Comparing two different approaches to advertising, usually with PPC ads. This might mean using different copy in your search ads, or trying different landing pages.
Also referred to as split testing
A form of advertising fraud where publishers inflate the clicks on ads hosted on their websites or apps. This is often done by using fake traffic, such as bots, and is estimated to cost the global digital marketing industry upwards of $40 billion each year. Ad fraud has become quite complex and is usually conducted by criminal networks of developers.
Read more: What is ad fraud?
An online platform that acts as an intermediary between advertisers and publishers. Advertisers pay to place their ads, publishers get paid to display these ads. Examples of advertising networks include Google Ads, Meta for Business, Taboola/Outbrain and AdRoll.
Where you ad appears. For example, on the Google Display Network or Facebook Audience Network, your ad placement might be on a specific website or app. This is usually an automated action by the ad network who will aim to get the best results for the advertiser.
An ad fraud method of stacking multiple ads on top of one another within a website iframe. When the top ad receives a click, the publisher collects a payout from multiple ads in the stack, even though they are not visible to a site visitor.
Read more: What is ad stacking?
Google’s platform for publishers. Google Adsense allows website owners to register their site to host banner ads, pop up ads and other forms of display advertising from advertisers.
The old word for Google Ads, although some marketers still refer to Google Adwords. Google Ads is the biggest digital advertising platform in the world, giving you the ability to advertise on Google’s search results pages, display ads on the Display Network, YouTube, apps and more.
A simplified version of Google Ads, Adwords Express has been superseded by Google Smart Campaigns.
Read more: Adwords express and Smart Campaigns
1. Referring to the practice of analyzing data related to digital marketing. This is often reviewing the results of a specific campaign and how the traffic and cost have had an impact. The analytical data is then used to improve existing and forthcoming campaigns.
2. Google Analytics is the free web service which allows website users to track and monitor visitors to their site. It can be used for both paid campaigns (PPC) and organic/direct traffic.
Application planning interface (API). This is a method of connecting data from one source for use by another source.
A type of click farm used specifically to inflate the amount of app installs on an app marketplace. Apps with high downloads can appear in organic recommended lists, so increasing your downloads can lead to more organic installs.
Read more: What are Click farms?
Facebook Audience Network is Meta’s platform for advertising on partner apps and websites. This allows advertisers to create banner ads and interstitial ads on apps that have partnered with Meta for Business to monetise their apps.
Business to business marketing. This means that the target market tends to be businesses or business users. Professional services, business supplies and corporate training are examples of B2B businesses.
Business to customer. This means that the target audience is retail. Clothing, consumer electronics, hospitality and food are usually examples of B2C businesses.
A website display banner, or banner ad, is a form of visual advertising hosted on websites and in apps. As a form of PPC advertising, banner ads are a popular and affordable form of promoting a business online.
See also Display Advertising and Google Display Network.
In PPC advertising, a bid is the amount an advertiser is willing to pay per click. This is usually an automated action, as the advertiser will have set their maximum cost per click. However, platforms such as Google can adjust bids automatically to give advertisers the best chance of improving their ad placement.
The world’s second biggest search engine (behind Google). Bing Ads is operated by Microsoft Advertising and is also used to supply search results on other search engines such as Yahoo!, AOL, Ecosia and DuckDuckGo.
Similar to Google Ads, Microsoft Ads allows users to run paid search and display ad campaigns.
Read more about Bing Ads here.
An automated script which performs actions online. These can be used to perform useful tasks (good bots) such as collecting search data, or they can be used for malicious purposes (bad bots) such as click fraud and spam.
Read more: Bot traffic guide
A network of bots. A botnet, or bot net, is usually a number of devices which are remotely linked over the internet. These devices are usually unrelated and can contain the virus containing the bot undetected. A botnet is usually used to conduct malicious activities online, such as DDoS attacks, hacking, crypto mining and ad fraud.
Read more: All about ad fraud botnets
Blocking and preventing bad bots from doing anything bad or malicious on your website. By zapping bots, you can prevent all kinds of activity from spambots, denial of service attacks, credit card fraud or click fraud and ad fraud.
