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Your Online Advertising Jargon Buster


Written by

Phil Coleman



Your Online Advertising Jargon Buster

Struggling to differentiate your CTR from your CPA? Getting mixed up with KPI and ROI? Worry not. You’re not the first and certainly won’t be the last.

Adzooma is on hand to explain some common online advertising terms, as well as clear up some of the more complicated industry terminology.

Ready? Good. Let’s do this!


A/B Testing – Also known as “split testing”, this involves analysing the performance of two different landing pages to see which converts better. Changes between them are often subtle, like different CTAs or page design elements like colours or slight copy variations.

Ad Copy – if content truly is king, then the importance of your ad copy cannot be understated. The writing you use in your ad is one of the first things that a potential new customer will see.

Ad Extensions – Features on Google Ads that provide extra forms of information on an ad such as links to other landing pages, contact details, and shop ratings. Because ad extensions take up more space on the SERPs, they result in higher CTRs compared to ads without extensions.

Ad Groups – A collection of one or more ads with the same target, containing a set of related keywords, often grouped by a single theme.

Ad Rank – A value that determines your ad position based on your bid amount and Quality Score.

Ad Serving – Via an ad-management system, ad serving is the delivery of online ads to a consumer’s computer. This is a system that allows different ads to be viewed by different audiences simultaneously as well as across multiple sites.

API – Standing for application programming interface, an API is a set of functions and instructions for developers to create applications. Ad publishers like Google Ads and Microsoft Ads have a variety of APIs to help with bidding, reporting, and data management.


Bid – The highest amount you are willing to pay for an ad click.

Bing – A search engine created by Microsoft.

Bounce Rate – The overall percentage of visitors to your website who navigate away without viewing another page.

Button – A squared online advertisement usually embedded within a web page.


Call-to-Action – Asking a customer or visitor to do perform an action. Often in the form of a clickable button that navigates elsewhere.

Click fraud – The fraudulent clicking of ads to waste a competitors ad budget.

Clickthrough – When a user clicks through to the advertiser’s site via an ad.

Conversion – When a consumer clicks on your ad and takes an action that you deem to be important to your business. Whether it be a sale, sign-up or lead, a conversion is a positive for you.

Conversion rate – The total number of conversions per ad interactions (displayed as a percentage).

CPA – CPA or Cost Per Acquisition equates to the price you pay for a lead or specified action. You can set this to whatever you choose, from impressions or clicks to sales or form submissions.

CPC – The average amount you have paid for one click (cost per click). With the value of clicks having the potential to change between campaigns, it makes it important to take an average.

CPM – Also known as the cost per mile or cost per thousand, online advertising can be purchased on the basis of what it costs to show the ad to 1,000 viewers. CPM is used to calculate the cost of a campaign.

CTR – A click-through-rate is one of the more common advertising terms. It represents the number of users who click on a link, compared with the number who saw it. Its primary function is to see how your ads and keywords are performing.


Display ads – Graphical ads that appear on a display network like Google Display Network. They often come in the form of banners.

Dynamic Keyword Insertion – The process of automatically updating text in an ad to include a keyword that matches a user’s search query.


Engagement Rate – Used to ascertain the percentage of people who acted upon viewing a social media post. It is worked out by dividing their interactions by the number of people who saw the post.


Facebook Ads – An advertising platform created by Facebook which serves ads through its social media network and Instagram.


Geotargeting – The ability to target specific locations and countries in ads. Also known as location targeting.

Google Ads – An online advertising platform developed by Google. It offers advertisers the ability to pay to display ads across different networks, such as the Google Search Network and the Google Display Network.

Google Analytics – Google’s free web analytics tool used for data analysis on websites and paid ads.


Headline – In PPC, this is the top line of a text ad, consisting of 30 characters and ideally including your target keyword. Each advert can have up to 3 different headlines on Google Ads and Microsoft Ads. In SEO, a headline can be another name for a page’s meta title.


Impression – When your ad is shown to a user on a search results page (SERP) or via an ad publisher’s display network. In SEO, an impression is whenever your page shows up on a SERP.

Impression Share – Ratio of the percentage of impressions that an ad receives versus the total number of impressions the ad could receive.

Instagram Ads – An advertising platform which services ads from Facebook.


Keywords – A particular word or phrase that describes the contents of the page in question. Also the words that a company bids on for their adverts to appear against.

KPI – In order to measure the success of any campaign, a key performance indicator must be put in place. KPI’s are the key indicators for success and should serve to influence which campaigns best align with your goals.


Landing Page – Designed for customers who click on your ad. A landing page should be the point and include a clear call-to-action.


Microsite – A small website designed to function as a supplement to a primary website.

Microsoft Ads – An online advertising platform developed by Microsoft. It offers advertisers the ability to pay to display ads across different networks, such as the Microsoft Search Network and the Microsoft Audience Network.


Native Advertising – In basic advertising terminology, native advertising is used by publisher websites where the content is meant to look like the articles it usually publishes.


Overlay – Online advertising content that appears over the top of a page.


PPC – Pay-per-click is a form of marketing where advertisers pay every time a user clicks on their ad. When bidding against other marketers for the use of a phrase, the more you pay per click the more likely your ad is to appear in the search results.

PPC optimisation – The act of improving PPC campaigns at varying scales. Optimisation can involve restructuring a whole Google Ads account or converting a single keyword ad group into a single theme ad group.

PPC software – A paid marketing tool or set of tools that manage PPC campaigns. Adzooma is an example of PPC software.


Quality Score – Simply put, the score that Google awards a page depending on its relevance to a particular topic.


Remarketing – When a customer has previously expressed an interest in your company or product, remarketing is the action of displaying related ads while such customers browse the internet.

ROI – Otherwise known as return on investment, ROI measures your performance by taking your profit and investment amount and working out if your money has been well spent.


Search engine – A system that carries out searches on the Internet and returns relevant information based on the search query.

Search query – A keyword or phrase used in a search, e.g. “rockets”, “dog food” and “best ppc software” are all search queries.

SEM – Search engine marketing, a form of marketing specifically for search engines. This includes SEO and PPC.

SEO – Search engine optimisation, a strategy used to boost the organic visibility of websites on search engines.

Skyscraper – A vertical online ad usually positioned down the side of a page.


Tracking code – A snippet of HTML code added to a page which tracks the behaviour of a user. A web analytics tool can use this data to track conversions and analyse metrics such as bounce rate, page views, and session duration.


Viral Marketing – The sharing of online content, such as video clips and imagery, in order to build brand awareness.


Web Analytics – The analysis of Web data to review the performance of various aspects of your website, PPC campaigns, customer behaviour and much more. Tools like Google Analytics allow users to do this with an intuitive UI.

So, there you have it. A comprehensive advertising jargon buster that should serve to assist you for all of your advertising needs.

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