CPC, CPA, CPL, CTR… baffled? Overwhelmed? Yeah, I get you, I’ve been there too.  If you are new to Adwords then getting your head around all the wide range of acronyms and abbreviations can get very overwhelming. Don’t be fooled, even the experienced Adwords pro has trouble remembering terms from time to time (don’t judge me). 

In this post, I look to make your life a little easier and break down the most common Adwords Acronyms and terminology that you will come across. This article of acronyms will have you a master of Adwords talk in no time. Plus it’s a handy guide that you can refer back to from time to time.  


Ad customisers: 

A feature that allows you to dynamically insert certain information (sale price, when a sale starts/ends, certain locations) into text ads as users are searching for them.

Ad delivery:

A setting that allows you to choose how often your ads will show. If you want your ads to spread out throughout the day then choose standard. However, if you want your ads to show more quickly as much as possible, then choose Accelerated.  

Ad extensions:

Extra information outside the text ad that allows you to glam up your ads and set them apart from the competition. You can include extras like your business phone number, address, prices, seller reviews and more. We wrote a blog post about Ad extensions and the benefits if you want to learn more. 

Adwords Editor:

A handy tool developed by Google that you must use! It’s free and allows you to create mass changes to your account and campaigns offline. Your precious time will thank you for this tool. You can download Adwords Editor here.

Ad group:

Contains themed keywords that you have in your ad campaign. Alongside the keywords, each ad group has its own set of ads (we recommend two per ad group for split testing your ad copy)

Ad Rotation:

A setting that allows you to pick how multiple ads within your ad group gets shown. There are options available including:

  • Optimise: Shows the ad that gets more clicks based on the CTR (click through rate).
  • Do not optimise: Shows ads evenly, but does not optimise after the 90 day period.

Ad scheduling:

A setting that allows you to schedule the day and time that you want your ads to be shown. Helpful if you don’t want your ads to show when you are closed.

Ad Preview:

A tool that allows you to see what your ad would look like (including all extensions). The beauty of this is that you won’t accrue any ad impressions or clicks, so your data won’t be diluted.

Auction Insights:

You can compare your campaigns, keywords and ad groups are performing compared to your others in the auction.

Ad Sense:

If you own a website, you can make money by placing ads on your site.

All Conversions:

Total conversions that Adwords measures across all conversion actions that you have. For example, if you have two conversion goals (newsletter sign up and purchase) this metric will report them as a combined figure.

Assisted Conversions:

Shows all the keywords which assisted in the path to conversion


Shows you the path that a user took to convert across various touch points of your campaigns and allows you to control how much credit you give to each touchpoint.


Refers to how many people that you have in your remarketing pool to target for Remarketing campaigns.

Automated Rules:

A feature that helps you save time by pausing/restarting ads for special promotions or sales,  increasing/decreasing bids and budget. You specify the rules and when you want the action to take place.

Auto Tagging:

This allows Adwords and CRM  data to pass through to Google Analytics through URL parameters.

Automatic Placements:

If you run Display campaigns, then Google will automatically place your ads to run on certain websites that they choose.

Average CPC (Average cost per click):

The average amount that you pay when someone clicks on your ad. You can get this by dividing the total cost of your clicks by the total number of clicks.

Average Position:

Shows you the average position that your ad is sitting on in the search engine results page (The higher your position, the closer you are to the top).

Bonus Download: Free Adwords Acronyms Guide

CPC, CTR, WTF! Don’t waste any more time trying to figure out ad speak, download your free handy Adwords acronyms guide and never be confused again.



The maximum you are willing to pay for a click.The more competitive your industry is, the more you will have to bid for your keyword.  

Bid Adjustment:

An increase or decrease in your bids for campaigns, keywords and ad groups, devices (mobile, desktop and tablets) and time of day.

Broad Match:

A keyword match type which most advertisers who are new to PPC start using. This is probably the keyword match type, if not used correctly, Broad Match keywords can lose you a lot of money. It allows your ad to appear on for searches that have similar phrases, plurals, synonyms. Basically what Google thinks is relevant.

Broad Match Modified:

By adding the plus sign (+) before keywords, Google is able to pick variants of your keyword including synonyms, plurals and misspellings.

Bulk Edits:

Enables you to create make big changes to your campaigns and accounts at once. Without going back and forth from campaign to campaign.


