Digital Marketing Lingo: 50 Terms to Know

Published: January 22, 2018  by 

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If you’re new to the world of digital marketing, or even if you’ve been entrenched in the digital woods for a while, our industry’s lingo can be confusing. Between the plethora of acronyms and the seemingly arbitrary terms, it can be hard to know what the heck the folks working on your digital marketing are talking about.

Fear not, friends. We’ve compiled a glossary of the most common and most confusing digital marketing terms, grouped by discipline, so you can cut through the jargon and ask the right questions.

PPC and SEM Terms, Explained


Each time your ad is shown on a search engine results page or other site within the Google network, it counts as an impression, whether or not users must scroll to see it.


AdWords and BingAds count a Click any time a user clicks on your ad (usually the headline of your ad will be blue and clickable). You may notice a small difference in clicks and the actual number of website visits, because a click is counted regardless of whether a user reaches your website or not, potentially because of an error.

Click-through rate (CTR)

CTR is the number of clicks your ad receives divided by the number of times your ad is shown: clicks ÷ impressions = CTR. For example, if you had five clicks and 1,000 impressions, your CTR would be 0.5 percent. Each of your ads and keywords has its own CTR. CTRs typically reflect how relevant and useful your ads are for users, and as a metric of your keywords’ Quality Score, CTR can affect your ad costs and positions.

Average position

This measures how your ad typically ranks against other ads, and rank determines the order in which ads appear on the page. The highest position is 1, and there is no “last” position. An average position of 1-7 is generally on the first page of search results, 8-14 is generally on the second page, and so on. Average positions can be between two whole numbers. For example, an average position of 1.7 means your ad usually appears in positions 1 or 2 (70 percent of the time in position 2 and 30 percent of the time in position 1). You can see an “Avg. Pos.” column for your ads, campaigns, and other elements, but average position is generally most useful to look at for your keywords. By seeing how your ad typically ranks when it’s triggered by one of your keywords, you can try to influence your position by changing the keyword’s bid.

Conversions / Actions

Conversions are a specific customer activity that is valuable to your business. You can define conversions and trigger your site to register them in several different ways, including Contact Us form fills, a purchase, a Thank You page view after signing up for an email list, and more.

Lead / Import

When your ads support the initiation of a conversion, but the completion of that conversion must happen offline, it’s referred to as a lead/import. For example, a user might submit a contact form online after seeing your ad and be considered a lead, but until the user makes an in-person purchase, he or she is not counted as a conversion.

Ad Relevance

Ad relevance measures how well your ad meets the intent and needs of the keyword being searched. Ad relevance is another factor of Quality Score and reflects how well your ad makes sense as a result for specific search terms.

Remarketing / Retargeting

When an ad “follows” a user, displaying on other web properties after that user has visited your website, this is known as retargeting. The repeated impressions can encourage a user to complete the conversion.

Quality Score

Rated on a 1-10 scale, the Quality Score given for each of your targeted keywords assesses the perceived quality of your ads and related landing pages. Quality Score takes into account Expected Clickthrough Rate, Ad Relevance, and the user experience of your landing page(s). Your score affects your ad position and associated costs.

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Social Media Terms and Definitions


Campaign is the top level within the structure of Facebook’s ad platform. The structure is as follows: Campaigns > Ad Sets > Ads. Ad sets and ads exist within one campaign. At the campaign level, you control a campaign’s objective, such as page or post engagement, video views or app installs, website conversions or other objectives. At the ad set level, you can control budgeting and scheduling, audience, placement, and optimization and delivery of ads.


One instance of an ad entering the screen of the viewer counts as an impression.


Reach is the total number of people with at least one impression of your ad.


The Boost button is the blue button on your Facebook page enticing you to quickly and easily spend money on an ad without giving detailed targeting parameters. Avoid using the blue Boost button and promote posts via Ads Manager or Power Editor.

Relevancy Score

This measures how useful an ad is to a particular audience. The score is measured on a scale of 0-10 and displayed after 500 impressions are reached. Then, the score updates in real time.


Facebook’s ad platform will show your ad to your target audience members more than one time to help increase awareness and chance of further action. Frequency is the average number of times one user sees a specific ad.

Facebook Pixel

The Facebook Pixel for your Facebook ads lets you measure conversions, optimize ads for valuable actions, and create audiences for remarketing. A conversion pixel is a piece of software (JavaScript) code that places a blank 1×1 pixel image on your website. When someone visits a page of your website where you have installed the conversion pixel, the pixel will fire and report data to Facebook.


Similar to retargeting with paid search ads, Facebook retargeting is the process of advertising a second time to a person. Retargeting is ‘a second bite at the apple’ convincing a person they should buy from you.

Power Editor

The Power Editor is the tool used to manage your ads in bulk. Power Editor is the main tool advanced Facebook advertisers use. New features are given to the Power Editor first before updates are rolled out to the Ads Manager, the main tool for beginner and intermediate Facebook advertisers.

Ad Auction

Facebook advertising is set up like an auction. Facebook’s ad platform selects the best ad to run, and the winner is not always the person with the highest bid. This selection is based on the ad’s maximum bids, ad performance, your ad’s account history and a number of other factors. All ads on Facebook compete against each other in this process. The platform determines which ad is most likely to be successful and will choose that ad.

Daily/Lifetime Budget

This is the maximum amount you’re willing to spend on each campaign, designated as either a maximum daily spend, where Facebook will spend up to a certain amount per day, or a maximum lifetime spend, where Facebook will spread the budget over the lifetime of the ad as it sees fit.

Link Clicks

This can refer to the objective of guiding people to click a link, or the actual number of clicks on said outbound link directing users from Facebook to either a landing page, another website, a download, or an offsite video.

