Digital Marketing Definitions

Your AdMarula guide to digital & search marketing definitions and acronyms

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Average Order Value (AOV)

The average amount customers spend for all orders on a website or in-store. AOV helps to inform businesses about their marketing and pricing strategies.

Above The Fold

All of the visible content on a web page prior to scrolling.


A website analytics metric that lets you see the percentage of people who began a defined conversion process but did not complete it

A/B Testing

Also referred to as split testing, the process in which email and content marketers compare two versions of a single variable to determine which one performs better. This process is undertaken in order to optimize content and marketing efforts.

Brand bidding

Brand bidding, also known as PPC brand bidding, is a digital marketing strategy where businesses bid on branded terms or keywords associated with a third party, often a competitor. When a company engages in brand bidding, it bids on keywords related to another company’s brand.

Behavioral Analytics

An analytic tactic that provides insight into the actions of your audience and customers.


An incoming hyperlink from one web page to another website. When a website receives a link from an external website, some reputation is passed to it.

B2C Content

B2C customers respond better to content that demonstrates emotional satisfaction, targets benefits, and proves value for the price on highly targeted, relevant channels.

B2B Content

Content specifically targeted for B2B audiences. For example, white papers, industry-relevant articles, blog posts, podcasts, and infographics for clients, potential clients, colleagues, partners, and suppliers.

Cost Per Mille (CPM)

Cost per thousand. Under a CPM pricing arrangement, advertisers pay for every 1,000 impressions of their ads.

Cost Per Lead (CPL)

A measurement of the cost of generating a new lead where the advertiser pays for an explicit sign-up from a consumer interested in the advertiser’s offer.

Cost Per Download (CPD)

An advertising model where the advertiser pays when a user downloads their app from the Apple AppStore or Google PlayStore.

Cost Per Click (CPC)

Under a CPC pricing model, advertisers pay only when a user clicks on their ads.

Cost Per Acquisition (CPA)

A measurement of the aggregate cost of acquiring one customer on a campaign or channel level.


Cookies are small text files which are stored on your computer by your web browser. There are two types of Cookies known as ‘Session Cookies’ and ‘Persistent Cookies’.

Conversion Rate

The percentage of visitors who buy, convert or take a desired action. This metric is a measure of the effectiveness of the conversion process from engagement, to the final purchase/action completion.

Client Lifecycle

A user journey transitions to the client lifecycle when a prospect becomes a client. It comprises of four elements: onboarding, active, inactive, and lost.

Click-through rate (CTR)

The percentage of people who saw your ad and then clicked on it. The formula for CTR is clicks divided by impressions.


The measurement of total mouse clicks on a hyperlink or ad. If a customer sees your ad and clicks on it to learn more or to do business with you, it’s recorded in your account as a click.


ChatGPT (Generative Pre-trained Transformer) is an artificial intelligence chatbot developed by OpenAI and released in November 2022. It is built on top of OpenAI’s GPT-3.5 and GPT-4 foundational large language models and has been fine-tuned using both supervised and reinforcement learning techniques.


An individual digital channel. For example, Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp are channels available under the Meta Business Platform on which businesses can connect with fans via a business page.

Dynamic Content

Content that’s unique to the user(s) visiting a site. Many websites can tailor the user’s experience (based on cookies tracking their returning visits) and uses their history or declared interests to tailor their experience.

Double Opt-In

An email process where a user subscribes to emails and receives a confirmation email message containing a verification link for their account.

Direct Traffic

Visitors who reach the advertiser’s site either by typing the URL in their browser or via a saved bookmark.


Information that describes data. They can be information such as country, channel, location, age, gender, and device used.


Hard facts about your audience that enable you to gain a deeper understanding of them and their lifestyles/needs.


A collection of widgets that give you an overview of the most important metrics and reports.

Evergreen Content

Content that remains relevant and of interest to users for years after its initial creation and publication.

Engagement Rate

A metric used to measure the performance of a piece of content based on the percentage of users that interact with that content.


