101 Digital Marketing
Terms and Acronyms
An experiment method also called split testing, it is the practice of isolating and testing two variants to determine which is more effective. Like any scientific test, it relies upon sample sizes and constants/variables in order to generate any conclusions. It is a fundamental practice in digital marketing in order to improve performance of things such as ad creative, targeting, or landing pages.
A set of ads, bids, placements, and targeting grouped according to a similar theme. Each ad campaign contains at least one ad group. It is the level in which keywords exist for search campaigns.
A set of ads, bids, placements, and targeting grouped according to a similar theme. Each ad campaign contains at least one ad set. Ad Set is the term used in Facebook Ads, and is the level in which most of the targeting, including budgets, locations, and audiences, are set.
The place in which a business/organization (or an agency on their behalf) operates ad campaigns, supplied by an ad platform such as Google, Facebook, Microsoft, LinkedIn, Amazon, etc. The hierarchy of levels typically operated on (from top to bottom) are: account, campaign, and ad group/set.
Audiences are groups of users which can be targeted or excluded in ad campaigns. These include demographics, interests, behavior, past visitors, and offline customer lists.
The maximum dollar amount which the advertiser tells the ad platform they are willing to spend per click or view in order for the ad to appear in a desired context. Due to the nature of online advertising and the fluid live auctions, this is an area which receives a high degree of work and attention.
Managing bids in an attempt to improve the efficiency of ad spend, and improve performance without increasing costs through effective testing and optimization. Historical data is leaned upon heavily to leverage and predict trends.
When a user lands on a webpage and leaves the website without first visiting another page.
The percentage of users which bounce. A high bounce rate can be seen as a sign of poor performance if the gauge of success is users browsing multiple pages, but can be seen as a benign statistic if users are simply getting the information they seek quickly.
A collection of ad groups/sets unified by an objective, such as a type of product being sold or individual business goal, and operating within particular settings. Advertising accounts can have one or multiple ad campaigns. The settings available at the campaign level can vary among ad platforms (eg. location targeting is set at the campaign level in Google Ads, but at the ad set level in Facebook).
A broad category of the source of website traffic, including direct, organic search, paid search, referral, and others. It can be further segmented into other categories (eg. traffic from the paid search channel can be broken down into whether it came from Google Search or Bing Search).
When a user completes a desired action such as a lead, purchase, or sign up. They can take place on a website, a search engine results page, or within an ad platform itself, and are tracked and reported in organic/paid marketing efforts. Different conversions can be emphasized for different campaigns, and they can be weighted differently, according to the advertiser’s goals.
The percentage of clicks which resulted in a conversion.
Cost per acquisition/action is the dollar amount of ad spend divided by the number of conversions. Also referred to as cost per conversion (but the acronym CPC is used by cost-per-click, hence CPA).
Cost per click is the dollar amount of ad spend divided by the number of clicks. It is also a colloquial term for bid amount, and sometimes paid digital advertising as a medium (akin to PPC).
Cost per lead is the dollar amount of ad spend divided by the number of leads. This term is often used interchangeably with CPA, unless only certain conversions are classified as leads and others are simply significant actions.
Cost per mille is the cost for 1,000 impressions. It is more commonly referenced in advertising mediums which are not pay-per-click, but instead pay-per-impression/view, as a gauge of the relative expense to reach given audiences.
Cost per view is the dollar amount of ad spend divided by the number of video views. Different ad platforms may vary in how they define a view, such as a minimum percentage of the video watched.
Customer relationship management is a broad concept, but in digital advertising it typically refers to the software used by an organization to log client information. It is often the place in which businesses store/handle leads, and export data for use in marketing.
Call to action is an invitation to the user to take an action such as learn more or inquire. How obvious or subtle it is can vary, such as a portion of text in the main ad creative, or a totally separate button.
Click through rate is calculated by dividing the number of impressions by the number of clicks.
A dollar amount chosen for each ad campaign/set specifying the maximum to be spent each day. The ad platforms tend to treat these as target averages rather than hard caps, under the rationale that performance can be maximized by capitalizing on spikes in user activity on certain days.
The URL of the page to which the user will be taken when they click on an ad. These are commonly appended with tracking parameters, or bits of code which do not affect the landing page, but simply pass information about the referring click.
Website visits that arrived by the user entering the website’s URL directly in the browser, as opposed to being referred from another site.
Ads on a display network can take a variety of forms including static images, text, and animated formats such as gifs. It is sometimes referred to as an interruptive advertising medium (akin to billboards) because it differs from search in that users shown ads are not explicitly looking for the advertiser’s business/product in a given moment. It can be highly contextualized, utilize complex targeting, and provide a large amount of traffic and data.
The customized URL chosen to display in an ad. It is typically a simplified version of the destination URL rather than showing the long form, and is cosmetic with no effect on the landing page.