A bounce is a single page view by a website visitor. The bounce rate indicates what percentage of a site’s visitors leave after a single page visit.
The qualities that define a brand and identify the company mission and goals. There are five brand pillars: purpose, perception, personality, position and perception.
Read more: What are brand pillars?
Clearly defined but generalized customer personalities used for marketing purposes. Identifying customers by their behaviors and interests helps businesses to build content and targeted advertising to appeal to these personas.
Read more: What are buyer personas?
A clear instruction, usually in the form of a button or clickable link, designed to entice the website visitor to click. Examples of popular CTA’s might include: ‘Click here’, ‘Sign up now’, ‘Get yours here’.
Read more about: Power words and call to action.
Sophisticated form of bot used to carry out credit card fraud. Carding bots can be used to process multiple credit card transactions in a short period of time, often using stolen card details. These can result in penalties and chargebacks for the business affected.
Read more: Carding bots
A volume of lost customers over a period of time. This is usually defined by canceled subscriptions or customers who have moved to a competitor.
Any engagement where a link is engaged with is referred to as a click. This might also refer to taps or touches on mobile devices.
A service that offers clicks in bulk for hire. Previously, a click farm has been defined as a location where devices are linked together and operated to click on social media or website links. However, click farms can also be operated as remote botnets as well as physical locations staffed by human workers clicking links.
Read more: What are click farms?
The act of clicking on paid links such as PPC ads without the intention or ability to convert to a genuine customer. Click fraud refers to the general practice of non-genuine clicks on paid ads from various sources. This can include business competitors paying for fake clicks on a competitor’s search results, or an app that generates fake impressions on a banner ad.
Read more: Our complete click fraud guide.
The act of falsely replacing a genuine click with a fake click. Also known as click hijacking, or clickjacking, click injection is usually used by fraudulent apps or devices to falsely claim the credit for an app install or download.
Read more: Click injection
A form of click falsification used on mobile devices. For each genuine click or screen touch, a number of fake clicks are generated on ads within the app which may be visible or invisible. This form of ad fraud means that a fraudulent app developer can greatly inflate their earnings from their software. In some cases, the ads being clicked are invisible to the human eye.
Read more: Click spam
The percentage of ad viewers who click the ad to visit the customers website or to read more. CTR is a common metric used in PPC advertising.
A method of fraud used in affiliate marketing. Affiliate websites will attempt to add extra cookies to a visitors browser to increase the chances of an (unearned) payout.
Any form of creative substance such as the written word, imagery, video or audio/podcast. Content is often created by business owners to generate interest and brand recognition for their service.
In hacking, command and control is the controller of a botnet or other hacking tool. Ad fraud operators will activate an existing botnet to use in their campaign by using a command and control center.
Any direct business rival is a competitor.
A form of affiliate marketing fraud, where a website adds cookies from other sites to a visitors browser, in order to collect commission. This misattribution method is a popular way for fraudulent affiliate marketers to inflate their payout.
The cost of an individual click on a paid search term or display ad.
Read more: Lowe your cost per click guide
The amount of money a company has paid to accumulate a single lead. This is usually worked out by dividing the total cost of a lead generating campaign by the amount of new leads accumulated.
Read more: How to manage CPL
The amount of money paid by a company to win a single new customer. This is usually worked out by dividing the cost of a campaign by the number of confirmed new customers.
Read more: How to manage CPA
Also known as cost per thousand views, CPM is a common bidding format for display and video advertising.
Read more: How to manage CPM
The cost paid for a single individual view on a display or video ad.
The average amount of revenue generated by a single customer over a specific time period.
Read more: What is CLV
A location containing computer servers, usually used by large software companies. These data centers can act as storage for the information used by websites from around the world.
Any form of marketing that uses online channels, such as social media, paid search, display ads, games consoles or other digital channels.
Any form of advertising which incorporates visual components such as banner ads, video ads, gaming or other non-text based elements.
A form of cyber attack carried out by using heavy web traffic to overload a server or website. By using up all the website bandwidth with spam traffic, the site can be taken offline or compromised by hackers. DDoS attacks usually use organized botnets to overwhelm their targets and have been known to affect websites of all sizes.
