New To Digital Marketing? Here are 70 Jargon Busters You Should Know.

Marie Ennis-O'Connor
14 min readOct 29, 2018


Every industry has its own jargon, and digital marketing is no different.

Do you know your CRM from your CTA?

I know when I first started out in the online marketing world, I found the jargon quite confusing.

If you’re new to digital marketing this list will help to help demystify the most common digital marketing terms for you.

1. A/B Testing

Image Source: A/B Testing — The Complete Guide | VWO

A method of comparing two versions of a webpage to determine which one performs better. The objective is to determine which single variable is the most effective in improving response rates to a desired outcome. Also called “Split Testing”.

2. Algorithm

If you are going to take advantage of social media for business purposes, you need to understand social media algorithms. Facebook is probably the biggest example of a social media platform using algorithms.

The Facebook Algorithm is a process that ranks all available posts that can display on a user’s News Feed based on how likely that user will have a positive reaction. According to Facebook, they want to make sure that people receive the content “they actually care about.”

Unfortunately, Facebook’s algorithm is constantly changing and it now makes it increasingly difficult for businesses to make an impact without paying for advertising. Expect other social media networks to adopt similar algorithms as time goes on.

3. Alt Text

Alt Text (alternative text) is used to describe the contents of an image file. The alt parameter text is not normally visible to readers; however, it may be displayed by web browsers when images are switched off, or read out loud by screen readers for those with visual impairment, and can be used by search engines to determine the content of the image.

4. Analytics

Google Analytics

The process of deriving meaningful patterns within data; for example, Google Analytics, a service that tracks and reports website traffic.

5. API (Application Programming Interface)

Designed to show the process of how programs communicate/interact via data with applications.

6. App

Short for application. A small, specialized program downloaded onto mobile devices; e.g. a Twitter app for your smartphone.

7. Automation

IFTTT automation tool

Software platforms and technologies designed to more effectively market on multiple channels online (such as email, social media, websites, etc.) and automate repetitive tasks. For example, IFTTT (an acronym for If This, Then That) allows you to sync up multiple apps so that when a certain activity happens, it kicks off a separate activity in another app.

8. Avatar

Your digital identity. The small image in your social media profile which displays on your timeline.

9. Backlink

Image Source: Shout Me Loud

An incoming hyperlink from one web page to another website. When a webpage links to any other page, it’s called a backlink. In the past, backlinks were the major metric for the ranking of a webpage. A page with a lot of backlinks tended to rank higher on all major search engines, including Google

10. Banner Ad

A form of online advertising designed to promote a brand and/or to get visitors from the host website to go to the advertiser’s website. Banner ads are image-based rather than text-based.

11. Big Data

Refers to large data sets that may be analysed computationally to reveal patterns, trends, and associations, especially relating to human behaviour and interactions.

12. Bounce Rate

The percentage of visitors to a particular website who navigate away (bounce) from the site after viewing only one page. Bounce Rate is a measure of visit quality and a high Bounce Rate generally indicates that site entrance (landing) pages aren’t relevant to your visitors.

13. Call-To-Action (CTA)

Source: Michael Port

A Call to Action (CTA) is the action you are asking your visitor to take on a website, for example, “sign up to our newsletter.” According to a test by Campaign Monitor buttons for your call to action can increase conversion by 28%. This is because buttons have a number of unique attributes linked text doesn’t, including its size, colour and use of whitespace.

14. Clickbait

Clickbait is something designed to make readers click on a hyperlink which takes the reader through to content often has nothing to do with the “bait.” The most common form is a headline with a variation on “You won’t believe what happened next.”This is a digital marketing practice you want to avoid at all costs!

15. Click­through Rate (CTR)

Clickthrough rate (CTR) can be used to gauge how well your keywords and ads are performing. CTR is the number of clicks that your ad receives divided by the number of times your ad is shown: clicks ÷ impressions = CTR. For example, if you had 5 clicks and 100 impressions, then your CTR would be 5%.

16. Cookie

Image Source: AskLeo

A cookie, as defined by Symantec, is a text file that a Web site can install on your computer. Cookies enable a Web site to tailor pages presented to you by storing information about you in the cookie text file. The Web site can remember you for easy navigation and access during your return visits for products, services, and content. Advertisers may use this information to understand your Web surfing habits. Cookies are only text files and are NOT worms, viruses, or directly malicious, but they may have privacy implications.

17. Content Management System (CMS)

A content management system is exactly what it sounds like. It’s a system that manages your content. WordPress is a popular CMS platform.

18. Content Marketing

Creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly-defined audience — and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action (Content Marketing Institute Definition).

