Marketing Acronyms and Terms

On September 9, 2010, in List, by John

As you explore the world of marketing—and especially online marketing—you will inevitably run across an alphabet soup of acronyms, terms, phrases and other jargon that you will need to decipher. Most seasoned marketers throw these terms around with ease and confidence, forgetting that up-and-coming marketers may not be as familiar with them. And most junior marketers are unwilling to admit they are in the dark about terminology, so they suffer in silence. To help new marketers decipher this alphabet soup of terminology, and refresh senior marketers’ memories of what the terms actually mean, I’ve put together a list of some acronyms and terms below. Of course this is not meant as an exhaustive list, so feel free to add some of your own terms in the comment section.

Marketing Acronym Translator

Glossary of Marketing Terms


Above the fold: Refers to any information or content that appears at the top of a web page or other marketing piece. The point of origin for this phrase comes from newspapers, and it referred to content above the fold running through the middle of the page.

Adsense: Google’s contextual advertising program. You can incorporate Adsense into your own site to generate advertising revenue.

Adwords: Google’s Pay Per Click advertising program. You can use this program to advertising your offering and drive traffic to your site.

Affiliate: Someone who resells a company’s product/services. Affiliates typically do not handle the product/service, but rather help in the advertising. Affiliates are typically paid for every buyer (completes a transaction) they refer to a company’s website. Software programs track every visitor and every sale, allowing affiliate a way to track their progress online.

Alt Text: Also known as alternative text, Alt Text is text used to describe images and links in the HTML code of a webpage or email. If someone has the images turned off in their web browser, alt text that will appear in place of the image. (Also referred to as Tool Tips.)

B2B: Business to Business. Refers to a business marketing to another business, rather than directly to consumers.

B2C: Business to Consumer. Refers to businesses marketing directly to end-user consumers.

B2G: Business to Government. Refers to businesses marketing to government entities and/or agencies (federal, state and local). Similar to B2B marketing, but may involve a more bureaucratic sales process and several layers of approvals.

Backlinks: Links on other sites/pages that refer back to your site/page. Backlinks from sites, especially highly ranked and trafficked sites, help your own page rank and drive traffic to your site.

Below the Fold: Any content that appears at the bottom of a webpage, requiring the user to scroll down, or at the bottom of a marketing piece.

CMS: Content Management System. A program or application that allows non-technical users edit, update, maintain and create a websites, webpages and content using built-in templates.

Contextual Advertising: Online ads targeted directly toward the individual user visiting a web page. Contextual advertising systems scan the content of a site/webpage, determine what the page is about, and then display topical ads related to the content.

Cookie: A unique code or file automatically embedded within a visitor’s web browser. A cookie allows a website to track that visitor during his current visit and any subsequent visits.

CPA: Cost Per Action/Acquisition. Cost an advertiser incurs for each specific action a visitor takes in response to an ad. This commonly includes subscribing to a newsletter, requesting a free trial, requesting more information of a sales-call follow-up, or even making a purchase. It doesn’t matter how many people see your ad or click on it. You pay for the number of people who complete the action you determine, leading to an acquisition. (Sometimes referred to as PPA, Pay Per Action/Acquisition.)

CPC: Cost Per Click. This is the cost to an advertiser for each click on a link by a site visitor, search engine user or even a newsletter reader. Many search networks/engines, such as Google, use this model to generate revenue from advertisers. With this setup, you only pay a set cost for every click recorded, regardless of the number impressions. (Sometimes referred to as PPC, Pay Per Click.)

CPL: Cost Per Lead. This is usually an internally defined metric that measures the marketing expenditure needed to obtain each new sales lead. Comparing CPL between marketing activities is a good way to gauge the effectiveness of how you are dedicating resources. (Sometimes referred to as PPL, Pay Per Lead.)

CPM: Cost Per Mille (Thousand). This is the amount charged for every 1,000 impressions of an ad. With this model, you pay a set price for every 1,000 impressions, regardless of how many clicks are recorded. (Sometimes referred to as PPM, Pay Per Mille.)

