We know that in the growing world of digital marketing there are a near-infinite number of words and phrases and the effort to grasp them all can be very daunting. Our Finsbury Media experts have developed a glossary of 238 words that are widely used to help interpret some of the terminology that you might see in marketing reports or hear in regular conversations with industry professionals. We believe in full transparency in all aspects of our digital marketing partnerships and built this resource to assist both parties – promoting enhanced conversations about expectations, planning, budgets, media channels, and performance.
Jump to a section:
- Common Digital Marketing Terms
- Display & Programmatic Marketing Terms
- Paid Search/Pay Per Click (PPC) Marketing Terms
- Social Media Marketing Terms
- Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Marketing Terms
- Web Design and Development Marketing Terms
33 Common Digital Marketing Terms
Many of the terms here are similar across several digital marketing channels. We break down some of the more specific terms by channel further down in this glossary for additional detail.
Comprises process of collecting information, reviewing, and reporting. The data is derived from all online touchpoints (i.e. a website, direct, organic, and pay channels), analyzed for insights and trends, and then delivered for strategic implementation.
Models of how conversion credit is applied to ads or campaigns based on the ways users interact with ads. Common attribution models include first interaction, last click, multi-touch, time-decay, and position based.
Average order amount (AOV)
The value amount (typically revenue) of all conversions divided by the total number of conversions.
An established level of normalcy for future comparison (i.e. the average or regular number of unique visitors per day to a website)
A link to a website saved for later reference in your web browser or computer.
The percentage of single-page sessions in which there was no interaction with the page before the visitor leaves the page. A bounced session has a duration of 0 seconds.
Call to Action (CTA)
The part of an advertising message that encourages a user to take an action. (i.e. “sign-up”, “buy now”, “call now”, “subscribe”, “learn more”, and “install now”)
A particular mechanism for delivering messages; a business’s message is delivered via one or more marketing channels such as email, social media, paid search, programmatic, etc.
Click Through Rate (CTR)
The rate at which users click through an ad after getting an impression. The calculation is CTR = clicks / impressions.
The action that the campaign is trying to get the user to take. Conversions are based on the overall goals of the brand or client. The most common conversion metrics are calls, leads, sign-ups, installs, and transactions.
Conversion rate (CVR)
The percentage of times a click turned into a conversion relative to total number of clicks. CVR = conversions / clicks.
Digital marketing calendar
A tool that provides a time-based structure for the planning, assigning, creating and delivering campaigns to the target audience of the marketer. Marketing schedules help align the marketing team with a company or brand’s overall objectives.
The number of times a user sees an ad over a set period of time.
Key Performance Indicator. KPIs are the main goals of a campaign.
Usually a single page on a site with a specific goal of conversions.
The total sum of all revenue estimated over the lifetime of a repeat customer.
Allocating conversion credit across multiple touch points based on a certain predefined citera. Credit allocation can vary based on the type of interaction, impression vs. click, and the time between the touch point and final action.
Recorded each time a visitor views a page on a website.
Pages per visit
The average number of pages viewed on a website by a single visitor during a single session.
The ideal compilation of all the traits of the “perfect” user or customer for a marketer’s product or service.
A 1 x 1 pixel graphic that tracks various events on a webpage. Tracking pixels help inform advertisers on their site engagement by providing insight into where users are coming from (i.e. an organic or paid search, referral website, social ad), how users engage once on the site (i.e. time on site, bounce rate, if they add to cart or purchase) and build targeting audiences based on site engagement.
The number of unique users reached within a certain period by a campaign.
Retargeting (RTG) or Remarketing (RMKT)
Targeting a user who has already taken action within a brand’s campaign or website before. Common retargeting audiences are people who have visited a website, watched a video, signed up for an email, or purchased in the past. Remarketing or retargeting lists are most commonly built via pixels or CRM lists uploaded to platforms.
Return on ad / advertising spend (ROAS)
How many dollars a campaign earns for every dollar spent. ROAS = revenue / media cost. ROAS is one of the main KPIs in determining campaign effectiveness.
Return on investment (ROI)
How many dollars a campaign earns for every dollar spent. ROI can be calculated in two ways depending on how each company looks at the costs involved. ROI = revenue / media cost or ROI = revenue / (media cost + additional fees or associated costs).
RSS stands for ‘really simple syndication.’ It is a subscription-based way to get updates on new content from a web source. Set up an RSS feed for your website or blog to help your followers stay updated when you release new content.
