(words you know, words you don't and words that aren't even words)

Stump your friends (or just stump yourself) with our comprehensive digital marketing glossary.  Are we missing any good ones?  Contact us to let us know!  

ABM (Account Based Marketing)

A marketing strategy used to target employees of specific businesses.


The point in time when a website visitor becomes a qualified lead or customer.

Ad Exchange

A digital marketplace that allows publishers to sell and advertisers to purchase ad inventory.

Ad Server

A platform used to host ad creative, control ad delivery and provide a secondary source of reporting.


Google’s pay-per-click (PPC) advertisement application.


Google’s program for pay-per-click (PPC) search-engine marketing (SEM).


The set of mathematical rules and calculations that a search engine uses to determine the rankings of the sites it has indexed.

Alt Tag

A text substitution for an image on your webpage. The alternate text is shown when an image on the webpage can’t be displayed.

Anchor Text

The clickable text in a hyperlink. This text helps signal to search engines what the linked page is about and how it relates to the linking content.

Automated Guarantee

A deal negotiated directly with a publisher to negotiate and guarantee ad inventory.


A link from one website to a page on another website.

Banner Ad

An image or animation (including flash, GIF or HTML5) displayed on a webpage for advertising and linked to another website.

Below the Fold

Any content that a user needs to scroll down in order to see on a particular display.


A defined list of sites to be excluded from a paid media campaign.

Bounce Rate

The percentage of website visitors who exit the site without visiting another page on the same site.

Buyer Lifecycle

see Customer Journey


When two or more pages on a single website are competing each other to rank on search results pages for the same keywords or same searcher intents. Known either as “content cannibalization” or “keyword cannibalization.”

Canonical Tag

Code included on a webpage that tells search engines which URL to attribute original content to. This helps eliminate potential problems with duplicate content that, otherwise, may result in pages on the same website competing with each other for rankings.

CAN-SPAM (Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography And Marketing)

The Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography and Marketing Act. Passed in 2003, it establishes the rules for commercial email and messages, giving recipients the right to have a business stop emailing them and outlining the penalties for violators.


The California Consumer Privacy Act. Effective January 2020, it requires standards of transparency about how organizations collect, store and use personal data of California residents. It also gives California residents the right to access and recall their personal data.

Click-Through Rate (CTR)

The ratio of people who actually click on a link (e.g., in an email message or sponsored ad) to the number of total users who view a page, email, or ad.

Contextual Marketing

An approach to marketing that bases efforts and messaging on an audience’s behaviors, preferences and background.


A desired action taken by a website visitor. Common examples may include completing a form or a purchase. This term is often associated with leads due to the relationship with the term conversion rate.

Conversion Rate

The percentage of visitors that converted to leads.

Cost-Per-Click (CPC)

As an advertiser, the amount you pay each time a user clicks on your ad. You agree to pay a set amount for every click.

Cost-Per-Impression (CPI)

Also known as “cost per thousand impressions” (CPM), this refers to the cost of Internet marketing or email advertising campaigns, where advertisers pay each time an ad is displayed. CPI is the cost incurred for each potential customer who views the ad, while CPM refers to the expense incurred for every thousand potential customers who view the ad.

CPC (Cost Per Acquisition)

Generally, a calculation of the total cost required to convert a customer on average. This may be determined by dividing the total cost of a campaign by the number of conversions from a campaign. When looking at lead acquisition, it may also be calculated by dividing marketing spend directed at lead generation by the total of converted leads.

CPM (Cost Per Thousand Impressions)

Literally stands for “cost per mille,” which means cost per thousand impressions. This is the model in which many programmatic media types are purchased.


The process performed by search engine “bots,” “crawlers” or “spiders” of essentially scanning and mapping web content across the internet so that it can be indexed, ranked and displayed as search results.

Customer Journey

A roadmap detailing the full experience how a customer becomes aware of, interacts with and engages your brand.

Customer Relationship Management (CRM)

A platform leveraged by sales and executive teams to manage their prospective customers and current customer’s data. This system allows for full reporting on the business profitability and the ability to tie it back to individual customers and opportunities.


A display for aggregate reporting for all your digital marketing analytics, including web traffic, social media and email engagement.

Database Records

This is the common unit of measurement within MA and CRM systems and determines the pricing structure of most software. A database record equals one row of lead or contact data within the system. When determining how many database records to purchase, you should take into consideration how many leads and contacts you currently have, as well as your current percent increase month over month.


A feature that allows advertisers to define what days of week and times of day their ads are served.

Design system

A digital library of curated collection of design components, including colors, typography, interfaces and icons, to be used and reused for a single brand.

DKIM (DomainKeys Identified Mail)

An email validation system that authenticates a domain name identity.

DMP (Data Management Platform)

A platform that collects and aggregates data for ad targeting and data insights.

DNS (Domain Name System)

The service that controls your domain name’s website and email settings.


An identification string that represents your IP address.

Domain Authority

A website metric that predicts how well pages from a particular website will rank on search engines.

DomainKeys Identified Mail (DKIM)

An email validation system that authenticates a domain name identity.