Cost Per Action/Conversion

Conversions are customer-completed actions, like purchases or adding to a cart on a website. CPA (or cost per action/conversion) is equal to the total amount spent on your ad divided by the number of desired actions taken.

CPC (Cost per Click)

CPC (cost per click) is the amount you are charged each time someone interacts with your ad. Your total charges are based on the amount you spent on the ad divided by all clicks the ad received.

CPL (Cost per Lead)

This is the amount of money spent to get a lead, or someone who has moved through the first part of the sales funnel (the awareness/consideration phase) and is closer to purchasing your product.

CTR or Results Rate

Click-through rate (CTR) is the percentage of times people saw your ad and performed a click (all). The metric is calculated as clicks (all) divided by impressions.

Cost per Page Engagement

This is the average cost per action related to the page and your page’s posts as a result of your ad. Post clicks, likes and reactions, comments, and shares all count as engagement.


CPM is a common measurement for ad views and measures the average cost paid to get 1,000 impressions on your ad. It’s calculated by taking the total amount spent on an ad campaign, divided by impressions, multiplied by 1,000. (Example: If you spent $50 and got 10,000 impressions, your CPM was $5.)

People Taking Action

This refers to the number of unique people who took an action, such as liking your Page or installing your app, as a result of your ad. For example, if the same person likes and comments on a post, they will be counted as one unique person.

Potential Reach

Potential reach is the number of active people on Facebook, counted monthly, who match the audience you defined through your audience targeting selections.


This refers to the current status of your campaign, ad set, or ad. Ads can be active (running), inactive (finished), or not running due to an error or because they’re still in the approval process. The Delivery Insights dashboard can help you better understand the performance of your ads by showing you metrics and stats about your ads.

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SEO and Content Marketing Terms, Defined

Black Hat

Black hat SEO techniques employ unethical and often spammy ways to try and gain an unfair advantage. Search engines are cracking down on black hat SEO and will penalize a site with decreased showings on results pages and potentially even blacklist the site. It’s imperative to make sure your agency is not using these types of tactics.

A/B Testing

A/B testing is the practice of comparing different test versions of a web page, piece of content, like an email, or even a social media ad, to see which one is the most successful prior to a full launch. Normally, results are tested on variables like the headline, content format, layout, or the subject line. The test will run with a small sample of the audience for a short period until there is sufficient data to determine a winner, and the winning content will run for the remainder of the ad’s duration.

Heat Map

Heat maps use web analytics data, like clicks, scrolls, and pauses, to visually show which parts of a web page users interact with the most. Heat maps can show how users move around a site and where they click and don’t click. This valuable information allows marketers to place content on the site more intuitively.


An influencer refers to an individual or brand with a good reputation and high engagement within a specific niche. Partnerships with influencers can leverage their high engagement and trust factor to foster return, either through sales or reciprocated engagement. Influencer coverage is often trusted more than regular advertisements, and can lead to higher-than-normal rates of return.


This is a shared data markup language that makes content more accessible to search engines and better tailored for humans. When Schema is used properly, content can appear directly on top of normal search results, in the form of directions, a definition, movie times, or a recipe, giving users the content they are looking for directly in the SERPs.


SERPs, or search engine results pages, are the information displayed to a user in response to a query. Answer boxes, ads, and local packs with maps make up the top section of Google’s SERP, with organically ranked pages cascading past the fold, or scroll line.


The words or phrases people use to find the information they’re looking for in a search engine are called keywords. Keywords can be phrased as single words, non-sentence strings of words, or questions. Multiple-word phrases and lengthier question search queries are also known as long-tail keywords.

User-Generated Content

This refers to content contributed from individuals not paid or affiliated with a brand. Content created by users is often thought of as less biased than that created by brands, and can also help brands understand the real truth about how people use their products and services.

Common Website Analytics Terms


This metric refers to the total number of times users came to the website in a given time period.


This metric refers to the number of unique users who visited the website (had a session) during said period.


This is the number of times a page was viewed during a session.

Time on Page

Time on page is equal to the duration from the time a page is loaded to when a user exits the page–this metric times out after 30 minutes of inactivity.

Session Duration

Formerly called Time on Site, session duration calculates the total period from the time the first page is loaded to the time the last page is loaded. This is not a completely accurate measurement since time spent on the last page viewed is not included in the metric.

Bounce Rate

Bounce rate refers to the percentage of visits with a single pageview that did not scroll on the page or did not stay on the page for at least 10 seconds.

Visitor Type

Visitor type indicates if a visitor is new (has never visited your site before) or is returning to the website.


This is the way by which users find your site, including search engines, directly typing in the domain, or being directed to your site from another web domain.


This refers to the general category of the site visit, including organic, CPC paid search, or referral.

Feature interaction tracking

This tracks interactions with features on the website, like galleries, marquee scrolling, and button clicking.

Content scrolling

Content scrolling tracks visitors scrolling past specific areas of content on a page. Each core content area a visitor scrolls past initially will fire off an event in Google Analytics. If a visitor scrolls back up to the top of a page, these scroll events will not be tracked in Google Analytics.

Form engagement tracking

Tracking of form abandonment and submissions is called form engagement tracking. If a visitor begins to fill out a form but does not submit it, the last form field completed will be recorded as the field on which the visitor abandoned the form.

Learning the lingo and keeping track of the ever-evolving world of digital marketing takes time. For many business owners, that time would be better spent running your business while letting the experts handle your digital marketing. That’s where BigWing Connect comes in. Connect’s suite of digital services is perfect for small businesses wanting to make a bigger impact online.

Take a look at our video and see how Connect could be the business solution you’ve been looking for.