Sales cycle or Latency
The time required for an action or conversion to be completed after the first interaction. (i.e. there is an average 7-day latency period between an email sign-up and a first purchase)
A business cycle driven by calendar-based events during the year.
Actively removing audiences (typically CRM or pixel based) from marketing campaigns. A typical example of suppression is removing current customers from prospecting campaigns.
A group of users whose attributes make up the ideal customer to target within a campaign given the campaign goals.
Time on site
The average time that a website visitor remains active on a particular website.
The visitors who visit a website.
View Through Conversion
Conversion credit allocated to ads that were only seen as an impression but not clicked on.
66 Display & Programmatic Marketing Terms
Display Advertising is when marketers partner with different site publishers or networks to display advertisements across their resources in the site and the app. Programmatic is the automated way to purchase an ad inventory in real time. Ad formats can range from standard static banners to video formats, to native ads. Targeting capacities differ greatly depending on the publisher or device used.
The market for digital advertising space, run via computerized auctions that bring together both parties (advertisers and publishers) of the transaction.
Connected TV (CTV)
Another term for a television that has an ethernet connection or can connect to the internet wirelessly. This group of devices can also in some spectrums include TVs that are used as displays connected to other devices that have internet access.
Display ads are one of the oldest forms of online advertising and come in the form of banners in different sizes that are served to online audiences via display ad networks.
Data Management Platform (DMP)
Software that houses audience and campaign data from various information sources like publishers websites and apps on which advertisers buy advertising.
Demand Side Platform (DSP)
The buyer aspect of media buying that allows advertisers broad access and management of digital inventory through multiple ad exchanges, with the options to serve and track ads, perform real-time bidding on ads, utilize wide targeting, and optimize.
Ads that appear as part of the design and flow of the web page they are located on. Rather than standing out as an obvious hard-selling ad, native ads tend to have an editorial look and feel, with a softer selling approach.
Over The Top (OTT)
Video content that is served over the traditional closed television system. Using OTT services users don’t need to subscribe or pay a TV cable company to watch video content as most content is served via the internet.
These TV boxes serve as a hub for users to connect to OTT services and function as a mini computer with all the needed specifications, connections, and applications to watch over the top TV. Examples include Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV, Roku and more.
An automated way of buying advertising space via algorithm-based technology to get the most accurate ad placement in the fastest time at the best price. Programmatic advertising is sold via ad exchanges.
Real-Time Bidding (RTB)
A type of programmatic advertising that enables bidding for individual ad impressions, which makes it more focused than bulk ad buying.
Supply Side Platform (SSP)
The seller aspect of media buying. It’s a technology platform that enables web publishers and digital out-of-home media owners to manage their advertising space inventory, fill it with ads, and receive revenue.
54 Paid Search/Pay Per Click (PPC) Marketing Terms
Paid Search offers marketers the right to bid within Search Engines (like Google , Bing, and more) on keywords or phrases related to their company or customers, and to view advertisements within those results. In comparison to organic search results, marketers have to pay the search engines to display their ad listings. Usually paid advertisements next to the result would have a tag “promoted” or “funded.”
Google’s method for determining each ad’s position on a search engine results page. The advertiser with the highest ad rank will be placed in the top position followed by the ad with the second highest ad rank and so forth. Ad Rank is calculated based on the bid received, Quality Score and ad extensions, for each ad eligible to appear.
Since Google will only show one ad at a time from an advertiser, ad rotation determines which ad to display if there is more than one ad contained in an ad group.
Allows you to include a link to your app on Google Play and the Apple App Store. The headline of the ad will continue to link through to your website.
A tool that allows you to see all the other domains entering the same Google ad auctions at the campaign, ad group, and keyword level. Additionally, they give you information on how well your ads are performing in comparison to the different advertisers’ domains.
Allow you to define conditions to automatically make changes to your campaigns, ad groups, keywords and ads. (i.e. pausing keywords that have received less than 100 clicks and zero conversions).
Lets you choose how you want to pay for people engaging with your ads. Bid strategies for search campaigns include target search page location, target CPA (Cost Per Acquisition), target ROAS (Return On Advertising Spend), target outranking share, maximize clicks, maximize conversions, enhanced CPC and manual CPC.
Bing Ads (now Microsoft Ads)
Microsoft’s ad offering that enables customers to bid on keywords searched for in the Search Engine Results Page of Bing, Yahoo, or AOL and show ads for those searches within the results.
A Keyword Bid is the amount an advertiser is willing to pay a Search Engine for an ad click on a certain keyword searched.
