The Essential Glossary of Digital Marketing Terms

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Updated on: January 12th, 2023Sharon Sexton23 min read

We’ve put together a list of terms that we get asked about a lot. If we’ve missed something, drop us a line and we’ll look into adding it.


Alt Text or Alt Image Text

Alt Image Text is added to images being used on web pages and posts and accomplishes two things:  1) for SEO best practices, Alt Image Text or Tags describe the picture and its correlation to the page itself and are used by search engine crawlers when ranking pages, and 2) they create context and accessibility for sight-impaired people when visiting a website.


Anchor Text

Anchor text is the clickable text hyperlink that you see on web pages and within posts and articles. Often blue underlined text, it can also be changed to other colors through the HTML code. SEO best practices dictate that anchor text be relevant to the subject where the link is directing you and not just unrelated text.


Application Programming Interface or API

Think of it as an electronic “middleman” – API allows one application to talk to or extract information from another application or piece of software.



Backlinks (also known as incoming links) are links embedded into the content of one web page that leads the user to another web page or website for expanded information or further explanation of the topic at hand.

Backlink Strategy

Google search engine spiders count backlinks as “votes” for a specific page – the more backlinks, the higher Google rates the site’s authority. In other words, a page with a lot of backlinks will often rank high in organic search engine results. As an SEO strategy, acquiring backlinks can be a highly effective way to improve rankings.

Banner Ads

Banner ads (also known as display ads) are the colorful, visually appealing “billboard” ads that show up on web pages usually across the top or down one side. Delivered by ad servers on a cost-per-click basis, they are usually relevant to the user’s preferences and are the ads that make you say, “How did they know I was just looking at that on Amazon?”

Bannerad final


BoFu (bottom of the sales funnel) is the closing stage in terms of the marketing journey. In terms of digital content, this stage is often characterized by case studies, trials, live demonstrations, and consultations.

Boosted Post

On Facebook, you can “boost” a specific post to a targeted audience by spending a little bit of your ad budget to increase your reach to a particular audience. They cost less than a Facebook Ad, don’t require any knowledge of Ads Manager, and can be very effective.

Boosted Facebook Post

Bounce Rate

In web traffic analysis, the bounce rate represents a percentage of visits where the user leaves the site without visiting any other pages. For Google, users “bouncing” off a site implies that the site isn’t meeting their needs and it will negatively affect the search engine rankings.

Buffer Page

A Buffer page is often sent ahead of a requested page and can include a legal disclaimer or warning or can be a way to add meta tags for SEO purposes.



Marketing campaigns are created to engage a network and can be based on ideas or categorizations depending on the ultimate final results desired. They can take the form of emails, targeted ads, banner ads, direct mail, etc.


A Graphic Design Creator website offering free or professional (paid) access to ready-made marketing templates that can be used on web pages, email, or social media sites like Instagram and Facebook.

Canva Logo

Click Funnel

A consumer-based model for the digital marketing journey defined by moving the customer through the sales process by providing further enticement and engaging content.


CMS or Content Management System is a software, SAAS, or app that creates, manages, and delivers digital content using indexing, format management, revision control, SEO, and full template support.


Content Marketing

When you create relevant, insightful content that keeps people coming back – that’s content marketing. It can be in the form of blogs, white papers, web pages, videos, emails, infographics, landing pages, or ebooks – to name a few!

Content Marketing in the form of a Blog


Any time you can get a customer to click the “buy” button, you’ve made a conversion. Now the trick is to keep them coming back…


CPA or Cost Per Action is used in affiliate marketing when offering a commission if a customer takes some specific action – it can be buying a product, filling out a form, or watching a video (like on that Solitaire game you shouldn’t be playing at work – oh wait, you work from home now!).


CPC or Cost Per Click is the price you pay for each click in a pay-per-click (PPC) marketing campaign – the price paid to the publisher of the ad, i.e., Google, Facebook, etc.


CRM or Customer Relationship Management includes strategies that define how you initiate and maintain relations with your customers. CRM solutions focus holistically on your customer’s business and end goals to develop a strategy and an execution plan.



