match Type. Phrase match keywords trigger your ad when a certain phrase is searched in its entirety. Searches with words before or after your exact match phrase will trigger your ad as well, so it is still important to keep an eye on your Search Terms Report to update your list of negative keywords.

Placements: The different locations on the Display Network where your ads show. See Managed Placements and Automatic Placements for additional information on the options available. If you’re curious as to which websites are showing your ads, here’s how you can find out

Play Rate: A key metric for Video Ads that tell you how often your video was played by dividing the # of plays by the # of times your ad was shown. Similar to CTR, Play Rate measures engagement. We recommend using Play Rate to test different Opening Images for Click-to-Play Video Ads and Thumbnail Images for YouTube videos.

Previous Visits: A type of automated ad extension that lets users know if they’ve visited your webpage before. (Only available in the older AdWords interface.)

Price Extensions: These bring your specific offerings to the surface of the SERP and provide links that take the user directly to your product, reducing the amount of friction between discovery and conversion.

Product Feed: the file containing all the details and attributes about the products in your Google Shopping store. Google has a number of specific requirements that you must follow to keep your store in good standing. Read more on those on Google’s Shopping Basics guide. There are about 50 different attributes (full list here)

Product Group: A way to organize your inventory of products in the Google Merchant Center. When you first setup your Merchant Center, all your products fall under a single product group “All Products.” We highly recommend separating your products into groups. Product Groups function similar to keywords on the Search Network, in that you bid on Product Groups. Separating your products into groups allows you to assign different max bids for each, giving you more control over your placement, spend, and performance.

Product Listing Ad: Ads for products listed in your merchant store that appear on the Search Network and Google Shopping result pages  

Promotion Extension: Ad Extension that allows you to showcase sales and promotions on products you sell that people are searching for. Note: This extension is only available on the new AdWords interface.


Quality Score: The 1-10 score Google gives each one of your keywords to represent how relevant the keyword, ad, and landing page are for those customers looking at your ad. Many have used a document this size to describe and define Google’s Ad Quality Score. In reality, there are 3 things you need to know to understand the Quality Score:

  • It is 1 of 3 components that influence your Ad Rank/Position on the Search & Display network.
  • Higher Quality Scores lead to lower CPC.
  • To achieve a high a Quality Score, you want your keyword to be present multiple times in the ad text and on the landing page the customer reaches after clicking your ad.
  • We explain quality score in more detail here if you’re interested.


Recommended Daily Budget: A recommendation from Google’s AdWords algorithm machine (not necessarily a real thing) that are defined as “an estimate of the minimum amount you’d need to set your daily budget in order for your ad to appear as often as possible for your current set of keywords”

Referral URL: The URL of the website where your display ad was clicked. The person was referred to your site from this URL. This is useful for identifying where your traffic is coming from and may inform bid strategy (increase on high referral sites) or placement strategy (manually place ads on similar sites)

Relevance: A component of the Quality Score that judges how well your ad’s elements match what the searcher is looking for. A high relevancy score (and thus higher quality score) requires a clear connection between the search terms (keywords), your ad, and your landing page.

Remarketing: Is a feature that allows you to reach people who have previously been on your site. It relies heavily on a user’s cookie data and shows them ads relevant to the last session they had on your site. 

Removed: Ad Status when you manually remove the ad from your campaign. When you remove an ad, they’ll stop showing and you won’t be charged.

Return on Ad Spend (ROAS): average conversion value you receive in return for every dollar you spend on your ads. Advertisers on AdWords may use the Target ROAS automated bid strategy to optimize their campaigns to maximize ROAS.

Formula: Return on Ad Spend = Revenue / Ad Spend x 100

Return on Investment (ROI): The total profits made relative to your ad spend.

Formula: ROI = (Revenue – Cost of goods sold) / Cost of goods sold


Search Engine Results Page (SERP): In essence, the results page for a Google Search. There are over 100 billion searches each month and over 1 billion different people who search Google each month.

Search Funnels: A tool that visualizes what steps (URL paths) people go through when they convert on your site.

  • Tools > Attribution > Top Paths

Search Network: One of the 6 AdWords ad networks. It consists of Google’s Search Network & Google Search Partners (see next). Learn how to set up your first Search Ad in 2 minutes with this tutorial video

Search Partners: The sites within the Search Network that partner with Google to show ads. Including Search Partners is a default setting for Search Ads that you may want to reconsider when setting up Search Ads

Search Term (Search Query): The word or phrase that a person types into a search engine such as You target these terms with keywords in order to show your ad for certain Search Terms

Search Terms Report: The AdWords report that shows what Search Terms have triggered your ads. This is one of the most important reports on AdWords. For more information, here’s an article we wrote on how to access and then leverage the Search Terms Report  

Search Query Report: Another name for the Search Terms Report. 

Segment: A way of manipulating your AdWords or Analytics tables or charts to show a specific criterion about your audience against another. A “segment” could be a specific device, age group, gender, behavior, and much more.

Seller Ratings: An automated ad extension that rewards advertisers with high ratings by showing a five-star scale based on data Google collects from business review sources.

Serving (video ads): A status for your video ad stating that it is approved and ready to go. If it is still not showing (delivering impressions), there may be unrelated issues such as low search volume or low factors resulting in poor placement/position.

