Special words & expressions used in our profession.
The testing of two different landing pages (landing page A and landing page B) to determine which converts better. Changes are usually anything from different content and text to different buttons.
An advertising campaign with a PPC network that contains advertisements that share the same theme or goal. For example, a set of advertisements that focus on driving traffic to a landing page.
A setting in various PPC networks which determines how fast or slow ads are shown to users. The default setting in Google Ads is standard, which optimizes the budget by spending it throughout the day at a constant rate.
Google Ads features that show extra business information on an ad, such as their address, phone number, shop rating or webpage links. These additional pieces of information helps increase the ad’s clickthrough rate.
Found in ad campaigns, ad groups are used to keep campaigns organized and contain a set of related keywords. Each ad campaign contains at least one ad group but can have multiple.
A metric that tells advertisers the position in which an ad appears on a page in relation to other ads, with position one being the highest possible.
Not to be confused with Ad Position, Ad Rank is a value that’s used to determine in what position an ad will show based on the bid amount and quality score metrics.
A keyword status that measures how closely related a keyword is to an ad. The three statuses are below average, average, and above average. Having average or above-average means there are no major problems with ad relevance.
A setting in many PPC networks which allows advertisers to run ads during specific times and days of the week. This setting allows advertisers to increase or decrease bids for specific days and times.
Google’s publishing network which allows third parties to publish advertisements on their website in exchange for ad revenue. Ads can be run on these websites using a display network campaign.
The original name for Google’s pay per click advertising network. As of July 24th 2018, Google rebranded its network to Google Ads. The names are still used interchangeably today.
An application programming interface (API) used by developers to create third-party applications for Google Ads. The AdWords API will be replaced with the new Google Ads API in the future.
Now known as the Google Ads Editor, this downloadable application allows advertisers to manage their Google Ads campaigns offline and offers many bulk editing features and options.
A simple Google Ads interface aimed at new advertisers with zero PPC experience. The heavy use of automation and AI means this type of campaign is much faster to set up.
Also called the target audience, these are the people advertisers target with their ads. There are many audience targeting options including demographics, interests, remarketing, life events and similar audiences.
A feature that automatically adds a tracking parameter called the GCLID to Google ads URLs in order to help report on ad performance within Google Analytics.
A feature found in many PPC networks that allows the network to automatically adjust bidding on keywords in order to meet certain performance goals e.g. increase traffic, conversions, visibility.
A feature found in many PPC networks that allows the network to automatically select the platform and position of an ad to meet certain performance goals e.g. increase traffic, conversions, visibility.
An acronym for business to business which is often used in the digital marketing space when describing businesses who primarily sell to other businesses.
An acronym for business to consumer which is often used in the digital marketing space when describing businesses that primarily sell to individuals.
How much an advertiser is willing to pay for a click on their ad. Many PPC networks offer different bidding strategies such as a focus on clicks, impressions, conversions or views.
Advertisers can get the most out of their advertising budget by optimizing their bids through ad scheduling, bid adjustments and keyword grouping.
Similar to bid management, bid optimization involves getting the most clicks for the lowest cost. This can involve bid adjustment, landing page optimization, and ad scheduling to lower the cost per click.
On most PPC networks, there are different bidding types advertisers can use depending on their goals. The most common bidding types are a focus on clicks, impressions or conversions.
A bounce is when a user only sees one page before leaving. Often measured as the bounce rate, a high bounce rate can mean a landing page has problems with ad relevance, speed, or call to action.
A keyword match type that will trigger an ad whenever someone searches for the phrase, similar phrase, close variation, or other relevant variations. The broad match type is displayed with a + in front of the keyword.
An ad extension that lets advertisers add phone numbers which can significantly increase clickthrough rates. Call extensions are tap to call on mobile, which greatly increases engagement.
Call Only Campaign
A type of ad campaign that only shows on mobile and allows users to call the business by tapping the ad. Unlike call extensions on search ads, call-only campaigns have no landing page and are only on mobile devices.
Callouts are additional information that help promote unique offers on text ads with two to six showing per ad. These are usually used to emphasize offers such as free shipping and 24/7 support.
A conversion can be viewed as a goal completion depending on the pay per click strategy. Sometimes a conversion is a sale, sometimes it’s an account registration, depending on the strategy’s goal.
The total number of conversions per ad interactions displayed as a percentage. Conversion rates are calculated by taking the number of conversions and dividing by the number of ad interactions.
