Digital Marketing Glossary

A/B Testing – the process where two creative variations are tested to measure and monitor effectiveness (e.g. two pay-per-click adverts or two website landing pages with different copy). Google Optimize is a free tool to manage this type of user testing

Above the fold – a term that came from newspaper publishing referring to the top section of the newspaper. In digital marketing it refers to the visible part of a users screen without the need for vertical scrolling to reveal content lower down the page

Ad Clicks – the number of times that a user registers a click on a particular banner or advertising creative

Ad Group – a collection of adverts within a digital marketing campaign. For example a series of product PPC adverts within a product portfolio. The ad group can feature multiple advertising creative

Ad Network – a group of individual websites that feature display advertising through an advertising broker/agent. There are three types: representative (where the advertiser has full knowledge of the sites their ads will appear on), blind (where the advertiser does not specify where their ads will appear, often low cost remnant inventory) and target (where ads are placed on a contextual or behavioural basis

Ad Scheduling – the practice of managing ad-serving according to parts of the day you deem most effective for sales/lead generation to occur. For example, your customers might show a higher propensity to purchase during typical business lunch hours (e.g. 12 – 2pm) so you restrict advertising to this time to maximise your chance of attracting sales. Google Ads offers 15-minute increments for ad-scheduling

Ad Views – also know as ‘impressions’ it refers to the number of times that an advert is displayed on a website page to a user. Many media owners sell banner advertising on an impression volume basis (e.g. CPM) as opposed to a cost-per-click model

Advertising Network – some websites choose to outsource the sales of their advertising inventory to a 3rd party network who attract and manage advertisers for the publishing website

Affiliate – a website owner that promotes your products or services through banner adverts, textual content or basic links on a commission/reward basis such as cost-per-acquisition or cost-per-click

Algorithm – the mathematical formula that a search engine uses in order to produce a list of results that match a user’s search term query. Engines such as Google and Yahoo regularly make changes and amendments to their algorithm in order to refine their accuracy. This means that marketers need to constantly monitor their search positioning and amend their sites to ensure they maintain and improve their ranking

API – an acronym for ‘Application Programming Interface’. This is for technical developers to create bespoke applications that can access information and data from other programmes. Google offer API access so data from Ads can be taken into tracking systems etc.

ASP – an acronym for Active Server Pages, although it is also an acronym for Application Service Provider (such as an email broadcasting tool that is ‘web-based’)

Average Response Value – The calculation of the average revenue value of each click, calculated by taking the total revenue divided by total clicks

BTF – an acronym for ‘Below the Fold’, the area that isn’t immediately visible on a web browser unless the user has vertically scrolled down to view it

Backlinks – are links on other websites that point to your website and drive traffic to your website. They are an important part of an effective SEO strategy because search engines often apply favourable weighting to a site that has good quality backlinks

Banner Ad – graphical advertising that comes in many formats and layouts. Popular sizes include 468×60, 120×600 and 120×120. Formats include Animated GIF, JPEG and rich media formats that allow for data capture and user interaction

Bookmark – the saving of a web page address in a browser so a user can quickly return to the page they were visiting, similar to the use of a physical bookmark being used to mark the page of a book. Methods of bookmarking vary from suggesting to a user that they manually create a bookmark to automated scripts that assist with this process

Bot – this is an abbreviation for ‘robot’ which is a programme used by search engines for crawling the Internet in order to index pages for their directory. The two main bots are Googlebot and Slurp (Yahoo’s crawler programme)

Bounce Rate – a metric used to describe the percentage of visitors to any page within a website that leave without visiting any other pages (i.e bounce straight out again)

CGI-BIN – an acronym for ‘Common Gateway Interface – Binary’ which a location on a web server that stores scripts and programmes.The most common amongst these include the processing of website forms

Churn – expression that refers to the action of a customer lapsing from your product/service, often expressed as a churn rate which is a percentage of churn from your customer base

Click-Through Rate – a popular analysis metric that measures the number of clicks that were attracted to a promotional campaign where CTR is the percentage of clicks to a given number of impressions (for example 250 clicks from 1,000 banner advert impressions would be a 25% CTR)

Contextual advertising – promotional targeting based on website pages, categories or keywords. Often used by content networks.

