Home » Other » Digital Marketing Glossary: Basic Digital Marketing Terms Defined
Getting started with internet marketing can be tough. One of the big reasons for this is the seemingly endless number of terms that are unique to the world of digital marketing. For that reason we decided to compile a list of the most common online terms and define them for you. With that in mind, here are the essential digital marketing definitions that you need to know!

Social Media Marketing Terms

Social Media

A generic term for a website or app that allows its users to directly interact with one another. Common social media channels include Facebook, Youtube, Instagram and Twitter.


Someone who subscribes to your social media account so that they can receive your updates.


A symbol (#) used on social media sites like Twitter and Facebook to annotate certain works or phrases. Hashtags are used to categorize social media posts so they are more easily discovered by users.


A symbol (@) used to include a link other user’s profiles in a social media post. Tagging another user will also send that user a notification that they’ve been tagged.


A feed on social media user’s accounts where they can see posts and updates from their Friends and Pages that the user is a Fan/Follower of.


The number of people that have had one of your posts or ads appear on their screen. This is simply a measure of people that have a chance at seeing your ad or post. Those that scroll right past without looking at it are also counted in reach.


The total number of times your ad or post were shown to someone, including the same person seeing the same post twice. If the same person sees the same ad twice they will count as a reach of 1 and an impression of 2.

Engagement Rate

A measurement of how “engaged” your social media audience is your posts. An engaged user is one that interacts with your post in some way; for example by liking the post or clicking on a link. To calculate your engagement rate divide the number of “engagements” by the number of people reached. A post that reached 100 people and engaged 5 of them would therefore have an engagement rate of 5%.

SEO Terms

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

The process of designing websites to rank as high as possible in search engine results pages.

Search Engine Results Page (SERP)

The page of results a search engine gives in response to a consumer search query. These results are the webpages that the search engine has deemed to be the most relevant to the search being performed.

Relevancy is determined using a complex algorithm that utilize over 200 ranking factors including keywords, geographic location, the browsing history of the searcher, and the performance of the websites being ranked.

Ranking Algorithm

The program by which search engines like Google determine which websites are listed in SERPs and the order that they are ranked. These algorithms currently weigh over 200 factors ranging from keywords to website performance to consumer experience.


Keywords are particular words or phrases that define the subject of a webpage. When deciding which pages to display for a user’s search query, search engines scan webpages and look for words associated with the user’s search. The webpages with keywords that best match the user’s search will be shown in the SERP for that search.

Meta Data

Meta Data is information added to webpages and images but not displayed on them. This information is used for many purposes, such as building your SERP listing or letting search engines know the subject of an image.


A robots.txt file is a file in your website’s database that tells search engines which pages they can and can’t crawl.  This is useful if there are any pages in your website that you don’t want displayed on search engine results pages.

Online Advertising Terms

Call To Action (CTA)

A “Call To Action” or CTA is an image or line of text designed to get consumers to take a specific action. CTAs should be integrated into every part of your online presence. Add them to your website to encourage visitors to complete your goals. Add them to your ads to give consumers a good reason to click on the ad.

Display Ads

Advertisements that are made using pictures, video, or rich media are considered display ads. These ads are typically found on websites and mobile apps. Advertisers bid on interests related to their business. When consumers with matching interests visit a website, the ad with the winning bid is displayed on the website or mobile app.

Text Ads

Advertisements that are exclusively made up of text are known as text ads. These ads are most commonly seen at the top of a search engine results page (SERP.) Advertisers can bid on keywords related to their business. When these keywords are searched by a consumer, the ad with the winning bid gets displayed on the SERP.

Organic and Paid Search Results

Organic search results are the listings on search engine results pages that are not paid for. These listings appear because of their relevance to the users search terms. The more relevant your page is, the higher your listing will appear on the search engine results page (SERP).

Non-organic search results are paid advertisements. These results are ranked in an auction style bidding process. Marketers bid an amount of money they are willing to spend to show their ad on the top of search results. This bid is combined with the quality and relevancy of their ad and landing page to give it each advertisement an Ad Rank. Whichever ad has the highest Ad Rank will be displayed first in the SERP.