CPA (Cost Per Action)
Sometimes called cost per acquisition, cost per action is the amount an advertiser is charged per conversion. It is calculated by dividing the total cost of conversions by the total number of conversions.
CPC (Cost Per Click)
Cost per click is the amount an advertiser pays for every click on their advert. Commonly found on PPC networks such as Google Ads and Facebook Ads.
CPL (Cost Per Lead)
The same as CPA (cost per action). The term cost per lead is used when a PPC campaign is focusing on registrations or email sign-ups as conversion goals.
CPM (Cost Per Mile)
A metric that measures ads per 1,000 impressions. Often used as a bidding strategy on ad networks that allow users to pay per thousand impressions instead of for every click.
CPV (Cost Per View)
How much an advertiser pays for a view of their ad. Often used for video ads on YouTube with a view being anyone who watches 30 seconds of the video or the entire ad.
CTR (Clickthrough Rate)
A percentage showing how often users click an ad. A higher clickthrough rate is better as it shows an ad is getting more clicks based on the same number of impressions.
Customer Lifetime Value
A monetary metric that shows how much a conversion is worth to a business. Knowing this metric allows advertisers to set CPA and CPL targets to ensure PPC campaigns profitable.
A feature found in various ad networks which allows advertisers to set the maximum amount of money they are willing to spend per day for a given ad or campaign.
The URL address of the webpage that people will land on when they click an ad. The domain of the destination URL needs to match the domain of the display URL.
A type of advertising campaign in Google Ads that displays banner ads on the Google display network. This type of ad campaign uses Google vast third party publisher network.
Also called the Google Display Network, this network contains millions of third party publisher websites which advertisers can run their ads on. These publishers receive a commission for every click on their ads.
The URL that appears on the ad that users see. This will be the same domain as the destination URL but will point to a specific landing page URL instead.
Dynamic Keyword Insertion
A Google Ads feature that dynamically updates the text in an ad to include a keyword that matches a user’s search term. This helps make the ad more relevant without having to manually create ads.
One of the many match types that will trigger ads when the exact keyword or a close variation of the keyword is used. Exact match keywords are displayed in square brackets [ ].
The URL address of the webpage that users will be redirected to when they click an ad. The final URL must always match the URL shown on the ad.
A feature that limits the number of times an advertiser’s ad is shown to the same person. Often used with display and video ads on the Google Ads network.
Many PPC networks allow advertisers to target specific locations and countries for their ads. Also known as location targeting, this allows advertisers to maximize their ad spend.
A free analytics suite provided by Google which is commonly used for data analysis on both websites and PPC ads.
This metric tells advertisers how often their ad is shown. An impression is each time their ad is shown on a search results page or via the Google display network.
The percentage of impressions that an ad receives compared to the total number of impressions the ad could receive. This metric is a good way to understand if an advertiser should increase their bid or budget.
Keywords are the words and phrases that people are searching for and are used to trigger ads based on the different keyword match types used.
The ad’s destination URL on a website that users will reach when they click an ad. The aim of this page is to turn users into converting users via sign ups, purchases, or lead generation.
Landing Page Experience
Google’s measure of how well a landing page gives people what they are looking for. This experience measurement affects the ad’s cost per click and ad position.
A keyword phrase that includes numerous words, making it more specific and less competitive to target. For example “Red Nike mens running shoes”.
Low Search Volume
A warning status that is given to a keyword with little to no monthly searches. Google will make the keyword inactive so it won’t trigger ads until it has more search volume.
A targeting method advertisers can use to specifically target certain websites and videos on the Google Display Network. This is the opposite of the automatic placements targeting option.
A type of bidding method that allows advertisers to set their own maximum cost per click for their ads. This gives advertisers much more control over their ad spend and budget.
Keywords that advertisers don’t want triggering their ads. Common examples are words such as free, download, cheap, discount. These words have low buyer intent, so are excluded to maximize budgets.
PLA (Product Listing Ads)
Also known as Google Shopping Ads, Product Listing Ads are listings that appear on Google’s shopping network and allow advertisers to include images, prices and business name in their ad.
PPC (Pay Per Click)
An acronym for pay per click. Can often refer to various different pay per click networks including Bing Ads, Facebook Ads, Instagram Ads and LinkedIn Ads.
A type of ad extension which displays price options for products below the ad. Available on mobile and desktop they give advertisers more space to highlight products and services that they offer.
A metric found in Google Ads which gives advertisers a sense of the quality of their ads. Ranging from 1 to 10, the three factors that determine quality score are expected clickthrough rate, ad relevance and landing page experience.