A link from one website to another, marked as ‘do follow’ for search indexing. Search engines will take a do-follow link as a signal of relevancy for indexing search results.
The process of creating a fraudulent domain using a genuine URL. This is usually done by using an existing web domain, for example: businessinsider.com, but then adding a nonsensical tail, for example /123xyc. So the address businessinsider.com/123xyc does not exist, but can be used by ad fraudsters to generate seemingly genuine ad impressions on a spoofed site.
Read more: What is spoofing
Usually a downloadable text document such as a PDF. A popular form of lead generation, ebooks are often given away for free in exchange for contact details such as email addresses.
Any online platform used for selling a product or service. This can be a retail product (i.e; clothing or consumer electronics) or a business service (software or business support), so long as the customer can checkout on the website.
A measurement of interaction on social media posts, looking at views/impressions, clicks, likes, shares and other metrics depending on the platform.
Optional plug-ins for Google Ads. Extensions can be used to add extra information to your Google Ad search listing such as: reviews/ratings, contact details and product categories.
Read more: How to use extensions
The largest social media ad network, incorporating Facebook, Instagram and Facebook Messenger advertising. Since 2021, Facebook is now owned by parent company Meta, with Facebook Ads managed under the Meta for Business heading.
Read more: Facebook ads statistics
Any form of website traffic that is not from genuine human interaction. Fake traffic can include bots, but can also include users of paid to click (PTC) websites, who are paid a small sum to click on ad.
Read more: All about fake traffic
1. In social media, a feed is the information from your network presented on your wall or timeline. Most often this is comments and new posts from your network connections, but can also include advertising.
2. In data, a feed is information from an external source. This can be connected to a website, for example to display news updates, or collected as data for analysis later on.
The percentage of fraud affecting your business, sometimes factored in by businesses as a way to analyze their ad spend. With regards to digital marketing, you might account for a fraud rate of 10% across your ad spend.
A protective layer designed to avoid common forms of digital fraud. Using modern smart technology, a fraud shield can spot and block fraud bots, for example credit card/carding bots or ransomware bots.
Read more: What is a fraud shield?
Different stages of the sales process are referred to as the funnel. These stages refer to the customer journey as they aim to solve a pain point, with marketers targeting specific stages with marketing material. Top of funnel (ToFu) refers to the initial awareness of the problem, Middle of funnel (MoFu) refers to the research and comparison stage, Bottom of funnel (BoFu) refers to conversion of sales stage.
Marketers often refer to ‘keeping people in the funnel’ which means keeping them as a long term customer by providing top quality after sales service and support and targeted remarketing.
Google’s click identifier. A unique string of code which is inserted into Google Ads as a way to identify where the click came from, who clicked it and another of other analytical data points.
Read more: All about GCLID
General data protection regulation. A law used by European Union countries to regulate the handling of customer data both digitally and physically.
Relating to targeting a specific geographic area with paid ads. This can include by country, state, city or even specific areas.
The world’s biggest pay per click ad platform operated by Google. Advertisers can sign up for Google Ads to run ad campaigns on Google search results, the display network (GDN), YouTube, Gmail and Google Shopping. Google Ads is the ad platform with the biggest global reach. If people refer to PPC ads, they are usually referring to Google Ads.
Read more: Google Ads for small business
Google’s network of publishers, used to host banner ads, video ads and other advertising media. There are over 2 million websites in the Google Display Network (GDN), including most of the world’s most visited sites such as Forbes, the Guardian and Buzzfeed.Marketers often simply refer to ‘the display network’ or GDN when referring to Google Display Network.
Read more: The Google Display Network
A method of highlighting a search term on social media, especially on Twitter and Instagram. Using a hashtag # makes it easier for users to find your content, and to rank for certain terms.
Companies can also create a branded or custom hashtag for their own campaigns, with the aim of generating activity around their own search terms.
The amount of visits to a website or a link. Hits can also refer to the amount of clicks on an ad campaigns links, or views on videos such as YouTube.
