25 Essential Digital Marketing Terms You MUST Know


Trying to understand some of the terms being used in the digital marketing world may be a little overwhelming for business owners looking to engage in this industry. Acronyms and jargons such as CPC (Cost Per Click), CTR (Click Through Rate), CPA (Cost Per Acquisition), CTA (Call-to-Action) and plenty others get thrown around so frequently.

The myriad of terms that you hear during pitches and read in articles start to confuse you, making you start to second guess if you should really be investing your time and money into digital marketing. Today, MarketingGuru is here to help you clear the cloud of smoke that shrouds your knowledge of Digital Marketing by introducing you to the digital marketing terms you must know. Whether you are a business owner or an aspiring digital marketing strategist, this glossary of digital marketing jargons are quintessential to your foray into the world of digital marketing.

Digital Marketing is a term that encapsulates all forms of online marketing. This includes Pay-Per-Click advertising (PPC), Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Social Media Marketing (SMM). The aforementioned three are core components to digital marketing and as such we will split the terms based on these three categories. Bear in mind though, some of the terms could be used for more than just one category.

Pay-Per-Click Advertising Terms

Pay-Per-Click advertising is a method of digital marketing where businesses pay for the clicks received to their website through search engines. These advertisements are run on platforms such as Google, Facebook and LINE Ad Platform to name a few.

1. Click-Through Rate (CTR)

CTR refers to the percentage of users who click on your link per impression. Calculating CTR is simple, you just have to take the total number of clicks to your link in the ad and divide it by the impressions, which is the total number of times that it was shown to people. CTR shows how engaged people are with your advertisements or link, helping you determine if the advertisement is effective in getting people to click.

2. Cost Per Impression (Sometimes known as CPM)

CPI generally refers to the rate that is being paid for 1,000 views of an advertisement. Impressions strictly refer to an appearance of your ad in front of your user, regardless of whether or not the user has engaged with the advertisement.

3. Negative Keywords

Negative keywords are keywords that can be added to your advertising campaigns to ensure that your ads are not displayed when people search certain terms. For example if you don’t want your advertisements for your travel agency to show up when someone searches for tour cancellations, you can add in the broad match negative keyword “cancel” to your campaign. This helps to increase your lead quality, boosting your campaign’s effectiveness.

4. Geo-Targeting

Geo-Targeting is a method used to specifically target and only reach the users from the area of your choosing. The method of geo-targeting is good especially for local businesses looking to draw the crowd of around their vicinity. Google is able to locate where a person is searching from and will only show them ads that are the most relevant to them

5. Broad Keyword Match

When adding in a new keyword to target for a PPC advertising campaign, the default match setting will be broad match. This basically means that if somebody searches for your keyword in any variation, your advertisement will appear.

6.  Exact Keyword Match

When you choose exact keyword match your advertisement only shows up when a user keys in the EXACT same phrase as your keyword in the exact way that it is written. This means that your advertisement will not show even if relevant keywords are being queried. This is good for your ad if you don’t want it shown against the broad range of search variants that people could search for to get to your products.

7. Phrase Match

Phrase match is a PPC keyword setting that only shows your ad when the user’s search has the exact phrase of your keyword or similar variations of the phrase of your keyword. Phrase match allows for additional words before or after the keyword phrase.

8. Cost Per Click (CPC)

CPC refers to the average cost that you are being charged for a single user’s click on your advertisement. Cost Per Click can be calculated by taking the amount spent on the campaign divided by the total number of clicks from users. CPC is an essential tool when running PPC campaigns because an optimal advertising campaign would best have low cost per click, maximizing the value of each click.

9.  Remarketing

essential digital marketing term remarketing ads
Example of Remarketing Ad (Source: BlueCorona)

Ads of your business will be shown to users that have previously visited your website when they continue to browse other pages on the display advertising platform. Remarketing is a particularly useful tool to convince on-the-fence buyers who have taken interest to your website but have decided to not buy for some reason previously. The purpose of using remarketing is so that you can target quality leads because these previous visitors have higher-intent and are more relevant to target.

