Digital Marketing Glossary: The A-Z of Industry Terms

It’s fair to say that the world of digital marketing is jam-packed with jargon. With acronyms, initialisms and buzzwords flying around all over the place, it can sometimes be difficult to decipher the meaning behind them.

That’s why we’ve compiled this handy list of common terminology for you to reference the next time you run into a term or phrase that mystifies you.

A

  • A.I (Artificial Intelligence): A.I uses machine learning to imitate human response, performance and intelligence.
  • A/B testing: The process of testing 2 variants (A and B) to see which delivers better results.
  • Abandonment rate: An analytics feature that lets you see the percentage of people who began a defined conversion process but did not complete it.
  • Ad exchange: A platform that facilitates ad placement bidding. Effectively an online, automated auction house.
  • Ad extensions: Additional information about your business that can be added to ad copy, such as an address, phone number or links to specific pages on your website.
  • Ad scheduling: The process of scheduling ads to automatically show at specific times of day.
  • Ad server: An ad server is used to store, manage and display ads to users on a website.
  • Affiliate marketing: Refers to the process of earning commission by promoting someone else’s products or services.
  • Algorithms: The mathematical formula behind systems and programmes. Frequently used in relation to Google’s workings.
  • Anchor text: The clickable text displayed in a hyperlink that’s usually blue and underlined. The anchor text should give a clear indication of the page or file it’s linking to.
  • API (Application Programming Interface): A set of tools and protocols used for building, developing and interlinking software and programmes.
  • Audiences: An audience – or target audience – is a specified group of consumers who become the recipients of marketing efforts.
  • Authority: A website’s ‘authority’ correlates with its popularity. A site’s authority is based on factors like traffic, backlinks and social shares.
  • Automation: The method of controlling or operating processes via automatic means.

B

  • B2B (Business-to-Business): B2B refers to communication or transactions from one business to another.
  • B2C (Business-to-Consumer): B2C refers to communication or transactions between a business and consumers.
  • Backlinks: This is when other websites link back to your website.
  • Bid modifiers: Bid modifiers let you make adjustments to bids without altering your campaign’s targeting or ad groups.
  • Biometrics: Refers to the scientific measurement of human characteristics, emotion and body language.
  • Black hat SEO: SEO strategies consisting of unethical and unprofessional techniques such as keyword stuffing.
  • Bounce rate: The percentage of visitors who land on a website but then leave without looking at other pages.
  • Broad match: Refers to a keyword match type for PPC advertising that offers the broadest reach and widest range of targeting.

C

  • Canonical tags:A suggestion to search engines that the content on that specific URL is not the master version of the copy.
  • CMS (Content Management System): A content management system (CMS) allows web editors to manage content displayed on a site. WordPress is an example of a content management system.
  • Conversion rate: The ratio of users who complete a specific action (such as filling out a form) compared to the total number of users. Conversion rate is calculated as a percentage.
  • Cookies: A file used by websites that stores data on a user’s computer based on their activity on the site.
  • CPA (Cost Per Acquisition): The average amount it costs to acquire a conversion through paid activity.
  • CPC (Cost Per Click): How much you have to pay for every click on your advert or link.
  • CPM (Cost Per Mille): Also called Cost Per Thousand, this is the price that advertisers pay for a thousand impressions or views of an ad.
  • CRM (Customer Relationship Management): CRM focuses on managing positive interaction and communication with clients in order to achieve optimal client satisfaction and retention.
  • CRO (Conversion Rate Optimisation): The systematic process of using test and learn techniques to identify which aspects help to improve website performance by encouraging more users to take a specific, desired action.
  • CTA (Call To Action): Content that encourages a user to take a specific action – e.g. “Buy Now” or “Download Free Trial”.
  • CTR (Click Through Rate): Click through rate measures the success of an ad or email in terms of user interest.

D

  • DCO (Dynamic Creative Optimism): A display ad technology that creates personalised ads based on data about the viewer at the moment of ad serving.
  • DMP (Data Management Platform): A unified technology platform used for collecting, organising and activating large sets of data from different sources.
  • Domain name: The part of a network address that identifies it as belonging to a particular company or organisation. No two websites can have the same domain name. For example, in the web address https://www.coastdigital.co.uk/glossary, the domain name is ‘coastdigital.co.uk’.
  • DSP (Demand-Side Platform): A system that allows buyers of digital advertising inventory to manage multiple ad exchanges and data exchange accounts through one interface.
  • Duplicate content: A substantial amount of identical content that features on more than one website or multiple places on the same website.