Conversion Rate – this is another popular analysis metric where clicks are measured when they result in a sale or lead being generated. To calculate conversion rate, divide 100 by the total number of clicks then multiply by the number of sales/leads (e.g. 100 / 20 clicks x 5 sales = 25% conversion rate from clicks)

Cookie – a cookie is a text file that is stored on a user’s computer and records information provided by the user that can be recalled on future visits. For example forms can be pre-populated or content personalised when the website is read by the web-server that sent it. Users can choose to accept or reject cookies and your website’s privacy policy should state your use of cookies and allow the user the opportunity to reject them

CPA – an acronym meaning either Cost Per Action or Cost Per Acquisition

CPC – an acronym for ‘Cost Per Click’, a core reporting metric in Pay-per-click (PPC) marketing used to manage keyword bidding

CPM – an acronym for Cost Per Mille (Latin for thousand) referring to the price paid for 1,000 impressions or pieces of data (e.g. email addresses). In banner advertising space will often be sold on a CPM basis where you will pay a set price per 1,000 impressions (e.g. £15 CPM)

CPS – an acronym for cost-per-sale, calculated by dividing the total marketing expenditure by the total sales attributable

CSS – an acronym for Cascading Style Sheet (a document stored with the suffix .css) which is a file that governs website elements such as font types, font sizes, colours etc

CTR – an acronym for ‘Click Through Rate’ which is a popular analysis metric that measures the number of clicks that were attracted to a promotional campaign where CTR is the percentage of clicks to a given number of impressions (for example 250 clicks from 1,000 banner advert impressions would be a 25% CTR)

Crawler – a piece of software used by search engines to visit websites and ‘crawl’ using links and then index the content for use on search engine results pages (SERPs). They are also referred to as ‘robots’ or ‘spiders’

Description – the description tag is an element of META data which describes your website, web page or company in search engine results. Descriptions can either be approved in engines and directories that employ human editors or can be ‘crawled’ from header section information on your web page

DHTML – an acronym for Dynamic Hypertext Markup Language

Directory – an alternative to a search engine where results are categorised into specific groups, often by human editors such as Yahoo Directory or Open Directory Project (DMOZ) that has since closed down

Direct response – in an online environment would include email campaigns and banner adverts

DNS – Domain Name System websites exist on IP addresses and the user friendly domain name is itself associated with the IP address where the website is located. This saves the user needing to remember strings of numbers. The DNS is a process where the user friendly name can be associated with the IP address of the appropriate web server

Domain – the domain refers to the last three (or sometimes two or four) letters after the final dot in a website address. It is an indication as to the type of organisation that you are visiting. Popular domain types used in the UK include: .com,, org, net etc

Email – Electronic Mail, the process of sending electronic communications from one computer to another

EPC – Earnings Per Click, an analysis metric that shows the revenue generated from each click in a campaign. For example, if a PPC campaign drove 200 clicks to your website and you generated £600 from the campaign then your EPC would be £3. EPC is calculated by dividing revenue by total number of clicks. The higher the EPC the better

FMCG – acronym for Fast Moving Consumer Goods such as toiletries and can also include food and drinks products

Geo-targeting – the process of delivering advertising creatives to a specific geographic area. Google Ads and Microsoft Advertising feature geo-targeting for PPC campaigns with Google offering a radius tool allowing advertisers to limit their ad-serving to a set distance from a set location. This is perfect for local businesses that offer services within a particular catchment area

GIF – (Graphic Interchange Format) widely regarded as the most common banner advert format, the GIF format has built in compression and displays in 256 colours. Animated GIF files are also a popular form of animation used in banner advertising.

Googlebot – the name of the robot used by Google to crawl the Internet. Webmasters can provide information for the Googlebot using the robots.txt file. This includes instructions such as to ignore or view particular pages. The information collected by Googlebot can be seen in the Google Webmaster Tools application

Google Dance – a term used by search marketers to refer to the turbulent time shortly after a search engine’s algorithm has been changed and results change positions and can drop in ranking

Hit – one of the original analysis metrics that was used to gauge the success of a web page, however it is any request made to a web server for any type of file. This includes pages, images and scripts. A single website page can register several ‘hits’ as it calls up information and resources from the server to present the content to a single user. Therefore 1000 hits does not refer to 1,000 individual user sessions as was the popular misconception

HTML – an acronym for Hyper Text Markup Language which is language used to make hypertext documents for use on the Internet. Text and information is surrounded by codes which indicate to the browser how it should appear to the user. HTML also allows pages to be linked using hyperlinks from one page to another (either within the site or on another site on the Internet)

HTTP – an acronym for Hyper Text Transfer Protocol, which is the format of the World Wide Web. When a web browser (such as Internet Explorer or Safari) sees “HTTP” at the start of a website address, it knows that it is viewing a WWW page

HTTPS – an acronym for Hyper Text Transfer Protocol Secure which is often denoted to your visitors with the padlock icon at the bottom of the browser

Hyperlink – the method by which users click to move from one page to another within a site or a completely different website on the Internet. Hyperlinks can be embedded in text or graphical content

ICANN – an acronym standing for Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers. ICANN is a non-profit organisation that oversee technical management functions currently managed by the U.S. Government, or by its contractors and volunteers. You can find out more about ICANN by visiting