Interactions between a brand or organization and its customers. The four types of customer engagement are emotional, contextual, convenient, and social engagement

Emotional Selling Proposition (ESP)

The emotional triggers used in marketing messaging to help influence a user to complete a purchase/action

Effective Cost Per Mille (eCPM)

A metric used for comparing the effectiveness of campaigns with different pricing models. It’s calculated by dividing the total earnings from by the total number of impressions, multiplied by a thousand.

Effective Cost Per Click (eCPC)

A metric used to show what the CPC would have been if the advertiser had purchased clicks instead of impressions or conversions.

Effective Cost Per Action (eCPA)

The cost that an advertiser actually paid for each action i.e. the total cost divided by the number of actions.

Earnings per click (EPC)

The most important metric for publishers. It’s the metric that measures the average earnings over a 7-day period that an affiliate can expect to earn for every 100 clicks that they are able to generate. EPC concretely indicates earning potential.

Friction Points

Elements that slow down user engagement or make it difficult for a website visitor to complete an action such as buying, completing a lead form, or browsing your content.


A display advertising metric which counts the average number of times a user views an ad.


In social media, a follower represents a user who chooses to see all of another user’s posts in their content feed. Getting users to follow their accounts is a primary objective for online businesses with a social media presence.

First-Party Data

Data about a user audience that advertisers collect directly from their website analytics, as opposed to data collected by a third-party analytics/tracking system.

Feature Creep

Feature creep, more commonly known as scope creep, refers to adding an excessive amount of features to a product that makes it ultimately too complicated or difficult to use for the end user. These extra features go beyond the initial functionality and can result in ‘software bloat’ and over-complication.

Facebook Pixel

A special tracking code that should be inserted on the merchant website to record user interactions and events back to Facebook Ads Manager prior to the start of a campaign.

Facebook Business Manager

A Facebook tool that helps you to organize and manage your company’s presence on Facebook.

General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)

The GDPR is an important component of EU privacy law and human rights law. It requires strict user data and permission policies enforced in relation to the collection and use of Personally Identifiable Information.


A technology that allows an advertiser to select a geographic point using latitude and longitude information and thereby create a virtual fence around a given radius of that point. For example, an advertiser could select a geographic point representing the location of a bank branch in order to deliver a specific ad to anyone who comes within a 200-meter radius. Ads delivered through geofencing typically yield higher conversions and better ROI for advertisers.


A method of showing different ad content to visitors based on their geolocation. This includes country, region/state, city, metro code/zip code, organization, IP address, ISP, or other criteria.


Goals also referred to as events, are a metric used to track the number of valuable actions taken on the site, including sales, leads, or downloads.

Google Ads

Google Ads is an online advertising platform developed by Google, where advertisers bid to display brief advertisements, service offerings, product listings, or videos to web users. It can place ads both in the results of search engines like Google Search and on non-search websites, mobile apps, and videos.

Google AdSense

Google AdSense is a program run by Google through which website publishers in the Google Network of content sites serve text, images, video, or interactive media advertisements that are targeted to the site content and audience. These advertisements are administered, sorted, and maintained by Google.

Google Analytics (GA4)

Now in its 4th iteration, Google Analytics GA4 is a web analytics service offered by Google that tracks and reports website traffic. GA4 replaces its highly-embraced predecessor, Universal Analytics (UA), since its Beta release in 2019.

Google Search Console (GSC)

Google Search Console is a web service by Google which allows webmasters to check the SEO indexing status, search queries, and SEO crawling errors, and optimize the visibility of their websites based on these reports. Until 20 May 2015, the service was called Google Webmaster Tools.

Google Tag Manager (GTM)

Google Tag Manager functions using a single JavaScript code snippet added to your site as a container for all the tags you want to manage. Managed tags are then triggered on-site from within this container based on rules per event (e.g., by clicking a link or loading a page) configured within the GTM interface.


A way to identify a person or brand on social media platforms. Handles are usually preceded by the @ symbol.

Hard Bounce

A permanent failure to deliver an email to a recipient account, where any retries will not be successful.


A clickable keyword that sums up the content of a tweet or social media status update. A hashtag is a dominant feature of both Twitter and Instagram.