The amount of times an ad, banner or video is loaded within a viewable space. This does not indicate any form of engagement, but some forms of advertising such as CPM charge for impressions.
Any click on a paid link that comes from a non-genuine source, such as bots, web crawlers/spiders or poor ad placement. Invalid clicks is a term usually used by the ad platforms such as Google and Facebook which also includes click fraud and ad fraud.
Read more: Our guide to invalid clicks
Any traffic source that is either non-human or non-genuine. This may include click farms, botnets, web scrapers or traffic from outside your targeted areas.
Read more: Invalid traffic guide
An internet protocol. This is a unique address on a network, which identifies the location of the device.
Using fake or harvested IP addresses to hide a device’s true location or source. This process is often used for online fraud, including carding and ad fraud.
Read more: IP address spoofing
Metrics used to measure the results of a project. Within digital advertising, typical KPIs may include new customer signups, cost per lead and return on investment (ROI).
The words and phrases which identify a search query online. Keywords are the main focus for both search engine optimization (SEO) and pay per click (PPC) advertising. By targeting keywords, you are aiming to make your site rank for a search term containing these search terms.
Read more: Keyword research
A web page designed specifically for optimizing an action online. Landing pages are usually used to highlight a specific service or product, and are often the first page that a visitor from a PPC ad campaign will visit. Using landing pages allows marketers to track the effectiveness of specific campaigns.
A potential customer who has expressed an interest in your business, but has not yet converted. Leads for businesses often come in the form of email addresses or other contact details.
Any online resource created as a means to attract leads. This usually means that a free download is offered in exchange for email addresses, or customers sign up for a newsletter.
The value of a customer to a business over the length of time that they are a paying customer. For some businesses, such as a car company, this may be for the length of time that a customer owns a particular vehicle. For a company such as Amazon, the Customer Lifetime Value (CLV) of individual customers is possibly their entire lifespan.
Read more: Lifetime value
A search term of more than 3 words. Typically a long tail keyword is a more in-depth query. For example, instead of ‘shoes’, a long tail keyword might be ‘school shoes for 5 year olds’ or ‘womens shoes for a wedding’.
Read more: How to use long tail keywords
Software containing malicious or virus elements. Often found on mobile devices but can also affect any digital device containing software. A portmanteau of ‘malicious’ and ‘software’, malware usually performs actions without the device’s users knowledge.
Read more: Our guide to malware apps
A lead who has expressed an interest in a product or service, and is more likely to convert to a paying customer. An MQL might have signed up for a free trial or expressed an interest in finding out more through either an online or physical form.
Google Ads uses different match types to display ads depending on the search terms. Currently Google uses phrase match, exact match and negative keywords.
Phrase match uses broad search terms – for example if you are aiming to rank for ‘headphones’ you might also rank for ‘studio headphones’ or ‘best value headphones’. So long as the search term includes the keyword.
Exact match will only display your ad in the event of the exact search term being entered.
Read more about match types
The platform which allows users to advertise on Bing Ads and other search engines such as Ecosia, DuckDuckGo and Yahoo! As the second biggest search engine platform, Microsoft Ads has a number of benefits including a high rate of use in the US. However it still falls far behind Google Ads in terms of potential audience reach.
Read more about Bing Ads vs Google Ads
A marketing technique which focuses on targeting users on their smartphones. This may include using Google Maps, augmented reality, apps and other mobile first technology.
Advertising content designed to look as if it is a natural part of the host website. By blending into the website, the theory is that the site visitor is more likely to engage. Native ads are found on both publisher sites and within social media.
Any search term that the advertiser does not want to trigger a keyword bid for. By adding negative keywords, the advertiser can bid on popular search terms but eliminate those with low buyer intent or high CPC.
Read more: Negative keywords and match types
An external link to another website marked as ‘no follow’ for search engine crawlers. This means that the search engines will not use this backlink as a ranking factor.
Referring to SEO (search engine optimization). Off-page SEO refers to technical aspects of SEO, such as site speed, and also other factors such as backlinks, anchor text and social media sharing.
Referring to SEO (search engine optimization). On-page SEO is the practice of creating high quality content optimized for search engines or conversions.