This keyword would trigger your ads if a user searched for this phrase in any order, and with synonyms too (i.e. the keyword ‘womens shoes’ matches to ‘cheap womens shoes’, ‘womens blue shoes’ or ‘ladies shoes’).
An ad feature that allows advertisers to include additional information about their businesses and offering to their ads. In the case of call extensions, this additional information is your business phone number.
An ad format that includes the phone number as the headline and is shown to people on mobile devices. When people click on the ad they can call you directly, rather than clicking through to your website.
An extension that enables you to add more text to your ad to spotlight free shipping, discounts, price matching and more. Callout extensions are similar to sitelinks, but without the links.
Click (Paid Search)
When a user clicks on a Paid Search ad within the search results. The advertiser only accrues costs within the Search Engine when a user clicks on their ads.
Cost per Click (CPC)
The price paid for a click on a paid search ad based on the keyword, bid, quality score, and competition for that keyword’s ad position.
Feature that allows you to adjust your ads to only run during the most profitable hours or times of day.
Shows the website address (domain from the final URL) within the Search ad and does not display additional tracking parameters within the URL. This gives the user an idea of where they will go after they click on the ad.
A 90 character line of text shown underneath the ads headlines. There are two description lines available to show within each search result.
Dynamic Search Ads (DSA)
DSA’s use Google’s organic web crawling technology to automatically target relevant search queries based on a retailer’s website content. DSA’s are used when trying to expand campaigns outside of the keywords already in the account to drive incremental traffic and results.
By using exact match keywords, your ads will only be shown when someone searches for that exact term. It will also pick up plurals and spelling mistakes, so ‘womens shoes’ would also show ads for ‘women shoes’.
Expanded Text Ads
Expanded Text Ads allow advertisers to have more headline fields for additional text in the ads. There are 3 headline fields; the first two are required and the third is optional.
The amount of times an ad is shown to a user within the Google Display Network.
A feature that allows advertisers to place a limit on the number of times an ad is shown to a user within the Google Display Network.
Google Ads (Previously AdWords)
Google’s ad offering that enables customers to bid on keywords searched for in the Search Engine Results Page (SERP) and show ads for those searches within the results.
Google Keyword Planning Tool
A tool provided by Google within the Google Ads interface that helps users find and plan which keywords to target with their advertising campaigns.
Google Merchant Center
Platform that helps users organize and manage product listings for Google Shopping Campaigns.
A 30 character line of text that shows above the description in a search ad. The headline shows in the larger blue text and is most likely the first thing read by searchers within the ad unit.
Impression (Paid Search)
When a user is served a paid search ad in the SERPs.
The percentage of relevant searches an advertiser’s ad is able to appear in vs. the amount of times those ads actually appear. Impression Share can be lost due to budget and ad rank.
A word or phrase that a user searches with within a Search Engine to find and answer for their query. Advertisers can bid on these terms or phrases to show ads within the results pages.
Adds location details to your ad, so that people can find your business location. Details come from a linked Google My Business account which includes your locations listed on Google Maps.
This match type will trigger your ads if a user searched for a phrase in any order, without synonyms (i.e. +womens +shoes matching to ‘womens training shoes’ or ‘shoes for womens running’).
Organic Search Results
The results that show “organically” or without payment within Search Engines when a user submits a query. These results are under or besides the “sponsored ads” that show within the search results page.
Pay Per Click
The model Paid Search uses a Search Engine for every click on a paid ad for the amount an advertiser owes. The PPC model is based on auction, and advertisers bid in the search auction on the keywords that they want their ads to show for. Once an advertiser wins the auction, the search results indicate their advertisement. If a user clicks on that ad, the advertiser is expected to pay the bid price of the ad for that keyword.
This keyword would trigger your ads if a user searched for the exact phrase, but with words before and after (i.e ‘womens shoes’ matching to ‘red womens shoes’ or ‘womens shoe stores’).
Websites or Mobile Apps within the Google Display Network where your ads are shown.
Exclusions prevent your ads from being shown on websites, mobile apps, or categories of websites.
Adds individual products or services to your ads along with their price. Each item becomes clickable and sends people through to the relevant page on your website.
Product Listing Ads (PLA)
Google Shopping Ads that include product information such as price, image, and product description.
Shows a discount with your ads. Promotions can be a percentage or an amount off the regular price of a product or service.
Google’s measurement of how relevant an advertiser’s ads are to what someone is interested in. Quality Score is based on a range of factors, including click-through-rate, relevance and landing page experience.
Allows advertisers to show ads to users who have been on your site, but did not complete a conversion action.
Remarketing Lists for Search Ads (RLSA)
A search campaign that allows you to target users that have previously visited your site using remarketing lists.