10.  Dynamic Product Ads (DPA)

essential digital marketing term dynamic product advertisement example
Example of Dynamic Product Advertisement (Source: Advertisemint)

Dynamic product ads are paid ads that appear on Facebook and Instagram, so technically this term could fall under either PPC or Social Media Marketing. Similar to retargeting ads, DPAs are shown to people who have showed interest in your website based on their Internet history. DPA is useful for businesses who have a wide catalogue of products ranging from 10 to 20 products. DPA displays different item sets of the product catalogue to people of different interests, hence the name dynamic. The user can set his goals for DPA, whether it is to upsell or cross-sell the products. DPA is an effective retargeting method for companies looking to expose their customers to complimentary products.

Search Engine Optimization Terms

This is the part of the glossary that confuses people. Businesses looking to acquire SEO services are often met with companies that will give them recommendations or tell that what they would do to optimize the website. Things like meta description, alternate text and backlink building will be some commonly seen terms. The following section will explain these keywords (pun intended) relating to SEO and help you in the future when you encounter them.

11. Meta Description and Meta Title

Meta description, keywords and titles are tags that are added inside the HTML document of a website.

meta title and meta description
Meta Title and Meta Description

Meta description serves as a description of a page’s content and is displayed in the snippet of the search engine results page. The content of these descriptions are important as they help to increase click-through rates from users when they are engaging.

Meta titles are a “name tag” for the webpage. It acts as the title of the webpage itself and is displayed on the browser tab to indicate the page that the user is on. Meta titles are essential components of doing SEO as they are read by search engines and changing it will affect your website’s search engine rankings.

12. Off-Page SEO

Off-page SEO refers to optimization to help your business rank better on the Search Engine Results Page (SERP) that occurs off your business’s webpage itself. These form of optimization could come in the form of lead generation activities such as email marketing, social media marketing or even content marketing.

Generally when SEO companies talk about helping your brand do off-page SEO, they are referring to backlink building (another term in this guide!). Backlink building is a strong off-page SEO technique for helping your business rank better on search engines as backlinks help search engine robots to recognize your website as being more trustworthy and credible.

13. On Page SEO

On-page SEO are optimization activities that happen within a website. On-Page SEO activities include writing quality relevant content for your keywords, optimizing your webpage’s load speed (yes, this matters in helping you rank better!) and tagging pictures with alternate text. All of these would help in making your web page rank better for your keywords as it would increase your web page’s relevance to search engines.

14. Organic Search

Organic search refers to unpaid listings on the Search Engine Results Page. Organic search results are displayed based on a web page’s relevancy rank to a search term. This relevancy is judged by search engine algorithms that are meant to help users get the most relevant search results based on their query.

Similarly, when companies talk about organic traffic, they are talking about the unpaid traffic received by a website.

15. White Hat SEO

One feature that digital marketing companies like to promote is their white hat SEO techniques. White hat techniques basically refer to techniques that comply with Google’s guidelines. This means that when a company promotes themselves as using white hat tactics, they are basically just telling you that they do not engage in unethical SEO methods like keyword stuffing which would result in penalties from Google.

16. Anchor Text

Anchor text refers to the text that is being used to hyperlink to your website. Anchor texts are important in SEO because it helps Google’s search engine algorithm understand what the page that is linked to the anchor is about. For example if I were to link a page in this article using the anchor text “Budget Hotels”, Google would be able to tell that the page is likely to be a page related to budget hotels

By doing this often enough in a natural manner, Google will be confident that the page in question has definitely got to be relevant to the search term budget hotel and will therefore rank it for that search term.

17. Robots.txt

Robots.txt is also known as the robots exclusion protocol. This is a standard that helps website to convey to web crawlers and robots which pages of the website it should crawl and which parts of the website should not be scanned.