A remarketing campaign helps advertisers target visitors who have already visited their website. Previous visitors will see ads when they visit websites that are part of the Google Display Network.
ROAS (Return On Ad Spend)
A metric that advertisers use to measure the performance of their ads. It is also a bidding option in Google Ads that adjusts bids depending on the conversion value.
ROI (Return On Investment)
A key performance indicator that measures how much profit has been made from advertising compared to how much has been spent on ads.
A group of search-related websites where ads from a search campaign can appear. On the Google network this includes maps, shopping, images, and any other search partner websites.
A query that a user types into a search engine. Depending on the campaign’s keyword match types, this will determine whether an ad is triggered or not.
Seller Ratings Extension
A type of ad extension that displays rating stars below an ad. Selling ratings help advertisers improve ad performance and receive more clicks.
SERP (Search Engine Report Page)
The page that users see after doing a search on a search engine such as Google or Bing. This is also the page where search ads will be displayed.
A type of advertising campaign that will be displayed on Google’s shopping section. Unlike search ads, shopping ads can contain images, prices and more.
When an advertiser tests different campaigns or ad variations to see how they perform over time. These can be setup using campaign experiments in Google Ads.
SQR (Search Query Report)
A report that highlights all the different search queries that triggered a specific ad. This is very helpful for advertisers to ensure their ads are triggering for the correct keywords and search queries.
The amount of searches a specific keyword gets per month in terms of monthly traffic. A search volume of 100 would indicate 100 people search for the specific term every single month.
Universal APP Campaigns
This type of campaign allows advertisers to target users in apps as well as YouTube and the Google Play store.
This is the ability of a website to be used by people with disabilities, including visually impaired visitors using screen readers, hearing impaired visitors using no sound, color blind people, or those with other disabilities. A website with low accessibility is basically going to be impossible for those with disabilities to use. Accessibility is particularly important for sites providing information to those with disabilities (healthcare sites, government sites, etc.), though it is an important aspect to consider when designing any site.
The text a link uses to refer to your site. This can make a big difference in your site’s search engine results.
The back end of a website is the part hidden from view of regular website visitors. The back end generally includes the information structure, applications, and the CMS controlling content on the site.
Backlinks are links from other sites back to your own. They’re sometimes also referred to as “trackbacks” (especially on blogs). Backlinks have a huge impact on your sites search rankings. Lots of backlinks from high-ranking sites can greatly improve your search engine results, especially if those links use keywords in their anchor text.
A “bad neighborhood” refers to the server where your site is hosted. A site hosted on a server that hosts other sites that spam or use black-hat SEO practices can end up penalized by search engines solely because of their proximity to those sites. In other words, be very careful about which web host you choose, what their terms of service are, and how strictly they enforce those terms if you want to avoid being penalized because of what your neighbors are doing. Linking to sites in bad neighborhoods can also have a negative effect on your search rankings.
Bandwidth can refer to two different things: the rate at which data can be transferred or the total amount of data allowed to be transferred from a web host during a given month (or other hosting service term) before overage charges are applied. It is generally referred to in term of bits-per-second (bps), kilobits per second (kbs), or other metric measurements. Lower bandwidth internet connections (such as dial-up) mean data loads slower than with high bandwidth connections (like cable or fiber).
Below The Fold
This term is a carry-over from newspaper publishing days. In newspaper terms, “below the fold” means content was on the bottom half of the page (below the physical fold in the paper). In web design terms, “below the fold” refers to the content that is generally going to be below the point first viewable to the average website visitor in their browser (in other words, viewers would have to scroll down to see the content).
Breadcrumbs are the bit of navigation elements that generally appear near the top of a give web page that show you the pages and subpages the appear before the page you’re on. For examples, on a blog, the breadcrumbs might look something like: Home > Category > Year > Month > Post (or they might be a lot simpler that that).
Browser refers to the program a website visitor is using to view the web site. Examples include Safari, Firefox, Google Chrome, Opera, and Internet Explorer.
Cached files are those that are saved or copied (downloaded) by a web browser so that the next time that user visits the site, the page loads faster.
CSS (Cascading Style Sheet)
Also referred to simply as CSS, Cascading Style Sheets are used to define the look and feel of a web site outside of the actual HTML file(s) of the site. In recent years, CSS has replaced tables and other HTML-based methods for formatting and laying out websites. The benefits to using CSS are many, but some of the most important are the simplification of a site’s HTML files (which can actually increase search engine rankings) and the ability to completely change the style of a site by changing just one file, without having to make changes to content.