19. Conversion Rate

The percentage of users who take a desired action (a conversion) out of the total number of visitors.; for example, the percentage of website visitors who buy something on the site.

20. Cost Per Click (CPC)

​­The amount of money required to produce a single click on a digital advertisement.

21. Cost Per Mille (CPM)

The standard unit for buying or selling Internet advertising. The price of 1,000 (mille stands for one thousand) advertisement impressions on one webpage. Also called Cost Per Impression, Cost Per Thousand (CPT). It is the cost an advertiser pays for one thousand views or clicks of an advertisement. It is a commonly used measurement in advertising.

22. Conversion Rate Optimisation (CRO)

A method for increasing the percentage of visitors to a website that converts into customers, or take any desired action on a webpage.

23. Customer Relationship Management (CRM)

CRM or Customer Relationship Management is a strategy for managing an organisation’s relationships and interactions with customers and potential customers. A CRM system helps companies stay connected to customers, streamline processes, and improve profitability (Salesforce Definition).

24. Domain

The address/direct link to a website.

25. Earned Media

Image Source: Tint

Online word of mouth recommendations; for example, social mentions, shares, reposts, reviews, etc.

26. E­-commerce​­

E-commerce, also known as electronic commerce or internet commerce, refers to the buying and selling of goods or services using the internet, and the transfer of money and data to execute these transactions.

27. Email Marketing

Directly marketing a commercial message to a group of people using email.

28. Engagement Rate

As defined by Sprout Social, Engagement rates are metrics that track how actively involved with your content your audience is. Engaged consumers interact with brands through “likes” comments and social sharing.

29. Heatmap

Represents how people are interacting with a website by using a color map (red = many clicks, green = few clicks).

30. HTML​­

Short for Hypertext Markup Language. The standard language used by web developers to create websites.

31. HTTP 404

The HTTP 404 (also known as 404 Not Found) error message is a Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP) standard response code. The website hosting server will typically generate a “404 Not Found” web page when a user attempts to follow a broken or dead link; hence the 404 error is one of the most recognisable errors encountered on the World Wide Web.

32. Hyperlink

A hyperlink, or simply a link, is a reference to data that the reader can directly follow either by clicking, tapping, or hovering. A hyperlink points to a whole document or to a specific element within a document. Hypertext is text with hyperlinks. The text that is linked from is called anchor text.

33. Hyperlocal

Hyperlocal marketing is the process of targeting prospective customers in a highly specific, geographically restricted area, often with the intention of targeting people conducting “near me” searches on their mobile device.

34. Impression

The exact number of times a specific web page, ad, or social media update, has been viewed. On Twitter, an impression means a tweet has been delivered to a Twitter account’s timeline. Facebook defines impressions as “the total number of times the ad referenced has been shown on the site.” This means that when an ad appears on the right side of the screen while a user is viewing Facebook, an impression is registered to your Facebook advertising account.

35. Inbound Link

An inbound link is a hyperlink back to your site from another Web site. Sites with a variety of high-quality backlinks rank higher in the search engine results pages.

36. Internal Link

An internal link is a link on a webpage to another page or resource on the same website.

37. Inbound Marketing

As defined by Econsultancy, inbound marketing is “activity that attracts the attention of new visitors or customers to a company, through promotion on any online and offline channels (social media, TV, print, display ads) using any kind of content”

38. JPEG

Short for Joint Photographic Experts Group. A standard for compressed pictures, widely used on the web.

39. Keyword ​­

Google Keyword Planner

A word or a phrase typed into a search engine. By researching your market’s keyword demand, you can learn which terms and phrases to use on your website.

40. Keyword Stuffing

A search engine optimization (SEO) technique, considered webspam or spamdexing, in which keywords are “stuffed” into a web page’s meta tags, visible content, or backlink anchor text in an attempt to gain an unfair rank advantage in search engines. The practice may lead to a website being banned or penalized in search ranking on major search engines.

41. Key Performance Indicator (KPI)

KPIs are measurable values that demonstrate how effectively a company is achieving key business objectives. KPIs are typically associated with analytics or business intelligence. It’s the five to seven key performance indicators, key metrics that we need to track to help us know whether or not our business or our department is headed in the right direction.

42. Landing Page​­

Wistia Landing Page

A single web page that appears in response to clicking on an online advertisement. The landing page will usually display directed sales copy that is a logical extension of the advertisement, search result or link. Also known as a “lead capture page”.

43. Lead Score

A method used to rank prospects against a scale that represents the perceived value each lead represents to the organization. With lead scoring, you can attach values to each of your leads based on their professional information and the behaviour they’ve exhibited on your website.

