30 Newbie Digital Marketing Definitions

So, you have been prancing around town calling yourself a digital marketer? Or have you been sipping on your red-bull and offering unsolicited digital advice on Twitter? Well, either way, here are a few definitions to brush up on before someone calls you out on that digital smack:

1) AdSense – Google AdSense is a pay-per-click advertisement application which is available to bloggers and Web publishers as a way to generate revenue from the traffic on their sites. The owner of the site selects which ads they will host, and AdSense pays the owner each time an ad is clicked.

2) AdWords – The pay-per-click (PPC) search-engine marketing (SEM) program provided by Google.

3) Bounce Rate – Refers to the percentage of a given page’s visitors who exit without visiting another page on the same site. This term is often used in e-commerce in conjunction with merchandise shopping carts. Also known as “abandonment rate.”

4) Click-thru Rate (CTR) – The percentage of people who actually click on a link (e.g., in an email message or sponsored ad) after seeing it.

5) Cloaking – A prohibited practice of tricking a search engine into indexing different content than the user actually sees. In essence, it is serving one version of a page to search engines (for intended SEO benefit) and another to humans. Often the content is entirely unrelated to the actual topic/theme of the rest of the site.

6) Conversion – A desired action taken by a website visitor, such as making a purchase, registering for an event, subscribing to an e-newsletter, completing a lead-gen form, downloading a file, etc.

7) Cost-Per-Acquisition (CPA) – Represents the ratio of the total cost of a pay-per-click (PPC) campaign to the total number of leads or customers, often called “CPA” or “conversion cost.”

8) Cost-Per-Click (CPC) – A method of paying for targeted traffic. For a fee, sites like Google or Facebook direct traffic to your site. You agree to pay a set amount for every click.

9) CPM – This is the “cost-per-thousand” views of an advertisement. Often, advertisers agree to pay a certain amount for every 1,000 customers who see their ad, regardless of conversion rates or click-thrus. The “M” in “CPM” is derived from the Latin word for 1,000 (mille).

10) Crowdsourcing – In the context of social media, this is a process used by many social bookmarking sites where individuals are allowed to vote on news stories and articles to determine their value and relevancy within the site. Related to other social media concepts such as collaboration and collective intelligence, it can also be a research tool. Due to its significant popularity, this new word famously has entered standard English dictionaries in recent years.

11) Flash – Refers to a form of video software developed by Adobe Macromedia that creates vector-based graphic animations that occupy small file sizes.

12) H-Tags (H1, H2, etc.) – Also known as “header tags,” these page elements represent different levels of headings in HTML. From the largest (H1) to the smallest (H6), these define the titles/headings and sub-headings of Web copy. For SEO and reader benefits, headers should contain keywords wherever possible.

13) Hashtag – A symbol (#) placed directly in front of a word or words to tag a post on Twitter. It is often used to group tweets by popular categories of interest and to help users follow discussion topics.

14) HTML – Hypertext markup language (HTML) refers to the text-based language which is used to create websites.

15)  Impression – An instance of an organic search-engine listing or sponsored ad being served on a particular Web page or an image being viewed in display advertising. In paid search, “cost-per-impression” is a common metric.

16) Inbound Link – A link from another website directed to yours, also known as a “backlink.” Related marketing areas that focus on inbound links include link popularity,social media and online PR, all of which explore ways to collect quality links from other websites.

17) Keywords – The terms that a user enters into a search engine. They can also signify the terms a website is targeting to rank highly as part of an SEO marketing campaign.

18) Keyword Density – The proportion of keywords to the total number of words in the face copy of a website.

19) Landing Page – A stand-alone Web page that a user “lands” on, commonly after visiting a paid search-engine listing or following a link in an email newsletter. This kind of page often is designed with a very specific purpose (i.e. conversion goals) for visitors.

20) Meta-Tags – Also called meta-data, this information found in HTML page headers used to be the bread and butter of SEO marketing tactics. Still used today despite widely perceived diminishing relevance to search-engine rankings, the most common are the “title,” “description,” and “keyword” tags (see below).

21) Mirror Site – Duplicate copy of a website already in existence, used to increase response time for high-volume sites.

22) Organic Listings – Also known as “natural” listings, these are search-engine results that have not been purchased. They are calculated solely by an engine’s algorithm and are based on the merits of the listed pages. Typically, most search engines will display several sponsored ads related to search terms (often separated by background color or otherwise highlighted) before displaying the non-paid listings.

23) Pay-Per-Click (PPC) – Also known as “PPC,” this type of paid search marketing involves placing advertisements that run above or besides (and occasionally below) the free search-engine listings on Google, Bing, and Yahoo!. Typically, to get the highest position among these ads, website owners place a per-click bid. It’s not uncommon to participate in a bidding war for coveted top spots. For example, if a website’s listing is among the top 3 advertisements on a page, the same ad appears in the same location on partner websites. Some marketing firms, including Fathom, provide bid management services to get the most value for each search term.

24) Robots.txt – A small text file included on a website that directs a search engine to include/exclude specific pages from its index. It can be submitted manually to search engines to ensure the latest version is followed regardless of the “crawl cycle.”

25) ROI – An acronym for “return-on-investment.” ROI is the percentage of profit from a given digital marketing activity. For example, if you pay $50 a month for CPC advertising, and it leads to $500 in profit, your ROI would be 1000%.

26) RSS – “Really simple syndication” is the process by which content such as blog posts or podcasts can be updated regularly and syndicated to subscribers in feeds. RSS feeds enable users to access content updates from various outlets—e.g. their favorite blogs, news sites, and digital audio/video providers—all in one central location.

27) Search Engine – A website that allows users to search the Web for specific information by entering keywords. Can include paid or organic listings of websites and sometimes specific images, products, videos, music, place entries or other enhanced results.

28) Search Engine Marketing (SEM) – A phrase sometimes used in contrast with “SEO” to describe paid search activities, SEM may also more generally refer to the broad range of search-marketing activities, either paid or organic.

29) Search Engine Optimization (SEO) – The process of using website analysis and copy/design/structural adjustments to ensure both the highest possible positioning on desired search-engine results pages and the best experience for a given site’s users.

30) Unique Visitor – Also known as “absolute unique visitor,” this statistic represents visitors to a website that are counted once in a given time period despite the possibility of having made multiple visits. Determined by cookies, unique visitors are distinguished from regular visitor counts which would classify two or more visits from the same user as multiple visitors.

Additionally, Web 2.0 – This complex term covers many dimensions of the contemporary Web, including quick user access to streaming video, audio, images and other popular content. It can be generally used to describe interactive, community-driven content, namely blogs, file-hosting, UGC, and social-networking sites.

Web 2.0 is also a philosophy that the Internet should be used more as a public-access platform and less as a vehicle for traditional, one-way publishing. Related concepts include collaboration, crowdsourcing and the use of open-source software.

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