The 50 must-know acronyms in digital marketing
Updated 6 December 2022
There are a lot of digital abbreviations to remember! Find a list of 50 digital marketing acronyms that experienced marketers use all the time.
SEO = Search Engine Optimisation
SEO is the process of getting traffic from free, organic (non-paying) search results on search engines like Google and Bing. It is an important part of digital marketing as driving free traffic to your website directly affects your organic search rankings.
SERP = Search Engine Results Page
SERP is a page with information about the type of search you have entered in a search engine and which will yield the best results. For example, when you search for information on Google, Google will show you the results it thinks is right for your query and also provide links to other pages based on how it thinks it can help you with that particular search term.
BL = Backlink
A backlink is a link to your website that sits on someone else’s website. Backlinks help build your search engine results and having many backlinks on quality websites will help you move up in the rankings. The more targeted your backlinks are, the more valuable they will be to your website.
DR = Domain Ranking
Domain ranking refers to your website’s ranking on the internet. This is calculated based on the authority of your site and what keywords you rank for in search engines. This metric can be used to measure the success of your PPC campaign because it tells you how many people use it to find you.
H1 = Heading 1
H1 is the first heading on your webpage and it should be used to introduce your content. Any other headlines on the same page would follow a hierarchy, so H2 (Heading 2), H3 (Heading 3), etc. You should only have one H1 on each website page, but you can have several H2 or H3 depending on the content.
HREF = Hypertext Reference
HREF is the code used to make a link on a website. You can use this code on your own web pages to make it easy for people to visit other pages on your site. This is one of the most common things you will see in HTML and it’s very easy to add links.
LB = Link Building
If you use link building, you will be able to increase the number of links pointing to your site and make your website more successful. Link building is all about getting people who will link to your site and help it grow. This is a great way for you to make your business grow and get more exposure.
SEM = Search Engine Marketing
SEM covers the whole process of getting traffic from paid, sponsored results on search engines like Google and Bing. The best way to think of the difference between SEO and SEM is: SEO is free traffic from natural search results, whereas SEM is paid traffic from advertising.
SMM = Social Media Marketing
With SMM you promote a product, service or brand using social media channels or websites, for example Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn or TikTok. Most platforms have their own in-built analytics and tracking tools that help you oversee the engagement and success of your campaigns and social media marketing efforts.
PPC = Pay Per Click
PPC is an advertising model that works on an auction-like system. Instead of putting ads in front of people, you pay for the adverts to be shown in a specific ad space. For example, if you have a banner ad on a site and it has been bid on by 50 other advertisers, only the highest bidder receives their ad on your page. Google Ads, Yahoo! Native and Microsoft Advertising are all PPC platforms.
CPC = Cost Per Click or Cost Per Conversion
CPC is a cost model used in advertising. In PPC, a cost is determined by a campaign in which a set amount of money has been bid on your ad space. The highest bidder receives their advertisement on your page.
CPA = Cost Per Action
CPA is an advertising model in which advertisers only pay when a certain defined action has been taken. For example, if you run a display ad that results in someone calling your business for more information, you only pay the publisher when that phone call is made.
CPL = Cost Per Lead
A lead is considered to be any customer who has either made contact with your company (like filling out a form) or provided their personal information (such as their name or address). Some companies allow you to pay by the lead that your ad generates, others will pay based on a percentage of sales or revenue generated from each lead. CPL is calculated by dividing how much you have spent by the number of leads you have derived.
CPM = Cost Per Thousand Impressions
CPM is a cost model that uses an amount per thousand impressions (M). It is used to determine how much you will pay for your ad space every thousand times it is viewed, regardless of whether anyone clicks on it or not. It is important to note that when someone views your advertisement, this might not result in a click.
CTR = Click-Through Rate
CTR is the percentage of times that visitors will actually click on your advertisement. It is important to have a high CTR on your PPC ads since the definition of a successful campaign is a high number of clicks.
UTM = Urchin Tracking Module
UTM is a way of tracking specific traffic from different websites using a link with UTM parameters that you choose. For example, if you have a social media campaign running, you can use a UTM link to track how many people found your business through that particular campaign. Typically, UTM parameters include the Medium (or "channel" e.g. Social media, paid or email), Source (within the "channel" e.g. Facebook) and Campaign (the reference title e.g. "Christmas offer 2023").