44. Link Building

The process of exchanging links with other websites to increase your own site’s backlinks. Google views links from high-quality sites as a vote of confidence in your website and rewards you with a higher Google ranking. Strive to incorporate a small handful of links to authoritative sources throughout your copy.

45. Long-Tail Keywords

Keywords Everywhere Browser Extension

Long tail keywords are longer and more specific keyword phrases that visitors are likely to use when searching online for your product or service.

46. Meme

An image, video, piece of text, etc., typically humorous in nature, that is copied and spread rapidly by Internet users, often with slight variations.

47. Metadata

Metadata (i.e.“ data about data”) is defined as the data providing information about one or more aspects of the data; it is used to summarize basic information about data which can make tracking and working with specific data easier.

48. Microblogging

The practice of making short, frequent posts to a microblog. A microblog differs from a traditional blog in that its content is typically smaller in both actual and aggregated file size. Twitter is an example of a microblog.

49. Micro-Influencer

Over the past few years, social media influencers have become a major trend. Macro-influencers with their millions of followers command a high price and are out of the reach of many. Which is why we are seeing the rise of micro-influencer marketing instead. On YouTube, micro-influencers yield more clout than macro influencers: 70 percent of millennials relate more to YouTube stars than traditional celebrities, and 60 percent of YouTube subscribers would follow their favorite YouTuber’s product recommendations over recommendations from TV stars.

50. Organic Traffic

Listings on search engine results pages that appear because of their relevance to the search terms, as opposed to their being advertisements. In contrast, non-organic search results may include pay per click advertising.

51. Owned Media

Image Source: Ignite My Company

Any web property that you can control and is unique to your brand; for example a website or blog.

52. Page Rank

PageRank is a way of measuring the importance of website pages. According to Google: PageRank works by counting the number and quality of links to a page to determine a rough estimate of how important the website is.

53. Paid Media

Image Source: Digital PR World

Paying to promote content on the web.

54. Pay­Per­Click (PPC)​

Pay-per-click (PPC), also known as cost per click (CPC), is an internet advertising model used to direct traffic to websites, in which an advertiser pays a publisher (typically a website owner or a network of websites) when the ad is clicked.

55. Podcast

A podcast is a digital file consisting of audio content or audiovisual content made available for download to a portable device or personal computer (PC) for later playback.

56. Pop-Up

A form of online advertisement generated in a new browser window. Generally seen as annoying and prone to blocking.

57. Responsive Web Design

An approach to web design aimed at designing sites to provide an optimal viewing and interaction experience — easy reading and navigation with a minimum of resizing, panning, and scrolling — across a wide range of devices (from desktop computer monitors to mobile phones).

58. Retargeting

Source: ReTargeter

Also known as remarketing, retargeting is a form of online advertising that can help you keep your brand in front of bounced traffic after they leave your website. For most websites, only 2% of web traffic converts on the first visit.

59. ROI

Image Source: Corporate Finance Institute

Return On Investment. ROI measures the amount of return on an investment relative to the investment’s cost

60. RSS Feed

RSS (Really Simple Syndication) is a technology that allows people to receive constantly updated content, such as blog entries, news stories, without having to revisit a website. Most blogs, podcasts, and video blogs contain an RSS feed.

61. Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

The process of getting organic (free) traffic from search results on search engines.

62. Search Engine Marketing (SEM)

The process of gaining website traffic by purchasing ads on search engines.

63. Search Engine Results Page (SERP)

The list of results that a search engine returns in response to a specific word or phrase query.

64. Search Query

A web search query is a query that a user enters into a web search engine in ​order to get ​information from the ​internet.

65. Semantic Search

Image Source: Moz

Semantic search seeks to improve search accuracy by understanding the searcher’s intent and the contextual meaning of terms as they appear in the searchable dataspace in order to generate more relevant results.

66. Tags

Tags are keywords added as a form of metadata to a unit of content, such as blog post or photo. Tags help users to find related topics or media, either through manually browsing on the site or by using the term with an Internet search engine.

67. UI (User Interface)

Every element a person sees or interacts with on websites or apps.

68. Unique Visitor

Refers to the number of distinct individuals requesting pages from the website during a given period, regardless of how often they visit.

69. URL

URL Stands for Uniform Resource Locator​­. The unique address of a page or piece of digital content on the Internet.

70. User-Generated Content (UGC)

Any form of publicly available content such as video, blogs, digital images, audio files, and other forms of media that were created by consumers or end-users of an online system or service.

I hope you found this list helpful in demystifying common digital marketing terms. Any questions on these terms or any other digital marketing practices, just leave a comment below and I’ll be happy to answer them for you.



Marie Ennis-O'Connor

Social Media Consultant. Keynote Speaker. Digital Storyteller.