CTA or Call to Action is designed into any good marketing plan to encourage an immediate response or action. Whether a verbal request in advertising or video form or a CTA button on a web page, a good CTA prompts the consumer to act quickly.

Call To Action CTA Example


CTR or Click Through Rate is universally recognized metric that determines the effectiveness of a marketing process, i.e., keywords, ads, local listings, etc.


Directories or Directory Marketing

For SEO, it’s important to participate in as many directory opportunities as possible, especially for local listings. It adds to your relevance and improves ranking among the search engines, i.e., Google Business, Yelp, Yahoo, Bing Places, and, yes, even Yellow Pages.

Display Ads

Digital advertising and brand messaging uses banners, video, or other types of display space to feature paid online ads.


One of the few things you really own online, domains define your business and choosing a strong domain name will be crucial in the site’s overall success.


Domain Authority

As your site builds its content and backlinking strategy, you are building your domain authority. Developed by MOZ, domain authority is an industry-accepted ranking of search engine effectiveness and the likelihood of higher rankings based on a score of 1 to 100.


Drip Campaign

A direct marketing technique where you nurture each lead through a series of contacts that leads them further along the Sales Funnel or Click Funnel. Most often, these campaigns use email and text to entice the customer with customized and personalized messaging.

Dwell Time

For SEO purposes, dwell time is the length of time that a visitor can be enticed to stay on a site. For Google, dwell time of 3.06 minutes is needed to positively impact site authority and search engine rankings.


Email Ads

Once you sign up for a newsletter or email subscription, you have consented to participate in email advertising where you will receive email ads often through a drip campaign.


ERP or Enterprise Resource Planning is used when developing a marketing strategy that focuses on growth and expansion rather than just maintaining a current customer base.


ESP or Email Service Provider offers email marketing services for a fee, i.e., MailChimp, ConstantContact, Active Campaign, .


Free virtual events are used in digital marketing to bring buyers and sellers of products and services together. Summits, seminars, webinars, entertainment and musical events, and roundtable discussions are all examples of events that be effectively used in an advertising or marketing strategy.



The most popular social media platform on the internet with over 190 million users per month in the US for 2021. The demographics continue to skew towards an older population, but the sheer volume make it a highly effective avenue to incorporate into most ad campaigns.


Facebook Ads Manager

They call it their “ad campaign command center” and it contains everything you or your digital marketing professionals need to run an effective ad campaign.



Geo-targeting allows you to focus efforts and content based on a desired location either physical, like city, state, zip code, or virtual, like IP address, ISP, etc.


In the context of discussing Google Analytics, “goals measure how well your site or app fulfills your target objectives. A goal represents a completed activity, called a conversion, that contributes to the success of your business. Examples of goals include making a purchase (for an ecommerce site), completing a game level (for a mobile gaming app), or submitting a contact information form (for a marketing or lead generation site).”


Google Analytics

The granddaddy of them all, Google Analytics tracks site traffic, performance, CTRs – all the information that allows you to successfully manage a web business is at your fingertips in real-time.


Header Tag

An HTML element, a header tag defines a page or a new section on a web page and can also contain <H1> to <H6> tags denoting headings with a content piece.


Heat Map

A Heat Map uses data visualization to define intensity of activity in a set of parameters by color. An example would be to visualize website user behavior as they scroll a website page.



Hootsuite is a social media marketing dashboard that allows you to manage your posts on a variety of social media sites.

Hootsuite Logo



Primarily used for digital brand awareness campaigns, an impression defines when an image actually renders on a screen and can be tracked and quantified to measure performance.


Internal Linking

Internal linking uses Hyperlinks on content pages that link to other pages on the website like related articles, or the “Contact Us” or “Shop” page. [Hint the “Contact Us” in the previous sentence is an internal link 😉]. For SEO, enticing visitors to click on additional content lengthens their time on the site and improves the “dwell time” necessary for site authority.


A photo and video-sharing social media site, Instagram offers a robust shopping component as well. Owned by Facebook, Instagram boasts 130 million users in the US alone.