Client-side refers to scripts that are run in a viewer’s browser, instead of on a web server (as in server-side scripts). Client-side scripts are generally faster to interact with, though they can take longer to load initially.
CMS (Content Management System)
Also known as a CMS, the Content Management System is a backend tool for managing a site’s content that separates said content from the design and functionality of the site. Using a CMS generally makes it easier to change the design or function of a site independent of the site’s content. It also (usually) makes it easier for content to be added to the site for people who aren’t designers.
A CSS framework is a collection of CSS files used as the starting point to make XHTML and CSS web sites quickly and painlessly. They usually contain CSS styles for typography and layout.
Deprecated code is code that is no longer included in the language specifications. Generally this happens because it is replaced with more accessible or efficient alternatives.
Stands for Domain Name Service (alternately Domain Name System or Domain Name Server). Basically, it’s the thing that converts IP addresses into domain names. DNS servers are provided with the IP address of your web server when you assign your domain name to those servers. In turn, when someone types your domain name into their web browser, those DNS servers translate the domain name to the IP address and point the browser to the correct web server.
The doctype declaration specifies which version of HTML is used in a document. It has a direct effect on whether your HTML will validate.
Stands for Document Object Model. It’s a language-independent, cross-platform convention for representing objects in XML, XHTML, and HTML documents. Rules for interacting with and programming the DOM are specified in the DOM API.
The domain is the name by which a website is identified. The domain is associated with an IP address. Domains can be purchased with any combination of letters, hyphens (-), and numbers (though it can’t start with a hyphen). Depending on the extension (.com, .net, .org, etc.), a domain can be anywhere up to 26 to 63 characters long.
Short for electronic commerce. It’s the buying and selling of goods online, through websites. Products sold through e-commerce can be physical products that require shipping, or digital products delivered electronically.
An elastic layout is one that uses percentages and ems for widths paired with a max-width style to allow the site layout to stretch when font sizes are changed. It’s ability to flex to accommodate the browser width and reader’s font preferences are where it gets its name.
In XML, an element is the central building block of any document. Individual elements can contain text, other elements, or both.
An embedded style is a CSS style written into the head of an XHTML document. It only effects the elements on that page, instead of site-wide as a separate CSS file does. Style in an embedded style sheet will override styles from the linked CSS file.
Extensible Markup Language
Otherwise known as XML. XML is a markup language used for writing custom markup languages. In other words, XML describes how to write new languages (it’s sometimes referred to as a “meta” language because of this). It also serves as a basic syntax that allows different kinds of computers and applications to share information without having to go through multiple conversion layers.
External Style Sheet
This is a CSS document that is written in a separate, external document. The biggest advantage to using an external style sheet is that it can be linked to by multiple HTML/XHTML files (which means changes made to the style sheet will effect all the pages linked to it without having to change each page individually).
Favicons are tiny (generally 16×16 pixels, though some are 32×32 pixels), customizable icons displayed in the web address bar in most browsers next to the web address. They’re either 8-bit or 24-bit in color depth and are saved in either .ico, .gif or .png file formats.
Fixed Width Layout
A fixed width layout has a set width (generally defined in pixels) set by the designer. The width stays the same regardless of screen resolution, monitor size, or browser window size. It allows for minute adjustments to be made to a design that will stay consistent across browsers. Designers have more control over exactly how a site will appear across platforms with this type of layout.
The focal point of a web site is the spot on a web page that they eye is naturally drawn to. This could be an image, a banner, text, Flash content, or just about anything else. You want to make sure that whatever is acting as your focal point is the most important part of your site.
The fold is a term carried over from newspaper design and pagination (where the fold referred to the physical fold in the paper). The fold in a website is the point on the webpage that rests at the bottom of someone’s browser (in other words, to see anything below the fold, they would have to scroll down). There are varying opinions on how important the fold is in web design.
Font family is a group designation for defining the typefaces used in CSS documents. The font family tag generally lists multiple fonts to be used, and usually ends with the generic font category (such as “serif” or “sans-serif’).
The font weight refers to how thick or thin (bold or light) a font looks.
The front-end is basically the opposite of the back-end. It’s all the components of a website that a visitor to the site can see (pages, images, content, etc.) Specifically, it’s the interface that visitors use to access the site’s content. It’s also sometimes referred to as the User Interface.
