Learn A to Z of digital marketing terms, lingo, and buzzwords with the ultimate digital marketing glossary.
A/B testing – a method in marketing research where variables in a control scenario are changed and the ensuing alternate strategies tested, in order to improve the effectiveness of the final marketing strategy.
above the fold – the section of a Web page that is visible without scrolling.
adblocking – the blocking of Web advertisements, typically the image in graphical Web advertisements.
ad space – the space on a Web page available for advertisements.
Add URL – (see Search Engine Submission)
AdSense – a contextual advertisement service provided by Google.
advertising network – a network representing many Web sites in selling advertising, allowing advertising buyers to reach broad audiences relatively easily through run-of-category and run-of-network buys.
affiliate – the publisher/salesperson in an affiliate marketing relationship.
affiliate manager – a person responsible for managing an online affiliate program for an affiliate merchant.
affiliate marketing – revenue sharing between online advertisers/merchants and online publishers/salespeople, whereby compensation is based on performance measures, typically in the form of sales, clicks, registrations, or a hybrid model.
affiliate merchant – the advertiser in an affiliate marketing relationship.
affiliate network – a value-added intermediary providing services, including aggregation, for affiliate merchants and affiliates.
affiliate software – software that, at a minimum, provides tracking and reporting of commission-triggering actions (sales, registrations, or clicks) from affiliate links.
ALT text – HTML attribute that provides alternative text when non-textual elements, typically images, cannot be displayed.
animated GIF – a graphic in the GIF89a file format that creates the effect of animation by rotating through a series of static images.
autoresponder – a program that sends an automatic form response to incoming emails.
B2B – a business that sells products or provides services to other businesses.
B2C – a business that sells products or provides services to end-user consumers.
bandwidth – how much data can be transmitted in a time period over a communications channel, often expressed in kilobits per second (kbps).
banner ad – a graphical web advertising unit, typically measuring 468 pixels wide and 60 pixels tall (i.e. 468×60).
banner blindness – the tendency of web visitors to ignore banner ads, even when the banner ads contain information visitors are actively looking for.
banner exchange – a network where participating sites display banner ads in exchange for credits which are converted (using a predetermined exchange rate) into ads to be displayed on other sites.
barter – to exchange goods or services directly without the use of money.
beyond the banner – online advertising not involving standard GIF and JPEG banner ads.
blog – A frequent, chronological publication of personal thoughts and Weblinks.
bounce rate – 1.) In web analytics, the percentage of visitors who leave after viewing a single page. 2.) In email marketing, the percentage of emails in a campaign that is undeliverable.
browser – (see Web browser)
burstable bandwidth – a hosting option that allows sites to use the available network capacity to handle periods of peak usage.
button ad – a graphical advertising unit, smaller than a banner ad.
buzzword – a trendy word or phrase that is used more to impress than explain.
caching – the storage of Web files for later re-use at a point more quickly accessed by the end-user.
call to action (CTA) – the part of a marketing message that attempts to persuade a person to perform the desired action.
CDN (content delivery network) – a system of geographically distributed servers designed to accelerate the delivery of web pages and files by routing user requests to the server that’s in the best position to serve them.
click-through – the process of clicking through an online advertisement to the advertiser’s destination.
click-through rate (CTR) – The average number of click-throughs per hundred ad impressions, expressed as a percentage.
comment spam – irrelevant comments posted to a blog for the sole purpose of dropping a link to the spammer’s website.
contextual advertising – a method of serving advertisements based on the content (i.e., overall context or theme) of a web page.
conversion rate – the percentage of visitors who take the desired action.
cookie – information stored on a user’s computer by a Web site so preferences are remembered on future requests.
cost per action (CPA) – online advertising payment model in which payment is based solely on qualifying actions such as sales or registrations.
cost per click (CPC) – the cost or cost-equivalent paid per click-through.
cost per lead (CPL) – online advertising payment model in which payment is based on the number of qualifying leads generated.
cost per mille (CPM) – cost per thousand impressions.
customer acquisition cost – the cost associated with acquiring a new customer.
Data Studio – a free tool from Google that lets users make custom reports with data from Google’s marketing services and external sources.
data transfer – The total amount of outbound traffic from a website*, typically measured in gigabytes (Gb).
dedicated hosting – hosting option whereby the host provides and is responsible for the equipment, dedicating an entire server to the client’s websites.
dedicated IP – an IP address dedicated to a single website.
deep-linking – linking to a web page other than a site’s home page.
deep Web – (see invisible Web)
description tag – an HTML tag used by Web page authors to provide a description for search engine listings.
directory (see Web directory)
disintermediation – the elimination of intermediaries in the supply chain, also referred to as “cutting out the middlemen.”
domain name – a location of an entity on the Internet.
doorway domain – a domain used specifically to rank well in search engines for particular keywords, serving as an entry point through which visitors pass to the main domain.
doorway page – a page made specifically to rank well in search engines for particular keywords, serving as an entry point through which visitors pass to the main content.
eCPM – effective cost per thousand impressions (technically, “effective cost per mille”).
email marketing – the promotion of products or services via email.
email spam – unwanted, unsolicited email.
exclusivity – contract term in which one party grants another party sole rights with regard to a particular business function.
ezine – an electronic magazine, whether delivered via a Web site or an email newsletter.
favicon – a small icon that is used by some browsers to identify a bookmarked Web site.
first-mover advantage – a sometimes insurmountable advantage gained by the first significant company to move into a new market.