PPC (Pay Per Click)

A common type of online advertising where advertisers are charged every time a consumer click on their ad.

CPC (Cost Per Click)

The amount the advertiser is charged when a consumer click on an ad.

Landing Page

The page you want visitors to go to once they click on your ad. The purpose of a landing page is to get your visitor to take a desired action such as subscribe to a newsletter, fill out a contact form or purchase a product. Landing pages are a very important part of any advertisement. A great ad with a badly designed or irrelevant landing page will still perform poorly. For that reason Google uses landing page experience as a factor when determining how much you are charged for an ad click. Poor landing pages cost you money!

Thank You Page

This is the page that appears after your visitor has completed a goal. Having a thank you page is useful if you use analytics. It allows you to easily track how many visitors complete your desired action. It also is a marketing opportunity. Lets say you have a thank you page after a consumer completes a purchase. This allows you to easily see data like the percentage of consumers that make a purchase on your website vs the number of consumers that don’t. It also gives you an opportunity to show them special offers and promotions, related products they might be interested in, or get them to sign up for your newsletter.

In order to be effective, thank you pages should only be able to be viewed after completing your desired action. If visitors navigate to your thank you page without completing your goal it skews your data and give them access to promotions or content they didn’t earn.

Conversion/Conversion Rate

A consumer that completes a desired action on your website such as filling out a contact form or calling your store. Your conversion rate is the percentage of website visitors that complete one of these actions.


Remarketing is the practice of  targeting ads to website visitors who have already been to your website but didn’t convert. Only around 2% of your website traffic will convert on their first visit. Remarketing essentially gives you another chance to convert the other 98%.

To set up a remarketing campaign a snippet of code is added to your website. This code places a “cookie” on your visitor’s computer or mobile device and then adds that cookie to a remarketing list. You can then target consumers on this remarketing list with ads relating to the products or services they showed interest in. These ads that appear on other websites that sell space on their webpages.

Split Testing (A/B Testing)

Split Testing (or A/B Testing) is the practice of creating multiple variations of an ad or landing page. These variations are then tested against one another to establish which variation performs better. The losing variations are then discarded.

Analytics Terms


A metric is defined as a quantifiable measurement that is used to assess and track business efforts. Basically, a metric is any data that can be viewed as a number. They are standard measurements by which you can measure the overall success or failure of a business effort. They are either expressed as integers or percentages.

When looking at the data for an advertising campaign, for example, a common metric to judge success would be the number of people that clicked on the ad. You could also look at the number of people that clicked the ad as a percentage of the overall number of people that saw the ad (the click through rate or CTR.)


A session is a group of interactions (“hits”) that take place on your website by a single user within a defined time frame. So, for instance, if a visitor landed on our site, watched a video, read a couple of articles and then left our site. That would be one session.

If another user lands on our website, watches a video, leaves their web browser open while they go get something to eat, then returns after 45 minutes and reads a couple of articles; how many sessions will be counted? This depends on our session timeout settings. The default for this setting is 30 minutes, meaning that if the user does not register any hits within 30 minutes the session is ended. If left on the default setting, the scenario above would count as two sessions. If we were to change the session timeout to an hour, it would count as one session.

Bounce Rate

The bounce rate of a web page is the percentage of visitors that leave a website without clicking on a second web page or taking some other action like filling out a contact form. High bounce rates usually indicate a poor quality web page as users. This is either due to poor quality content on the webpage, a visually unappealing page or the user simply couldn’t find what they were looking for on the page. There are some pages where a high bounce rate is acceptable and probably expected. Your contact page, for instance, will typically have a high bounce rate as people will land on the page, get a phone number or e-mail address, then leave.


Actions other than page views that you want to track. Events typically include actions like downloads, video plays, form submissions, and click to call buttons.


