18 Digital Marketing Terms to Know in 2018


Technology is constantly evolving and advertising channels, best practices, and terms are changing to keep pace. Are you reconnecting with customers who browsed your website through retargeting? Is your website responsive, and do you have specific landing pages dedicated to driving conversions? Are you investing in marketing automation or making time for online reputation management?

If you’re not extremely familiar with all of the terms mentioned so far, not to worry. We’ve put together a quick list of digital marketing terms to know in 2018.

1. Bounce Rate

The bounce rate is a percentage of traffic on a web page that doesn’t stick around and doesn’t navigate to other pages on your site. In many ways, it’s the number of people that land on a page, realize it’s not what they’re looking for, and leave. A high bounce rate is a problem because those visitors are not converting, either because they aren’t your target audience (i.e., your target audience isn’t being reached), or there isn’t sufficient or valuable content to engage them.

2. Contextual Targeting

Audience segmentation and personalization are critical for breaking through to modern audiences. Contextual targeting allows you to segment ad delivery programmatically based largely on the web page that the ad is being served on, especially related to its content. For instance, a YouTube review for hair dye paired with a pre-roll ad for hair care and styling products is an example of contextual targeting.

3. Conversion Rate

Sometimes abbreviated CVR, conversion rate is a percentage of potential customers who take some sort of action, such as providing their email address in exchange for a mobile coupon or filling out a web form for exclusive content. A high conversion rate is a good sign, since it indicates that a qualified audience is interested in your digital marketing and moving down the path to purchase.


These abbreviations stand for Cost Per Click and Pay Per Click, respectively. They’re used in a digital marketing structure that bills advertisers based on how many users click on their ad, rather than how many times the ad is served to users. This type of structure can be used for any programmatic digital ads that can be clicked, including AdWords and Facebook Ads.

5. CTA

Short for call-to-action, a CTA is used to influence users to take a specific action, such as clicking on a link, watching video content, or making a purchase. Often, CTAs are included as buttons rather than hyperlinked text in order to make them stand out, whether they’ve been included in an email or on a landing page for a new product. Rules for CTA buttons are the same as for CTAs in more traditional advertising media. For example, like the call-to-action at the end of a radio commercial, your CTA should be brief, clear, and compelling.

6. CTR

Standing for click-through-rate, this is the percentage of users that actually clicked on a digital ad they’ve been served, or on a link in an email they opened. It often indicates the effectiveness of a particular ad or email’s targeting, and a high CTR is obviously desirable. Remember, context does matter — a 20% CTR based on 10 impressions isn’t as good as the same CTR for a thousand impressions.

7. Display Advertising

Display advertising is any digital ad that utilizes more than text, however, in some cases, it can be used to refer to specifically static image ads, as opposed to video, or ads that display across websites, as opposed to search or social. No matter the platform, display advertising can be used in either CPC or CPM (cost-per-thousand impressions) payment structures.

8. Impression

As the number of times a digital ad is served to users, an impression does not indicate that an ad has actually been noticed. CPM (cost-per-thousand impressions) payment structures should be considered along similar lines to mass advertising, despite the fact that they can be more highly targeted. Even though the amount billed to the advertiser isn’t dependent on the number of clicks, the CTR is still imperative to determining the success of the ad itself.

9. Keyword

A keyword is a word or phrase that’s used to indicate the content, purpose, or industry of a digital ad, website, or content (e.g., blog posts, non-ad videos). They play a critical role in a brand’s discovery via search (i.e., SEO), as well as in ensuring ads are correctly served to interested users (i.e., SEM, contextual advertising). Long-tail keywords — containing at least three words — provide clarity and improved specificity.

10. Landing Page

This is a dedicated page on a website that a user loads when they’ve either followed a unique URL for cross-media campaigns (e.g., from direct mail or a radio ad) or clicked on a digital ad or other CTA button. Landing pages should feature unique and valuable content that’s specific to a campaign for the purposes of driving users toward conversion.

11. Marketing Automation

Technology provides myriad ways to make running your business easier, including taking repetitive tasks off your plate. Rather than manually completing tasks like posting to social media at the right times of day or individually nurturing prospective customers via email, apps and software can perform these tasks automatically. This streamlined process saves both time and money.

12. Mobile Optimization/Responsive Design

Business websites need to load quickly, be easy to read, and be easy to use while on a mobile device. That is to say, sites need to be optimized to view on devices that are not standard sizes or shapes, but are often small. A responsive design is an underlying web page format that allows the page’s layout to adjust itself according to the device being used to access it. Be sure to check out our post on mobile friendly websites.

13. Native Advertising

Consumers no longer want to be exposed to a sales pitch, so brands developed tactics to blend their advertisement with the content it’s served with. Native advertising allows ads to be served in-feed without feeling like an interruption to the consumer’s browsing experience.

14. Online Reputation Management

PR is as critical now as ever, and today’s brands practice online reputation management to define and refine their identity. It requires monitoring a number of outlets, including social media and review sites, like Yelp, in order to openly appreciate good feedback or respond to negative reviews. This provides the opportunity to change poor customer experiences into good ones.

15. Retargeting

As with targeting, retargeting allows you to serve a specific message to a specific user for a personalized experience of your brand. However, retargeting is used specifically to reconnect with and capture customers who have browsed your website, previously made a purchase, or even those that abandoned their cart. It serves ads to users that remind them of the products and services they were interested in or that would supplement their purchases.

16. SEM

Short for Search Engine Marketing, SEM is any type of marketing tactic that directly relates to your brand’s appearance through a search engine. While it can broadly include SEO, SEM usually refers to the text or display ads featured on a search results page.

17. SEO

Also known as Search Engine Optimization, SEO refers to a page-by-page website design strategy that relies heavily on keywords to improve a brand’s discoverability via search engines. SEO best practices regularly evolve to match changing consumer expectations and habits, as well as algorithm changes put in place to minimize abusive tactics. Other factors include page load speed, quality and length of content, and other customer experience elements.

18. Social Media Advertising/Marketing

Businesses can use social media as a marketing tool, function as a branded user creating actual content, or leverage native advertising by purchasing ads (usually PPC or display) through the social media platform itself. Many platforms offer an additional middle ground whereby businesses can sponsor their content to be targeted to users like an ad.

Find more definitions in our free download, The Ultimate Guide to Marketing and Advertising Terms.

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