Also referred to a “hex” numbers, they are a base-16 numbering system used to define colors online. Hex numbers include the numerals 0-9 and letters A-F. Hexadecimal numbers are written in three sets of hex pairs. Because screen colors are RGB (Red, Green, Blue), the first pair defines the red hue, the second pair defines the green hue, and the third pair defines the blue.
The .htaccess file is the default directory-level configuration file on Apache servers. They are also known as “distributed configuration files.” Configuration directives contained in the .htaccess file apply to the directory in which the file is placed as well as all of its subdirectories. Within the .htaccess file things like authorization and authentication, rewriting of URLs, cache control and customized error responses can all be specified.
Stands for Hypertext Markup Language. It’s the primary language used to write web pages. HTML is primarily intended as a way to provide content on websites (with CSS handling the layout and stylistic options), though it can also be used to determine how that content is displayed.
Also referred to as an HTML element, an HTML tag is the bit of code that describes how that particular piece of the web page it’s on is formatted. Typical tags specify things like headings, paragraphs, links, and a variety of other items.
Stands for HyperText Transfer Protocol. HTTP is a set of rules for transferring hypertext requests between a web browser and a web server.
Similar to HTTP, HTTPS stands for HyperText Transfer Protocol over SSL (Secure Socket Layer) or, alternately, HyperText Transfer Protocol Secure. Like HTTP, it’s a set of rules for transferring hypertext requests between browsers and servers, but this time it’s done over a secure, encrypted connection.
A hyperlink is a link from one web page to another, either on the same site or another one. Generally these are text or images, and are highlighted in some way (text is often underlined or put in a different color or font weight). The inclusion of hyperlinks are the “hyper” part of “hypertext.”
Hypertext is any computer-based text that includes hyperlinks. Hypertext can also include presentation devices like tables or images, in addition to plain text and links.
Short for Inline Frame. An iframe is used to display one or more web pages within another normal web page (one that isn’t a frameset page).
An image map is used in XHTML to allow different parts of an image to become different clickable elements (and can also allow some portions of the image to have no clickable element).
Elements with CSS written directly around the element it affects, instead of in a separate style sheet or header style.
Stands for Linux, Apache, MySQL, and PHP (or sometimes Perl or Python), and is referring to the specifications of a web server (defining the operating system, web server, database, and scripting language, in that order). One of the advantages of LAMP setups is that the software used is all free and open source.
A landing page is the page where a visitor first enters a website. Oftentimes, a special landing page is created to elicit a specific action from the new visitor (usually in connection with an advertising or marketing campaign).
A link farm is any website setup specifically to increase the link popularity of other websites by increasing the number of incoming links to that site. While some link farms are single pages listing unrelated links, others consist of networks of sites that contain multiple links back and forth to one another. Search engines can generally recognize these types of schemes and often remove link farms from their directories and penalize the sites linking to and from them.
A liquid layout is one that is based on percentages of the browser window’s size. The layout of the site will change with the width of the browser, even if the visitor changes their browser size while viewing the page. Liquid layouts take full advantage of a person’s browser width, optimizing the amount of content you can fit onscreen at one time.
Meta data is the data contained in the header that offers information about the web page that a visitor is currently on. The information contained in the meta data isn’t viewable on the web page (except in the source code). Meta data is contained within meta tags.
A meta tag is an HTML tag used to include meta data within the header of your web page.
Navigation refers to the system that allows visitors to a website to move around that site. Navigation is most often thought of in terms of menus, but links within pages, breadcrumbs, related links, pagination, and any other links that allow a visitor to move from one page to another are included in navigation.
Open source refers to the source code of a computer program being made available to the general public. Open source software includes both web-based and desktop applications. Open source programs are generally free or very low cost and are developed by teams of people, sometimes comprised mostly of volunteers.
Short for “permanent link.” Generally used only on blogs, a permalink is a link that is the permanent web address of a given blog post. Since most blogs have constantly-changing content, the permalink offers a way for readers to bookmark or link to specific posts even after those posts have moved off the home page or primary category page.
A plug-in is a bit of third party code that extends the capabilities of a website. It’s most often used in conjunction with a CMS or blogging platform. Plug-ins are a way to extend the functionality of a website without having to redo the core coding of the site. Plugins can also refer to bits of third-party software installed within a computer program to increase its functionality.
Property is a CSS term and is roughly equivalent to an HTML tag. Properties are what define how a style should appear on a given web page.
A pseudo-element is an element used to add a special effect to certain selectors.
Like pseudo-elements, pseudo classes are used to add special effects to certain CSS selectors.
