Glossary of PPC Search Engine Marketing Terms

Learn Pay Per Click: A/B testing - average cost per clicK

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A testing methodology that pits two variants against one another to determine the better performer. Instances include A/B ad text testing for improving click-through rates of ads, and a/b landing page testing for improving the conversion rates and UX/UI experience of users. A/B testing is a 24/7 testing methodology that never ends; instead the previous winner or "champion" is pitted against a new "challenger".

above the fold

Refers to the placement of a banner or image ad showing in the immediate view of a user that lands on a website or landing page. The "fold" is referred to as the demarcation on the page where a user can and cannot see content. PPC advertising platforms that run display campaigns allow advertisers to choose whether to target this specific placement on a website or not, and even increase the bid amount to lead to a higher incidence that the ad will show above the fold.

A role internally or within an advertising agency that manages the account from the perspective of either analyzing and determining strategies to grow or improve an account and/or the day-to-day activities that optimize an account for performance and keep an account performing well. Expert account managers know the components that lead to typical issues and can troubleshoot by reviewing key indicators. These account managers also know how to proactively clean up and optimize the account for the best performance possible for an advertiser or business.

account manager

Ad center

Microsoft's advertising platform. This is an antiquated term when it included both the Bing & Yahoo Search Engines and partner websites. The platform for Microsoft is now Bing Ads and Yahoo is Yahoo Gemini.

Ad extensions are compliments to text ads allowing for additional information to show including a business phone number, a business address, sitelinks to lower-level pages of a website or landing page, and callouts which are short statements that highlight the benefits of a company or offering. Ad extensions do not cost extra and all available ad extensions for a PPC account should be used if they are relevant to the advertising business or account manager. 

ad extensions

Ad Group

An ad group is the level of a PPC account that houses the ads and keywords. The ad group is housed within a campaign and is the 3rd level down from the account level. An ad group is intended to contain a tightly knit theme of keywords that are closely related to one another, which leads to a higher likelihood that the ads complimentary to the keywords will have a higher relevancy score improving quality score of the ad.

The result of a search engine's algorithm to determine in which positions advertisers' ads will show. Ad rank is composed of the bid, known as the maximum cost per click (Max CPC) an advertiser is willing to spend for one user click, multiplied by the Quality Score. Quality score itself is determined by three components: expected Click-Through Rate, ad relevance and landing page experience.

ad rank

A PPC account variable controllable by the account manager or advertiser which allows for the determination of when and when not to show ads to users searching for a specific query, or to be placed on a website or YouTube video ad. Setting up ad schedules helps to control budget spend by allowing for bid modifications to occur based on time metrics such as day of the week and hour of the day, an example being Tuesdays between the hours of 12pm - 2pm.

ad schedule

A monetization tool that allows website publishers and curators to generate revenues from allowing advertisers to show their ads on his or her's website. AdSense accounts are also necessary for monetizing YouTube channels and curated video content. AdSense account holders earn money when users view ads by visiting a page on the website or viewing a video ad before, during or after a YouTube video.

adsense (google)

Ad text is the copy that is contained in a text ad for a PPC account. Text ads contain a headline (or two if using the Extended Text Ads format for Google AdWords, soon to roll out in Bing Ads), description lines, a display url, a final url for AdWords or destination url for Bing Ads. Ad text fields have limits on character lengths. Standard text ads had a limit of 25 characters for a headline and 2 sets of 35 characters for description lines and display url. Please see Extended Text Ads for a description of the character limits on this new text ad format.

Ad text

A methodology employed by PPC account managers or advertisers that runs two or more sets of text ads against one another using the rotation settings at the campaign or ad group level. Testing more than one ad per ad group at a time allows for the determination of better ad text by measuring for click-through rate (CTR) first, one of three metrics of the Quality Score, as well as other Key Performance Indicator (KPI) goals for the account such as cost per conversion and Return on Ad Spend (ROAS).

ad text testing

AdWords is the largest and most known of the PPC advertising platforms. Created by Google in 2001 by Fred Vallaeys and the engineering team, AdWords allows businesses and agencies to manage PPC accounts to run on Google's Search Engine Results Page (SERP), Search Engine Partners (SEPs) such as, on the YouTube platform, 2nd largest Search Engine, Google Display Network partner websites, and the Google shopping platform. AdWords has the largest and most dominant reach of the majority of web traffic leading to high conversion counts and ROI (Return on Investment) for advertisers. 

Adwords (google)

A set of rules or operations that determine the solution to a problem. In the Internet realm, algorithms are heavily relied on by search engines to determine the relevancy and listing order of paid advertising and organic or natural listings. The algorithm is a closely guarded secret and few know the majority of the rules, but many SEO and SEM experts are familiar with the overarching themes that determine better placements on the Search Engine Results Page (SERP).


The average ad position refers to the average position on the search engine results page (SERP) where ads show. An ad rank of 1 means that on average, all ad impressions showed in the 1st position, every time. This is rare; most high quality accounts average a position between 1.2 and 2.0 meaning that across all impressions, an ad showed between the 1st and 2nd position overall. A higher ad rank leads to a higher likelihood the ad will be clicked, as psychology suggests users are more inclined to click the 1st listing they see on the search engine results page.

average ad position

A PPC account metric that averages the costs of clicks by the number of clicks to provide a mean or average. This metric helps advertisers understand at varying levels how much is being spent, on average, per click. The avg. cpc can be reviewed at the campaign, ad group, keyword or other levels for a quick review of account performance from a budgetary perspective.

average cost per click (avg. cpc)

continue learning ppc search engine marketing terms

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