Keyword or Key Phrase

Used for optimizing search traffic and SEO, keywords and phrases are used on search engines to find information. Once identified, these words can be used to guide and improve relevancy on websites and improve search page rankings.

Example of a Keyword


KPIs or Key Performance Indicators measure and track success of pre-determined objectives so that business strategies can be evaluated, quantified, and improved.



Later is an Instagram Post Scheduler that manages posts, hashtags, and all user-generated content.


A popular social media site for businesspeople, professionals interested in networking, and job seekers with over 167 million US users.

LinkedIn Logo Icon

Local Pack

The local pack” (or the “snack pack”) is listed at the top of the Google search results page under a map and before the other search results and is used for local “brick and mortar” businesses.

Lookalike Audience

Once you know what your optimal customer looks like, you can use Lookalike Audience Targeting to search out similar internet users who are likely to be interested in your product or service.


Marketing Automation

Marketing Software or SAAS that allows you to automate your marketing functions and repetitive tasks like email generation, marketing campaigns, content posting, etc., across multiple channels automatically.

Example of a Marketing Automation

Meta Description

An HTML element (and SEO necessity) that summarizes content on a website page using keywords and phrases and lets a search engine know the relevance to a topic. It is also the description on a search page below the Title Tag.

Meta Description Example


MoFu (middle of the sales funnel) demonstrates why a product or service is best to suit the customer’s needs. At this point, the content often includes targeted offers, articles, and content such as podcasts, comparison charts, and webinars.

Multi-Channel Marketing

Multi-Channel Marketing works to blend the customer experience and offering choices in ways to engage with the company, but each independent of the other.  The customer might choose Amazon as their primary avenue to purchase.


No Follow

An HTML element that allows publishers to notify search engines not to count a page. This is especially helpful for pages with duplicate content, or information that isn’t useful, but is necessary, like legal notices, etc.

No Follow Links


Omni-Channel Marketing

Often confused with Multi-Channel Marketing, Omni-Channel Marketing removes boundaries and is more immersive, focusing on the customer rather than the product. Purchases can be made between channels in an integrated presentation.

Open Rate

An email marketing metric, Open Rate tracks how many people open an email during an email campaign which helps determine how successful an effort turned out.

Organic Posts vs Paid Posts

Organic posts (posted for free) only go to the people who follow you on the specific social media platform (and anyone they might share it with). However, Paid Posts are shared with a larger audience based on ad spend and who you are trying to reach and can be much more successful in reaching a target group.


Page Speed

According to Maverick, “There’s a need for speed!” One of the top parameters measured by Google and factored heavily into ranking algorithms is page speed, especially for mobile devices. Always be sure your site has the page speed fully optimized.

Page Speed


WordPress, the most popular website developer with more than 40% of all websites, has a huge library of Plugins for Marketing. Think of a Plugin as a pre-written app that powers a certain function that you want to add to your site, i.e., Google XML Site Maps plug-in updates your site map automatically which is critical for SEO and search results.

Position Tracking

For SEO, it’s important to track your position in the search engine rankings. Semrush is one type of keyword rank tracking tool that sends daily notifications of where your site has gained or lost traction.

Positiontrackingfinal crop

PPC Marketing

PPC or Pay-Per-Click Marketing is an advertising model where you pay a fee anytime your ad is clicked. The pricing is determined on the relevance of your content and your keywords. More relevant – less expensive PPC.

Programmatic Advertising

Using automation and algorithms, advertising is purchased and positioned automatically without the traditional proposals, quotes, and negotiations.



In digital marketing, reach refers to the total number of computers and devices your campaign touches. It can also be defined by specific posts or ads.


Referrals or word-of-mouth advertising includes encouraging customers to participate in digital introductions and trust-building reviews that will reach their family, friends, and business associates.

Retargeting Ads

Just because someone bounced from your site doesn’t mean you have to give up on them as a customer – retargeting ads remind site visitors of your project after they have left the site through display ads using tracking pixels and cookies.



Return on Assets lets you know how profitable a company is in relation to its total assets.


