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The digital marketing dictionary

Digital marketing acronym jargon explained, from A/B testing to, um, zocial media strategy.

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Posted by Michelle
6 October 2016

Marketing comes with plenty of jargon, and digital industries probably have even more. Combine the two and you're definitely onto a winner when it comes to acronyms, buzzwords and technical info!

This is our dictionary of digital marketing basics – a glossary intended to demystify digital marketing terminology, and what digital marketers are actually talking about a lot of the time.

A/B Testing

A method of testing in which one set of users is shown a new version of a site, page, email or ad, usually incorporating a different asset such as a banner, image, or call to action, while another set is shown the original version, in order to track which version is more successful at converting users.



Monitoring the performance of a website – where traffic has come from and what users are doing. A piece of code is inserted into web pages that tracks user behaviour. There are a lot of different tools for doing this but Google’s tool, Google Analytics, is one of the most common. 


Bounce Rate

The percentage of visitors to a website who leave without going to any other pages other than the one they landed on – essentially, they hit one page and bounce right off again. It's usually seen as a bad thing – a user didn't explore the rest of the site so obviously didn't find what they wanted – but it isn't always. They could have spent ten minutes reading that one page, for example, and found that it fulfilled all of their needs. Or they could have bookmarked the site to come back later. So looking at a website's bounce rate is useful, but not always something to be too fixated on.


Content Marketing

Creating and publishing content online to attract users. This could be blogs, e-books, infographics, videos, games, photos, email newsletters, podcasts, and more.



Conversion rate optimisation. Maximising the number of visitors to a site that take a desired action, whether that's joining a mailing list, making an enquiry, or completing a purchase. The way a site is designed plays a key role – if it's easy to navigate with clear calls to action, users are less likely to abandon their journey towards doing what you want them to do.



Call to action. Something on a website, whether a phrase, a link, or a button, that encourages users to do something. Even something as simple as "click here" is classed as a call to action, and can be essential for directing users to where you want them to go on a site. 



Click through rate. The number of people who actually click on an advert or CTA compared to the number of people who have seen it. So if an ad is served up to 1,000 users and 140 click on it, then it's got a click through rate of 14%.


Domain Authority

The esteem, relevance or importance a website holds compared to others. A site's domain authority has an impact on where it will rank in search engines, but it's also important for earned media activity. If a website with a higher domain authority links to another website, it's essentially a vote of confidence from that well-regarded site in the content of the other. Sites like the BBC and the Guardian have a really high domain authority across a really broad range of subject areas, so a link on one of those is very good news for SEO.


Earned Media

Content and publicity about a brand in external locations not owned by that brand, earned through promotional efforts, rather than something that is paid for. Coverage of a brand's activities on a newspaper's website would, for example, be a piece of earned media. Earning coverage with a link back to the brand from a reputable source is a big part of SEO. The opposite of earned media would be owned media – the things a brand owns and publishes itself.


Inbound Marketing

Traditional marketing, like TV ads, billboards, telemarketing, etc. relies on taking a brand out into the world. Inbound marketing, on the other hand, is all about attracting potential customers to come to you. Inbound marketing is basically an umbrella term for SEO, content marketing, earned media activity, and so on.



These are words and terms that people type into search engines. Brands want to associate themselves with keywords that best describe them and what they do, so their website appears in the results when a user searches for certain things.



Key performance indicators. A fancy term for goals and targets, really – KPIs are how you measure and evaluate what you're doing and how successful you are. They'll differ depending on what a brand or organisation wants to achieve, so a KPI could be achieving a certain revenue, or earning a certain number of external links each month. The best KPIs are SMART – which means Specific (not too vague, focused on a particular goal), Measurable (assigning quantifiable values to things, rather than just saying “do better at this”), Assignable (everyone knows who’s responsible for it), Realistic (actually achievable) and Time-related (measured at regular intervals).

Long Tail Keywords

The internet's a big place. A lot of different websites are competing to appear in the results for the most popular searches – the ones that get typed into search engines thousands of times a day. The chances of appearing at the top of the list for these terms is small, so it makes sense to also consider the "long tail" keywords. These have less people searching for them (so when they're plotted on a graph next to more popular terms, they look like a tail – it's that simple), but have far less competition, usually because they're longer or more specific. As an example, "Boats" would be a keyword with a lot of searches and a lot of completion, whereas the long tail keyword "Boats for sale in Brighton" would have less searches, but also far less competition, making it easier for a brand to appear at the top of the list.  Very handy, if you're selling boats in Brighton.



Metadata basically means data about data. In SEO terms, it means data that's hidden within the code of your page that tells search engines what it's all about. It includes a meta title, which is what's shown in search engine results and at the top of a browser, a meta description, which is the snippet that appears on the search engine results page, and meta tags, which are the keywords that describe the content on the page.


On-page Optimisation

Making sure a webpage is as good as it can be – from an SEO perspective, anyway. Can it be read by people? Can it be read by search engines? Does it have top quality, valuable content? Does it have the right keywords? Can it be viewed on mobiles and shared on social media? Is all the metadata in place? If the answer to all of these questions is "yes", you're on your way to a well-optimised page.



Pay-per click advertising. These are the ads that appear above the regular search results on Google or Bing. You can bid to appear as a paid result for certain search terms, and you only pay when the links are clicked. More popular terms are more expensive, as there's more competition from others who want to appear in the results for those terms. AdWords is the PPC tool provided by Google.


The position in which a brand appears in the search results for a particular keyword. If it's the top result (after the paid results), then it's ranked first. If it's the second result… we're sure you can work it out. Digital marketers will often talk about the best keywords to rank for – all they mean is the best keywords to appear on the first page of the search results for.


Rich Media

Creative content, such as infographics, videos, and so on.



Return on investment. How much have you made compared to how much you spent? This is usually expressed as a percentage. Say you spent £1,000 on a digital marketing campaign, and made £1,500 as a result of its activity. Subtract the cost from your revenue (£500), and then divide it by the cost again. You'll be left with a percentage, which in this example will be a return on investment of 50%.



Search engine results page. This is what you see after you've typed in a phrase and clicked "search" on a search engine. There'll be a list of results, a few paid ads, and there may be some extra contextual info that Google pulls through, such as images, videos, answers to questions, business contact info, and Accelerated Mobile Pages.



Search engine optimisation. Making sure a website can be seen by search engines, and tailoring its content and marketing so it appears higher up the results page when someone searches for certain terms. This is done in a number of ways – by ensuring the words on each page have certain keywords, that everything is organised properly behind the scenes, and that other websites are linking to it, essentially offering a vote of confidence that it's worth looking at.


Social Media Strategy

 Making the most out of social media, such as Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and LinkedIn, isn't as simple as just sticking a few updates on there now and then. A social media strategy is a plan of action – how and when you'll post updates, who you'll try and connect with, what hashtags you'll use, what content you'll post, and so on.

Want to know more about digital marketing, and what we can do for you? Get in touch with us for a chat – we're here to help!

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