How to Use Ad Lingo Like a Pro (And Understand It, Too!)

“Oops. Did you not get that?” 

“Let me start over.” 

“So this right here does this…and this does that…and yeah, that's about it.” 

We all have done this before.  

Working in the ad world, we sometimes forget that our clients don't always know what we mean by the ad lingo we use.  

So instead of beating you down with crazy ad words over the next several months, we've decided to give you a glossary of ad lingo that you can use to impress your boss and schmooze over the marketing department.  

Not only will you know what we mean, but you'll also be able to use these words in regular conversation without feeling like you misspoke! 

Let's dive into some lingo… 


  • Impressions: An impression is when your ad shows. The number of impressions represents the number of times your ad has been shown. 
  • Cost Per Click (CPC): how much you pay when someone clicks your ad. 
  • Click Through Rate (CTR): the percentage of all ad visitors that click through a link to get to your website. You can figure out what your CTR is by: (impressions/number of clicks). 
  • Conversion: a desired action taken by an ad or website visitor. 
  • Pixel (Cookie): a tracking code that allows marketers and businesses to “follow” the paths that website and ad visitors take while spending time on an owned webpage. 
  • Targeting: dividing your customers into specific groups based on demographics such as age, gender, education, and interests. 
  • Audience: the people you want engaging with your ad or website. 
  • Campaign: An ad or group of ads with a specific, common focus in mind. 
  • Ad Sets: groups of ads that are focused around one topic that can be used to take the prospect through the ideal stages of buying. 
  • Ads: individual advertisements that can be used in an ad set or on their own that promote a specific action, product, service, or business. 
  • Placement: where your ad will be shown (Facebook, Google, Instagram, etc.) 
  • Reach: how many people your ad has reached over the duration it has been online. 
  • Paid Reach: the number of people you reach after you set a budget for your ad. 
  • Organic: the number of people you reach without or before setting a budget for your ad.  

These are just some of the basic ad terms that scale across multiple online advertising platforms like Facebook Ads and Google AdWords. 

But how do you use this jargon like a pro? 

Easy. If you can identify what your specific criteria are for these words, you understand them perfectly. 

What are you trying to accomplish with your marketing? Write down all of your marketing goals and then connect the dots to the above ad lingo to your specific goals.  

This will help you figure out how to use these words in natural conversation. 

For example: 

Bob the Builder (without ad terminology): I want more people in my city to see my ad on Facebook. 

Bob the Builder (with ad terminology): I want more paid reach targeting Facebook users in my city. 

Another example: 

Dr. Grey of Seattle Grace Hospital (without ad terminology): I need to find a way to track my website visitors to see if they are downloading my free ebook. 

Dr. Grey of Seattle Grace Hospital (with ad terminology): I need to use a cookie (or pixel) to see if my website visitors are downloading my free ebook.  

And one more for good measure: 

Ron Swanson of Food & Stuff Grocery (without ad terminology): Thanksgiving is coming up and I want to theme my posts around the upcoming holiday discounts at Food & Stuff.  

Ron Swanson of Food & Stuff Grocery (with ad terminology): Thanksgiving is coming up and I want to set up an ad campaign around the upcoming holiday discounts at Food & Stuff. 

See how easy it is?  

Ad lingo doesn't have to be overwhelming. By figuring out what you want to accomplish in your marketing goals, you'll be able to see exactly what marketing tools and advertising you need for your business! 

If you're thinking this is a little out of your league, ask questions! We're here to help and want to grow your business through online advertising because it's easy and brings results!  

Download our free guides on how to set up your own Facebook ad account and give it a try yourself!