TOFU = Top Of Funnel
At the top of the funnel are your marketing activities that create awareness about your company. It's often one of the first touch points in the customer journey and you usually reach a wider audience with your content at first. Classic examples include blog articles that are found through SEO best practices, landing pages, promotional ads or social media posts. Other terms related to the marketing funnel are MOFU (middle of funnel) and BOFU (bottom of funnel).
CPLPV = Cost Per Landing Page View
The cost per landing page view is a metric that's calculated using the total amount of ad costs spent divided by the amount of landing page views. The difference to cost per click (CPC) is that when someone clicks on your link and lands on your landing page, the cost is calculated based on more than just the click itself – it also depends on the user browsing further down the landing page and actually spending time on it.
ROI = Return On Investment
ROI is a way to calculate the efficiency of digital marketing campaigns and how they generate revenue in comparison to how much you invested in them.
ROAS = Return On Ad Spend
Similar to Return On Investment, ROAS is a metric to define how much total revenue your campaigns generated but based on per advertising dollar spent.
VP = Value Proposition
Your value proposition describes the marketing strategy on how your brand differentiates itself from the competition and where your position is in the market. This could be for the whole of your company or just certain aspects of it, for example a particular product. It has to draw out the actual value and its benefits the service, product or brand is promising to deliver. A value proposition is usually part of the business strategy but is also commonly applied in marketing.
CR = Conversion Rate
CR is how well your traffic is converting to action such as a lead. For example, if a site has a 1% conversion rate, this means that 1% of visitors to your website completed a form or filled out a survey.
COP = Cost Per Order
COP is the cost you pay for each order placed from an ad on your site. For example, if you have an ad on Google Ads and the bid is $10, and 50 people see your ad, this means you will pay $500 for all those 50 people that fill out a form or call your company.
LP = Landing Page
A landing page is the page on your website that users will arrive at after clicking on your PPC ad for example. A landing page is very important because it acts as a "lead capture page" and it’s where all the clicks and actions of your ad ultimately end up. If you want to create a successful PPC campaign, you need to give people a reason to click on your ads instead of others.
AOV = Average Order Value
AOV is the average value of all the orders you get on a monthly basis. This gives you a good indication of what people actually spent on your site and how much they value your product or service.
LTV = Lifetime Value
LTV is what you can expect to make from customers. It’s the money that those customers will spend over their lifetime. As time passes, this number should grow as customers become more loyal and spend more time on your website. It is important to track this number in order to see whether your revenue is growing and how much can be expected from campaigns.
UX = User Experience
UX stands for user experience, which refers to the overall experience users have when interacting with your website. This can be measured by asking questions about how easy it is to navigate your site, whether they like the look of it and how well it’s designed.
CRO = Conversion Rate Optimisation
CRO stands for conversion rate optimisation, which refers to the process of improving your conversion rates through your website. This is important because it helps to understand your audience and how to improve touch points that support people to convert into a lead. It helps you sell more products and services to each customer who visits your site.
BR = Bounce Rate
BR stands for bounce rate, which is the percentage of people who visit your site and leave after it opens. It's easy to measure using analytics tools. If you have a high number of people who leave your site, it might mean that they are not interested in what you have to offer or that there is no call to action for your consumers to take next steps.
CTA = Call to Action
A call to action describes the activity you hope your audience will take on which is usually displayed on a button, for example "contact us" or "sign up". In many cases, a CTA makes a big difference in helping your audience to navigate your website but it's also used on many other channels such as paid campaigns or social media posts. You can increase your CTR by using fitting CTAs that give a clear direction and sound interesting to click through but they also have to be placed in a spot that's easy to find.
RPU = Revenue Per User
This is the average revenue you make from each user on your site. It helps you understand how much each user is worth to your business. It also gives you a good idea of what to charge for your products and services, so you can get a better understanding of how much profit you can actually make from a customer relationship.
TOV = Tone Of Voice
The tone of voice is a set guideline for your teams (not just copywriters) on how you decide to write as a company. This can refer to both internal and external communication and can be as detailed as setting standards on how to write headlines. A TOV is based on your company values and the way you want to speak to your customers which is why it's important to have one in place that counts across your whole business.
USP = Unique Selling Proposition
USP is actually an acronym used by marketers. It stands for Unique Selling Proposition, which is the factor that makes your business stand out from your competitors.
B2B = Business to Business
B2B refers to the relationship between two businesses, where one offers a product or service and the other buys it. This is in contrast with B2C, which deals with business to consumers. You should make use of B2B marketing if you want to reach other companies to tap into your offering.