Heat Map

A graphical representation of web page engagement data using colours to indicate the level of activity. Low activity areas usually use darker blue through green colours to indicate low activity sections. Higher activity areas progress from yellow to orange to red colours to indicate increasing activity levels across different sections.


In computing, a hyperlink, or simply a link, is a digital reference to data that the user can follow or be guided to by clicking or tapping. A hyperlink points to a whole document or to a specific element within a document. Hypertext is text with hyperlinks. The text that is linked is known as anchor text.

Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure (HTTPS)

Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure is an extension to the original Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP). HTTPS uses encryption for secure communication over a computer network and is widely used on the Internet. In HTTPS, the communication protocol is encrypted using Transport Layer Security or, formerly, Secure Sockets Layer.

Impression Share (IS)

The percentage of impressions that an ad receives versus the total number of impressions that the ad was eligible to show. Impression share = impressions / total eligible impressions.


Sometimes known as a view-through, an impression is the number of times an ad was shown on a website, search engine, or social platform. An ad impression occurs any time a user opens an app or website and an advertisement is displayed. This is not to be confused with an engagement.

Inbound Link

Inbound links, also known as backlinks, occur when a link from an external web page links back to your website. They are the source of trust and page rank for organic search. Google views inbound links as an indicator that a site has high-quality content. These links are therefore one of the most important elements in search engine optimization (SEO).


A set of structured data examined by a search engine looking for information relevant to a searcher’s query. A search index is tailored to the particular way that the search engine algorithm retrieves information

Internal Link

A hyperlink from one page to another page, on the same website.

IP Tracking

When connected to the internet, each unique device uses a unique address called an IP address. With IP tracking, every time a user accesses a website, the website tracks that IP address. This means the user’s location can be distinguished and used for marketing campaigns based on specific user locations.


JavaScript, often abbreviated as JS, is a programming language that is one of the core technologies of the World Wide Web, alongside HTML and CSS. As of 2022, 98% of websites use JavaScript on the client side for webpage behaviour, often incorporating third-party libraries. As SearchEngine Journal explains, JavaScript is: “A programming language that makes it possible to dynamically insert content, links, metadata, or other elements, on websites.”

Key Performance Indicator (KPI)

A measurable value that demonstrates how effectively a company is achieving key business or marketing objectives. KPIs are integral to digital marketing as they provide metrics, data, and benchmarks from which to improve processes, campaigns, and content.

Key Phrase

A search phrase. The keywords that advertisers choose are those that cause an ad to appear when entered by users. See also keyword.


Keywords are words or phrases in the content of your web pages that match the words and phrases users are entering into search engines. When matched, the search engine will output your page/content as a possible result to the user.

Knowledge Graph

A knowledge graph, also known as a semantic network, represents a network of real-world entities—i.e. objects, events, situations, or concepts—and illustrates the relationship between them. This information is usually stored in a graph database and visualized as a graph structure, prompting the term knowledge “graph.”

Landing Page

The page that users land on when they click an online advertisement, email, or link in a search engine result page.


A lead is someone who has shown or may show interest in your service or product offering.

Lead Generation

The act of creating marketing campaigns, websites, and content with the purpose of collecting users’ contact details.

Lead Magnet

A tactic used to attract potential leads. For example, a person might enter their contact details into a web form on a website in return for something, such as content or a special offer, from the company.

Lifetime Value (LV)

A measure of the total worth of a customer to a business over the whole period of their relationship. It’s an important metric as it costs less to keep existing customers than it does to acquire new ones, so increasing the value of your existing customers is a great way to drive growth. Knowing the LV helps businesses develop strategies to acquire new customers and retain existing ones while maintaining profit margins.

Link Building

Link building is a search engine optimization technique that increases your search engine ranking. Links are one of the primary ways that search engine algorithms determine the relevance of a page. Having a good number of links to a website indicates that the content is valuable.

Local Search

Local search refers to all the activity in search engines that results in a local-oriented result. In the context of Google Search, local search engine optimization (local SEO) aims to improve the visibility of a website or business in Google’s Local Pack, Google Maps, and other local search results.

Local SEO

Local SEO is a search engine optimization strategy that helps your business be more visible in local search results on Google. Any business that has a physical location or serves a geographic area can benefit from local SEO. If you search Google for any important keywords related to your business and a map with 3 listings appears underneath it (also known as a map pack), then local SEO can help you grow your business.