Flash – multimedia technology developed by Macromedia to allow much interactivity to fit in relatively small file sizes.
forum – an online community where visitors may read and post topics of common interest.
frames – a structure that allows for the dividing of a Web page into two or more independent parts.
freemium – a technique where a business offers a free basic product, giving the customer an option to use an advanced version for a premium cost.
frequency cap – restriction on the number of times a specific visitor is shown a particular advertisement.
geo-targeting – a method of detecting a website visitor’s location to serve location-based content or advertisements.
GIF89a – (see animated GIF)
Google Data Studio – a free tool from Google that lets users make custom reports with data from Google’s marketing services and external sources.
Google Instant – a feature of Google’s search engine that shows search results as the keyword query is being typed.
guerilla marketing – unconventional marketing intended to get maximum results from minimal resources.
guest blogging – writing a blog post to be published on another blog as a temporary featured author.
heatmap – a graphical representation of data where varying degrees of a single metric are shown using colors.
hit – request of a file from a Web server.
house ad – self-promotional ad a company runs on its own site/network to use unsold inventory.
HTML banner – a banner ad using HTML elements, often including interactive forms instead of (or in addition to) standard graphical elements.
HTML email – email that is formatted using Hypertext Markup Language, as opposed to plain text email.
hybrid model – a combination of two or more online marketing payment models.
impression – a single instance of an online advertisement being displayed.*
inbound link – a link from a site outside of your site.
inbound marketing – a marketing model whose sales performance relies on the initiative of its client base to find and purchase a product.
incentivized traffic – visitors who have received some form of compensation for visiting a site.
interactive agency – an agency offering a mix of Web design/development, Internet advertising/marketing, or E-Business/E-Commerce consulting.
interstitial – an advertisement that loads between two content pages.
invisible Web – the portion of the Web not indexed by search engines.
keyword – a word used in performing a search.
keyword density – keywords as a percentage of indexable text words.
keyword marketing – putting your message in front of people who are searching using particular keywords and key phrases.
keyword research – the search for keywords related to your Web site, and the analysis of which ones yield the highest return on investment (ROI).
keyword stuffing – the excessive, unnatural use of keywords on a web page for search engine optimization purposes.
keywords tag – META tag used to help define the primary keywords of a Web page.
lead magnet – a specific deliverable that is offered to prospects in return for contact information, typically to join an email list.
like-gate – a barrier requiring a user to “Like” a brand’s page before they can access certain content from that brand on Facebook.
link building – the process of increasing the number of inbound links to a website in a way that will increase search engine rankings.
link checker – a tool used to check for broken hyperlinks.
link popularity – a measure of the quantity and quality of sites that link to your site.
link text – the text contained in (and sometimes near) a hyperlink.
linkbait – a piece of content created with the primary purpose of attracting inbound links.
logfile – a file that records the activity on a Web server.
long domain name – domain names longer than the original 26 characters, up to a theoretical limit of 67 characters (including the extension, such as .com).
managed WordPress hosting – web hosting optimized specifically for WordPress, where the hosting company assumes many of the routine maintenance tasks.
manual submission – adding a URL to the search engines individually by hand.
marketing automation – the use of software to automate repetitive tasks related to marketing activities and connect different parts of the marketing funnel.
media kit – a resource created by a publisher to help prospective ad buyers evaluate advertising opportunities.
metasearch engine – a search engine that displays results from multiple search engines.
META tag generator – a tool that will output META tags based on input page information.
META tags – tags to describe various aspects about a Web page.
moderator – at a forum, someone entrusted by the administrator to help discussions stay productive and within the guidelines.
mousetrapping – the use of browser tricks in an effort to keep a visitor captive at a site, often by disabling the “Back” button or generated repeated pop-up windows.
multivariate testing – a method in marketing research where multiple variables in a control scenario are simultaneously changed and the ensuing alternate strategies tested, in order to improve the effectiveness of the final marketing strategy.
navigation – that which facilitates movement from one Web page to another Web page.
netiquette – short for network etiquette, the code of conduct regarding acceptable online behavior.
network effect – the phenomenon whereby a service becomes more valuable as more people use it, thereby encouraging ever-increasing numbers of adopters.
opt-in email – email that is explicitly requested by the recipient.
opt-out – (1) type of program that assumes inclusion unless stated otherwise. (2) to remove oneself from an opt-out program.
organic search – the unpaid entries in a search engine results page that were derived based on their contents’ relevance to the keyword query.
outbound link – A link to a site outside of your site.
page view – request to load a single HTML page.
pagejacking – theft of a page from the original site and publication of a copy (or near-copy) at another site.
pass-along rate – the percentage of people who pass on a message or file.
pay per click (PPC) – online advertising payment model in which payment is based solely on qualifying click-throughs.
pay per lead (PPL) – online advertising payment model in which payment is based solely on qualifying leads.
pay per sale (PPS) – online advertising payment model in which payment is based solely on qualifying sales.
payment threshold – the minimum accumulated commission an affiliate must earn to trigger a payment from an affiliate program.