Also referred to as RSS. RSS is a standardized XML format that allows content to be syndicated from one site to another. It’s most commonly used on blogs. RSS also allows visitors to subscribe to a blog or other site and receive updates via a feed reader.
Refers to the physical number of pixels displayed on a screen (such as 1280×1024). Unlike in print, display resolution does not refer to the number of pixels or dots per inch on a computer screen, as this can be changed by changing the resolution of the screen (which, of course, does not change the physical size of the screen). The resolution of an image, however, is often referred to in terms of pixels per inch, though this has very little effect on how the image is displayed on screen.
In CSS, the selector is the item a style will be applied to.
In semantic markup, content is written within XHTML tags that offer context to what the content contains. Basic semantic markup refers to using items like header and paragraph tags, though semantic markup is also being used to provide much more useful context to web pages in an effort to make the web as a whole more semantic.
Server-side refers to scripts run on a web server, as opposed to in a user’s browser. Server-side scripts often take a bit longer to run than a client-side script, as each page must reload when an action is taken.
A tag is a set of markup characters that are used around an element to indicate its start and end. Tags can also include HTML or other code to specify how that element should look or behave on the page. See also HTML Tag.
A template is a file used to create a consistent design across a website. Templates are often used in conjunction with a CMS and contain both structural information about how a site should be set up, but also stylistic information about how the site should look.
Stands for Uniform Resource Locator. A site’s URL is its address, the item that specifies where on the Internet it can the found.
Usability refers to how easy it is for a visitor to your site to use your site in its intended manner. In other words, are navigation, content, images, and any interactive elements easy to use, functioning the way they were intended, and that your intended target visitor will not need any special training in order to use your site.
A web server is a computer that has software installed and networking capabilities that allow it to host web sites and pages and make them available to internet users located elsewhere. There are a few different setups that can be used for a web server, including the LAMP setup mentioned earlier.
Stands for Extensible Hypertext Markup Language. Basically, XHTML is HTML 4.0 that has been rewritten to comply with XML rules.
Stands for Extensible Markup Language. XML is a specification for creating other, custom markup languages. It’s an extensible language because it allows for the user to define the mark-up elements.
You can understand how people find your website using the Acquisition reports. The reports present data based on the source and medium of your users, along with other acquisition dimensions. There are dedicated reports for your paid traffic from Google Ads, organic traffic from Google (if you have linked your Google Search Console account), traffic from social networks and traffic from custom campaign tags.
When viewing the Real Time reports, Active Pages shows you the pages people are currently viewing on your website. When someone navigates to another page or closes their browser the page that was shown as active will be removed from the Real Time reports.
The Real Time and Home reports show you how many people are currently viewing content on your website. Data is processed within a few seconds into the Real Time reports and you can view data for the previous 30 minutes. While the Active Users report (under ‘Audience’) tells you the number of unique users who performed sessions on your website within a certain number of days.
Attribution allows you to control how credit for a particular conversion is given to the marketing channels that led to the action taking place. Google Analytics provides a variety of attribution models in the ‘Multi-Channel Funnels’ and ‘Attribution’ reports. Attribution takes into account the channels (and traffic sources) used across multiple sessions for a user. You can set the amount of historical data included in the reports using the lookback window.
You can configure custom audiences to see more granular metrics inside your reports. For example, if you’re considering running a remarketing campaign you can create an audience to monitor current performance before you begin advertising. You can find the Audiences report under ‘Audience’.
Average Session Duration
Provides a top-level view of how long users are spending on your website. For example, if you had two users, one that spent three minutes on your website and another that spent one minute, then you would have an average session duration of two minutes. Google Analytics does not count time for the last page viewed during a session. This means that the average session duration will tend to be skewed lower than the actual amount of time people are spending on your website.
A bounce is reported when a user’s session only contains a single pageview. The idea is that someone comes to your website and they ‘bounce’ away and leave after only viewing a single page.
When a visitor lands on your website and then leaves without clicking anything or navigating to another page on your website, this is called a bounce. Bounce rate is calculated as a percentage, and if it’s too high, your conversion rate will likely be low. It means people are not staying on your site long enough to read your content or compelled enough to take an action.
Campaign name is one of the four main dimensions (along with source, medium and channel) for reporting and analyzing marketing campaigns. The campaign name is provided when you use a campaign tagged URL for your inbound marketing or from your Google Ads campaigns (when Google Ads is linked to Google Analytics).
Inbound marketing can be tracked and reported by Google Analytics using campaign tags. Extra details (query parameters) are added to the end of URLs which are then included in the Acquisition reports. Campaign tags include campaign name, source, medium, term and content.