Responsive Search Ads
A paid search ad type that dynamically adapts to show more text within the results. An advertiser can upload multiple headlines, description lines that get paired together based on their expected relevance to each user.
Search Engine Results
The results that show when a user searches for a keyword or phrase in a Search Engine (i.e. Google, Bing, Yahoo, or AOL).
Search Impression Share
The percentage of eligible impressions that your ads receive.
Search Impression Share Lost Due To Budget
The estimation of how often your ad didn’t show due to budget restraints.
Search Impression Share Lost Due To Rank
The estimation of how often your ad didn’t show due to poor ad rank.
Search Query Reports
Highly valuable reports that contain detailed information about your keywords and how well they are performing against users’ search terms. It’s vital to optimize your keywords to ensure your ad is being triggered by relevant search terms.
Selection of features that can be used across multiple campaigns. (i.e. remarketing lists, shared budgets, negative keywords).
Ads that include rich product information, such as a product image, price, and merchant name. They’re created using data attributes from the product information you submit in your Merchant Center data feed and are shown to people who are already searching for the kinds of products you advertise.
Sitelinks (Paid Search)
To add more links to your ads, you can create sitelink extensions. Sitelink extensions take people to specific pages on your site. When someone clicks or taps on the hyperlink, they will go directly to what they want to know or buy. Up to four sitelinks can be included with your ad.
Smart Bidding is a subset of automated bid strategies that use machine learning to optimize for conversions or conversion value in each and every auction – a feature known as “auction-time bidding”.
An extension that allows your ads to highlight specific aspects of your products and services. These ad extensions provide context on the nature and variety of your products and services before visitors click through to your site. Each snippet contains a header and list of features you would like to highlight.
Allows you to pass additional details through to your landing page. Parameters used in Tracking Templates can be used for reporting or customizing the user experience on your website.
50 Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Marketing Terms
Search Engine Optimization is the practice of optimizing the website to be more favorable in the eyes of search engines with the objective of increasing visibility (impressions), traffic (sessions), and rankings. Search Engine Optimization directly affects organic traffic, resulting in additional visitors to your site clicking on the Results page of the search engine (SERP). Unlike, with Paid Search, these clicks are free, but without careful optimization, visibility is not likely to grow.
Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP)
Lightweight pages that load instantly for mobile devices.
The actual text of a link to a web page. On most websites, this text is usually dark blue and underlined, or purple if you’ve visited the link in the past. Anchor text helps search engines understand what the destination page is about; it describes what you will see if you click through.
Text added to images to help search engines understand what the images are about and how they relate to the content on the page. Alt text also helps with screen readers.
The canonical URL is the best address on which a user can find a piece of information. Sometimes you might have a situation where the same page content can be accessed at more than one address. Specifying the canonical URL helps search engines understand which address for a piece of content is the best one.
Click (Organic Search)
Recorded when a user clicks on an organic search result.
Additional directories where you can get your NAP info listed to help increase authority for your website.
Just like directories for people and phone numbers, there are directories for websites. Submitting your site to a directory gives you more than just an inbound link; it helps people find you.
The main web address of your site (i.e. www.yoursite.com). It’s good to renew ownership of your domain for several years. Search engine rankings favor websites with longer registrations because it shows commitment.
A number from 0-100, calculated by Moz, indicating how good your entire domain is. It is calculated by the quantity of links to your site, the quality of those links, and the quantity and quality of those links.
The “fold” is the point on your website where the page gets cut off by the bottom of a user’s monitor or browser window. Anything below the fold can be scrolled to, but isn’t seen right away. Search engines place some priority on content above the fold, since it will be seen right away by new visitors. Having too many ads above the fold can be seen as a negative issue, too.
Text on your website that is placed inside of a heading tag, such as an H1 or H2. This text is often presented in a larger and stronger font than other text on the page.
Special code you can add to your HTML to help search engines understand the language on a page and show it to users using matching browser languages or based on IP address region.
The code part of your website that search engines read. Keep your HTML as clean as possible so that search engines read your site easily and often. Put as much layout-related code as possible in your CSS instead of your HTML.
A page on a website that lists out all the pages on the site in their hierarchy as links. These help users find what they are looking for.
Impression (Organic Search)
A datapoint collected whenever a link to a website is seen by a user, whether it be a text, image, or video link.
A link from one site into another. A link from another site will improve your SEO, especially if that site has a high PageRank.
A link from one page to another on the same website, such as from your homepage to your products page.
The pages of your website that are stored by search engines.
