If you’re launching a career in digital marketing, transitioning from traditional marketing to digital marketing, or working in a role where you often collaborate with digital marketers, then you’ve probably noticed that there’s a lot of jargon to learn. Like any specialized industry, the field of digital marketing has plenty of terms that can prove confusing, particularly if you’re not familiar with the context in which they’re being used.
In order to get a better handle on the most important and frequently used digital marketing vocabulary, read on for a look at some of the industry’s key terms, grouped together according to the broader theme they relate to.
Theme: Who are you trying to market to?
Target audience—One of the most straightforward digital marketing terms, the target audience describes the group of people that you want to reach.
Customer segmentation—In order to make their marketing messaging as tailored and personalized as possible, digital marketers group customers together based on specific criteria (such as age, location, and interests) through a process known as customer segmentation. Essentially, you can think of customer segmentation as the process of building a target audience for a particular campaign.
B2B and B2C—Marketing geared toward companies is known as business-to-business (B2B) marketing. On the other hand, business-to-consumer (B2C) marketing efforts target individual customers.
Theme: How will you reach and engage with your audience?
Campaign—A campaign is a digital marketing effort that has a single, cohesive message and a specific desired outcome. For example, if your company is having a sale, you might create a campaign to promote that sale with the goal of attracting a certain number of customers.
Call to action (CTA)—Every effective marketing message is designed to get a recipient to do something, such as make a purchase, visit a website, or subscribe to a newsletter. The call to action is the element of the message that clearly tells the recipient what it is you want them to do.
Channel—There are many different ways to execute your marketing campaign. You can use channels such as social media, e-mail, and your company’s website. Some channels are directly controlled by your company (owned channels, such as e-mail); some are controlled by others (earned channels, such as media or press mentions); and other channels are accessed via payment (paid channels, such as sponsored social media posts or digital ads).
Organic traffic—In the era of digital marketing, the ultimate goal of most marketing efforts is to drive visitors to your website. This can be done through paid or unpaid channels. When website traffic does not involve payment on your part—if someone simply searched for companies in your industry and clicked on your business’ website, for example—this is known as organic traffic.
Search engine optimization (SEO)—One of the most widely used methods for increasing organic traffic, search engine optimization (SEO) involves the strategic use of keywords and phrases in your website content in order to help your site rank highly on search engines.
Theme: How will you evaluate your digital marketing performance?
Analytics—Creating campaigns is just one element of digital marketing. Another equally important element involves measuring the effectiveness of those campaigns. To do so, you’ll rely on analytics. This refers to the data that measures set marketing outcomes. Common examples of analytical data can include the number of times an e-mail has been opened or the number of new newsletter subscribers who are following a particular campaign.
Impressions—This frequently used digital marketing metric refers to the number of times that a particular digital marketing method, such as an e-mail, has been viewed.
Clicks and click-through rate (CTR)—If you send a marketing e-mail to your target audience, some of those recipients will read it. And some of them will click on a link in that e-mail. The number of readers who click on an email divided by the total potential audience will give you the click-through rate (CTR) of your campaign.
Conversions and conversion rate—If the customer journey through a digital marketing campaign starts with viewing and continues with clicking, the next step is to take action. When someone takes the desired action—such as making a purchase or registering for an event—it’s known as a conversion, and it’s usually the most important metric of a digital marketing campaign. The conversion rate, just like the click-through rate, is determined by dividing the number of conversions by the total number of people who viewed the campaign.
Cost per acquisition (CPA) and cost per conversion (CPC)—The effectiveness of a digital marketing campaign is measured not only by the conversion rate, but by how much money it took your company to achieve those conversions. This is usually expressed as the cost per individual acquisition or conversion. In other words, it is the number of new conversions divided by the overall budget of the campaign.