Return on Investment measures performance or profitability of an investment in relation to dollars spent, i.e., sales made from a marketing initiative.


Schema Markup

Schema Markup is code used to tell search engines, using microdata, an enhanced description of your page content so that they can better represent your information on the results page.

Search Ads

Search Ads show up at the top (or bottom) of search results pages and highlight your product or service. By selecting the relevant keywords, your ad bids for the best space.

Search Ad Definition


Market segmentation helps divide a larger market into a more manageable target and is usually based on demographics, location, need, or interest.


Search Engine Optimization seeks to improve the quality and quantity of organic traffic to a specific website by employing tactics that speak directly to the search engines and aid in ranking the optimal results for search engine users.

Session Duration

An important component of analytics when gauging the effectiveness of a website, session duration is the time that a user is active on a site. When inactive, information will time out after 30 minutes (as a standard).

Site Map

A site map is a list or layout of pages on a website and is critical to ranking for search engine crawlers. Best practices in SEO consider accurate site maps key to overall site health.

Social Boost vs Social Ad

Social media platforms, in large part, allow you to boost or promote a post for a cost. It will then reach a wider audience, but there is relatively little input as far as direction or demographic. Social Ads, however, cost more money but can be targeted to the desired group more accurately.

Social Media Ads

Using social media platforms, ads can build a brand, market a service, increase sales, or drive traffic. They are a large part of a successful digital marketing strategy.

Structured Data

Schema, or microdata, that is used to instruct search engines on detailed information about a page or site and to assist in ranking while providing relevance.



Tags are used on sites and social media as ways to help visitors isolate the information they want to follow. On Instagram and Twitter, hashtags are used so that categories and posts can be shared with users even though they may not follow the author. On blogs and posted content, tags are used in much the same way to prioritize additional content to meet the users expectations on the site.

Hashtag Example


A popular social media site used by a younger demographic (over 60% are between 16-24) to post short, personalized videos. The site has over 80 million monthly users in the US in 2021.

Tik Tok Logo

Title Tag

An HTML element (and SEO necessity) that creates a title for a website page using keywords and phrases and lets a search engine know the relevance to a topic. It is also the title on a search page entry above the Meta Description, as well as the title on the top of the webpage as displayed on a computer.

Meta Description Example


No, not what you eat with stir fry veggies – ToFU (meaning top of the sales funnel) is the first stage where you are promoting brand visibility, product awareness, and drawing potential customers to your site using blogs, case studies, and events.


Website traffic is the number of visitors visiting your site on a daily or monthly basis and is crucial information when building a strategy to increase your business. Visitors can reach your site through a variety of channels from organic search to paid ads to SEO/content marketing.


Traffic Sources

There are six main sources of website traffic:  paid search (clicked an ad), organic search (linked from search results), referral (from another website), social (linked from social media), direct (knows your name/typed name in browser), email (linked from an email).


The original microblogging site where users interact and post with followers. Twitter has just over 68 million users.



UTM Tracking

As a way to track the performance of marketing or advertising campaigns or content, a snippet of UTM (Urchin Tracking Module) code can be added to the end of a URL allowing analytics tracking.


UI or User Interface refers to the graphical layout of a program or application and includes things like screen layout, interface animations, visual elements, transitions. This is where you decide what a site will look like and how the user with interface with the site, i.e., colors, buttons, fonts, etc.


UX or User Experience refers to the experience a user has while using a site – is it interactive? Intuitive? Attractive? Visually stimulating?



The most popular opensource website builder and content management system (CMS) that provides themes and plugin architecture to foundationally facilitate over 40% of all websites on the internet.

Wordpress logotype standard


something every marketer, designer, and developer does to educate themselves. (Work on the weekend!)



A WordPress plugin, Yoast is an SEO site optimizer with over 5 million active installations within the WordPress community. Offering both free and premium services, Yoast supports SEO for novices to experts.

So, we’ve tried to think of everything, but understand this isn’t an exhaustive glossary. It is, we hope, a good reference point. If you have more questions about digital marketing or website design and development, please contact us at Lounge Lizard today.

Published on: May 10th, 2021
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