In the past, we made a comprehensive glossary defining digital marketing terms we often use when working with clients to describe SEO metrics, website traffic, paid social metrics, and Google Ads.
If you’re new to this whole thing, there may be lots of other fundamental marketing terms that you don’t know. It’s never fun to run into unfamiliar jargon in the middle of an important meeting. Whether you’re working with an agency, hiring marketing staff, or trying some strategies on your own – these are some great, basic terms and phrases to know by heart.
This list is based off of many meetings where clients have stopped us to ask, “wait, what does that mean?” It is a mixture of language we use to describe general marketing, content marketing, Google platforms, your website, social media, email marketing, and more. Feel free to bookmark this blog and come back to it when someone uses language you don’t understand.
Let’s start with some general marketing terms
KPI (Key Performance Indicator)
As famous educator and author Peter Drucker once said, “What gets measured gets done.” KPI’s are strategic indicators used in business to measure success or progress towards a final, calculated result. They help provide focus and keep marketing efforts on track.
ROI (Return on Investment)
A performance metric that measures (or tries to measure) the amount of return on a particular marketing investment, relative to the cost of said investment. To calculate ROI, subtract the cost of the investment from the sales proceeds to get the benefit. Then divide the benefit by the cost to get the Return on Investment. The result is expressed as a percentage. ROI works well for analyzing manufacturing costs, but becomes less reliable when calculating the value of brand awareness campaigns (like on a billboard).
The process through which a company finds, qualifies, and sells its products to buyers. It can also be defined as the “buying process.” Though the process varies from sale to sale, the funnel typically begins at awareness, moves through interest and evaluation, reaches a sale, and eventually resolves as the ultimate goal: brand loyalty. A potential customer may get stuck at any point in the funnel, and it’s up to the marketing team to figure out where and why.
A predetermined audience based on demographic data or sales data that is intended to be reached through advertising and marketing dollars. A target audience may be broad, like people who need plumbing, or specific, like college students who prefer an organized schedule. Each ad campaign reaches out to its target audience, where and when they’re looking.
A person that has started the sales funnel and is likely to purchase, join, or otherwise create a sale. A customer who just arrived on your website looking to make a purchase is a qualified lead. A non-customer who calls your sales team to make their own pitch is also not.
CLV (Customer Lifetime Value)
The lifetime value of the average customer. It’s important to understand the lifetime value of a customer vs. the profit made on a singular purchase or sale. This number is likely much larger, and more valuable to a company. It also helps to give a more accurate estimate to what a cost per acquisition (CPA) should be.
A plan of action designed to promote and sell a product or service. Generally, this term is used to describe a “high level” plan, e.g. the voice, imagery, slogans, and marketing channels used throughout each campaign.
Similarly, a campaign is a course of action to promote and sell a product or service. Campaigns tend to be specific, shorter term action plans, usually contained to one marketing channel (see below). Many individual campaigns can play into a larger, overall strategy.
The media on which a marketing campaign takes place. Examples include TV ads, word of mouth, promotional events, and digital marketing channels such as YouTube Ads and viral marketing.
Find content marketing, creative, common Google tools, website management, and email marketing terms below.
A type of marketing that includes creating and sharing written and creative materials online. This includes video, blogs, social media posts, eBooks, infographics, webinars, paid content, and more. Often times, content marketing supports other direct marketing in that it does not directly promote a brand but instead increases brand awareness and interest in its products and services.
Editorial or Content Calendar
A calendar used to organize and schedule content to be shared across different media channels over time. A good editorial calendar also helps marketing and editorial teams coordinate better to maximize impact, allows stakeholders to target reader interests, and helps teams to consistently produce high-quality, engaging work. Learn how to make a simple content calendar.
Blog post / Guest post
A piece of writing posted to your blog. Blog posts give readers or customers fresh, new info to find on your website, increase keyword rankings, and create content to repurpose throughout other marketing channels like social media and email. A guest post is written by someone not on your team, like a thought leader (see below) or specialist in the field.
An individual or firm that is recognized as an authority in a specialized field and whose expertise is sought after. Thought leaders are commonly asked to speak at public events, conferences, or webinars to share their insights with a relevant audience.
A record used to showcase positive results or progress over a given period of time. A case study can be used to demonstrate the effects of a certain campaign, multiple similar campaigns compared side by side, or an overall marketing strategy. Here are some examples of case studies we’ve done in the past.
A fun, visual representation of information or data. A well implemented infographic can improve trust in your brand, as well as create viral content.