Actions that you wish consumers to take on your website. Goals are the actions that trigger sales for your company. Common goals include purchasing a product, signing up for a newsletter, completing a contact form or viewing a certain amount of pages. Setting goals allows you to judge how well your website is working and put a value on how much your website is worth to your business.


The campaign dimension in Google Analytics is the name of the individual marketing effort that you are tracking. For example, if you are tracking the results of an “End of Season Clearance” Facebook advertisement your campaign name would be “end of season clearance”.


The source dimension in Google Analytics is the place where the ad is located. For online advertising this is usually a website or e-mail campaign. Using the example in the campaign section our source would be “facebook.com”. In the case of e-mail campaigns it usually easiest to use your e-mail list name. For example, if you send an e-mail to 100 people that subscribed to your newsletter, you could use “newsletter subscribers” or “newsletter list” as your source.


The medium dimension groups similar sources together into segments for easier analysis. For example, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are grouped into Google’s default “social” medium. This allows you to see how each individual source is performing, while also looking at how your social media is performing as a whole.

Content Marketing Terms

Content Marketing

Content marketing is a marketing strategy centered around creating, publishing and promoting valuable, relevant content to consumers. This content commonly includes a mixture of blog posts, photos, e-books, guides, videos, webinars and infographics.

The key difference between content marketing and advertising is the concept of “valuable” content. A valuable piece of content is one that consumers are searching for. They want to consume the content. Traditional advertising content needs to be promoted. Consumers are not actively searching for it.


Short for ‘web log’. A blog is a website, or section of a website, where short articles are published on a regular basis. Visitors are also typically able to post comments and ask questions on the article’s subject.


A series of files (typically audio files) that are released episodically. These files are made available for download online and can be received by subscribers automatically.


An online seminar that is hosted by an individual or company. They are designed to educate attendees about a particular subject while also answering questions that those attendees may have about that topic. Hosts require users to sign up for the webinar by first filling out a contact form.


An image used to represent data or information. Infographics are typically centred around a single topic and present information relating to that theme in the form of graphs, charts and custom images. Infographics have become extremely popular on social media outlets like Pinterest and Twitter as they allow users to easily learn about a particular topic without a lot of reading.

Gated Content

A piece of content that is only available after entering some of your information. For instance, if you have to enter your e-mail address to download a free e-book, that e-book is a piece of gated content.

Lead Magnet

A piece of gated content that draws consumers in with an irresistible offer.

Affiliate Marketing

A marketing strategy where one company promotes another company’s products or services in exchange for a commission on the sales their promotion generates.

Web Development Terms

Content Management System (CMS)

A software application or program that is used to create, publish and manage websites. They use simple interfaces that even people with limited experience and technical knowledge can add or modify content on a website. This allows small businesses to operate a website without the need of a dedicated webmaster. The most common CMS used to build websites (including this one) is WordPress. It currently runs over 25% of all of the websites in the world!

A small piece of data that is sent from a website and stored on a users web browser. Cookies store data that can be accessed by a web server or client computer. Most cookies are erased once you close your web browser. Cookies like these are used for tasks placing items in the “shopping cart” of an online store. This cookie allows you to continue to shop without losing the products in your shopping cart.

Some cookies are stored for longer. These are used for tasks like saving username and login information. These types of cookies are also used to track how consumers interact with websites. Marketers can then view this information using analytics programs. It’s worth noting that these cookies do not send personal or sensitive information like names, addresses, passwords or credit card information, only basic information like page views.

Above The Fold

The part of a webpage that is visible without scrolling. Webpage content that is “above the fold” should tell visitors what the page is about entice them to stay and scroll further down. The size of the “above the fold” area changes with device type. For instance, a mobile phone has a much smaller above the fold area than a desktop computer would. When designing webpages it is important to design webpages to work across multiple devices and keep important content above the fold.

Responsive Design

Responsive design is the term used for designing websites that adapt to different devices. For instance, if you look at this site on a mobile phone and then on a desktop computer they will be laid out differently. This allows visitors to have a good experience, regardless of the device that they use.

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