There are a lot of terms that might not be familiar to those new to digital marketing. This post is a giant glossary of all these terms since I use a lot of them on this website.

If there are any terms I haven’t included that you think should be on this list feel free to suggest them in the comments.


A/B Testing

This is also sometimes referred to as Split Testing. It’s the process of comparing two different versions of a variable to see which performs better.

For example a landing page might have a button to sign up for an email list. A marketer could run a test with two different coloured buttons to see which one gets the most clicks.

You can split test anything from Google Adwords ads to call-to-actions on a website.



Adwords is Google’s search engine advertising platform. Advertisers can run ads that show up when a searcher type a specific keyword into Google.

Fees are charged based on the number of clicks. Advertisers bid how much they’re willing to pay per click and whoever bids the most has their ads show first.

Unlike traditional forms of advertising Google Adwords is highly targeted. Only people searching for your product or service will see your ad.



Analytics is the collection of data about the performance of advertising campaigns, websites or social media.

Various analytics platforms are usually very detailed with a large amount of data. This data can be used to help make business decisions.


Application Programming Interface (API)

An API is a set of computer programming rules which lets an application extract information from another application or service.

For example most social media networks have an API that can be used to access the network to post from a social media management app or pull analytics data.


Bounce Rate

Bounce rate refers to the percentage of people who visit a page on your website and then leave without navigating to any other pages on your site.

A high bounce rate is usually a sign of bad design or poor content.



Your browser has a cache where it stores a copy of websites you’ve visited.

Instead of re-downloading the data every time you visit the website it can pull from the cache which is faster.



A call to action is an instruction on a webpage to take some sort of action.

For example “call us now” or “click here to get a free report” are both examples of calls to action.

You can’t assume that a person will know what to do after seeing your ad or website. Therefore it’s best to use calls-to-action wherever you can.

Using a call-to-action can easily increase your conversion rate.



CAN-SPAM is a law in the United States that governs the rules for email and commercial messages. It was signed into law in 2003 and stands for Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography And Marketing.

As part of the rules all emails must have an unsubscribe link at the bottom.

You can learn more about CAN-SPAM here.



CASL is Canada’s email spam law and was passed in 2013. It’s similar to CAN-SPAM in the United States and also covers email, texts and instant messages. CASL stands for Canadian Anti Spam Legislation.

You can learn more about CASL here.

Mouse on mousepad

Clickthrough Rate (CTR)

The clickthrough rate is the percentage of people who click through a link, ad, button, email, etc. to the next step of your marketing campaign.

The formula for CTR is the total number of clicks divided by the number of views.


Content Management System (CMS)

A CMS is the software that’s used to build and manage a website. WordPress is an example of a Content Management System.

The benefits or using a CMS are that you don’t have to know how to do difficult coding to build and manage a website.


Content Marketing

Content marketing involves creating content such as blog posts, videos, graphics, podcasts, guides, ebooks and more for a website or social media accounts.

The purpose of content is to offer value to your audience to get shares, links and ultimately customers as well as build trust and authority.

It also helps your website’s search engine optimization by helping you rank for long-tail keywords and build links.



A conversion happens when a visitor takes the desired action on your website. This can be anything from filling out a form to making a purchase.


Conversion Rate

This is the percentage of conversions a web page or advertisement received.

The formula for conversion rate is the number of conversions divided by the number of views.


Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO)

This is the process of testing different elements and strategies to get the highest possible conversion rate. A/B testing is used as part of conversion rate optimization.


Cost Per Acquisition (CPA)

Cost per acquisition is a type of pricing model where your advertising is only charged when a lead, sale or conversion is generated. Instead of being charged for clicks or views with CPA you’re charged for exactly the result that you want.


Cost Per Lead (CPL)

This is how much it costs to get a lead. CPL can be calculated by taking the total budget spent on an advertising campaign and dividing by the total number of leads received.


Cost Per Thousand (CPM)

CPM is probably the most used payment model for online advertising. The M in CPM comes from “mille” meaning thousand. CPM was easier to say than CPT I guess.

With CPM your ads are charged based on the number of thousands of impressions you receive.

For example if your CPM is $10 and you get 2,000 views you will be charged $20.

Cookies and Milk


Cookies are data files saved on users computers that save information like passwords to keep you logged into a website.



Copy is the term that marketers use for the actual text and words in an advertisement.



Crowdsourcing involves enlisting the services of multiple people, usually over the Internet to accomplish a goal.

For example you can crowdsource content by asking users to submit their own photos, articles, videos, etc.


Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC)

This is the total cost to acquire a new customer. To calculate CAC take the total amount spent in an advertising campaign and divide by the total number of new customers acquired.