Drip Marketing

See Lead Nurturing

DSP (Demand-Side Platform)

A platform that allows advertisers to access ad inventory from multiple ad exchanges through real-time bidding auctions.

Engagement Rate

The percentage of people who saw a social post that liked, shared, clicked or commented on it.

First-Party Data

Data that you collect from your customers, clients or patients.

Frequency Capping

Restricting how many times a specific visitor to a website is shown a particular advertisement. This restriction is applied to all websites that serve ads from the same advertising network.


A custom-drawn boundary around a geographic location. This is used to target users within the boundary with ads.

Google Analytics Default Channel Grouping

A way to create and customize reporting, highlighting different traffic channels. Channels are as follows:

  • Organic
  • Direct
  • Referral
  • Paid
  • Social
  • Email

Hard Bounce

An email delivery failure due to the recipient’s address being invalid. Some reasons include the domain or the recipient’s email address not existing.

H-Tags (H1, H2, etc.)

Also known as “header tags,” these page elements define titles, headings and subheadings of web copy.

HTML (Hypertext Markup Language)

Refers to the text-based language used to create websites.

HTTP Status Code

The code that the web server uses to communicate with the web browser or user agent (see specific codes above).


The occurrence when a webpage displays an ad for a visitor, determined by the number of times the particular page is loaded.


The process of storing and organizing web content, usually performed by search engines through “bots” or “crawlers.” Not all content on the internet is indexed (see Noindex), and not all indexed content is displayed in search results or “ranked.”

IP Address

The sequence of numbers and periods that represents the unique numeric address for each internet user.


The term or phrase that a user enters into a search engine. On the other side, it can also refer to the term or phrase that a website targets to rank on a search results page as part of an SEO marketing campaign. Search engines correlate the keywords used by both parties to determine a match in the search results page.

Landing Page

A single webpage that a user “lands” on after clicking, for example, on a search-engine listing or a link in an email newsletter. This kind of page often is designed with a very specific purpose (e.g., lead capture) for visitors.

Latent Semantic Indexing

A method used by a search engine to determine a meaningful relationship between keywords on a webpage mathematically. This helps the search engine recognize a larger pattern of relevance with different keywords a searcher might be using.


Although there are many definitions to this term, the most common is when an end users goes from anonymous to known in a marketing database. Leads at this point are commonly unqualified and early in the funnel.

Lead Nurturing

The process of building a relationship with a prospect or customer, used to qualify and “warm up” prospects who are not sales-ready. This involves offering the right informative content that addresses their questions at the right time.

Lead Owner

The salesperson who manages a particular lead. This term is used in SalesForce, a CRM platform.

Lead Score

The process within MA systems that associates a point value to leads based on their online behaviors and key demographics. This point value helps determine which leads are more valuable and merit more focus.

Lead Source

Where the lead originated from. Identifying the lead source helps you optimize your marketing spend to the activities that drive the most revenue. Common lead sources could be tradeshows, list purchase, events, social media, paid search, etc.

Link Profile

The complete body of links that direct to your website from other websites. When a site has a link profile that contains more links from more high-reputation websites, this sends a positive signal to search engines that the content may be more valuable to searchers, so this positively influences search rankings.

Lookalike Audience

An advanced targeting technique Facebook offers, which allows you to find new people to target based on common attributes shared by your current audience, like age and income level. This essentially expands your audience without changing who you’re targeting.

LTV (Lifetime Value)

The projected revenue to be earned over the long-term relationship with a customer. This may be calculated simply from anticipated recurring revenue over the expected duration of a customer relationship; or it may be calculated using the average purchase price and the average number of sales over a customer’s lifetime.

Marketing Automation (MA)

A practice of managing early funnel leads and prospective customers by automatically delivering relevant content to relevant audiences. Marketing automation systems allow for easy management of marketing programs, lead nurturing and analytics.

Marketing Engaged Lead (MEL)

One step past your standard lead, this lead has begun engaging in marketing programs as well as your brand overall.

Marketing Qualified Lead (MQL)

The highest level of qualification within the marketing program. Once a lead becomes a MQL, they often transition to the sales team within the CRM.


Information used to help search engines understand the content of a webpage and display that information usefully to searchers. The most common meta-tags are the title, description and keyword tags

Natural Language Processing

The ability of search engines to recognize the relationship between the specific keywords a searcher uses and related keywords found in web content. For example, if someone searches for “winter footwear,” the search engine will know through NLP to show them snow boots.

Negative Keyword

A word or phrase that is irrelevant to your campaign. This allows you to filter out who your ads will be served to in the search results page, significantly reducing the number of clicks by poor quality leads.


An HTML instruction to search engines not to associate your webpage with linked webpage.


An HTML instruction to search engines not to include a particular webpage, or other content hosted at a URL, in the search engine’s results. This may be used, for example, when content is gated behind a form, because indexing would allow searchers to access the content through the search engine.


These are created in a CRM system once the SAL has shown an interest in the product or service offering and have effectively made it through the individual sales stages.

Page Authority

A website metric that predicts how well a specific webpage will rank on search engines.

