Jargon Busters: PPC

PPC is full of abbreviations and jargon. Even the name is one. You don’t catch many people typing out Pay-Per-Click rather than PPC. Perhaps people are just too busy. Either way, PPC is just the start of abbreviations in this world, and there is plenty of confusing jargon as well.

If you’re just looking into PPC, or you’ve just received you first report and none of it makes sense then check out our handy jargon buster guide below.



Pay-Per-Click marketing. Starting easy with this one, the clue is in the name. You pay every time someone clicks on your advert. Most commonly done on Google Ads but also covers Bing, Display advertising, YouTube and Shopping. This also covers ads on other search engines which use Google or Bing’s functionality.


Click Through Rate. Displayed as a percentage, this shows how many people who saw your adverts clicked on them and is widely used as an indicator of how well adverts are targeted at an audience.


Cost Per Click. On average the price you are paying per click. As prices can fluctuate for all sorts of reasons, including your budget and the time of day, this is handily displayed as an average worked out as your total spend divided by total clicks.


Cost Per Acquisition / Lead. Depending on the goals for your campaign you might use acquisitions or leads. You’re more likely to use CPA with e-commerce campaigns to represent any user who purchased, and CPL on sign-up campaigns to represent users who filled out your form, phoned in or used some other sign-up method.

Remarketing & Retargeting:

Using tracking tags and pixels we can show specific adverts to people who may have visited product pages on your site before or engaged with one of your adverts but not completed the purchase or signed-up. These are usually shown as Display Ads and will follow users around the internet, but can also be used in search which is especially useful if your sales funnel is quite long.

Conversion & Conversion Rate:

What counts as a Conversion will depend on your needs, but it is the end-goal of the adverts, so is commonly a purchase, a form fill, a download etc. Conversion Rate is a percentage of how many converted out of the total amount of people who clicked the advert.

This is a good indicator not just of advert performance, but of the entire user journey. I.e. how easy or difficult is it for users to make a purchase or find the contact form. A high CTR but a low Conversion Rate would indicate issues with the website, the opposite would indicate issues with the adverts.


Return on Investment and Return on Ad Spend. Essentially, how much money you are getting back for how much you are spending. Represented as how much you make from every £1. The difference is that ROAS considers the spend on adverts only, whereas ROI includes any agency fees if you use one, or wages if you do it in-house.

Quality Score:

A score given to your keywords by the platform you’re using, i.e. Google or Bing. It is partly based on your adverts and partly on the landing page you are directing to. A high Quality Score indicates the keywords are relevant to the advert, which is in turn relevant to the landing page. The better your Quality Score, the more likely your adverts are to show and the less you’ll be charged per click.

Negative Keywords:

Negative Keywords are used to tell Google or Bing not to show your adverts when someone searches for those terms. These are especially useful if you’re in a niche industry or if your products share a single word with something else entirely unrelated. These can be location based so you don’t show in locations not relevant to you, which can be used in conjunction with location targeting. Negative Keywords should be checked and updated regularly to ensure adverts only appear for exactly the right searches.

Ad Extensions:

Ad Extensions are extra information that can be shown below the ad copy. This helps your advert to take up more room on the page, thereby boosting the chances of a click. They can be displayed as sitelinks which give users a chance to navigate directly to the page they wish, location information, call links, message links, reviews and more. They all help to increase your chances of conversion by making it easier for users to choose their preferred option.

Dynamic Search Ads:

The dynamic part of the name means these ads show depending on the content of your website. Google crawls your site and matches to search terms relevant. The headline and landing page are dynamically generated to match the search term. You can choose which pages of your site Google will use to give you more control. 

Search Impression Share:

This shows how often your advert appeared for how often someone searched for your keywords. Ideally, you’d like 100% but a limited budget and too much competition can lower that. A low Search Impression Share can also be a sign of low Quality Scores, meaning the keywords you’re bidding on aren’t relevant to your adverts or your website.

Impression Top Percentage:

This percentage shows how often your adverts appeared above the organic search results, if your advert was shown at all. We think this is a more useful metric than Search Top Impression Share which is instead out of all the times your keywords were searched for.

Impression Absolute Top Percentage:

Same as above but measures how often your advert appeared as the very first result, i.e. Absolute Top. Again, we think this is more useful than Search Absolute Top Impression Share for the same reasons. Absolute Top Position has replaced the old first advert position, as Google often customise the results page and put something other than an advert right at the top (such as shopping or images).


This is by no means an exhaustive list of all the abbreviations and jargon in the world of PPC. It is, however, a pretty good starting point and should arm you with the knowledge you need to start making sense of things.

If your agency tries to hide behind skewed reports and confusing jargon, maybe it’s time we had a chat?