Impression – (Ad Impression or Page Impression) the metric relating to the viewing of a website page or advertising creative on a page, irrespective of whether or not the visitor clicks on a particular link or advert. In display advertising, inventory is most commonly sold on an impression basis, usually per thousand impressions (CPM)

Interstitial – also commonly known as ‘pop-ups’, these are pages that are inserted between a perceived flow of pages on a website. These are often used for advertising in an instructive form. They come in a variety of sizes from full screen to smaller creatives designed to catch the users attention before they close the window

IP address – an acronym for Internet Protocol address. Every computer/server that is connected to the Internet has an assigned IP address. This comes in a standard format of four groups of numbers separated by dots. The numbers range from 0-255. Whilst every website has an IP address, using a domain name server, they are more commonly known by their domain name

JPEG – an acronym for Joint Photographic Experts Group and is a graphical format that uses millions of colours and is ideal for displaying photographic content

KEI – acronym for Keyword Effectiveness Index, the comparison of searches for a keyword divided by the total number of results displayed for that keyword. The higher the KEI, the more popular a keyword is and the less competition it has so should be more realistic to get a higher ranking

Keyword – a very common method of searching for information on the Internet is keyword searching. A website owner can identify important keywords and present these as META content in the header section of their page source code and also throughout the content of the page. Search engine crawlers index words from your website to retrieve when a user searches for this word of phrase. Determining these words and their inclusion in your code/page is where good SEO is essential

Keyword density – often expressed as a percentage value, denoting the number of times a keyword/phrase is used on a page in relation to all the textual content on that page. Keyword density checking ensures that a word isn’t being overused. There is little agreement on the optimal effective percentage, although we try and optimise between 8-12%

Keyword Matching – a phrase often used in paid-search marketing. The Google Ads system offers four keyword matching options which allow you to vary your ads exposure to different search groups. These options are: broad match, phrase match, exact match and negative match

KPI – acronym for Key Performance Indicator which are organisation defined measurements of achievements (such as clicks, sales, enquiries)

Landing page – either a custom-created page for a specific marketing campaign or any site page designated as the destination of an inbound link from any source (e.g. search engine, email, banner advert etc.)

Link – a connection between two pages (or even sections within a page) or between two separate websites

Link Popularity – a metric that several major search engines use to rank the importance of a website by examining how many inbound links a website has and the individual quality of these. Link popularity is regarded as a key factor in Google’s PageRank

LTV – acronym for lifetime value. The calculated value of a customer’s worth to an organisation based on existing and projected future revenue.

Localisation – a process where website and website content is tailored for a specific country or market. This could include user manuals, sales literature and press releases etc.

META tags – section of an HTML page that specifies content of the site such as title, description and keywords that are used by search engines to classify the page

Microsite – a page or set of pages that operate independently of the main site and focus on specific promotions or products. Microsites will often have a dedicated URL that will also be used for the marketing of the microsite.

MPU – acronym for Mid Page Unit (or multi purpose unit). Commonly a square or rectangular space on a page for either flat or interactive advertising content.

One-to-one marketing – high degree of personalisation to the individual with tailored offers according to purchase habits and response data

Opt in/Opt out – email marketing terminology relating to the ‘permission’ status of an email address intended to received promotional material. Business to consumer email marketing requires explicit consent from the recipient that they want to receive promotional communications and ‘opt-in’ to receive these messages. Business to business communications fall under ‘opt-out’ status, although many companies choose to seek permission from their customers/prospects at the point of sale or enquiry. In the UK PECR legislation governs the marketer’s actions relating to permission marketing

Page Views – number of times a user requests a page that may contain a particular ad. A page is defined as any file or content delivered by a web server that would generally be considered a web document. This includes HTML pages (.html, .htm, .shtml), script-generated pages (.cgi, .asp, .cfm, etc.), and plain-text pages. It also includes sound files (.wav, .aiff, etc.), video files (.mov, etc.), and other non-document files. Only image files (.jpeg, .gif, .png), javascript (.js) and style sheets (.css) are excluded from this definition

Pay-per-Click – a model of remuneration where the advertiser doesn’t pay on an impression basis but when the user clicks on the promotional advert. Less common in banner advertising but at the heart of paid-search marketing and PPC networks such as Google Ads and Yahoo Search Marketing

Pay-per-Impression – a traditional model of remuneration where the advertiser pays for a volume of displays of their advert, irrespective of whether or not users click on the advert. This is the dominant model for banner advertising. Impressions are not a guarantee of individual user views of a creative. For example if an advert has run-of-site placement then a single user might see the creative several times

Pay-per-Sale – a common remuneration model for affiliate marketing where the advertiser only pays a publisher when a sale/transaction has been completed as a result of that promotional activity