Channels provide top-level groupings of your inbound marketing. Each channel combines source and medium so you can understand overall performance. For example, the default channel grouping includes ‘Organic Search’, ‘Paid Search’, ‘Social’ and ‘Email’ which automatically combines pre-defined sources and mediums. You can also configure your own custom channel groupings.
Click Through Rate
A click-through is exactly what it sounds like: someone navigating, or clicking through, your nonprofit’s website. Relating back to the bounce rate (BR), this percentage is made up of the people who clicked on calls to action (CTA) or navigated to other pages on your site from their landing page.
Google Analytics uses a unique identifier, called ‘Client ID’ to report and analyze the behavior of individuals on your website. By default, the identifier is randomly assigned and is stored in a browser cookie on the users’ device.
A conversion is reported whenever a user completes a goal or makes a purchase during a session. Each goal will report a maximum of one conversion per session, while every transaction is reported.
You want this one to be as high as possible! It’s the percentage of people who complete a call to action (CTA) on your website, like making a donation or submitting a volunteer or event form.
After uploading third-party advertising data you can then compare the performance of your advertising based on a range of metrics including; click-through rate, cost-per-click, revenue-per-click, and return on advertising spend.
The Cross Device reports provide insights into people who are using multiple devices to visit your website. The automated Cross Device reports require Google signals to be enabled. These reports provide insights based on aggregated and anonymized data from people logged into their Google account. You can also send identifiers to Google Analytics, which allow you to make use of the Cross Device reports with user ID.
Customer Lifetime Value
This is the average amount a user spends on your website throughout their life. It’s generally used to calculate performance metrics, such as your Return on Investment (ROI).
Google Analytics can be configured to include user demographics, like age and gender. In order to collect demographic data into your reports you need to enable the ‘Advertising Features’ by navigating to ‘Admin’, then ‘Tracking Info’ and selecting ‘Data Collection’.
Device category allows you to view performance based on the different devices people are using to experience your website. You can see sessions occurring on desktop (which also includes laptop devices), tablet and mobile.
Direct traffic includes people who typed your website’s URL into their browser or clicked a link in an email application (that didn’t include campaign tags). Direct sessions will also include other cases where Google Analytics is unable to identify the source of the click. Google Analytics will only assign ‘direct’ as a last resort when a known source is used, that source will be attributed to the session.
An ecommerce conversion occurs when someone successfully purchases during a session. Google Analytics has a range of ecommerce dimensions and metrics to report on your website’s ecommerce activity.
Google Analytics 4 lets you track certain actions taking place on your website automatically using the ‘Enhanced Measurement’ feature. Apart from pageviews, you can automatically track people scrolling, clicking outbound links, searching within your website, watching embedded YouTube videos and downloading files.
The first page that someone views during a session is known as an entrance. You can see the number of times a page was viewed first using the ‘entrance’ metric. This metric is similar to sessions but can vary when multiple hit types are sent to Google Analytics.
A custom interaction (or attribute) that is tracked from your website into Google Analytics, for example, tracking plays of an embedded video. Each event can include up to three dimensions (the event ‘category’, ‘action’ and optional ‘label’) and a metric (the optional event ‘value’). Events require custom implementation to be tracked and are then reported inside the standard ‘Behavior’ reports. Events can also be used to configure event-based goals.
First interaction gives credit for a conversion to the first method that somebody used to find your website. The ‘Model Comparison Tool’ allows you to apply the first interaction (and other attribution models to your conversions). It’s important to know that there is a limit to the amount of historical data included in the attribution reports. There will also be other impacts on first interaction data, for example, people clearing their cookies or using multiple devices.
Global Site Tag
The global site tag (or gtag.js) is the current version of the stand-alone Google Analytics tracking code. Generally, you will want to use Google Tag Manager to implement Google Analytics on your website. However, you do have the option of using the Google Analytics tracking code instead.
Goals are used to track desired actions on your website. For example, subscribing to your email newsletter, submitting an inquiry or registering as a member. Goals can be configured inside Google Analytics and can be based on people traveling to a particular page (or pages), triggering an event, sessions of a certain duration or viewing a certain number of pages.
When a user converts for a particular goal during a session they’ll be counted as a goal completion. If a goal is completed multiple times during a user’s session, it will only be counted as a single conversion.
Goal Completion Location
This dimension reports the particular page where a conversion occurred for a destination (or page-based) goal. This is especially useful if you’re including multiple conversion pages for a goal. The goal completion location will also show you the page that was viewed when an event-based or engagement-based (duration and pages per session) goal was triggered.