CPS: Cost Per Sale. This is a broad internal metric generated by dividing costs (usually marketing related) by sales revenue generated to determine the cost to make each sale. This metric is great at determining the effectiveness and efficiency of your sales process.

CR: Conversion Rate/Ratio. The percentage of prospects who complete a desired action (make a purchase, subscribe to a newsletter, etc.). Usually the higher the CR, the better.

CRM: Customer Relationship Management/Manager. Involves improving customer interactions by better understanding their needs and wants, as well as their history and behaviors. Also sometimes refers to software or systems that track customer interactions with the aim of increasing sales, customer satisfaction and customer loyalty (and therefore increasing profits).

CSS: Cascading Style Sheets. Used in conjunction with (and sometimes in place of) HTML to render webpages and emails. CSS helps make designs more flexible and can result in reduced HTML file sizes.

CTR: Click-Through Rate/Ratio. Percentage of visitors/users who click on a link.

Cyber Squatting: A practice of registering a domain name with the sole intent of selling it to someone else who may actually want to use the domain for a website. Some cyber squatters register domain names of known or new trademarks, hoping to sell those domain names to the trademark owner. Others simply register many domain names using commonly used words and terms at a very low cost, and then wait for someone to buy it.

Dead Link: A link that no longer works.

DM: Direct Marketing. A type of advertising meant to elicit an action (place an order, visit a store/website, request further information) in response to a communication from the marketer. The communication itself could be in a variety of formats, including traditional mail, telemarketing, e-mail, infomercials and point-of-sale (POS) displays. Customer response to the campaign is usually measurable. (Also referred to as Direct Mail or Direct Response.)

FAQs: Frequently Asked Questions. Often used as the webpage title of answers to commonly asked questions about an offering or company.

HTML: HyperText Markup Language. HTML is the set of symbols/codes/tags that tell a browser how to display content on the web.

IM: Instant Messaging. A communication vehicle that enables a kind of private chat room with another individual or group in real time. It’s similar to a telephone conversation but uses text-based communication.

POS: Point of Sale. A place where a sale is made. Commonly a business, place or display where an offering can be purchased. (Also called Point of Purchase.)

PR: Page Rank. An assessment by a search engine, such as Google or Yahoo, of a website’s or webpage’s relevance to a specific term/subject and possibly its popularity

PR: Press Release. A public relations announcement about a product, service or company issued to the news media and other targeted recipients for the purpose of drawing public attention to the subject and letting the public know of new developments. (Also called a News Release.)

PV: Page View. A measure of each time a user visits a webpage. (Also written Pageview.)

ROI: Return on Investment. This refers to how much profit is made after all applicable costs have been accounted for. ROI can be calculated for a business as a whole, or it can be calculated for specific activities, divisions, etc. From a marketing perspective, this is a commonly used metric that gauges the effectiveness of a marketing campaign.

RON: Run of Network. This is an arrangement with an ad network to have your ad placed throughout all websites within the network. Ad networks are basically a collection of websites that provide ad space. Websites join ad networks to sell ad space because they do not enjoy the economies of scale networks do in dealing with ad sales, metrics, reporting, customer service, etc., to their advertisers. Instead they contract their ad space to a network. Often RON is cheaper than having your ad placed on selected sites.

ROS: Run of Site. Similar to ROS, but ads rotate across the pages of a single site instead of an entire network. This is usually cheaper than having your ad placed on select pages.

RSS: Really Simple Syndication/RDF Site Summary/Rich Site Summary. Acronym used to describe a method of web content syndication. RSS is XML based and allows publishers to distribute their content, which can then be read by an RSS reader, on another website or even through mobile applications.

SEM: Search Engine Marketing. Marketing tactic similar to SEO that stresses the importance of search engines and search engine rankings to drive traffic to a website.

SEO: Search Engine Optimization. The process of optimizing webpages and websites for high rankings in search engine results in order to attract more visitors.