PayPal – an online payment service that lets its users make purchases and receive payments via a user-defined email address.
permission marketing – marketing centered around getting a customer’s consent to receive information from a company.
podcast – a series of audio or video files that are syndicated over the Internet and stored on client computing devices for later playback.
pop-under ad – an ad that displays in a new browser window behind the current browser window.
pop-up ad – an ad that displays in a new browser window.
portal – a site featuring a suite of commonly used services, serving as a starting point and frequent gateway to the Web (Web portal) or a niche topic (vertical portal).
premium WordPress theme – a theme coded for the WordPress content management system that costs money.
rate card – a document detailing prices for various ad placement options.
reciprocal links – links between two sites, often based on an agreement by the site owners to exchange links.
rectangle ad – any one of the large, rectangular banner sizes suggested by the IAB.
rep firm – ad sales partner specializing primarily in single-site sales.
return days – the number of days an affiliate can earn commission on a conversion (sale or lead) by a referred visitor.
return on investment (ROI) – the ratio of profits (or losses) to the amount invested.
rich-media – new media that offers an enhanced experience relative to older, mainstream formats.
run of network (RON) – ad buying option in which ad placements may appear on any pages on sites within an ad network.
run of site (ROS) – ad buying option in which ad placements may appear on any pages of the target site.
search engine – a program that indexes documents, then attempts to match documents relevant to the user's search requests.
search engine optimization – the process of choosing targeted keyword phrases related to a site, and ensuring that the site places well when those keyword phrases are part of a Web search.
search engine spam – excessive manipulation to influence search engine rankings, often for pages that contain little or no relevant content.
search engine submission – the act of supplying a URL to a search engine in an attempt to make a search engine aware of a site or page.
search retargeting – the use of a site visitor’s search history as a basis for the ads that the visitor will see.
self-serve advertising – advertising that can be purchased without the assistance of a sales representative.
SEO (see search engine optimization)
SERP – shorthand for a page of search engine listings, typically the first page of organic results.
shopping cart – software used to make a site’s product catalog available for online ordering, whereby visitors may select, view, add/delete, and purchase merchandise.
sig file – a short block of text at the end of a message identifying the sender and providing additional information about them.
site search – search functionality specific to one site.
skyscraper ad – an online ad significantly taller than the 120×240 vertical banner.
social networking – the process of creating, building, and nurturing virtual communities and relationships between people online.
spam – an inappropriate commercial message of extremely low value.
splash page – a branding page before the home page of a Web site.
sponsorship – advertising that seeks to establish a deeper association and integration between an advertiser and a publisher, often involving coordinated beyond-the-banner placements.
stickiness – the amount of time spent at a site over a given time period.
super affiliate – an affiliate capable of generating a significant percentage of an affiliate program’s activity.
surround session – advertising sequence in which a visitor receives ads from one advertiser throughout an entire site visit.
text ad – advertisement using text-based hyperlinks.
title tag – HTML tag used to define the text in the top line of a Web browser, also used by many search engines as the title of search listings.
top 10 – the top ten search engine results for a particular search term.
trick banner – a banner ad that attempts to trick people into clicking, often by imitating an operating system message.
two-tier affiliate program – affiliate program structure whereby affiliates earn commissions on their conversions as well as conversions of webmasters they refer to the program.
under-delivery – delivery of fewer impressions, visitors, or conversions than contracted for a specified period of time.
unique visitors – individuals who have visited a Web site (or network) at least once in a fixed time frame.
URL – a location of a resource on the Internet.
usability – (see Web site usability)
vertical banner – a banner admeasuring 120 pixels wide and 240 pixels tall.
viral marketing – marketing phenomenon that facilitates and encourages people to pass along a marketing message.
vlog – a blog that publishes video content.
Web browser – a software application that allows for the browsing of the World Wide Web.
Web design – the selection and coordination of available components to create the layout and structure of a Web page.
Web Directory – organized, categorized listings of Web sites.
Web hosting – the business of providing the storage, connectivity, and services necessary to serve files for a website.
Website traffic – the amount of visitors and visits a Web site receives.
Website usability – the ease with which visitors are able to use a Web site.
whois – a utility that returns ownership information about second-level domains.
word-of-mouth marketing – a marketing method that relies on casual social interactions to promote a product.