Client ID:

10 digit number located on the top right-hand side of your Adwords account which is unique to you. Helps Google differentiate one account from another.

Click Through Rate:

Measures the number of clicks your ads receive times the number of impressions (how many times the ad is seen).

Call extensions:

Allows you to put your phone number alongside your text ad.

Call tracking:

The snippet of code placed on your website that allows you to track the calls that come from your text ads.

Call to action (CTA):

This represents the specific action that you want users to take when they click your ad or are on your website. Usually written in ads or website buttons

Call Out Extensions:

Snippets of text (non-clickable) that appear underneath your text ad (25 characters max). Great for promoting any unique selling points of your brand/service.

Click To Call:

A feature that allows users to call you directly once they have clicked your phone number either on your website or landing page.

Call Only Campaign:

A campaign that only allows you to give users the option of calling once they click on the ad.


The action that a user takes on your website or landing page after clicking an ad is defined as a conversion. A conversion can be anything such as filling out a form, buying a product, calling a number, downloading a brochure or registering for an event

Conversion Rate:

The rate at which people convert on your website or landing page expressed as a percentage of people who visit the site from your ads. Conversions/ clicks x 100= Conversion Rate.

Conversion Window:

The amount of time after a click that will be recorded as a conversion on the advertiser’s website.

Converted Click:

1 ad click = one conversion.


The amount an advertiser pays to search engines every time a prospect makes a click on their ad.

Cost-Per-Thousand-Impressions (CPM):

A bidding model on the Adwords display network where you pay every time your ad accumulates 1000 impressions.


The amount an advertiser pays to get a lead or a sale that was generated from the search engine.

Cost-Per-Lead (CPL):

The amount an advertiser pays to get a lead that was generated from the search engine.

Countdown Timer:

A countdown that you can add to your text ads to show the start of an event/sale or countdown to when a sale ends.

Cross-Device Conversion:

When a user starts a conversion journey on one device and then proceeds to complete it on another device.

Custom Parameter:

Tracking code that is appended to your final URL so you can collect extra information such as the type of device or keyword that played a part in the user journey.

Customer Match:

A feature which allows you to upload your customer’s email addresses on the Adwords platform. Google will then match the email addresses to accounts and you can show tailored ads to these people.


Daily Budget:

The average amount you are willing to pay per day for your campaigns.

Data-Driven Attribution:

A type of attribution modelling that distributes credit for conversions based on past data in your Adwords account.

Display URL:

The URL that is shown in your text ads. So users have an idea where they will be taken. The display URL does not need to be the same as the Final URL but needs to be from the same base domain.  

Display Network:

Refers to a network where you can place your banner image ads on websites across the internet.

Display Planner:

This is a tool within Adwords which lets you research targeting options for your display campaign

Dynamic Keyword Insertion (DKI):

A cool feature that allows Google to insert any keyword based on the user’s search query to be shown in the headline, description or URL of your ads. This allows you to show the user a more relevant ad.

Dynamic Remarketing:

Lets you show ads with the exact products a user has viewed on your website.


Enhanced CPC Bidding:

This is a bidding strategy that allows Google to Automatically adjust bids for clicks that could result in a conversion.

Exact Match:

Your ad is shown when a user types in your keyword exactly as it is. No misspellings, no plurals, no synonyms.



A tool within Adwords that allows you to find data that is most relevant to you in a fast and efficient manner.

Final URL:

The page where a user is taken after they have clicked on your ad.

First Click:

A type of attribution model which gives all the credit to the first ad the user clicked to convert.


A number of times your display ads were seen by a person each day.

Frequency capping:

You can set a limit on how many times your ad can be seen by people each day. Note that this can only be done on the display network.



Allows you to target regions and locations for where you want your ads to be shown. Geo-targeting can also sometimes be referred to ‘Location Targeting’.

Google Forwarding Number:

A unique number that you get from Google. You use this number for your campaigns to help you track how many calls you get to your business.



The first line of your ad (this can be either text or image ads)



A number of times your ad is seen on a search engine.

Impression share:

This is one of my favourite metrics to optimise from. Impression share is the number of impressions you received for either your ad group or keyword divided by the total impressions that you were eligible to receive, shown as a percentage.  Rule of thumb, ensure that your impression share is as high as possible and aim for 90%+.


A metric that shows the main actions that users take which are associated with the ad format. For example, views for video ads clicks for text and shopping ads.

