The 2021 Digital Marketing Glossary

Carrie Hinton Ritchie
February 16, 2019
Whether you’re tackling your own digital marketing or working with an agency, this little glossary should give you a good lay of the land.

Whether you’re a digital marketing noob or a seasoned pro, you’ve likely noted that tracking the industry’s ceaseless onslaught of terms, phrases, platforms, channels, tools, algorithms, and targeting methods is no small task. Indeed, the digital marketing train chugs along at what can feel like warp speed—when you’re not paying attention, it’s easy to fall behind and find yourself lost in a strange land that speaks a strange language.

At Good & Gold, we take pride in tracking the front edges of the industry, but we also aim to simplify things for our clients, and pay attention to what’s truly important. In other words, we separate the wheat from the chaff to develop strategies and benchmarks for ourselves and our clients that are built to deliver concrete results—not bells and whistles. We’re here to help you make sense of the chaos so that you can focus on what matters most: your business.

Below, you’ll find the terms we talk about most when strategizing and reporting for our clients or for our own marketing efforts. Whether you’re tackling your own digital marketing or working with an agency, this little glossary should give you a good lay of the land.

General Terms & Metrics

Sales Funnel: The concept of leading customers through a series of events or actions that can be mapped out in the shape of a funnel. The broadest level at the top of the funnel would involve attracting users to your website, after which they move down the funnel as they download a resource or sign up for your email list, after which they (ideally) move to the bottom of the funnel and become a paying customer.

Brand Personality: A set of human characteristics that are attributed to a brand. An effective brand increases its brand equity by having a consistent set of traits expressed through all of its content and communications that a specific consumer segment enjoys.

Click-Through Rate (CTR): The percentage of the people who saw a search result, ad, or e-mail who then clicked through to your website. (clicks / impressions=CTR)

Conversion Rate: The percentage of the people who clicked through to your website who then took a positive action, such as purchasing something or signing up for a newsletter.

Cost Per Click (CPC): The amount you pay on an advertising platform for each click.

Cost Per Thousand Impressions (CPM): The amount you pay on an advertising platform per thousand times people see your ad.

Cost Per Acquisition (CPA): How much it costs to acquire a new customer—sometimes stated as cost per conversion.

Return on Ad Spend (ROAS): Gross revenue generated for every dollar spent on advertising. (revenue from ad campaign / cost of ad campaign = ROAS)

Customer Lifetime Value (LTV): A prediction of the net profit attributed to the entire future relationship with a customer. (To determine LTV, multiply the average purchase value by the average number of sales in a customer’s lifetime by your comany’s gross margin.)

Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC): The total sales and marketing cost required to earn a new customer over a specific time period.

Chatbot: A computer program designed to simulate conversation with human users, especially over the Internet.

Search Engine Optimization

Impression: A single display of a particular ad or search result on a web page.

Bounce Rate: The percentage of people who visit your website but leave without visiting any other page.

Canonical Tag: A bit of code that tells search engines which page is preferred when two URLs are similar or duplicate. (Most commonly, this tag is used when you have products or content that is accessible by multiple URLs.)

Search Engine Results Page (SERP): The page displayed by a web search engine in response to a query by a searcher. Every time you perform a Google search, you are greeted by a SERP.

Meta Tag: Hidden bits of code on your website that help determine the various ways that your site appears within search engines, from supplying the “title” and “description” that appear in Google to telling search engines what kind of business you are and what products you offer.

Sitemap: This is really just what it sounds like—a map listing the pages on your website that allows search engines like Google and Bing to identify where pages are, what order they come in, their importance, and how to generally navigate your site.

Long Tail Keywords: The specific, three- or four-word phrases that potential customers use when searching for your product or service. These are often easier and quicker to rank for in search engines, and can account for the bulk of a website’s traffic.

4xx Error: This status code indicates that the request for the resource contains bad syntax or cannot be filled for some other reason; the server should provide an explanation of the error situation.

Schema Markup: A piece of code you can add to a page’s HTML to help search engines understand what your website is about and what type of information it contains.

Paid Media

Paid Search: Also referred to as Search Engine Marketing (SEM), Paid Placement, or Pay Per Click, paid search allows advertisers to pay to be listed within the Search Engine Results Pages for specific keywords or phrases.

Quality Score: A numerical score Google AdWords assigns to ads and campaigns based on ad quality, ad relevance, and landing page experience. Generally, the higher your quality score, the higher your ads can appear on a search engine results page.

Negative Keywords: Search terms that you actively exclude from a campaign, allowing you focus on more relevant keywords that will increase your return on investment.

Retargeting: Someone visits your website, and then after they exit and continue browsing, your ad appears as a display ad on other websites or social media channels that accept ads from the ad network you use for retargeting. (It’s a little creepy, but it works.)

Dynamic Retargeting: Essentially, next-level retargeting—serving ads to users who have been to your website that contain images and information about the exact item they viewed.

Behavioral Targeting: Serving advertising to people who should be receptive to your message given past web behavior such as purchases or websites visited.

Geo-Targeting & Geo-Fencing: Virtual perimeters for real-world geographic areas. These can be dynamically generated, as in a radius around a point location, or can be a predefined set of boundaries, enabling software to trigger a response (a digital ad or search result) when a mobile device enters or leaves a particular area.

Expanded Text Ads: Google has recently allowed users to include an additional headline (for a total of 3) and an additional description line (for a total of 2) in all text ads, allowing you to take up more space on the Search Engine Results Page and achieve higher click-through rates.

Affiliate Marketing: A strategy where businesses reward individual affiliates (people or organizations outside the business) for bringing in new customers or visitors through ads or content on the affiliate’s website. Affiliates receive payments or product discounts based on the number of customers they generate.

Referral Marketing: The method of promoting products or services to new customers through referrals, usually word of mouth.

Event Tracking: Using Facebook’s pixel implementation, you can track not just revenue and conversions, but a customer’s journey every step of the way, including form fills, cart additions, and newsletter sign-ups, all in one place.

E-Mail Marketing

Call to Action (CTA): A word or phrase used to inspire the end user to take a specific action, often via a button or another stylized link.

A/B Testing: An optimization technique that divides a list in two, then sends a different email version to each half to determine which variation converts best.

Bounce Rate: A percentage that measures how many emails have been returned by an email service. A bounce can happen because a subscriber’s email address either no longer exists, their inbox was full, or because a server was unavailable.

E-Mail Automation: A feature that enables you to send out messages to your customers at designated times, such as: When a subscriber signs up for your email list, when they perform an action on your website (like download an e-book), or when they add an item to their shopping cart but don’t complete the purchase (an “abandoned cart” email).

Drip Marketing: A sequence of communication that is written in advance, and then sent to prospective or current customers at pre-determined intervals to advance them through your sales funnel.

Web Design & Development

HTML: The acronym for Hypertext Markup Language, a standardized system for tagging text files to achieve font, color, graphic, and hyperlink effects on web pages.

CSS: The acronym for Cascading Style Sheets, a style sheet language used for describing the presentation of a document written in a markup language like HTML, including colors, layout, and fonts.

Javascript: An object-oriented scripting language commonly used to make HTML pages more dynamic and interactive.

HEX Code: A code used in HTML and CSS to designate a specific color, often appearing after the pound sign (#).

User Experience (UX): How a user feels when interfacing with a system such as a website, a web application, or desktop software. UX often determines how well a website converts or how much time users spend on a website or application.

Checkout Flow: The page-by-page experience a user has completing a purchase on an e-commerce website.

Below the Fold: In newspaper terms, “below the fold” refers to content 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 a user would generally have to scroll in order to view.

Need help making sense of it all?

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