Long-Tail Keywords

Long-tail keywords are highly specific search queries that tend to have relatively low search volumes as they are usually very specific to the user’s needs. Although users search for them less often, long-tail keywords make up a large percentage of overall searches when added together.

Lookalike Audience

A lookalike audience is a way your ads can reach new people who are likely to be interested in your business because they share similar characteristics to your existing customers. A lookalike audience uses an existing Custom Audience you select for its source audience.

Machine learning (ML)

Machine learning (ML) is a field devoted to understanding and building methods that let machines “learn” – that is, methods that leverage data to improve computer performance on some set of tasks.[1] It is seen as a broad subfield of artificial intelligence.

Market Share

Market share represents the percentage of an industry, or a market’s total sales, that is earned by a particular company over a specified time period. Market share is calculated by taking the company’s sales over the period and dividing it by the total sales of the industry over the same period.


A statement in the web page’s HTML that provides important information about the page’s content. The information provided is used by search engines to index a site.


Metrics are measures of quantitative assessment commonly used to track performance and are important for gauging a campaign’s effectiveness. Most metrics vary greatly from one campaign to the next, but in general, they offer marketers insights into their campaigns based on audience actions.


Mobile-friendly sites are optimised for display on smaller screens for mobile devices. Mobile-friendly pages will have content displayed in different ways than the desktop version. For example, on a mobile-friendly page, there probably won’t be two columns but a single column with all content stacked vertically. Images and text will no longer be side by side but instead vertically stacked to allow for the limited screen size.

Native Ads

Type of advertising that matches the form and function of the platform it appears on.

Negative Keywords

Keywords used to prevent ads from showing up on search engines when people search for specific subjects

Negative Match Types

This is an ad strategy used to ensure certain unwanted keywords or search phrases don’t trigger your ads. This strategy is taken to avoid poor return on investment (ROI) or reflect poorly on the brand if those keywords or search phrases become associated with a brand.


A social media content stream where users see posts from their friends and as well as brands they are connected with. Advertisements from organizations that want to connect with them are also present in this feed.


A command found in a web page’s head section or within individual code sections that indicate to search engines to not follow any links on the page or to not follow a specific link.


An outcome that a business or person plans to achieve.

Off-page Optimisation

Off-page optimization refers to all the processes outside of the actual website focused on improving a website’s position in search rankings. These measures help create as many high-quality backlinks (incoming links) as possible.

Omnichannel Marketing

An omnichannel marketing strategy provides a seamless, unified shopping experience for customers across different sales channels of a brand—such as physical stores, events, mobile devices, and online platforms. It uses data and analytics to ensure customers encounter the same brand message and quality wherever they encounter your brand. For example, if you have a bicycle shop, an omnichannel marketing strategy would allow a customer to discover your shop on social media, explore your online store inventory, and get a coupon to purchase their preferred products in your local store. Omnichannel marketing strategy focuses on customers’ needs to create a consistent and integrated experience on multiple devices and channels.

On-Page Optimisation

On-page SEO (also known as on-site SEO) is the practice of improving elements of your web pages, so they rank better on search engines and attract more traffic. This involves updating on-page content, title tags, internal links, and more. Search engines like Google use keywords and other on-page SEO signals to determine whether a page is relevant to a user’s search query. And if the search engine thinks the page will more closely match the user’s search intent, it will show it higher in search results.

Online Display

Online Display advertising leverages visuals like text, logos, videos, photos, or graphics to convey a brand message in one ad. Display ads can appear when people are on Facebook, YouTube, Gmail, or using mobile devices and apps.

Page Views

The total number of pages viewed. Repeated views of a single page are counted.

Paid Ads

Generating brand awareness and website traffic through paid advertising formats which are specifically targeted to reach relevant audiences and measured through trackable behaviour metrics

Paid Search

Search engine results that are sponsored or paid for in some way.

Pay Per Click (PPC)

PPC is a form of paid media in which search marketers can bid on ads that appear above the organic results on search engines, by bidding on specific brand and interest-focused keywords and terms. Google Ads is Google’s PPC advertising platform.