A broad term which refers to how the ad creative is assembled, and essentially means ads which are composed from a selection of multiple different elements to compose the user-facing version. How each of the elements are selected is generally determined by an algorithm to deliver an optimal or unique ad for the given context. Search ads, Display ads, Social, and Video ads can all be dynamic in nature, and can source from a pool of manually created elements in the ad platform, or from an automated data feed which can keep ads current with product information from a catalog or CRM.
User activity which indicates involvement with content, which may not include website traffic or conversion activity in the moment, but essentially shows that users are paying attention. Some ad campaigns prioritize engagement such as social media likes/shares/comments as part of brand awareness.
The average number of times that the targeted users saw an ad, or group of ads, in a given period. The number will likely vary up and down across campaigns, depending on their goals, in the effort to hone in on the right users while also avoiding ad fatigue from repeatedly showing ads to users who may find them irrelevant. Lower frequency is ideal for upper funnel (awareness), and higher frequency is ideal for lower funnel (conversion).
Restriction on the maximum number of times individual users can see an ad.
A free Google program providing in-depth reporting and metrics on how people use your website, including information about what they do after clicking on your ads.
The number of times an ad or piece of content is shown.
An ad which displays during a video stream. Whether ads are eligible to be shown at the beginning, end, or set points in between is defined by the video hosting platform.
A broad term KPI which is sometimes used in place of “click” because the digital landscape has expanded beyond link clicks, which was formerly the basic user action tracked. Interaction could entail other actions such as video plays or scrolling carousel ads.
Key performance indicators are metrics used to help define and measure progress toward certain goals. Different metrics work together and are analyzed in context along with other KPIs.
The webpage to which users will go after clicking on an ad. This page is entered as the destination URL; ideally its content matches the ad and the expectation of the user.
A prospective customer who has shown interest in a product/service/offering. It is a type of conversion which is commonly defined and tracked in digital marketing as completed contact forms, email submissions, and phone calls, but may extend to other actions such as chat program submissions. It is important for client and agency to agree upon what constitutes a lead so that reporting and evaluation of goals are clear.
A setting in ad platforms which allows advertisers to target users in specific geographic locations. Different campaigns within the same ad account can target different locations, in the form of postal code, city, and radius targeting. Locations can also be excluded.
A type of bidding wherein the advertiser chooses, sets, and adjusts their maximum bid amounts.
Machine Learning: Often confused with “artificial intelligence”, it refers to algorithms identifying patterns in data which are used by computers to predict future behaviour.
The maximum dollar amount which the advertiser tells the ad platform they are willing to spend per click in order for the ad to appear in a desired context.
The portion of the URL following the primary domain, separated by a forward slash. In a Display URL, this is used to provide context for the landing page and does not affect the destination.
A snippet of code inserted into a website which allows a tracking party to observe user behavior and collect data. It is instrumental in attributing conversions and building remarketing lists.
Pay-per-click is an online advertising model wherein an advertiser pays a publisher (eg. Google Ads) each time a user clicks on their ad. It is also a colloquial term for paid digital advertising in general, encompassing campaign types involving different buying models (eg. cost per view).
The number of unique users to whom an ad was shown at least once. This differs from impressions, which may include multiple views of the same ad by the same user.
Traffic that arrived by users clicking links to a site which were on other sites/apps, and not a search engine. The source of the traffic is called the referrer.
The umbrella term for the tactic of marketing to users who have already been to a site. Users are typically tracked by a script, such as a pixel, which does not personally identify them, but allows marketers to bucket audiences of users based on their behavior (eg. which individual pages they viewed). These audiences are then leveraged in a variety of campaign types, such as Search, Display, Social, and Video.
Return on investment is the amount of profit made from advertising compared to the cost of advertising. This figure can also be negative. In order to calculate ROI, an advertiser must have accurate data pertaining to how much profit is made by the business per each conversion tracked. The formula is: ROI = (Revenue - Cost of goods sold) / Cost of goods sold.
The process of breaking down data into categories for analysis. It helps refine the context of data to better understand contributing elements.
Search engine marketing is the promotion of websites, products, and services via SERPs. It used to only entail websites, but with the arrival of other SERP features such as shopping campaigns and more feature-rich business listings, it has broadened to simply promoting products, services, and even brand awareness on SERPs. It is not synonymous with PPC, as organic efforts are included in the SEM umbrella.
Search engine results pages are what users see when they enter a search term on a search engine such as Google or Bing.
A system that allows code to be injected into a website to add functionality and action tagging without disrupting the original code. One of the most prevalent is Google Tag Manager, often called GTM, which commonly houses Analytics tracking, social media pixels, and conversion tags.
The quantity of visits a web page or app receives. The quality and profitability thereof is a separate evaluation.
Unique tag manager is a system of appending small code/text fragments to a destination URL which pass detail about the source of website visits, such as the medium and which ad was clicked. UTM parameters can then be segmented in analytics software to view traffic performance according to different contexts.
