At Silverbean we’ve got plenty of experience with PPC, so we know that the Pay-Per-Click world is full of jargon. Even the name itself is referred to as an acronym, ‘PPC’. Let’s face it, jargon makes things confusing at the best of times and if you can’t explain something in simple terms, you frankly don’t understand it well enough. With so many metrics at a campaign manager’s disposal, and the continuous addition of new features by Google, it can be difficult to keep up with it all, let alone understand the terminology.

Just to confuse matters even further, many of the terms are then abbreviated, leading to some very similar terms and some very confusing acronyms.

Because we’re a thoughtful, caring bunch here at Silverbean, we figured we’d help guide you through the vast acronym minefield and make PPC jargon easy to comprehend. You’re so welcome.

Our jargon buster aims to explain the most commonly used terms that you’ll hear coming from campaign manager, and by the end you’ll know all your CPAs from your CPCs!

Ad Extension
A set of options to provide additional information alongside the standard ad text, such as phone numbers and locations. They are shown at Google’s discretion when they are relevant to the search intent.

Ad Rank
Refers to the order in which ads appear on Google search pages, with 1 being displayed at the top and descending down the page in order. This is calculated for every search based on bid and quality score of the keyword (= Quality score x CPC).

App Extension
A type of ad extension to promote and prompt a mobile app download from the iOS or Android stores.

Call Extension – The option to display a phone number alongside a featured ad, which is ‘click to call’ on mobile devices. (It’s also worth mentioning that a Google forwarding number can be used to track call volumes and duration)

Call-out Extension
Calls out your key selling points, they are similar to site-links but call-out extensions are not clickable links.

The number of people who click your advert to visit your site.

Click Assisted Conversions
When a user clicks an ad but does not convert, then later returns via a different ad to complete the goal. (Useful to highlight the additional value of things such as generic campaigns, where a user would be expected to be in the research phase of the purchase and unlikely to make a direct conversion)

This is the number of times a predefined goal, such as a purchase or submitting an enquiry form, is completed. This is user defined and can be tracked by either a code implemented into the site or imported from Google Analytics. (Conversion is a key metric to benchmark performance in most accounts!)

Conversion Rate
The percentage of clicks which complete a conversion goal (= Conversions/clicks).

Converted Clicks
The same as conversions, but only a single number can be assigned to each click. Useful for a website where a single user may achieve multiple goals in a single visit, such as completing a contact form, requesting a brochure & signing up for the newsletter.

CPA (Cost Per Acquisition)
The average cost of acquiring a single conversion (= cost/conversions).

CPC (Cost Per Click)
The average cost per click for the selected campaign, ad-group or keyword (= cost/clicks).

CPE (Cost Per Engagement)
The average cost per user engagement (= cost/engagements).

CPM (Cost Per Thousand)
The cost per 1000 impressions. (Fact: The M is commonly mistaken as million but the ‘M’ is a roman numeral)

CTR (Click Through Rate)
The percentage of clicks, against the total number of impressions. This is used to benchmark how strong varying ad copy is and it can vary wildly depending on the keyword and targeted networks.

The number of users who engaged with a rich media ad, such as expanding a lightbox ad or playing a video. (It’s worth noting that this will also incur the click cost for these types of ad formats)

Engagement Rate
Refers to the percentage of people who engaged with a rich media ad (= engagements/impressions).

Google Display Network/GDN/Or just “Display Network”
A type of ad placement on a third party website in which the owner has an agreement with Google to show ads. Targeting criteria can be by content, site category or remarketing. Media ads such as image & video are also supported.

The number of times an ad is shown to users, regardless of if they engage by clicking or not.

Impression Assisted Conversions
Assigned when an advert is shown and not clicked but the user completes a conversion from clicking a different ad instead.

Impression Share
The percentage of time that ads are shown, against the total eligible impressions. Share can be lost to either budget restrictions or Ad Rank being too low.

Total number of people who interacted with an advert (= engagements + clicks).

Invalid Click
Any clicks that Google consider to be illegitimate, such as automated tools or attempts to increase an advertisers costs.

Lightbox Ad
A dynamic ad format which can create interactive ads from video, images and product feeds. It allows for quick creation of professional looking display ads when suitable media is available and appropriate.

Location Extension
A type of ad extension that shows a local geographical location with the advert.

Quality Score
A mark out of 10 assigned to each keyword to calculate relevance, used to ensure high quality advertisers are rewarded while deterring poor quality ads and spam (Google does not disclose the exact calculation, but we do know that it does rely on ad copy, landing page experience and expected CTR).

Remarketing List
A set of site users who meet a specific criteria, for example, viewing a specific page. A remarketing list can be created in Adwords or Analytics and used to adjust bids or solely target these users.

Review Extensions
A type of ad extension, quote a third party review of your product or website.

ROAS (Return on Ad Spend)
The return generated from the advertising spend, not taking into account stock or overhead costs. It is used to calculate the return on advertising costs when margins are not known (= revenue/cost).

Search Network
The main type of placement for most advertisers. It is keyword based, which only shown when a user searches specifically for your keyword, generally offering better performance, but it does only support text ads.

Search Partner
A search based placement which Google has partnered with. Some popular examples are Amazon, Netscape & AOL.

A type of ad extension that displays additional relevant links to a user’s, which may have their own description lines in some cases.

Structured Snippets
A type of ad extension that gives further information on an advertiser.

View Through Conversions 
A conversion that happens as a result of the user being shown a display advert.

We hope the information in this PPC jargon buster has helped demystify some of the waffle and confusing acronyms that are commonplace in the world of paid marketing, and helps you understand what we at Silverbean are always talking about. If not, get in touch with us and we’ll be more than happy to help with all of your PPC woes and jargon headaches. Also, as always, we’d love to hear from you over on our Twitter @silverbean. Join our conversation!