Advertising has changed a lot since the golden age of television when it was all about Darrin Stephens landing that account for McMann and Tate on Bewitched. These days, it’s all about the internet generally, and Google specifically. Google Ads, formerly known as AdWords, is where you have to be to be seen in today’s crowded marketing climate. 

Whether you’re working with Tree Ring Digital or navigating the tricky internet marketing waters on your own, you’ll be looking at reports on how your campaign is performing. Here’s a primer on terms you’ll need  to know to make the most of your report. 


Campaign: a set of ad groups (ads, keywords, and bids) that share a budget, location targeting, and other settings. Campaigns are often used to organize categories of products or services that you offer. Your Google Ads account can have one or many ad campaigns running.

AdGroup:  a collection of ads within a campaign that corresponds to a group of related keywords.

Bids: advertisers bid on certain keywords in order for their clickable ads to appear in Google’s search results. Since advertisers have to pay for these clicks, this is how Google makes money from searches.

Google Search: When people search on Google for something they want, they find two types of results: search results and ads. Search results appear as links on search results pages and aren’t part of Google’s advertising programs. Ads appear under an “Ads” label and may be placed in several locations around the free search results.

PPC – Pay-per-click: also known as “cost per click,” is an internet advertising model used to drive traffic to websites, in which an advertiser pays a publisher when the ad is clicked. 

Impressions: an impression is counted each time your ad is shown on a search result page or other site on the Google Network. Each time your ad appears on Google or the Google Network, it’s counted as one impression. In some cases, only a section of your ad may be shown (for example, in Google Maps, only your business name and location or only your business name and the first line of your ad text may be shown). 

Clicks: when someone clicks your ad, like on the blue headline of a text ad, Google Ads counts that as a click. A click is counted even if the person doesn’t reach your website, maybe because it’s temporarily unavailable.

Conversions: actions that are counted when someone interacts with your ad (for example, when someone clicks a text ad or views a video ad) and then takes an action that you’ve defined as valuable to your business, such as an online purchase or a call to your business from a mobile phone.

CTR – Clickthrough rate: the number of clicks that your ad receives divided by the number of times your ad is shown: clicks ÷ impressions = CTR. For example, if you had 5 clicks and 100 impressions, then your CTR would be 5%. 

Avg. CPC – Average Cost-Per-Click: the average amount that you’ve been charged for a click on your ad. Average cost-per-click is calculated by dividing the total cost of your clicks by the total number of clicks.

Average Position: a statistic that describes how your ad typically ranks against other ads. This rank determines in which order ads appear on the page.

Broad Keyword: a keyword option that allows your ad to show when someone searches for that keyword and variations of it, as well as other related topics.

Long Tail Keywords: longer and more specific keyword phrases that visitors are more likely to use when they’re closer to a point-of-purchase or when they’re using voice search.

Negative Keywords: a type of keyword that prevents your ad from being triggered by a certain word or phrase. Your ads aren’t shown to anyone who is searching for that phrase. This is also known as a negative match.

Search Queries: the actual search queries that result in a display of your Google Ads ads. A “search query report” offers insight into exactly how users are searching for your type of product or service, and gives you an opportunity to refine your Google Ads keyword list, reach a broader audience, and display your ads more effectively.

Search Partners: sites in the search network that partner with Google to show ads. Search partners extend the reach of Google Search ads to hundreds of non-Google websites, as well as YouTube and other Google sites. On search partners sites, your ads can appear on search results pages, on site directory pages, or on other pages related to a person’s search.

Display Network: Google AdWords is split into two networks –  the search network and the display network. When advertising on the search network, businesses place text ads in the search engine results. On the display network, businesses instead place display ads on a huge network of sites across the internet.

Display Ads: Display advertising is advertising on websites, apps, or social media through banners or other ad formats made of text, images, flash, video, and audio. The main purpose of display advertising is to deliver general advertisements and brand messages to site visitors.

Text Ads: show above and below Google search results. A text ad has three parts: headline text, a display URL, and description text.

Remarketing: a form of online advertising that enables sites to show targeted ads to users who have already visited their site. Also known as “retargeting,” remarketing can dramatically increase your conversion rates and ROI (return on investment).

Ad Extensions: show extra business information with your ad, like an address, phone number, store rating, or more webpage links.

Shared Budget: lets you establish a single daily budget that’s shared by multiple campaigns in an AdWords account. Shared budgets can make it easier to match your AdWords spending along the lines of your business or marketing objectives, rather than having to split it up along campaign distribution options.

There’s a lot to know about using Google Ads to your best advantage. In fact, it’s kind of a full-time job. Let us help you deal with it, while you do what you do best.