Here is a list of must-know digital marketing terms and definitions. This will let you brush up on your digital marketing terminology, There are hundreds of common digital marketing terms to know, but these are the ones that you should begin to understand.
A/B Testing (or Split Testing)
A/B testing is used in e-newsletters, email subject lines, social ads, calls-to-action, and landing page copy. A/B testing, also known as split testing, is when two versions of a landing page are shown to visitors to see which one performs better. The difference between them can be as minor as a button color or as major as a change in copy. The main reason to conduct A/B testing is to know which version of a landing page, CTA, or other, has the greater chance of giving the best results.
Affinities are the measured interests of an audience. With the help of social media monitoring tools, they give marketers an insight into the thoughts, feelings, and preferences of their customers.
An algorithm is a set of formulas developed for a computer to perform a certain function. This is important in the social sphere as the algorithms sites like Facebook and Google use. These are critical for developing content promotion strategies.
Analytics or Web Analytics
The analysis of data gathered by visitors’ activities on your website or mobile app, for the purpose of exploring ways to improve design, features and marketing campaigns. Tools like Google Analytics, Kissmetrics, SEMrush, and Moz can be used for analysis. For more information visit our Website Analytics Services Section
Application Programming Interface (API)
An API is a documented interface that allows one software application to interact with another application.
Marketing automation is software used by marketers to automate repetitive tasks. Automation is used in conjunction with lead nurturing. Depending on user behavior they are automatically sent different information based on what they are interested in.
The term B2B is pretty straightforward and describes a business conducted when selling a product or service between two businesses.
A business that sells directly to consumers is described as B2C. They control their product from start to finish, from development to the final sale.
This is a link that directs users from another website to your page. Collecting quality backlinks is one of the facets of search engine optimization (SEO), as they are one of the determining factors of a page’s relevancy, popularity, and/or importance. For more information visit our Link Building Services
In the context of online marketing, a banner ad is a form of advertising on a website or app page, typically in image format with a hyperlink to your web page. For more information visit our Display Advertising Services
A blacklist is as scary as it sounds. If a company sends a lot of unsolicited emails (spam), the IP that the company is sending from will be blacklisted. Being blacklisted means that you can no longer send out blanket emails. A sin in digital marketing you want to avoid.
Blog or Blogging
Blogging is writing or sharing content on a website on a regular basis. An individual or a business can own a blog. Blogging is comprised of words, videos, images, or a combination of any or all of these media forms. Business blogging is done with the intention of attracting leads and providing current clients or customers with valuable content to keep them as clients.
Bottom of the Funnel (BOFU)
This is the last stage in the buyer’s journey, the decision stage. When a lead arrives at the decision stage, they are ready for your sales team. A sales offer such as a demo or a strategy session is a great offer for a lead at this time.
A bounce rate is when a visitor lands on your website and immediately clicks the back button or leaves your website. They are “bouncing” off your website.
An application used to navigate the Internet and open websites on desktops, laptops, tablets, and mobile phones. Examples include Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Internet Explorer and Safari.
The buyer’s journey is the process a lead goes through in order to go from awareness to decision. A new lead passes through three stages (Awareness, Consideration, and Decision) in order to be sold.
A call-to-action is an instruction for website visitors to take action on a message. The action could be to click a link, fill out a form, subscribe to an e-newsletter, or make a phone call. Calls-to-action can be presented as just text or an eye-catching image.
Instant messaging has become a huge thing and we send hundreds of messages on our smartphones every week; some of us every day. Because it has become such a central means of communication among people, many users also expect businesses to be available for customer services in messengers like Facebook Messenger or Whatsapp. This is, of course, a lot of work for businesses, so some automation makes sense. This is where chatbots come into play. These little bots can answer questions and give information based on queries in natural written language. It is also possible to place orders with them.
Your churn rate is the amounts of customers you have lost during a particular time period. If you start the month with 100 clients and end with 95, your churn rate would be 5%. This is a very important figure for renewal-based (membership) businesses.
Clickbait is the type of content that hooks people with a highly promising headline that provides very little actual information, getting them to click through to their content or website. Clickbait is more and more frowned upon in the digital marketing world and sites like Facebook are making changes to their algorithms in order to deter this type of posting.
Closed-loop marketing takes place when your sales team is reporting to the marketing team about what happens to the leads they’ve received. Marketing is then able to determine which of their leads sources should be focused on based on their ability to be converted by the sales team.
