Something we hear time and again from our clients is how frustrating PPC terminology can be and we know paid search is complicated enough without throwing endless acronyms like CTR and CPC into the mix.

So today we starting our run through the essential PPC terminology and we’ll combine this into a single eBook once we’re done. But let’s get cracking because Section A alone makes for a chunky blog post.


Accelerated Ad Delivery – An AdWords ad delivery option that displays ads as often as possible until your budget runs out (the only other option is ‘Standard Delivery’)

Actual Cost Per Click – Otherwise known as ‘actual CPC,’ this is what you pay for each click, regardless of what you set as your Maximum Cost Per Click .

Ad Auction – The process Google runs every time a search is made to choose which ads display.



Ad Campaign – A collection of Ad Groups  with a shared goal – for example, targeting people interested in used cars. You can (and should) have multiple campaigns running in your account.

Ad Center – Microsoft’s PPC platform, which you’ll use if you delve into paid advertising on Bing or Yahoo!

Ad Extensions – A bunch of ad features in AdWords that create richer ads, giving users more info and incentive to click.



Ad Format – This refers to the different type of ads you can use in AdWords and other paid search systems like Facebook and Twitter.

Ad Group – A group of ads, keywords and bids within an ad campaign that share a slightly more focused goal – for example, people interested in Audi used cars. Again, ad campaigns can have multiple ad groups within them.

Ad Position – Where your ad displays within the vertical stack of chosen ads. Position one means your ad displays at the top of the pack and so forth.


ad-pos sitting in position one of the ad stack for this search


Ad Rank – The rating Google gives your ads, calculated by Quality Score and your maximum bid.

Ad Rotation – Allows you to choose which ads display when you have multiple ads running live.

AdSense – Google’s platform that allows website owners to earn money by displaying ads on their site (this is where your Remarketing ads will display).



Ad Scheduling – Otherwise known as Dayparting, this allows you to control when your ads are eligible for display and prioritise the most profitable times.

Ad Status – Tells you if any given ad is live, paused, pending or a number of other states which you can learn more about from Google support.

Ad Variations – Variations of the same ad, allowing you to experiment and test new changes. AdWords can automatically choose the ad variation that performs best.

Advertising Policies – Strict guidelines you need to follow, which each platform (AdWords, Microsoft, Facebook, etc.) will have their own version of.

AdWords – Perhaps the most common term in PPC; Google’s platform for paid advertising.

AdWords API – Allows developers to create applications that directly interact with AdWords, typically to create custom management tools for very large, complex or unique accounts.



AdWords Editor – Free software from Google that makes managing large accounts easier.


AdWords Labels – Allow you to label keywords, campaigns, ad groups and ads into groups for easier management.

App install ads – AdWords ads to promote your mobile app.



Audiences – Defined groups of people to target in your marketing strategy.

Automated Rules – A feature that lets you set up automated rules for ad statuses, budgets and bids to reduce monitoring and management time.



Image taken from Google support


Automatic Bidding – Automatically sets and adjusts your maximum bid, based on the daily budget you set and other factors, designed to get the maximum number of clicks.

Automatic Payments – An automatic payment setting that charges you every 30 days or once you hit your billing threshold. You can still make manual payments at any time.

Automatic Placements – When your Display Network ads automatically display on certain webpages, videos and apps based on your targeting settings (you can also manually select where these ads display).

Auto Tagging – Automatically creates URLs for you to track offline conversions.

Average CPC – The average amount you have been charged for clicks on an ad after all adjustments.

Average Position – The average position your ad ranks among other selected ads in the same auction.


So that wraps it up for Section A of our essential PPC glossary and you’ll be glad to hear this is the largest section of the lot (you can thanks all those terms starting with “ad” for that). Which means the worst of it is out of the way and you can probably already see this PPC terminology stuff isn’t all that after all.

We’ll be back again shortly with more terms for you too so be sure to pay another visit soon and follow us on social for updates as they happen.