E

  • E-Commerce: Buying and/or selling products or services on the Internet.
  • Email marketing: A type of direct marketing that targets customers or prospects via emails sent straight to their inbox.
  • ESP (Email Service provider): A company that provide an email platform or tool to help you send marketing messages via email.
  • Exact match: Refers to a keyword match type for PPC advertising that offers the most specific and precise control over ad targeting.
  • Eye tracking: Technology that measures optical movement, visual attention and point of gaze.

F

  • Featured snippet: Also known as ‘position zero’, the featured snippet is an answer box that sits at the top of Google’s SERPs that aims to answer a user’s query by using featured copy from a relevant site.
  • First party data: Data about your audience that you have collected yourself, as opposed to data collected by a third party .
  • Funnels: A marketing strategy based on ‘funnelling’ prospects through multiple stages of a customer journey in order to reach the end goal of a specified conversion.

G

  • GDPR: Refers to the General Data Protection Regulations: laws brought in in 2018 to better protect people’s personal information.
  • Geo-targeting: A targeting method that serves content to site visitors based on their location.
  • Google Ads: Google’s self-serving advertising platform that lets marketers serve ads across Google and partner networks.
  • Google Analytics: A free Google tool that measures and reports on website traffic.
  • Google Search Console: A free web service that allows webmasters to monitor website performance and visibility.
  • Google Tag Manager: A free tool that allows you to host a variety of tracking codes, pixels, and tags – thus removing the need to rely on developers and hard coding of each tag.
  • GSR (Galvanic Skin Response): GSR is biometric technology that measures the levels of sweat on someone’s skin to reflect their emotional response to stimuli.

H

  • Hashtag (#): Used on social media platforms as an identification of a certain theme or topic whereby the subject matter is preceded by the hash symbol.
  • Heatmap: A visual summary of how users interact with a specific webpage. Heatmaps identify ‘hot spots’ where page aspects have high interactivity levels. This tool is widely used for conversion rate optimisation.
  • Hostname: A label attached to a host on the Internet, allowing an individual server to be identified. For example, www.coastdigital.co.uk is a hostname, whereas coastdigital.co.uk by itself is a domain name.

I

  • Impression: When an ad is displayed to a user, this is called an impression – as the ad has been seen. Whether or not the ad is clicked isn’t taken into account.
  • Impression share: The actual number of impressions your ads receive vs the number of impressions they could have potentially received. Impression share is influenced by many factors such as budget and keyword bids.
  • Index: Google’s list of websites. If a site has been ‘indexed’, it is included in Google’s list of the web.

J

  • JavaScript: A programming language that is commonly used for building website features that require user interaction.

K

  • Keywords: Popular words, terms or phrases that help to optimise a site’s ranking position. Keywords also allow paid search advertisers to bid for ad placements as sponsored links on SERPs.
  • Keyword research: The process of researching words, terms or phrases around a certain subject to determine their popularity.
  • Keyword stuffing: An unethical, black hat SEO technique that refers to the over-optimisation of a webpage through excessive keyword density.
  • KPIs (Key Performance Indicators): Used to reflect the performance and success of an activity in relation to the goals originally outlined.

L

  • Landing page: A page on a website that serves as a destination page for users who have clicked through from an advert or link elsewhere on the web – including SERPs.
  • Lead generation: Refers to the identification and cultivation of prospects who may be interested in your service or product offering.
  • Lead: A lead is someone who has shown or may show interest in your service or product offering.
  • Link building: The process of getting other websites to link to yours. The higher the authority of the other site, the more valuable the link.
  • Local search: The process of utilising a search engine’s database of local business listings in order to target audiences based on their specific geographic locations.
  • Long-tail keyword: A keyword phrase that contains three or more words. Long-tail keywords are used to target more specific, niche demographics.
  • Lookalike audience: Used for Facebook advertising, a lookalike audience is a pool of prospects who closely resemble an existing audience. Targeting a lookalike audience is a good way to reach new people who are more likely to engage with your ads.

M

  • Machine learning: A subset of A.I that refers to an algorithm’s ability to learn from pattern recognition and inference in order to improve functionality.
  • Meta description: The copy displayed underneath the website page link on SERPs.
  • Meta titles: A meta title is the name of a web page. The meta title helps both search engines and users to understand what type of page it is.

N

  • Native advertising: Online ads that blend in with the platform on which they appear in terms of their look and feel.
  • NoFollow: An identifier tag that tells search engines not to follow that page or give it any weight in search rankings.
  • NoIndex: An identifier tag that tells search engines not to index a specific page.

O

  • Organic listing: Also known as ‘natural’ search results, organic listings are SERP results that are not paid for. Optimising organic listings is the whole point of SEO.