A word that a user enters in search. Each web page should be optimized with the goal of drawing in visitors who have searched specific keywords.
The activity and process of getting more inbound links to your website for improved search engine rankings.
Long Tail Keyword
An uncommon or infrequently searched keyword, typically with two or more words in the phrase. Small businesses should consider targeting long tail keywords, as they are lower difficulty and often have more qualified searchers. Common keywords such as ‘software’ are more competitive, and very hard to rank high for them in search.
Data that tells search engines what your website is about.
A brief description of fewer than 160 characters of the contents of a page and why someone would want to visit it. This is often displayed on search engine results pages below the page title as a sample of the content on the page.
Previously used by search engines in the 90s and early 00s to help determine what a web page was about, the meta keywords tag is no longer used by any major search engines.
The name you give your web page, which is seen at the top of your browser window and in the search results pages. Meta titles should contain keywords related to the topic of the page. Words at the beginning of your title are more highly weighted than words at the end.
Stands for Name Address Phone number. It is important for this information to be correct across the internet.
When a link from one site does not pass SEO credit to another. Do not use nofollow when linking to internal pages in your website. Use it when linking to external pages that you don’t want to endorse.
A number from 0-100, calculated by Moz, indicating how good your webpage is. It is calculated by the quantity of links to an individual page, the quality of those links, and the quantity and quality of those links.
An important ranking factor based on the performance score of your website. The higher the score, the better chance your site has of ranking highly.
HTTP/S (HyperText Transfer Protocol / Secure)
The standard protocol for the web to transfer text information. HTTPS is an encrypted version that requires the use of a SSL certificate.
One element of how a search engine determines where to rank a certain page, such as the number of inbound links to a page or the contents of the title tag on that page. There are currently over 200 ranking factors.
These are used by servers to provide information about the status of a webpage. A few common ones include –
Page is working properly
301 (permanent redirect)
Redirects the web browser to a different location and passes all page authority from the previous page to the new page.
302 (temporary redirect)
Redirects the web browser to a different location but does not pass any page authority.
404 (not found)
When a resource does not exist it returns this error code.
500 (internal server error)
A response from the server saying it had an issue.
A piece of information sent by a user’s browser when they navigate from page to page on the web. It includes information on where they came from previously, which helps webmasters understand how users are finding their website.
Rules for search engines to follow when crawling a website. Here you can designate pages to skip and pages that are allowed.
SERP (Search Engine Results Page)
The page that you are sent to after you run a query in a search engine. It typically has 10 results on it, but this may vary depending on the query and search engine in question.
Advanced coding for images to display different sized images based on the width of the screen viewing the page the image is on.
Sitelinks (Organic Search)
Shown beneath a website with links to internal pages. There are regular sitelinks (usually 2-6 links in 2 columns with short descriptions) and mini sitelinks (single row of links).
An important ranking factor based on the performance score of your website. The higher the score, the better chance your site has of ranking highly.
(i.e. Delicious.com) let users share websites they like with each other. Having links to your site in social bookmarking sites is a sign to crawlers that your website content is interesting to people.
A computer program that browses the internet and collects information about websites.
SSL (Secure Sockets Layer)
Protocol required to establish a secure HTTPS connection
The part of your website URL before your domain and after the protocol. (i.e. https -//subdomain.example.com)
The part of your website URL after your domain (i.e. https -//example.com/subfolder)
A special document created by a webmaster or a piece of software that provides a map of all the pages on a website to make it easier for a search engine to index that website.
11 Web Design and Development Marketing Terms
A part of your website where you should regularly publish content (i.e. commentary on industry/company topics, descriptions of events, photos, videos, etc.). Each blog post on your website is a new page that a search engine sees, and therefore a new opportunity to get found online.
A form through which you collect information about your site visitor. Conversion forms convert traffic into leads. Collecting contact information helps you follow up with these leads.
CSS (Cascading Style Sheets)
The part of your code that defines how different elements of your site look (i.e. headers, links).
The web server where all your website files are stored, allowing visitors to access your website.
Elements that create a visible menu structure to help users navigate to specific pages within a website.
A website designed to shrink and scale down to give tablet and mobile users the same experience as desktop users.
A company that provides the rental of a domain name.
A hidden duplicate of the current live website where testing and changes can take place to make sure everything functions correctly before putting it on the visible website.
Used as a basic mockup during the website design process to indicate layout and design without content.
What You See Is What You Get, pronounced “wizzy-wig,” this is a form of content editor for CMS that allows users to see the styles live as they appear on the published website.