Permission marketing – the consent from a customer to receive marketing communications after having opted-in to receive them

PFI – an acronym for Paid For Inclusion, the process of paying for a link to be included in a search engine’s index, but no guarantee of the rank it will have

PPC – an acronym for pay-per-click, the remuneration model where an advertiser only pays when a visitor clicks on an advert, irrespective of the number of impressions. This model allows for good tracking and analysis of ROI

Reciprocal linking – where two websites agree to display links to each others sites

Redirect – the process of moving a URL to point at another website or page. For example if a domain has moved or a page has changed its URL path a direct would point the user to the correct location. 301 is the redirect for a permanently moved page/site

Referrer – the website or web page that is responsible for delivering a visitor to your website or web page. This information is captured in the log file and many site analysis packages will graphically display the referring sites and URLs

Repeat visits – a metric that shows when a user has visited a page/site more than once. This is done through tagging the user

Rich Media Advertising – a display advert that allows the user to interact with the banner prior to clicking through to a website. For example this could include completing form data which is then pre-populated when the user visits the site

Robot – see spider or crawler

Robots.txt – a file placed on your website directory tree which gives instructions to robots/spiders as to what content to access

ROAS – an acronym for ‘Return on Ad Spend’ which is the revenue generated from a specific campaign or keyword (not the profit). Calculated by revenue divided by ad spend gives you the ROAS figure

ROI – an acronym for ‘Return on Investment’ which is the amount of profit you’ve made from a particular campaign or keyword. Calculated by revenue minus marketing spend divided by marketing spend x 100. This gives you an ROI percentage figure. Digital marketing is an idea medium to track and manage return on investment

Search Engine – an application that indexes website content on the Internet and returns results when keywords and phrases are entered by a user

SERP – acronym for Search Engine Results Page

Segmentation – the process of subdividing a group or audience in order to better target a marketing message to them or track their responses to a generic campaign

SEM – an acronym for ‘Search Engine Marketing’ which covers a range of services including organic optimisation, paid-search, paid-inclusion and directory listing

SEO – an acronym for Search Engine Optimisation, the process of driving traffic to a website through achieving prominent listing on a search engine’s result pages through on-page and off-page techniques

Spam – unsolicited junk email, badly targeted and indiscriminate marketing communications

Spider – a term used to describe search engines data gathering applications (such as those employed by Yahoo and Alta Vista), called spiders because of the way they cruise all over the web to find information

SSL – an acronym for Secure Socket Layer which is an encryption process for data to be securely transmitted over the Internet

Stickiness – a term used to describe the effectiveness and usefulness of a website and how visitors remain on the site. If a site has poor stickiness then users won’t remain on-page for very long and bounce out to another site

Submission – refers to content submitted or suggested to a search engine or directory. Several search engines and directories supply forms for users to complete to suggest content to be included. In most cases the actual submission should be optimized to include relevant keyword phrases to increase the chances of being found in a search

Title – an element of a web page which appears in the top left of most browsers. It is also the part of a directory submission that represents the title of the website. Page title selection is one of the most important parts of SEO and often appears as the title seen in search engine result for your website

Traffic – a term used to describe the volume of visits that a website receives

Unique Users – individual/different users that visit a website or web page, irrespective of the number of times they make return visits

UCE – an acronym for unsolicited commercial email, more commonly known as ‘spam’

URL – an acronym for Uniform Resource Locator, which is an HTTP address to denote a certain website or web page. The URL is a unique identifier, or address, of a web page on the Internet

Viral Marketing – a self-replicating campaign that propagates itself online. A notable example of this technique was the Burger King subservient chicken campaign where users could instruct a man in a chicken outfit to behave as they wanted (e.g. stand up, wave your arms etc.). Users pass on the address of the campaign to friends, family and colleagues and the viral ‘infection’ spreads

Visits – a sequence of requests made by one user at one site. If a visitor does not request any new information for a period of time, known as the “time-out” period, then the next request by the visitor is considered a new visit. To enable comparisons among sites, I/PRO uses a 30-minute time-out

W3/ W3C – World Wide Web Consortium. The W3C, or World Wide Web Consortium, is a standards body dedicated to ensuring interoperability between all the varied system and network types that comprise the World Wide Web part of the Internet

Website – the virtual location for an organisation’s presence on the World Wide Web, usually making up several web pages and a single home page designated by a unique URL

World Wide Web – the web allows computer users to access information across systems around the world using URLs to identify files and systems and hypertext links to move between files on the same or different systems

WYSIWYG – an acronym for ‘What you see is what you get’. This is a type of editor used for the creation of website pages. Examples include WordPress or Adobe Dreamweaver.

Digital Marketing Glossary