A feature that allows the advertiser to display extra information in the ads, such as address, phone number, additional site links, reviews, and product details. Multiple extensions may show simultaneously and can be defined at the account, campaign, or ad group level.
Calculated by a combination of bid amount and historical quality score, ad rank is a value determined by the ad platform which determines the position and location on a page where ads are shown.
Commonly abbreviated as “Avg Pos”, this metric shows how an ad competes against other ads in the search engine results page. This reflects the order in which ads appear.
Also called “Smart Bidding”, it is a category of bidding types wherein the ad platform automatically sets and adjusts bids in real time based on an objective input by the advertiser (eg. target CPA). Using machine learning, the algorithm considers hundreds of factors based on historical data faster than a human could, which can be advantageous over manual bidding, but requires adequate sample sizes of data, and supervision to ensure it has the desired effect.
A keyword match type that will allow the ad to be shown for related words, synonyms, and variations of the keyword.
Broad Match Modifier (BMM)
A keyword match that uses “+” in front of keywords which restricts the search engine to showing ads only when those very words are present in the search query, as opposed to also showing for related words, synonyms, and variations of the keyword.
A component of a text ad. After the headline, this is the first line of written ad copy. It has a strict character space limit, and there are up to 2 available description lines shown at a time.
A collection of digital ad space spanning across a vast number of websites, videos, and apps, on which ads of a variety of formats can be displayed.
A bid strategy that predicts which clicks are likely to convert based on similar historical user behavior, and has permission to adjust bids for these more desirable clicks higher than the stated maximum in order to capitalize.
A keyword match type that uses square brackets around the word or phrase in order to target searches which strictly match the keyword. Search engines will take only slight liberty with interpretations of these keywords, such as assuming typos or including plural forms to also trigger the ad.
Google’s online advertising platform. Historically, it was often synonymous with Search campaigns, but also includes other campaign types such as Display and Video (YouTube).
A component of a text ad. It is the top line of the ad, and the part users typically read first. It has a small character space limit, and multiple headlines can be shown at a time.
Often shortened to (IS), this is the number of ad impressions received divided by the estimated number of impressions for which the ads were eligible to receive. It is expressed as a percentage, and speaks to saturation. For example, if a search campaign has 100% impression share in a given period, that means its ads were shown every possible time the targeted users searched using any of its targeted keywords.
Words or phrases used in search queries that can be targeted on the basis of their relevance to a product or service.
Keyword Match Type
A keyword setting that helps determine how closely a given keyword needs to match a search query in order to trigger an ad.
The process of combing through user queries which triggered search ads and reviewing their performance to determine if they were worthwhile, according to the respective ad group’s purpose. Negative keywords can then be applied to filter out undesirable words/phrases and prevent spending money on them in the future, and new keyword opportunities could be identified to better tailor the campaign to match user behavior. It is a standard optimization practice done with the purpose of increasing the ad account’s performance and efficiency.
Low Search Volume
Keywords with this status have very little or no search history reported by the ad platform. While there is no harm in unused keywords laying dormant, it is worth evaluating budget allocation or investigating upper funnel efforts which might affect search activity for the given keyword.
A keyword that explicitly prevents your ad from showing for a certain word or phrase when searched by users. Can be applied at the campaign and ad group levels.
A domain that the advertiser specifies to be blocked from displaying ads their. Can be applied at the account, campaign, and ad group levels.
A keyword match type that uses quotations around certain words in a keyphrase in order to target searches which include that very sequence of words at any point in the query, and possibly combined with additional words.
Websites and other places where display ads can appear.
A metric that generalizes the relevance of search ads and keywords, factoring in the behavior of users who see and click on the ad and whether they find the information they seek from the landing page. It is not merely a vanity KPI, but higher quality scores (from 1 to 10) are rewarded with lower bid requirements.
Refers to the available ad space on the platforms of Google, Bing, Yahoo, etc. Each network has its own collection of partner sites on which ads may also appear, such as Google Ads offering ad space on the SERPs of AOL.com and Ask.com.
Search engine results page is the page users see once they enter a search. It can be a highly contested piece of marketing real estate, and in addition to organic listings, can feature search ads, shopping ads, knowledge panes, local packs, and more.
Search results page on a website. Commonly used as an advertising landing page for websites with searchable/filterable inventory.
The number of clicks on links within ads which led to destinations or experiences, on or off the ad platform. This differs from simply “clicks” in that some ad platforms report any click on the ad, such as expanding an image or scrolling a carousel without actually visiting the advertising party’s site. For ads promoting Instagram profile views, reported link clicks include clicks on the ad header or comments that led to the advertiser's profile.
A parameter tracked by the Facebook Pixel which tracks certain page views of value, such as a product detail page. It is utilized in dynamic remarketing to identify specific pieces of inventory viewed by specific users to later show them an ad featuring the item and/or similar items which were of apparent interest to them.