Any practice of improving the performance of a marketing campaign. This can be with both search engine optimization (SEO) and pay per click (PPC) optimization.
A form of mobile misattribution fraud where a malware app will attempt to claim the credit for an organic install. Similar to clickjacking, the app will generate fake clicks at the point of install (on a genuine app install) in an attempt to to claim credit/payment for a referral.
Any ad campaign that focuses on paid search engine rankings. Usually refers to Google Ads search campaigns, but can also refer to Bing Ads.
A Google tool which analyzes site and specific web page performance. Page Speed Insights is a free tool which offers some useful data and advice to improve various aspects of a website.
Any page load or impression of a website. Page views don’t always mean that a human visitor loaded the page as automated traffic such as bots and spiders can trigger a page load.
A marketing technique where the advertiser pays for each individual click on their link. Although this usually refers to search marketing, PPC is also used on social media ads (such as Facebook) and other real time bidding platforms.
Similar to pay per click, but the advertiser only pays if a visitor uses the option to call from an ad. Pay per call is a mobile focused strategy which can be used on Google Maps and paid search results.
A popular ad fraud method of inserting display ads or video ads into unviewable frames, often 1×1 pixel. Due to the size of the ad, multiple ads can be stuffed into one small area, hence the term pixel stuffing. The fraudulent party collects a payout on multiple ad impressions even though they could never be seen by a human visitor.
A Google Ads feature that allows you to analyze and place your display ad on specific sites within the Google Display Network, or YouTube.
Also referred to as Google Placement Tool.
Enhanced shopping listed ads which are usually seen on Google Shopping, or in the search results. These ads are usually PPC, so the advertiser pays if someone clicks to find out more about the product.
On Facebook and Instagram, there is a similar feature called Dynamic Product Ads.
The automatic buying and selling of advertising, and ad space, specifically on the internet. Programmatic advertising encompasses all the areas of PPC and online ads, such as keyword bidding, ad placement and even targeting and optimization.
Website owners offering advertising space are referred to as publishers. These are usually content focused websites, such as online magazines. Some of the world’s biggest publishers include Forbes, Business Insider, About.com, CNN, The Mail Online, The Guardian and Wired.
Some commercial businesses do also offer ad real estate on their sites.
Google applies a score to your ad campaigns based on relevant and effective they are. The quality score can affect where you ad places in the rankings, and even how much you pay per click vs your competitors.
A potential customer who has already expressed a clear interest in your service. Typical ways to qualify leads include customers who have signed up for free trials or who have used one of your other services.
The buying and selling of ads in real time. The ad platforms that host RTB will also have a strong portfolio of publisher partners. Ad platforms such as Google Ads, Outbrain, Rubicon Project and OpenX are just a few examples of RTB platforms.
The website address or location which sent traffic to the page in question. Used to verify the source of a lead or website traffic for both affiliate marketing and PPC ads.
Targeting advertisers based on their previous online behavior. A popular method of online advertising, remarketing can be used to target a company’s previous customers, or those of a competitor.
Similar to remarketing, retargeting usually targets site visitors who have shown an interest but not yet converted.
The increase in revenue as a result of advertising spend.
How much has been earned as a result of investing in an asset or service. For example, spending on a research tool might improve marketing effectiveness and boost revenue, giving it a good return on investment.
A bot used to buy products at a specific price with the goal of reselling them at a profit. Scalping bots are often used to bulk buy event tickets as soon as they launch, or new products on launch day. Activity from scalping bots can stretch a websites bandwidth as well as making products unavailable to genuine customers.
A bot used for collecting data and information. Scraper bots might collect pricing or contact information, or steal your website content to paste somewhere else for black hat SEO purposes.
The most effective way to search the internet for your specific search query. Google is the biggest search engine. Other examples include Bing, Yahoo!, Yandex and Baidu.
Usually refers to the skills required to successfully manage paid search campaigns. Also includes display and other Google Ads related products, but can also incorporate elements of organic search (SEO) and social media marketing.
Search engine marketers will understand how to research keywords, build PPC campaigns, develop landing pages, analyze the data from ad campaigns and optimize and improve ad performance.
