20 PPC terms everyone should know

If you’re beginning to research Pay-Per-Click (PPC) advertisements, or just need a refresher on your terminology, here are twenty PPC terms that everyone should know:

Ad Campaign – An advertising campaign with a PPC network that contains advertisements that share the same theme or goal. For example, a set of advertisements that focus on driving traffic to a Black Friday landing page. (PPCProtect)

Ad Copy – Refers to any text that occurs with an ad. For PPC, this generally indicates the headline, any descriptions, and the URL. The best ad copy engages the viewer. (Webfx)

Ad Relevance – A keyword status that measures how closely related a keyword is to an ad. The three statuses are below average, average, and above average. Having average or above-average means there are no major problems with ad relevance. (PPCProtect)

Bid – Also called “Keyword Bid.” The maximum price you want to spend for clicks for keywords that your target with your paid ads. (Webfx)

Bid Optimization – Similar to bid management, bid optimization involves getting the most clicks for the lowest cost. This can involve bid adjustment, landing page optimization, and ad scheduling to lower the cost per click. (PPCProtect)

Broad Match – Default keyword matching options for ads. It allows you to show your ad when the search query contains your keyword in any order or contains any misspellings, synonyms, related searches, or relevant variations. (Webfx)

Change History: Google Ads tool that allows you to view all changes from a specific date range with filter options for particular changes, such as bid adjustments, status changes, and keyword additions. (Webfx)

Click Fraud – The fraudulent clicking of pay-per-click ads in order to waste an advertiser’s advertising budget. Often caused by competitors, botnets and webmasters, click fraud can also be used to make money for criminal gangs. (PPCProtect)

Click-Through Rate (CTR) – A way of measuring the success of an online advertising campaign. A CTR is determined by dividing the number of users who clicked on an ad by the number of times the ad was delivered (impressions). (PPCHero)

Client ID: The 10-digit string of numbers assigned to each browser or device in the Google system. (Webfx)

Cost: In pay-per-click advertising, this is the amount an advertiser pays for their ads that were clicked. You control costs by setting budget limits and selecting a narrow group of people to “target” for your ads. (Microsoft)

Cost per acquisition (CPA): A calculation of total cost spent divided by the number of conversions the advertiser received, such as the number of new customers or purchases occurred. (Microsoft)

Cost per click (CPC): The price an advertiser pays for a click on an ad from a potential customer. Advertisers watch this number closely as they evaluate the effectiveness of their ads. (Microsoft)

Interest Categories: Google Ads setting that allows you to target groupings of users based on their interests. (Webfx)

Longtail Keywords – A specific keyword phrase that consists of 2 or more words. Most advertisers use long-tail keywords to target the customer at or near their buying stage. (PPCHero)

Match Types – Match types allow an advertiser to control when their ad shows for a particular search query that may or may not contain a keyword listed in their ad group. There are three different match types, Broad, Phrase and Exact; these occur in Google and MSN. However Yahoo! has Standard and Advanced Match. (PPCHero)

Negative Keywords – Keywords that advertisers don’t want triggering their ads. Common examples are words such as free, download, cheap, discount. These words have low buyer intent, so are excluded to maximize budgets. (PPCProtect)

Placement Targeting – Placement targeting lets AdWords advertisers choose individual spots in the Google content network where they’d like to see their ads displayed. (PPCHero)

Search Engine Results Page (SERP) –  The results a user sees in the search engines after typing in a search query. The results would consist of a series of Organic ads as well as Paid or sponsored search ads. (PPCHero)

Targeting: A way for advertisers to narrow the focus of their SEM campaigns to a subset of possible audiences. Targeting works like a set of filters to make your ad appear based on geography, time, age, gender or device. (Microsoft)


Mike Nicholson

I've spent my career working in a variety of Strategic Communications, Public Relations, Public Affairs, Information Operations, and Executive Outreach positions. With a history of planning, preparing, executing, and assessing communication strategies in the U.S. and abroad, I use this site to write, think and share lessons learned on organizational communications.

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