Digital Marketing

A Glossary of Digital Marketing Terms in Plain English

Every field has terms that are unintelligible to outsiders. Digital marketing is no different, and it’s easy to forget that people may have no idea what we’re talking about when we use marketing jargon to tell them what we do for a living. Even general business and sales terms that are common across many industries may be unfamiliar to people who haven’t worked in a big office environment.

Industry short-hand is useful when talking shop among colleagues, but we need to be ready to communicate our value prop to people for whom the term “value prop” sounds like Cantonese. Otherwise we end up with a tower of babel situation where communication breaks down and nothing gets accomplished.

marketing jargon tower of babel
The Tower of Babel by Pieter Bruegel the Elder

So here I have compiled a short glossary of digital marketing jargon that is common to digital marketers and agencies.

Common digital marketing terms

Bing: A search engine like Google, but way less popular.

Conversion Rate: How often a click leads to some other desirable action, such as a sale.

Cost Per Click (CPC): How much you pay when someone clicks your ad. It depends on how much you bid, how much competition there is, and how good Google or Facebook think your ad is.

Cost Per Lead (CPL): How much you spend on marketing to get someone to give you their contact information for a sales follow up.

Click Through Rate (CTR): How often people click your ad after seeing it.

Ethical Digital: A full-service marketing agency that offers better solutions at a lower price.

Google Display Network (GDN): Google’s product for showing your ads on other people’s websites.

Impression: Every time your ad is shown to someone on the internet.

Impression Share: How often your ad is shown when it is eligible to be shown.

Paid Media: Online Ads you pay for, like commercials on youtube, banners on websites, and the ads you see on Facebook or when you search on Google.

Pay Per Click (PPC): A type of online advertising where you only pay when someone clicks your ad. Someone who specializes in setting up and running these ad campaigns is called a Pay Per Click Specialist.

Quality Score: How good Google thinks your ad is. Facebook and Bing have something similar.

Reach: How many people are eligible to see your ad based on your budget and the audience you target.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO): How you get your website to show up on Google when people search for it.

Search Engine Results Page (SERP): The page of results you get when you perform a search on Google.

Social Media Management: Letting other people handle your Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter profiles by posting updates and responding to comments.

Of course this is terribly incomplete, but it’s a start and I may add to it over time. If you want a more complete list, here’s a good one.

Let me know what you think in the comments. Thanks for reading!

By Kevin Frei

Kevin Frei is an entrepreneur, paid media specialist, and intermittent nomad from Arizona. Ethical Digital is his third startup after and an online traffic school company. An avid traveler and economics hobbyist, Kevin's goal is to revolutionize the way service companies are organized so that more people can achieve the dream of professional (and locational) independence.

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