An electronic version of a book. eBooks are often used as a way to showcase thought leadership in a field or as a content marketing tool. Note: An eBook does not have to be the length of a traditional book.
A seminar conducted over the Internet, typically as part of a content marketing strategy. A webinar can be used to communicate a pitch to multiple potential clients at once, with a personal touch that comes from performing live.
Creative and Design
Adobe Creative Suite
A popular software used by photographers, videographers, graphic designers, illustrators, and special effects artists. Creative suite includes Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, Lightroom, Premiere Pro, Dreamweaver, AfterEffects, and more.
The different styling of printed letters and numbers used to create fonts. The typography helps to set the tone, draw attention to certain details, and establish a brand.
Logomark vs. Logotype
Logomark is a recognizable symbol used to identify a business. It does not typically contain the business name. Logotype is the font or typography used to create the business name. Here is the Intellitonic logomark above the logotype:
Style Guide / Brand Guidelines
A guide created for the sake of consistency across all marketing and promotional materials as well as departments within a company. Typically, a style or brand guide includes fonts, logo, brand colors, layout specifications, and more, to create a standardized look.
Image or Asset Descriptions
The features of an image pertaining to size and resolution. Here is a guide we wrote on image definitions such as resolution, compression, dimensions, and more
Basic Google Tools
When working in digital marketing, Google is king. Find descriptions of essential tools and services below.
A web analytics service that tracks and reports website traffic and data. You can track referral traffic, paid google ads traffic, paid social media traffic, organic social media traffic, direct traffic, organic search traffic, and more. Google Analytics also offers demographic data, behavioral data, top landing pages, goals, and much more.
Google Ads is an online advertising platform developed by Google, where advertisers pay to display brief advertisements, service offerings, product listings, video content, and generate mobile application installs within the Google ad network to web users.
Google Tag Manager
Google My Business
A Google Search feature that hosts profiles for every business location. Keeping your Google My Business up-to-date with keyword targeting, new posts, quality images, and responses to customer reviews helps promote it above the competition.
Google Search Console
A platform used to measure and report on a website’s search traffic and performance, check indexing status, and optimize visibility in search results. Use it to see what customers are searching to arrive at each page of your website.
A business that stores websites on a server so they’re available to customers 24/7. Popular examples include Bluehost, GoDaddy, and Google Cloud.
HTTP vs. HTTPS
HTTP stands for HyperText Transfer Protocol. It is the method a web browser on your computer uses to exchange information with the server hosting the website. HTTPS is HTTP with encryption. HTTPs uses SSL to encrypt normal HTTP requests and responses, making it more secure for users. When a user opens a website in HTTP, they see a warning that the website is not secure.
Software used to make designing and managing a website faster and easier. Popular Content Management Systems for websites include WordPress, Drupal, Squarespace, Shopify, Wix, and Weebly.
Similar to a cookie, a pixel is a snippet of code that is placed on a website to help collect data on customer activity. A Facebook pixel is used specifically for Facebook, to optimize ads, build target audiences, and track conversions. Other popular sites that use pixels or snippets of code are Google Ads, Linkedin, Callrail, Crazy Egg, and FOMO.
Domain vs. URL
The name chosen to represent one or more IP addresses for your business. A URL is the address given to that domain name on the World Wide Web. For example: Intellitonic.com is the domain name. The home page URL is https://intellitonic.com.
A channel of marketing where promotional messages and information are sent via email to active and potential customers. Five popular email systems are: Klaviyo, Mailchimp, Constant Contact, MailerLite and Drip. Rather than sending unsolicited emails, we recommend having customers sign up on an email list and other email marketing strategies.
Email Welcome Series
A pre-planned campaign of three to four (ideally automated) email campaigns delivered to a new subscriber over a 1-2 week period. Studies show this is the best time to thank new customers for subscribing, show them why your brand is relevant and unique, and otherwise lead them further along your sales funnel. Read our blog here on welcome series best practices.
A technique in which two identical ads are delivered with only one variable different, allowing the marketing team to see which version outperforms the other. In email marketing, A/B testing can be used to test content, subject lines, teasers, and other factors down to subtle changes in font and wording. A/B testing can also be used to test landing pages of websites, in Google Ads, and Paid Social Ads.
Open Rate / Click-Through Rate (CTR)
In email marketing, open rate describes the percentage of subscribers that opened a given email. Click-Through Rate (CTR) describes the percentage of people that opened, and then clicked through your email, to a predetermined landing page. CTR is also used to describe how often an ad is clicked in other digital marketing campaigns.