Interaction rate:

Total interactions divided by the number of total impressions.

Inventory Filters:

This helps you exclude products in your Merchant Center  from showing in your Product Listing Ads



The words that best showcase your product/service that prompt your ads to show.

Keyword Planner:

A tool that lets you search the bid, volume and competition of keywords that you want to include and research for your campaigns. This is located in your Adwords account.



They are colour coded and allow you to keep track of changes or structuring accounts, keywords, ads or campaigns. Very handy for organisational purposes if you have a huge account.

Landing Pages:

A landing page refers to the page a user ‘lands’ on after they click on an ad. You can read more about landing pages and why they are so crucial to the success of your campaigns here.

Last click:

A type of attribution model which gives all the credit to the last ad the user clicked to convert.  

Limited by budget:

A campaign status that’s shown when your daily budget is lower than the recommended amount. This means that your ads will not show as often as they should

Linear Attribution:

A type of attribution model which gives each interaction equal credit for the conversion.


Merchant Centre:

Used to store your product feed and business information to use for Google Shopping.


Negative Keyword:

Keywords that you don’t want your ads to show up for which are unrelated to your businesses offering.

Negative Keyword List:

A list that stores all your negative keywords (keywords that you don’t want your ad to show up for). This list can be found in your Shared Library and you can apply this list to multiple campaigns and accounts.


Pay-Per-Click (PPC):

A form of advertising where an advertiser pays the search engine each time a user clicks on their ad.

Phrase Match:

A keyword match type where your ad is shown only when a user types in a close variation of your keyword.

Position Based:

A type of attribution modelling where 40% of the credit is given to the last click, 40% to the first click and the remaining 20% is given to all other interactions along the conversion path.

Price Extensions:

Allow you to showcase prices of your services/products to users.These are displayed underneath your text ad and link to the exact product or service that you list



Allows you to show ads to users who have previously visited your website/landing page.

Remarketing Lists:

Refers to the people that you can remarket to. These people are stored into lists that you can segment website behaviour.

Return On Ad Spend (ROAS):

Measures the revenue that is generated from your campaigns. Simply put, you are able to determine how much revenue you are making for every $1 that you spend on advertising. Ad Revenue / Ad Spend = ROAS.



Search engine results page. Where a user sees paid and organic listings.

Search Term:

The query a user typed in Google for your ad to appear.

Search Term Report:

A report that you can run on Google Adwords to show you all the keywords that people have typed in to see your ad.

Sitelink Extension:

Displays a description and a link to different pages of your website. These appear below your text ad and allow you to promote different products/services.

Search Partners:

Websites which are partnered with Google to showcase your ads on the search network. The list of search partners is constantly changing and Google never publishes a full list. However, websites include:

Shared Budget:

A single budget that you can allocate and share across various campaigns. Helps if you have a limited budget and need to spread it out accordingly.

Shopping Campaign:

Used for E-commerce businesses. Allows businesses to showcase ads with product information such as image, price, special offers and description of the product.

Split Testing:

Testing different messaging, headlines, calls to action and landing pages to improve the performance of your campaigns and increase conversions.


Target CPA:

A particular type of bidding method that you’ll see in your campaign settings. This allows you to set a maximum amount that you are willing to pay for a sale or lead.

Text Ad:

As the name suggests, they are text-only ads. This refers to the type of ad that you can create on the Google Search Network.



Stands for Uniform Resource Locator. Refers to the place of your landing page/website.

You’ve reached the end! Solid effort. 

With most things PPC related, things are always changing. New features are always being added by Google, which means more acronyms. Do you have any that are missing on this list? If so, feel free to shoot them over to me or add them in the comments below. 

Bonus Download: Free Adwords Acronyms Guide

CPC, CTR, WTF! Don’t waste any more time trying to figure out ad speak, download your free handy Adwords acronyms guide and never be confused again.


Prerna Kapoor

Prerna Kapoor

PK is a Co-Founder of Clicktribe. She has a really bad coffee addiction, is obsessed with Rafael Nadal and likes to put her backpack on and travel the world on the odd occasion.
Prerna Kapoor
Prerna Kapoor

PK is a Co-Founder of Clicktribe. She has a really bad coffee addiction, is obsessed with Rafael Nadal and likes to put her backpack on and travel the world on the odd occasion.