SERP: Search Engine Results Page. Page of results displayed after a successful search engine query.

SMM: Social Media Marketing. The process of generating interest and excitement in an offering through various online social outlets, such as blogs, RSS feeds and social networks. Programs usually center on creating content that attracts attention, generates online conversations and encourages readers to share it with their own social networks. The message spreads from user to user and hopefully resonates since it is coming from a trusted source as opposed to the brand or company itself. (Also referred to as Social Media Optimization.)

USP: Unique Selling Proposition. The reason somebody should buy from you and not competitors. It is the unique set of benefits your product/service offers consumers.

VOD: Video On Demand. Systems that allow users to select and watch/listen to video content on demand to an individual web browser, TV, handheld or other device whenever the user requests it.

WOMM: Word Of Mouth Marketing. A form of viral marketing similar to Social Media Marketing that involves the passing of information from person to person. Originally the term referred specifically to oral communication, but has come to include any form of human communication, such as face to face, telephone, email and text messaging.

WYSIWYG: What You See Is What You Get. A website editor that converts your text, image and graphic layout into HTML while displaying the content exactly as it will be seen by the end user. Most Content Management Systems utilize a WYSIWYG editor. Pronounced “Whizzy-Wig.”

XML: Extensible Markup Language. A generic format intended for maximum flexibility that provides information in a wide variety of structural formats. A variety of XML formats exist for different applications, including RSS. Unlike HTML, XML is extensible, meaning authors can create their own elements and attributes.

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41 Responses to “Marketing Acronyms and Terms”

  1. Yossi says:

    Great! Complete acronyms :). The best post articlr of management and marketing.

  2. Online Poker says:

    I love acronyms… Marketing Acronyms are new but sounds cool to me…

    • i’m your opposite. although acronims are good when you are writing, you may get confused when reading the text. ROI, RON, ROS – try to learn everything before you meet these terms :) and there are dozens of them…

  3. Very useful collection of acronyms, I`ve found here something really interesting. Thanks for sharing!

  4. Handy. All of the cliches in one place :)

  5. I am glad I give a shot of visiting your site because honestly, I am now quite familiar with most of the acronyms. Reading your post is such privileged because I am knew what those acronyms are and their purpose.

  6. well…in each fields we have our own acronyms. We don’t have to memorize all of this but it’s a nice thing that you got us informed about this to keep us familiarized.

  7. seo says:

    Thank you for listing the Glossary of Marketing Terms here. It really help us work online with terms. Because I am still new with some acronyms, after reading your post i have knew that how these words mean and their purpose.

  8. Your list is so helpful for people whose first language is not English. As in the marketing, people like use acronyms instead of writing the full names. If you are the new people in the marketing, it is essential for you to understand and use them in the work.

  9. I have known some acronyms already, and this post is good material for me to add new acronyms. I think i will keep your post to view in the future, and it is helpful for me during my work.

  10. Great informative post. I’m a newbie Internet marker. Started for almost a year now. This article is very informative, I’ve learned a lot of terms. I’m sure everyone who had read this article agrees as well. Thanks again and keep posting.

  11. pikalaina says:

    Thank you for that list. I already knew the most of them but there are also some new terms for me. I have never heard about POS, VOD, USP, WOMM or ROS…

  12. Wow, very nice post, (I’m sincere). I have to bookmark your page, just in case I’ll use it someday. I wanted to learn marketing terms, for my business purpose, and this page is quite informative. I am satisfied with this, thank you so much for sharing.

  13. Hailing from a team of entrepreneurs, I can relate to all that biz talk!

    We use a lot of B2B and B2C in our jargon too, and your post has just provided me with a couple of more terms that I can bowl my colleagues over with. Thanks! :)

    Content Writing India

  14. An excellent list, thanks! I was really surprised to find so many I never heard from, like B2G. Yet again, I think you have a couple of important acronyms/terms missing, such as:
    A/B testing
    Conversion Optimization
    Landing Page
    Link Juice
    Page Rank
    Web Analytics

  15. Helpful list! Thanks for posting..This add up to my basket of acronyms. It’s really a good help! Keep posting,..Godbless!