P

  • Personas: A quick portrait of user types used to briefly describe goals and behaviour used in UX design and marketing campaigns.
  • Platform: A digital interface where marketers can share their content and messages to a chosen audience. Facebook, MailChimp, and Sizmek are all examples of digital platforms.
  • PMP (Private Marketplace): A private marketplace is an invite-only, RTB auction wherein a select number of buyers can bid on ad inventory.
  • PPC (Pay Per Click): An advertising model where advertisers pay a certain amount whenever a user clicks on their ad.
  • Programmatic advertising: Real-time automated buying of advertising through a technology platform.
  • Prototype: A way of developing an interface or design to simulate website or app functionality. Typically forms part of a testing process.

Q

  • Quality score: A metric used by Google to determine the quality and relevancy of a site based on its ads, keywords and landing pages.

R

  • Ranking(s): Refers to the hierarchy of websites on any given SERP. SEO is the practice of optimising websites to improve their rankings and help them reach the top positions.
  • Redirect: A method that takes a user to an alternative page to the one they clicked on. If, for example, the intended page is out of date for whatever reason, the user will end up on a different page that houses an updated version of replacement content.
  • Remarketing: The method of keeping your offering in front of people who have shown previous interest. Also known as retargeting.
  • Rich snippet: Refers to structured data markup that can be added into existing HTML to allow search engines and users to better understand the information a page contains.
  • Robots.txt: A file created by webmasters that tells search engine bots not to visit certain pages of a site.
  • ROI (Return On Investment): A measurement of a business’ or campaign’s profitability. ROI is calculated by dividing the net profit by the cost of investment.
  • RTB (Real-Time Bidding): Allows advertisers to bid for the ability to serve ads on a webpage that’s being opened at any given time by any given person.

S

  • Schema markup: Code installed on a website that helps search engines return relevant, informative results.
  • Search query: The words or phrases users type into a search engine when conducting a search.
  • Segmentation: The process of dividing an audience of potential customers into groups based on different characteristics or criteria.
  • SEM (Search Engine Marketing): Search Engine Marketing is an umbrella term for digital marketing practices that aim to increase a website’s visibility in SERPs.
  • Semantic search: Information in a search engine’s algorithm that identifies the contextual relevance and user intent behind any given search query.
  • SEO (Search Engine Optimisation): The process of optimising websites to increase their ranking and visibility in the SERPs. SEO incorporates many different factors.
  • SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages): The pages that a search engine returns following a search query.
  • Sessions: A group of user interactions performed on a site that take place within a given timeframe. A session starts at a user’s point of entry to a site and ends when they exit that site. Sometimes referred to as a “visit”.
  • Sitemap: A comprehensive list of all the pages that exist on a website.
  • Spider/Crawler/Bot: An automated programme that visits or “crawls” web sites to collect information about them in order to understand their function and relevance.
  • Structured data markup: HTML code that generates rich snippets.
  • Subdomain: A subdomain is a domain that is part of a larger domain – for example, coastdigital.co.uk is a subdomain of co.uk (and co.uk is a subdomain of uk).

T

  • The fold: The portion of a website that is visible and on display when the page loads.
  • Third party data: Data that is obtained from outside sources.
  • Tracking pixel: A snippet of HTML code on a website that is used to track data such as user behaviour and conversions.
  • Trading desk: Where online media buying occurs as a managed service.
  • Traffic: The amount of visits a website gets is referred to as traffic.

U

  • UI design: UI – or User Interface – design refers to designing software for electronic devices based on optimal usability and user experience.
  • URL (Uniform Resource Locator): A URL is the address of a webpage or resource on the Internet.
  • Usability testing: The process of evaluating the functionality of a product or service by getting people to test it.
  • USP (Unique Selling Point): USPs are what make your company/products/services unique. Unique selling points help you stand out against your competitors.
  • UX (User Experience): UX is the consideration of user needs. User experience is the core of a successful campaign because it deals with appealing to the people who will actually visit your site.

V

  • Vlog: A video blog.

W

  • Webinar: A seminar that takes place on the Internet.
  • Webmaster: The person responsible for a website’s organisation and maintenance. The webmaster is often the owner of the website.
  • White hat SEO: Ethical and professional SEO techniques that reflect ‘best practice’ marketing efforts.
  • White paper: An authoritative guide that helps readers understand a specific topic. See some examples of our white papers.
  • Wireframe: A wireframe is effectively a blueprint of a website. Wireframes are a visual representation of where content elements will sit on specific page of a website.
Laura

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