The robots.txt file is important in SEO as it will help you to block off pages that are duplicates in your website to web crawlers. Blocking them off will improve your web site’s search engine performance as duplicate pages can hurt SEO rankings. Additionally, robots.txt help you to block off pages from users and not allow them to be indexed on Google’s search engine results page.

18. Web Crawlers

Web Crawlers are robots that are used by search engines to index the content of websites all over the internet. Crawling the web to search for sites will lead to these websites being indexed by Google so that it appears in search engine results

19. Responsive Site

This refers to having a website that is designed to adapt according to the user’s screen size. Regardless of the user viewing it on a desktop or on mobile, a responsive site will change accordingly to fit the screen size.

Having a responsive site helps your website rank better in search engines because Google does mobile-first indexing, primarily prioritizing the indexing of a website’s mobile site first. This shows the added emphasis for having a responsive site.

20. Backlink or Inbound Link

Backlinks, sometime known as inbound links, are links to a webpage that comes from an external website. An example of this would be if this blog article were to be linked on another website, it would count as an inbound link to MarketingGuru.

21. Domain Authority

Domain authority is a score that is developed to indicate a website’s relevance towards a specific field or industry. The relevance of the website impacts a website’s ranking by search engine as search engines algorithms take into account domain authority when trying to rank websites.

22. Long-Tail Keyword

Long-tail keywords are keyword phrases that are typically three to five words long. These phrases are specific and are usually in the form of questions. The significance of using long-tail keywords is that they are generally easier to rank for compared to normal keyword phrases. They also are very specific, which implies that the customer searching for this already know what exactly it is they want, this makes them a higher quality lead as it takes less to convince them to buy your products.


Social Media Marketing

Last but not least, we will be covering some of the commonly seen terms in Social Media Marketing.

23. Lookalike Audience

Lookalike audience are created by using emails list. Lookalike audiences refer to users that are similar to your existing customers/users. To target lookalike audience, you can upload your email list onto your Facebook campaign. Facebook will then use data of these emails and find users similar to that of those in the email list to target.

Lookalike audience is particularly useful in helping companies discover new customers similar to their existing customers.

24. Engagement

Engagement in Social Media refers to interaction that users have with your brand. They may come in the form of comments, shares or likes. Having higher engagement is great for your brand as it helps search engine view your website as being more credible, helping you get better domain scores.

25. A/B Testing

This term could fall under multiple categories, but we generally use this method for paid social media advertisements and Google advertisements. A/B testing refers to split testing in which you will run around 2 to 3 similar ads at the same time and determine which one is the better performing ad. After which, you can choose to use the advertisement that perform the best as the main advertisement or make alterations to the worse performing advertisements.

A/B testing is useful in helping you learn what your target audience likes more and is essential in optimizing your social media advertising campaigns.

26. Relevance Score

For Facebook advertising campaigns, there will be a metric known as the relevance score. This score is given to your advertisements by Facebook and will help them to determine the relevancy of your ad to keywords.

Relevance score is an important factor as a higher relevance score would allow for your ads to show up more often compared to your competitors and for less money. This will help drive down Cost Per Clicks in your Facebook advertisements.

That Was a Whole Lot!

That was, indeed, plenty of Digital Marketing terms for one article! We hope that you were able to learn something new today and cleared up some of your queries with regard to certain digital marketing terms.

Having a better understanding of these terms can help you as an aspiring marketer learn how to fix things when something goes wrong with your campaign. As a business owner, learning these terms will help you to know what some of the marketing agencies you’ve contacted are talking about when you’re being pitched to.

We know that this article doesn’t cover the full scope of digital marketing terms. Let’s face it, there’s a whole lot of it out there! But if you have any questions regarding digital marketing terms or digital marketing strategies, feel free to contact our gurus at MarketingGuru! We will be more than happy to help you with improving your digital marketing knowledge.

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