Permission-Based Marketing

An approach to selling goods and services in which a prospect clearly agrees in advance to receive marketing information.


Fictional characters used to represent different user segments and help guide decisions about designing a service, product, content or interaction with a website. Some characteristics include age, household income, occupation, pain points and desires.

Position Zero

A unique placement of a webpage or its content above the #1 spot on the search results page, often as a “featured snippet” that attempts to answer the searcher’s question.

PPC (Pay-Per-Click)

An internet advertising model used to direct traffic to websites, in which advertisers pay the publisher (typically a website owner or a host of website) when users click the ad.

Private Marketplace (PMP) Deal

A deal negotiated with a DSP or a publisher that provides access to specific ad inventory.


The means of buying digital advertising in an automated fashion.

Qualified Lead

A prospect that has expressed enough interest in a product or service to be able to make purchasing decisions.


The numerical position at which a particular webpage appears on a search engine results page.

Real-Time Bidding (RTB)

The live ad auction where advertisers bid on the cost per ad impression.


Like a forwarding address, a redirect communicates to a web browser that the browser should go to a different URL than the one it initially followed. This may be because the webpage moved or because the website owner wants traffic to go to an entirely different webpage.


A tactic of automatically targeting users with web-based ads based on a previous behavior of engagement. For example, if a user visits a website to consider purchasing a new blender but exits before doing so, they may then receive ads on various websites about purchasing a new blender or related kitchen equipment

Responsive Web Design

The design of webpages specifically to allow it to adapt and display well on all common devices and resolutions, including mobile as well as desktop. This is in distinction to creating a distinct version of the website just for mobile devices. As a result of responsive design, page elements may resize or move fluidly.

SAL (Sales Accepted Lead)

The first level of a sales lead. This is what a prospect becomes once they’re accepted by the sales team within the CRM.

Sales Stage

There are often many stages within a sales team process, including steps like a phone call, in-person meeting, drafting proposal, etc. Each stage drives a SAL through to an opportunity.

Schema Markup

Structured code added to a webpage in order to communicate information about the content to search engines, such as the type of content, the author or an aggregate rating. Schema markup may be used to help search engines feature content snippets on search results pages. For example, when you search a recipe and see several previews that show ratings, cook times and ingredients, this may because the webpages used schema markup to identify this information for the search engine to find easily.

Second-Party Data

Someone else’s first-party data that you acquire.


A marketing strategy that divides a broad target market into subsets that each have common needs, interests, and priorities — and then designing and implementing strategies to target them. Example segments may be consumers, businesses or geographic locations.

SEM (Search-Engine Marketing)

A form of digital marketing directed at increasing visibility on search engines. It may involve both paid and organic search marketing activities such as PPC and SEO.

SEO (Search-Engine Optimization)

The sets of practices aimed at increasing the ranking of webpages on search results pages. These include “on-page” SEO, such content optimization and the use of markup language; “on-site” SEO, such as site speed and domain authority; and “off-page” SEO, such as links from external sites.

SERP (Search Engine Results Page)

A webpage displayed to users when they search for something online using a search engine. SERPs typically contain two types of content: organic results and paid results.


A list of a website’s pages, typically organized in hierarchical fashion, accessible to search-engine crawlers or users. It can also be used as a planning tool for web design.

SLA (Service Level Agreement)

The formal documentation and agreement between a marketing and sales team that outlines the business process and flow between the MA and CRM systems.

Soft Bounce

A temporary email delivery failure. The email address was recognized but bounced back undelivered. This could be due to the recipient’s mailbox being full, the server being down or the email file size being too large.

SPF (Sender Policy Framework)

In email marketing, a DNS record that prevents sender address forgery. It specifies what servers may send emails on behalf of your domain.

SSP (Side-Supply Platform)

A platform that’s most often used by publishers to make their ad inventory available for purchase in an ad exchange.

Target Term Grader

A keyword optimization tool that grades each webpage to discover gaps in keyword use.

Third-Party Data

Data that is bought, aggregated and then resold by a company.

UI (User Interface)

The elements and visuals that users interact with, for example on a webpage or application, distinct from UX. UI design focuses on the visual design and functionality of this interaction.

Unique Visitor

A website analytics metric that counts each recognizably distinct user who visits a webpage during the reporting period, regardless of how many times they visit during that period.

URL (Uniform Resource Locator)

A website’s address.

UX (User Experience)

The interaction itself that a user has with a website or other digital product. UX design focuses on creating the optimal experience through these interactions.

Virtual Machine

An imitation of a particular computer system, operating based on the computer architecture and functions of a real or hypothetical computer.


An individual visitor who arrives at your website. A visit counts all visitors, no matter how many times the same visitor may have been to your site.


A defined list of sites upon which ads will exclusively run.


A visual guide that represents the skeletal framework of a website. It’s a blueprint created for the purpose of arranging elements to best accomplish a creative idea or business objective.

XML (Extensible Markup Language)

Similar to HTML, it contains markup symbols to describe page or file contents.


In web development, a CSS property that lets you adjust the order of the layering, or stacking order, for objects when rendering content.