B2C = Business to Consumer
B2C is the relationship between a business and a consumer. This is where a company sells a product or service directly to the end-consumer. This is typically done through an online store, but can also be done through a website that offers products or services that consumers will want to buy.
KPI = Key Performance Indicator
KPI is a number that you use to track and measure your progress. This could be the number of leads you are getting on a monthly basis, the number of web visitors or how many people are subscribing to your email list. KPI’s are important because they help organisations understand how things are improving or declining. You can then use this information to change parts of your strategy for better results.
MQL = Marketing Qualified Lead
MQL is a marketing term used to refer to a marketing qualified lead. This is a good opportunity for you to turn visitors into customers because they have already expressed some interest in your company, website or product. Which means: they are more likely to buy from you as opposed to someone else whose site they visit.
SQL = Sales Qualified Lead
Sales qualified leads are people who have expressed a genuine interest in your company and one that you can sell a product or service to because they have already shown some interest in what you have to offer. This is the type of lead you want to convert into paying customers. It’s important to nurture these leads, for example via email campaigns based on useful content, so they become more familiar with your brand.
SLA = Service Level Agreement
The service level agreement is a promise by your company to offer your customers some sort of service or product. This can be anything from website design to hosting services. You should have a SLA for each product or service you sell so that you can guarantee the quality of your work and how quickly it will be delivered.
URL = Uniform Resource Locator
URL stands for Uniform Resource Locator, which is a location on the internet where a website can be located. URLs are unique and can be used to find a particular page on a particular site. If someone types in your company’s URL into their browser, they will most likely arrive at your company’s homepage. You should have a unique URL that describes who you are and what you do so that people know where to go if they want to find out more about what you have to offer.
HTML = Hypertext Markup Language
HTML stands for Hypertext Markup Language, which is a coding language used to build websites. HTML is used to add images and text to a page and can be edited using a text editor like Notepad. Most websites you visit today use HTML and even Google and Facebook use it on their sites.
EDM = Electronic Direct Mail
EDM is a marketing method that involves sending email messages to your customers directly, as opposed to via a service like Mailchimp. EDM can be used to send out newsletters with important information but you should use EDM sparingly and only send out content with real value.
AI = Artificial Intelligence
AI stands for artificial intelligence which collects, analyses and learns from a lot of data and information to simulate human thinking and intelligence. Artificial Intelligence is explored in more detail nowadays, for example for smart devices or for marketing, e.g. AI image generator tools like DALL·E.
API = Application Programming Interface
An API defines a set of functions, methods and protocols that allow an application to talk to another application or platform. They can be used in marketing by getting your marketing platform or website to talk to the databases of larger companies. This is one of the most common marketing integrations you can do.
CSS = Cascading Stylesheet
A cascading style sheet is a chunk of code used to format a webpage. It can be used to make text larger or smaller, change the colour of a link and create a more attractive looking website. CSS is one of the most important parts of HTML because it makes the website look good and ensures that it looks good across all platforms.
SaaS = Software as a Service
SaaS means Software as a Service. This is software that can be used by a wide variety of people who don’t have access to the system in which it runs and it allows you to send lots of emails to clients who use SaaS services from companies like Mailchimp.
GA = Google Analytics
Google Analytics is a robust system that allows your site owners to keep track of all the data from your website. You can measure traffic flow, get an idea of how your website is performing and use that information to make improvements. If you heard of GA4, that's the newest version of Google Analytics that has even more features to track your website performance.
GTM = Google Tag Manager
GTM is a tag management system that helps you manage all the HTML, tracking code and other PPC scripts on your website. It will also help you to create your own PPC campaigns by managing the code that makes them work. One of the biggest benefits of using GTM is that your ads don’t need to be changed or updated if something goes wrong with your site. This is quite useful in case you decide to change the layout of your site and need to update some ad text or layout.
CMS = Content Management System
CMS stands for a content management system, which is a system that allows site owners to create their own content and manage their website. You can use CMS to create landing pages, blog articles and keeping your website content up to date.
CRM = Customer Relationship Management
CRM is a system used to manage all of your customer's information and interaction. You can use CRMs to keep track of who they are, how they got in contact with you and what product they are interested in. Typical customer touch points would be newsletter subscriptions or gated content.
The marketing acronym landscape is a big one and a lot of elements are needed to create successful digital marketing. Let us know if you need help with any of them and we can recommend the right type of marketing tools for your business plans.