Clicks Per Open (CPO)
The number of clicks (on your email’s link) divided by the number of opened emails will give you your CPO or clicks-per-open rate.
Click-Through Rate (CTR)
Click-through rate is the number of people that click on a link out of the total number of people who saw the email, social ad, or call-to-action (CTA) on a website page. For example: Let’s say that we have a CTA on a blog post and that CTA was seen by 900 unique people but only 45 people clicked on the CTA. This means that the click-through rate is 5%.
Collective intelligence is a shared intelligence that emerges from the collaboration and competition of many individuals and appears in consensus decision-making in social networks.
Measuring your own performance online is very important and has been done ever since Google introduced its well-known tool, Google Analytics. On social media channels, marketers trusted their gut feeling for a long time. In the meantime, the majority of successful marketers got increasingly number-driven. In social, you have a great advantage with web analytics, since you are able to compare, relatively easily, your performance with your competition. Through this approach, you see what the interactions you received are worth by comparing them to the performance of your competitors.
Content is any form of published material on the internet this can include text, video, audio, images, games etc. Inbound marketers often recommend publishing quality content (engaging, informative, relevant) in order to help build brand awareness, establish expertise and authority, and drive traffic to your website.
Content Offer (or Lead Magnet)
A content offer is what you provide in exchange for information from your website visitors in order to turn them into a lead. A content offer can be an ebook, guide, white paper, or webinar that is given to a visitor after they provide you with some details, such as name, email, and business name.
Not only do you have to provide excellent content for your audience, but you also need that content to be contextually relevant. By knowing your target audience, their behavior, preferences, and goals, you can provide content that meets their needs.
A conversion path is a series of events that are set up to move a website or social visitors down a path that converts them into a lead. A conversion path on a website consists of a call-to-action > landing page with a sign-up form > thank-you page > thank-you email. In a conversion path, something is promised to the visitor in return for their contact information. This could be an ebook, consultation, white paper, etc. The lead magnet needs to be something that potentially leads find valuable enough to provide you with their contact information.
The conversion rate is the percentage of people who have completed the desired action (clicked through to a site, filled out a form, etc.) divided by the total number of people to whom the action was marketed. A conversion rate doesn’t just mean converting non-customers into customers. It could also include converting a website visitor into a lead or a marketing-qualified lead (MQL) into a sales-qualified lead (SQL). An example would be a Facebook ad that is run and 10,000 people see that ad but only 1,300 take action or convert to a lead or sale. The ad resulted in a conversion rate of 13%.
Conversion Optimization or Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO)
The process of increasing the conversion rate.
Cost-Per-Click (CPC or Pay-Per-Click or PPC)
Cost-per-click is an amount an advertiser pays every time someone clicks on an online ad. It doesn’t matter how many people see it, the advertiser will only be charged for actual click-throughs.
Clicks Per Delivered (CPD)
When reporting on your email success, this digital marketing term is important to understand. It’s simply the number of clicks (on your link) divided by the number of emails successfully delivered to their intended destination (inbox). The result is your CPD or clicks-per-delivered rate.
Cost-Per-Impression (CPI or Cost-Per-Thousand or CPM)
Cost-per-impression is an amount an advertiser pays for 1,000 impressions on an online ad.
Customer Acquisition Cost
Customer acquisition cost is the amount of money it takes to convert one person into a customer. This figure focuses mainly on marketing costs. When this numerical value is determined, companies can predict how much they will need to spend in order to generate a desired number of customers.
Customer Lifetime Value (CLTV)
Customer lifetime value is a prediction of how much revenue a customer will bring during their lifetime as your customer. This measure is used to determine how much a company should or could spend in order to acquire a new customer.
Crowdsourcing is the process of getting work, funding, or ideas from a crowd of people online. A great example of crowdsourcing is Wikipedia. In digital media, crowdsourcing is a great way to take the pulse of your followers. For example, you can poll them on Facebook and/or Twitter to learn what type of content they want, which provides ideas for your website.
Display Advertising is a form of advertising on a website or app page, typically in image format with a hyperlink to your web page. For more information visit our Display Advertising Services
A double opt-in is when a subscriber has to confirm their email address after entering their information to subscribe to an email list. Typically, once a website visitor fill out a form to subscribe to an email list they immediately receive an email to confirm their information.