Shared Budget: A budgeting option that allows you to set a single budget for all campaigns. Google will then allocate your budget to each of your active campaigns to “maximize your return-on-investment”.

  • Setup: Main Sidebar > Campaigns tab > Shared Library > Budgets > Budget > name your budget & select the campaigns to share it > save > budgets table > click on the shared budget > apply to campaigns

Shopping Channel and Exclusivity: A way of grouping products for your Shopping campaign that allows you to divide products in an ad group based on where they are sold (online or in-store). The Merchant Center allows advertisers in Australia, France, Germany, Japan, the U.K. and the U.S. to advertise brick-and-mortar inventory (requires setting up a verified Local Products feed in Google Merchant Center.

Shortform and Longform Videos: The categorization of videos by length. Shortform < 10 minutes. Longform > 10 minutes. Video ads will show before short and long-form videos.

Sitelink Extension: A manual ad extension that takes people who click on them to a specific page of your website.

Site Suspended: An ad or keyword status given when the destination URL (Landing Page) is suspended for violating any of Google’s advertising policies. To find out what policy your site violates, go to your Ads tab > “Status” column > disapproved > hover over white speech bubble. Here’s a walkthrough video from Google on how to fix your site suspension

Statistics Table: The general term given to the data tables in AdWords that show your performance & ad data. You can add or remove columns, segments, and filters to show precisely what you want to see.


Target CPA (Cost-per-acquisition) Bidding: Formerly known as the Conversion Optimizer, Target CPA is a bidding method that sets a maximum on how much you would pay for a conversion. Here’s a post about how it can help win you conversions in AdWords. 

Target Outranking Share: A portfolio bid strategy where Google will automatically adjust your bids to help your ads outrank a specific domain.

Target ROAS (Return on ad spend): a type of smart bidding strategy that works by using conversion tracking data to predict future conversions and associating them with a dollar value. We devoted an entire post to Target ROAS, which you can check out here.

Target Search Page Location: A bidding strategy where Google automatically adjusts your bids to push your ad either to the top of the SERP or onto the first page.

Targeting Group: The YouTube search keywords, Display Network Keywords, topics, placements, and audience interests you want to target for your video ad.

Targeting Method: How you control who will see your Display Ad. You can control your targeting for each ad group by using: keywords & managed placements

Text Ad: A basic AdWords ad that consists of:

  1. A title linking to your destination URL
  2.  description or promotion of your product/service
  3. a green link showing your Display URL linking to your Landing Page (Destination URl)
  4. text labeling them as an ad

Text Overlay Ad: A type of text ad that is shown with video content on the Display Network. Text ads, by default, appear as Overlay Ads on the Display Network.

Top of Page Bid Estimate: The bid you will need to set for your ad to appear on top of the search results page. Google will look at your keyword quality, ad quality, website quality, and existing competition and then estimate the bid you will need to reach the top.

TrueView Video Formats: A type of video ad that allows viewers the choice of which ad they want to see. TrueView Ads use cost-per-view (CPV) bidding. They appear on YouTube and other videos on the Google Display Network. There are two types:

  • In-stream: video ads that place before, mid-roll, or after another YouTube video or display network video. The viewer is required to watch 5 seconds of the in-stream ads before they can skip.
  • In-display: video ads that appear on the side of the YouTube stream and as an optional video to play on the Display Network.

TrueView Ad Placement


Under Review: All ads must be reviewed by Google. While this process occurs, your ad status will show “under review”. This review process is usually less than 1 business day. Image ads, video ads, ads targeting the Search Partner sites, and text ads relating to sensitive material will immediately be marked “under review” upon creation.

URL: The location of a website, web page, or file on the internet. It stands for Uniform Resource Locators.

URL Parameter: Tags on a URL that pass certain information. This can direct users to a certain page, tell you something about their browsing actions in analytics, and much more. For more information, check out Google’s help forum.


Video Publisher: Specific Display Network partner sites who produce mostly video content. YouTube is the most significant video publisher site.


Website Calls as Conversions: You can set up your site’s code to communicate with Google when someone hits your site. This can tell you where they came from, what keyword they triggered, and what ad they clicked.

With Issues: A status for video ads when it has been disapproved. It may violate Google’s advertising policies. It may also be marked as “Approved (limited)” if it violates rules that are location or placement specific.


Xpert: A term to describe you and your AdWords skills if you read this Google AdWords glossary from top to bottom.


Your Time: What you spend, in addition to money trying to learn how to optimize, analyze, and manage your AdWords account. There are easier ways to do this! Sign up for AdHawk at to simplify the whole process.


Zzzz: Congrats! You’ve made it all the way to the end. you deserve a nap.

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Thanks for checking out our Google AdWords glossary! Still have questions? Are we missing terms? Reach out anytime on Twitter (@adhawk) or via email at marketing@tryadhawk and we’ll get back within the hour!

Most of the definitions are our own. The Google AdWords support site helped us fill in some of the gaps.

About the Author

Dan Pratt is the co-founder and COO of AdHawk (Techstars ‘15). Prior to founding AdHawk, he worked on the Accelerated Growth team at Google, helping startups assess, refine and grow their digital advertising. He’s an expert in all forms of paid advertising and has been honing his marketing and sales skills since selling homemade pizza from his desk in third grade.