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.
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.