An ebook is an electronic version of a book. However, most ebooks are not actually available in print (unless you print them). These are typically published in PDF form. For marketers, ebooks commonly serve as lead generating content — people must fill out a form to receive their ebook copy.
A commercial trading process of products and services online.
Email filtering is a technique that organizes emails based on a word or phrase in the “from,” “subject,” and body copy sections of an email. Most email programs employ filters in an effort to keep the user’s inbox free of spam.
The process of using email to send promotional messages, explore new business, or solicit donations, and is targeted to build trust or brand awareness.
Just as an IP/email address that has been blacklisted won’t be allowed through most spam filters, a whitelisted address has been given the golden ticket. Whitelisted email/IP addresses are typically accepted and allowed into most inboxes.
This is one of the most important social media related digital marketing terms in this list. Engagement is the clearest sign of people’s interest in your content. Your engagement is likely more easily understood as the number of likes, comments, and shares (interactions) it receives versus the number of people who saw it (impressions).
Also known as a message board, a forum is an online discussion site. It originated as the modern equivalent of a traditional bulletin board, and a technological evolution of the dial-up bulletin board system.
A geotag is the directional coordinates that can be attached to a piece of content online. For example, Instagram users often use geotagging to highlight the location in which their photo was taken.
A hard bounce is when an email immediately “bounces” back because the email doesn’t exist, is misspelled, or is blocked. Hard bounces are permanent and they will never be delivered.
A hashtag is a tag used on a variety of social networks as a way to annotate a message. A hashtag is a word or phrase preceded by a “#” (i.e. #InboundMarketing). Social networks use hashtags to categorize information and make it easily searchable for users.
The main or introductory page of a website.
House List (Retention List)
An opt-in list that is self-constructed over time. You typically provide a piece of valuable content for a person’s email address (and more). You can then market to, cross-sell, upsell, and build a relationship with customers over time. Your list is a very valuable asset!
HyperText Markup Language (HTML) is a programming language for web pages. Think of HTML as the brick-and-mortar of pages on the web. It provides content and structure while CSS supplies style. HTML has changed over the years, and it is on the cusp of its next version: HTML5.
An HTML email contains custom fonts, graphics, images, links, background colors and, at times, can look like a page on a website. They are fully designed emails with their own code and styling.
Impressions are the number of times your content is displayed. For example: In Facebook, impressions are the number of times someone sees your social update in their newsfeed. Impressions are a key metric for measuring campaign success in digital marketing campaigns.
The digital marketing term “influencer” is just what it sounds like, a person who has the power of influence over their social media audience. These are people you want sharing your content and interacting with your brand.
A keyword is one word or several words that people use when searching for a particular subject online. Keywords are also the words targeted when writing online content. Blog posts and pages on a website have a keyword focus so that it is optimized for Search Engines like Google.
The first page on a website that a user visits, not necessarily the home page of that website. A landing page is typically comprised of copy, images, and a form. A landing page is used to persuade website visitors to sign up to receive a content offer or purchase a product. Landing pages can be long or short, and the content is dependent on the action you want your visitors to take.
Lead generation is the process of acquiring new leads. Online lead generation is done by providing valuable content to website visitors in exchange for their contact information.
When a visitor turns into a lead on your website they are most likely not ready to buy. Lead nurturing is providing those initial leads with valuable information about your industry or product until they are ready to purchase. By caring for your leads you develop the relationship and show that you care.
A text message, button or banner image that provides a link from one page or website to another.
Link building is the act of increasing the number outside sites linking back to yours (backlinks). This process typically involves creating high-quality content (interesting, engaging) that others want to share. For more information visit our Link Building Services
If you had different types of clients and customers in different phases of their buying cycle would you send them the same email? The answer is no. With list segmentation companies segment their leads and current clients into lists that match their current buying cycle or what type of client they are. These different lists receive different information/content that they care about the most.
Marketing Qualified Lead (MQLs)
Marketing qualified leads are typically prospects that have expressed some interest in your company by engaging with your content and then provided identification details that allow you to convert them into a known lead.
Middle of the Funnel (MOFU)
This is the consideration stage of the buyer’s journey. A middle-of-the-funnel lead has moved from awareness to consideration and is ready to receive information about your product or service. A branded offer is given to provide the lead with more information and address any pushback.
Newsjacking refers to the practice of capitalizing on the popularity of a news story to amplify your sales and marketing success.