The strategy of building and maintaining a strong organic search presence, especially on Google. SEO practitioners will focus mainly on a content strategy designed to improve search results, usually aiming for page one of Google.
The front page of Google. The SERPs is where you query is displayed after you’ve searched on Google. When people refer to the SERPs, they may be referring to either the paid or organic search results.
Any query entered and searched on Google or any other search engine. These queries are often logged as keywords.
Also known as Search Query Report (SQR). A reporting system within Google Ads which summarizes how your ads performed in relation to specific search terms.
A form of cyber attack and black hat marketing practice, where bots are used to insert links into an existing website using covert and damaging methods. Can have a detrimental effect on a website’s organic search ranking.
Any small business under 250 employees. This can include freelancers operating as a company, early stage startups and local retail.
Digital platforms enabling users to create profiles to connect with a network of people online. Once connected, users can then share information such as text, images, videos, direc and messages with people in their network.
Social media platforms usually monetise their audiences with advertising, usually in the form of native content within the feed.
The practice of using social media for marketing purposes. Specialist social media marketers usually focus on one or two platforms and how to build brand results using paid and organic methods.
Usually a software product that is delivered via cloud software online, and paid for with a recurring subscription, most often monthly or annually. SaaS products can be anything from tools or resources to games.
A bot that carries out a recurring and automated action. Most commonly for spam bots this is usually leaving comments on websites or social media pages. However spam bots can also perform SEO spam and can also be used for DDoS attacks.
A term for search engine crawlers. Spider bots are used to crawl the web for information to deliver search results. They can also be used by data analysis tools.
Using two different versions of the same content to test which is most effective. Also known as A/B testing, split testing can be done on PPC ad campaigns and landing pages.
Creating a copied or fake version of digital content as a means of scamming or creating a hoax. Spoofed websites are often used to carry out ad fraud, and spoofed social media profiles are often used to carry out scams and social engineering.
The publisher side of an advertising platform. Website owners supply their web real estate so that advertisers (demand side) can buy advertising space.
Ad targeting uses available data to allow advertisers to better focus their campaigns. For example, on Google Ads, advertisers can specify their targeting to specific geographic areas, demographics and interests.
Online activity, especially visits to websites, is referred to as traffic. Around 40% of all internet traffic has been found to be non-human, including bots and web scrapers.
Collecting data, monitoring activity and using tools to verify results all falls under the term ‘tracking’. For example, ClickCease tracks all site visits from your paid search and display campaigns to ensure it is genuine.
A fraudulent method of presenting a device as something different by modifying the user agent string. The user agent data includes details such as operating system, browser name and system version. By changing these details, fraudulent devices can use UA spoofing to avoid certain filters and targeting parameters.
A snippet of code added to the end of a URL to identify the traffic source. Each click on a Google Ads link contains a UTM which helps the platform to identify elements such as which keywords triggered the search result, where the click came from and what devices were used.
How much of your ad is presented to trigger an impression. The IAB defines viewability as at least 50% of the pixels in the ad are viewed.
Software which is used to hide or relocate the device location. Often used for privacy online, a VPN can also be used by fraudsters to hide their activity or to enable multiple fraud visits from one device or location.
A bot used by software services to collect data and information. Google uses web crawlers to better present their search results.
Also referred to as spider bots or search engine spiders.
Extensible markup language (XML) is a form of text based code used for transferring complex information between sources online. Often used with spreadsheets, forms, data sheets and invoices.
The specialism of creating effective advertising using YouTube. Although the focus is often in video ads, YouTube marketing can also incorporate text and display ads on the platform too.
1. A bot partially controlled by a human. The bot might carry out a number of automated tasks, but then a human may take over at a certain point to fine tune the task. This might be to complete captchas, enter additional information or perform another manual action.
2. Zombie can also refer to a botnet network controlled by a human. These devices can be activated on demand and used for a variety of cyber attacks.
As you can see from our click fraud glossary, there are a lot of terms related to both marketing and the related fraud. Check out more in-depth guides about click fraud, ad fraud, PPC marketing and more on the ClickCease blog.