Qualified Visitor

Any user who chooses to engage with a website based on the proposition offered by some marketing material.

Quality Score

Quality Score is a metric used by Google, Yahoo!, Facebook and Bing that influences the ad rank and cost per click of ads. Quality score is a direct measure of relevance applied to an ad, keyword, or web page.


The process that search engines use to qualify content based on relevance to the user’s search criteria. High-ranking pages appear nearer the top of search engine results.


Reach is defined as the total number of people who will be shown your ads across a particular channel.

Real-Time Bidding (RTB)

The process of buying and selling ads in real-time on a per-impression basis in an instant auction. Advertisers bid on each ad impression as it is served using technology that is based on behavioural targeting via cookies. Advertisers buy an audience instead of an ad placement. Ad placements are auctioned to the marketplace and the highest bidder’s ad is displayed.

Sales Funnel

The steps in the process of converting a potential customer. Merchants and Advertisers direct potential customers through this process to hopefully purchase products, adopt solutions, or sign-up for services. A sales funnel is divided into steps, starting at the top with the awareness stage and concluding with the conversion stage at the bottom.


This is the act of prescheduling your activity on social media channels. Posts to an audience or following on social channels (Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, TikTok, and LinkedIn) can be scheduled long in advance to save time or ensure your posts are released in time for a specific event (e.g., Festive Holidays, Black Friday Sales, etc.,).

Schema Markup

A website HTML markup language created in cooperation by Google, Microsoft, Yahoo, and Yandex to help search engines better understand specific parts of a website. Schema markup, also known as structured data, is the language search engines use to read and understand the content on your pages. This language is a system of arbitrary signals that helps search engines characterize and categorize the content of all web pages.


The action of entering specific keywords/key phrases into search engines, like Google or Bing, to find content, information on brands, or answers to problems.

Search Engine Indexing

Search engine indexing is the process of collecting, parsing, and storing data to enable fast and accurate information retrieval. The design of an index incorporates interdisciplinary concepts from linguistics, cognitive psychology, mathematics, informatics, and computer science. Web indexing is an alternate name for this process in the context of search engines designed to find web pages on the Internet. Popular search engines focus on full-text indexing of online natural language documents. In addition to text-based documents, media types such as pictures, video, audio, and graphics are also searchable.

Search Engine Marketing (SEM)

Search Engine Marketing (SEM) is a digital marketing strategy that aims to increase the visibility of websites in search engine results pages (SERPs) using paid advertising. It is also known as paid search marketing or pay-per-click (PPC). SEM involves using various tools, techniques, and strategies to improve a website’s visibility and increase its chances of appearing at the top of search results. There are two main ways to achieve a high ranking in the search results: organic results and paid results. Organic results are determined by Google’s algorithm, which considers factors like the quality of your website’s content and how well it matches the user’s search query. Paid results, on the other hand, require you to pay for each click your ad gets to appear in these paid positions. You can use platforms such as Google Ads to advertise on search engines, bid for advertising space, and pay when someone clicks on your ad. The most popular platform for SEM is Google Ads, but there are other options available, such as Bing Ads.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a crucial component of digital marketing that can help businesses increase their online visibility, attract more customers, and drive more revenue. However, achieving long-term success with SEO requires ongoing effort and expertise.

SEO is the process of improving a website’s visibility and ranking in search engine results pages (SERPs) through unpaid or organic means. The goal of SEO is to increase the quantity and quality of traffic to a website from search engines. To achieve this, SEO involves optimizing various aspects of a website, such as its content, structure, and HTML code, to make it more attractive to search engines and users alike.

There are three main categories of SEO: on-page SEO, off-page SEO, and technical SEO. On-page SEO refers to optimizing the content and structure of a website’s individual pages. Off-page SEO involves building backlinks to a website from other reputable sites. Technical SEO focuses on improving the technical aspects of a website, such as its speed, mobile-friendliness, and security.

In summary, SEO is an essential tool for businesses looking to improve their online presence and attract more customers. By optimizing their websites for search engines, businesses can increase their visibility and reach a wider audience.

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