Off-page optimization is everything you can do to improve your organic search rankings that does not involve your actual website. This includes anything you can do to create high-quality backlinks and further drive your exposure.
On-page optimization involves actions you take on your website to improve your organic search engine rankings and can include improving meta tags or optimizing your website content.
Open rate is the percentage of emails opened from the total emails sent. Similar to CTR, open rate takes into account all emails that were sent and divides that total by the number of emails that were opened. For example: If we sent an email to 1,000 email subscribers but only 250 people opened that email, the open rate would be 25%.
Opt-in (or Subscribe)
An opt-in is when a person provides their email address to a company or individual because they are choosing to receive emails from that company or individual.
Opt-out (or Unsubscribe)
One of the digital marketing terms that email marketers need to pay attention to, an opt-out is when a person subscribed to an email list no longer wants to receive email communication from a specific company or individual, so they remove their email address from the list.
Organic Listings or Natural Listings
Results that appear on a search engine like Google on user searches that are not paid ads. Usually, these positions can be acquired automatically or by SEO. For more information visit our Organic SEO section
This is the traffic your site receives from unpaid search results, hence it is considered organic. This is one of the main goals of SEO and content marketing because it provides a powerful platform for long-term growth. For more information visit our Organic SEO section
Results that appear on a search engine like Google on user searches that are paid ads. These positions can be acquired by running search engine marketing campaigns using Google Adwords tool. Click here for more information with our Paid Search Section
Page performance takes into account on-page SEO, website traffic, CTA conversion rate, and contacts acquired.
Your page rank is how trustworthy your particular site is as determined by Google’s algorithm. Sites are ranked on a scale of 0 to 10, with 0 meaning you don’t rank in their search engine (not good) and 10 is given to fewer than 150 sites (most of them being Google-, Apple-, or Adobe-owned).
Pay Per Click (PPC)
An ad pricing model in which advertisers or businesses who run their ads pay each time a user clicks on their ads. Click here for more information with our Pay Per Click Section
A permalink is an address or URL of a particular post within a blog or website that remains indefinitely unchanged.
Persona (or Ideal Buyer)
In marketing, a persona is a perfect representation of whom you want to purchase your product or service. An ideal buyer or buyer persona is a complete breakdown of behaviors, pain points, goals, wishes, dreams, demographics, and professional careers. To learn more about personas read: Defining Your Ideal Buyers.
When you receive an email from a company that says, “Hi Rachel,” that’s personalization. Personalization means adding some information to your email that is specific to the person you are sending it to. This personal touch can be added in the subject line or in the body of the email. Personalization is used to get subscribers to notice a company’s email in the hopes that they are more likely to open it and act on it.
This is an email that doesn’t contain any images, rich formatting, or links. Individuals or companies can use plain text emails when they want to send an email that only focuses on the copy of the email. In most email software, plain-text emails are automatically generated whenever an HTML email campaign is created. This is for the subscribers who have noted that they only want to receive plain-text emails.
Query or Search Term
The keyword or phrase a person uses to search results on search engines like Google, Bing etc.
A web page’s position on a search engine results page.
Real-Time Digital Marketing
Social media allows brands to market in real time in response to breaking news or a world event. The ability to publish content as these events unfold (real time) gives marketers an opportunity never before seen in the marketing world.
Remarketing is a marketing strategy that targets people who have visited your website. You can reach out and reconnect to previous visitors through ads on Facebook, as they browse the web, or on mobile platforms. For more information visit our Remarketing Search Advertising
RSS is a family of web feed formats used to publish frequently updated content such as blogs and videos in a standardized format. Content publishers can syndicate a feed, which allows users to subscribe to the content and read it when they please from a location other than the website (such as Feedly or other RSS readers).
An RSS reader allows users to aggregate articles from multiple websites into one place using RSS feeds. The purpose of these aggregators is to allow for a faster and more efficient information consumption.
Sales Qualified Lead (SQLs)
A sales qualified lead is a marketing qualified lead that is accepted by the sales team and warrants a sales team member reaching out. An SQL is ready to be sold and is the most likely to purchase the company’s product or service.