  16. Nice one!..these acronyms will be a help for new marketers out there. Sometimes if you’re new to the field and you hear those words you can’t comprehend and relate to what they are talking.

  17. Good post, could totally relate to many acronyms here. I spend half my time worrying about my ROI and try and read up on the latest SMM strategies. 😉

    It’s biz talk, and it’s fun. A few months back when someone would bring up SEO, I’d be like ‘Pardon?’

    Thanks for including a comprehensive list here, now I’ve some new ones in my kitty! :)

  18. Anita says:

    thanks for telling abt these terms. learned a lot here! great post!

  19. Benu Gpal says:

    As in the marketing, people like use acronyms instead of writing the full names. If you are the new people in the marketing, it is essential for you to understand and use them in the work. Thanks!

  20. Thanks! What I like most the the glossary of the terms. I am a newbie in all this marketing and seo stuff, so I had to goole very often to find out the meaning of some abbreviations. Now everything is here.

  21. Great list, we printed it out and put it on our wall.

  22. This is a great cheat-sheet for online marketing parlance that every webmaster, developer and SEO should be familiar with. I know when I first joined the scene, I had to learn dozens of acronyms. It’s overwhelming at first, but eventually, you’ll know them all. I just really wished I had this list from day one. Could of saved me a lot of hassle!

  23. John merrel says:

    No many people understand marketing as you have explained, thanks for this. keep up the good work.

  24. You provided a good and full list of internet marketing. Well done.

  25. car stickers says:

    I like this cool acronyms,…I have to bookmark your page ..
    it’s helpful for people whose first language is not English..
    that’s is amazing posts…
    thanks for sharing..

  26. Thank you for your effort. I’ll add PHP, Protocol Hyper-Text and PPC, Pay Per Click. Cheers!:-)

  27. matty says:

    intersting list! the ones i learned from here are:
    -above the fold

  28. Kredit says:

    Nice article post. Good list for different marketing concepts. The concepts you should all know when you’re working in the area.

  29. Also a ton of slang internet marketing terms such as link juice, black hat/white hat, plus some stuff like nofollow or dofollow. Tons of terms out there, great start to the list though!

  30. I would like to add up this one. ECPM = effectivecost per mile.

  31. Mark Lee says:

    Its very helpful. From here I know about the Marketing Acronyms and Terms and also about the phrases. That’s a nice post.

  32. Jen says:

    This is a great list. Incredibly helpful. I’m definitely going to be bookmarking this post so that I can refer to it when I need to!

  33. You have done a great job, most of us know marketing, but not have knowledge about marketing terms; honestly speaking I don’t know most of these marketing terms, thanks for that post.

  34. Sophia says:

    Thank you for your sharing, it is a useful list for me as a newbie. It is helpful to know more about these acronyms, that makes you more professional and skillful.

  35. Suzanne Grey says:

    Complete list of acronyms! Simply amazing.

  36. This is great! I didn’t know half of these acronyms, or even more than half. Great job compiling this list! It will receive an honorary place among my bookmarks, for sure! Thanks!

  37. Thanks for sharing the nice information, such terms are very common in online marketing but you give nice exposure while giving the complete names.

  38. Acronyms….different for every field. Had a laugh the other day when a colleague referred to his executive director as ED. I’m sure it’s a popular acronym, but with all the commercials out there about the little blue pill, ED has become better known as something else 😉

  39. Ragib says:

    I wasn’t familiar with the terms previously but now I got the knowledge about many things.Thanks a lot for the kind info.

  40. A very handy comprehensive list of marketing acronyms. These are just some of the most commonly used acronyms in marketing. And I’m glad you made this list. Such an informative and helpful post. Thanks for sharing!

    hospital marketing

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