Google Data Studio
Google’s reporting and dashboarding tool allows you to present and visualize data from Google Analytics, Google Sheets and other data sources.
Google’s platform for A/B testing, multivariate testing and personalization. Google Optimize allows you to present different variations of content on your website to increase conversions and improve conversion rate.
Google Tag Manager
A system for managing the deployment of tracking and other tags on your website. Google Tag Manager allows tags to be tested on your website before being deployed live and is designed to reduce the dependence on IT for managing tracking tags.
You can view your audience’s areas of interest by enabling ‘Advertising Features’ (navigate to ‘Admin’, then ‘Tracking Info’ and selecting ‘Data Collection’). The categories within the Interests reports align to the Interest targeting options available in Google Ads.
Key Performance Indicator
These are measurable activities that progress? goals on your website or in your nonprofit’s digital marketing. Some examples could be clicks, page views or social media traffic.
Google Analytics provide details about the keywords people use to find your website. The organic keywords report shows you the terms people used to find your website when clicking on a free result from a search engine. A lot of organic keyword traffic is shown as ‘not provided’ which means that the individual keyword was hidden by the search engine (see also not provided). The paid keywords report shows you keywords from linked Google Ads accounts and campaign tagged URLs using the ‘term’ parameter.
Medium is one of the four main dimensions (along with source, campaign and channel) for reporting and analyzing how people found your website. Medium tells you how the message was communicated. For example, ‘organic’ for free search traffic, ‘cpc’ for cost-per-click and ‘referral’ for inbound links from other websites.
Organic refers to people clicking on a free link from a search results page. For example, people clicking through to your website from a free result on a Google search results page.
Allows you to understand the impact of your website’s pages in driving value based on ecommerce transactions and goal conversions (where a goal value has been set). Each page that led to a conversion shares the value that was generated by the conversion.
Often used in measurement and analytics, a page view is a visit to a specific page on your website.
Page rank is an algorithm used to measure the strength and relevancy of a webpage to list Google’s search results for a given keyword phrase.
A referral is reported when a user clicks through to your website from another third-party website. The referrals report allows you to see all of the websites (by domain) that are sending you traffic. You can also drill-down into the referrals report to view the ‘Referral Path’ which allows you to see the individual pages linking to your website.
Return On Investment
This is the percentage of profitability from a digital marketing venture. For example, if your nonprofit updates its donation form, any spike in donations (less the cost to update the form), would contribute to the ROI.
The actual term somebody used in a search engine before clicking through to your website. Depending on the report, the terms can be from paid ads (inside the Google Ads reports), or from Google organic search results (inside the Search Console reports).
A single visit to your website, consisting of one or more pageviews, along with events, ecommerce transactions and other interactions. The default session timeout is 30 minutes, which means that if someone is inactive on your website for over 30 minutes, then a new session will be reported if they perform another interaction, for example, viewing another page.
Social appears as a marketing channel (in the default channel grouping) in the Acquisition reports which automatically includes traffic coming from social media, including Twitter and Facebook. The Acquisition reports also include a dedicated set of social reports to further analyze and report on the performance of your inbound social traffic.
Source is one of the four main dimensions (along with medium, campaign and channel) for reporting and analyzing how people found your website. Source tells you where the message was seen. For example, a source of ‘google’ would indicate that someone found your website after performing a search on Google. Source can be used in combination with medium for more granular insights, for example, a source of ‘google’ and a medium of ‘cpc’ would be reported for paid clicks from your Google Ads campaigns.
In order to send hits to the appropriate property inside Google Analytics, a tracking ID is included in the tracking code (or Google Tag Manager tag). The tracking ID starts with ‘UA’, followed by a series of numbers, for example, UA-123456-1. The number between the dashes is a unique identifier for the Google Analytics account and the number at the end identifies a property within the account.
This statistic is a little more discerning than page views (PV). It calculates how many of those page visits are by the same person. If one person were to visit your site 10 times in a given period of time, then the PV is 10 and the UV is 1.
The Users Flow report is a visual representation of how users navigate and interact with your website. For example, you can see the paths people take as they view the content on your website after they land.
UTM tags are the individual query parameters used to make up a campaign tagged URL. The UTM tags include utm_name, utm_source, utm_medium, utm_term, utm_content and the lesser known utm_id. UTM stands for ‘Urchin Traffic Monitor’ (Urchin was the precursor to Google Analytics).