A web application that indexes and displays relevant web page links in response to users’ search term. Google, Bing, Yahoo, DuckDuckGo, Baidu, Yandex are some of the most popular search engines in the world.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Search engine optimizing a webpage or website means adjusting on-page and off-page SEO factors in order to improve the page’s ranking in search results. This is the process of making changes to the website design, code, content and building incoming links to website through promotions externally on other sites, social media, offline to improve visibility and get traffic from the “free,” “organic” or “natural” results on search engines like Google and Bing results. Understand that SEO is a long-term strategy and commitment. It does not typically yield immediate results as found in Search Engine Marketing. For more information visit our Search Engine Optimization Section
Search Engine Marketing (SEM)
An advertising method that permits you to bid for and place an ad to display along with organic search engine results (free results) for keywords that people search for on search engines like Google. This allows your offerings to be seen by prospects right when they’re searching for the products or services a business offers. For more information visit our Search Engine Marketing Services
Search Engine Results Page (SERP)
The page displayed to people in response to a query on a search engine like Google.
Session or Visit
A set of interactions that take place on your website within a given time frame. For example, a single session can contain one or more page views.
A single opt-in is when a subscriber doesn’t have to confirm their email address or information twice. Once they enter they enter their contact information on a form they are immediately signed up to the email list as a subscriber.
Social listening is a brand monitoring digital marketing term that helps businesses understand what’s being said about its products or services in order to meet customers’ issues head-on. Salespeople can also use social listening to identify the needs of their prospects and provide help in order to establish themselves as a trusted resource (see Social Selling).
Social Media Monitoring
Social media monitoring is a process of monitoring and responding to mentions related to a business that occur in social media.
Social proof refers to a psychological phenomenon in which people seek direction from those around them to determine how they are supposed to act or think in a given situation. In social media, social proof can be identified by the number of interactions a piece of content receives or the number of followers you have. The thought is that if others are sharing something or following someone, it must be good.
Social selling refers to a brand’s ability to engage potential customers on social media by answering questions, providing informative content, and resolving other issues, and in turn, helping to move them along the sales funnel. Social selling is typically done on a one-on-one, salesperson-to-prospect basis.
A soft bounce is when an email “bounces” back because of a problem with the server or another temporary issue. A soft bounce has the opportunity to reach its intended recipient if tried again and is not a permanent issue.
One of the least popular but better known digital marketing terms. Nobody likes receiving spam. Spam is email we didn’t sign up to get. It’s unsolicited email that a company sends you because, most likely, they purchased an email list and you happen to be on that list.
An email subject line is the line of text that is shown in a subscriber’s email inbox before they even open the email. Subject lines are used to give the subscriber a reason to open your email. They are usually short, descriptive, and can contain personalization tokens such as the subscriber’s name or something specific to them.
Targeting is defining whom you’re marketing to. This has become easier as some social media platforms have built-in targeting tools. Both Facebook and LinkedIn offer highly detailed targeting tools that allow you to filter through their users to find the exact type of person you want for marketing purposes. (You can choose to show your Facebook ad to divorced women over 50 who like skydiving and action movies if that is your ideal buyer!)
A thank-you page is how you deliver the content offer after someone fills out a form on a landing page. You are thanking the visitor for filling out the form and providing them with the content you promised.
Top of the Funnel (TOFU)
This is the beginning of the buyer’s journey. The information your website provides to new leads is an answer to services or product questions, brand positioning, and common sales questions.
The method of attracting visitors often referred to as traffic to websites, mobile apps, and other digital products.
A single visitor to a website or app during a specific period of time.
Uniform Resource Locator (URL)
The unique address of a page of online content on the Internet often referred a to as a web link.
User-generated content is content — blogs, videos, photos, quotes, etc. — that is created by consumers. Marketers typically tap into their audience in an online setting to collect this type of content to support a campaign or initiative.
Going viral refers to a piece of content that is shared over and over again because of its perceived informational or entertainment value. If your content (picture, video, article, etc.) goes viral it will be seen by far more people and have a far greater impact on brand awareness, conversions, etc.
Vlogging or a vlog is a piece of content that employs video to tell a story or report on information. Vlogs are common on video sharing networks like YouTube.
A webinar is an online seminar or presentation that is hosted by an individual or a company. Most often, the host requires attendees to fill out a form before granting them access to stream the audio and slides. In marketing, webinars are held to educate audiences about a particular topic while opening up the floor for a discussion to occur on social media using the webinar’s unique hashtag.
Workflow (or Drip Campaign)
A workflow is a series of events that slowly or quickly move a lead through a company’s lead nurturing process. A workflow could be a set number of automatic emails that are sent to prospects that take different actions, such as viewing a pricing page or scheduling a free consultation.