Customer Relationship Management (CRM)

A CRM is a type of software that keeps track of all the information related to your customers. This includes contact information and any other information your sales team might consider valuable.

CRMs can also track phone calls and emails to customers, schedule appointments and much more.

Most CRMs also have detailed reports and analytics that can be pulled as well.


Cascading Style Sheets (CSS)

CSS is an Internet programming language that controls the style of things like colours and fonts on your website.

Usually a website has a master CSS file called style.css that controls all its formatting.

When someone wants to change the colour of a link for example they simply have to change one line of code in the CSS file. Then all the links on the entire website will automatically be updated.


Domain Name

A domain name is the text that you enter into a web browser to access a website. Usually the, .net, .org, etc.

Domain names typically cost between $10 to $15 per year to register. They must be unique and not already registered by someone else.

The domain name for this website is:


Dynamic Content

Dynamic content refers to content on a website that changes. This could be anything from a stream of social media pages to a call to action that gets personalized for the visitor.



Engagement is a term used on social media sites to describe how much interaction (likes, comments, shares) your posts receive.

The higher your engagement the more your followers like your content.

Evergreen tree and sunlight

Evergreen Content

This is content that still provides value no matter when someone reads it. This post is an example of evergreen content. Years from now these definitions will still apply although I might have to update with a few new ones.



This refers to elements on your website that are confusing, stressing or distracting. Friction causes people to leave your website and increases your bounce rate.

Examples of friction include poor design, lack of mobile optimization, complex menus or too much text.



This is a method of targeting advertisements to specific physical locations so that only people in a certain city, radius of a location, country, etc. will see your advertising.

Most online advertising platforms have geo-targeting options.



Hashtags are keywords with a # symbol in front of them used on social media sites to help group posts by topics or categories.

A user can click on a hashtag to see a list of all the posts in that discussion with the hashtag.

The official hashtag for this community is #rdmpc.


Hypertext Markup Language (HTML)

HTML is the coding language that’s used to build web pages. I have a beginner’s guide to HTML if you’re interested in learning more.

Thanks to CMS systems like WordPress it’s no longer necessary to know HTML code to build a website.



An impression is a single view of your content or advertisement. Impressions are often measured by the thousand (CPM).

Some forms of online advertising charge a certain amount for a certain amount of impressions.


Inbound Marketing

Inbound marketing refers to types of marketing that are intended to draw visitors in. As opposed to having to go out to get people’s attention.

Content marketing is an example of inbound marketing. By providing valuable content for your audience you draw people in to convert and sell to over time.



An infographic is a visual piece of content that breaks down information in a simple to understand way. You can see an example of an infographic here.

Workspace with iMac, notebook and coffee


Javascript is an Internet programming language that is used to create interactive elements on web pages. Things like complex animations, pop-ups, forms and even some mobile apps are built using Javascript.


Key Performance Indicator (KPI)

KPIs are the main metrics used to track a campaign’s success. For example the KPI for a search engine optimization campaign could be the number of website visits that came from organic search.


Landing Page

A landing page is the page a visitor lands on after clicking on one of your advertisements.

Different advertising campaigns should have different, optimized landing pages. These pages should be relevant to the advertising campaign and contain instructions for the visitor’s next actions. Whether that be to buy a product or submit a lead.



A lead is a person who’s shown interest in your service or listings in some way. They could have filled out a form on your website, called you, entered a contest, etc.


Lifetime Value (LTV)

This is an estimate of the net profit from the future relationship with an existing customer.



These are smaller conversion activities such as following your social media accounts. These usually occur before submitting an actual lead.



A microsite is a bit larger than a landing page but smaller than a regular website. Microsites are often created for promotions or contests.

Microsites usually have their own branding, design and domains.

Mobile website on smartphone

Mobile Optimization

This refers to formatting your website to make it easy to view and use on a mobile device such as a smartphone or tablet.

Companies used to create separate mobile websites but now usually use techniques like Responsive Design.


Native Advertising

This is also sometimes referred to as sponsored content. This is a type of content marketing where advertisements are kind of disguised as regular content on a website.

For example a SEO company might write a blog post about SEO techniques on a site like this one. The article provides value for the audience but is also an advertisement for their SEO services although this isn’t very obvious.

Most countries have laws now where native advertising needs to be disclosed with a disclaimer at the start of the article saying it’s sponsored.



This is what you’re offering the client in your direct marketing piece or landing page. Offers are often used to generate leads.

For example you could offer a pdf guide with tips for first-time home buyers in exchange for signing up for your email list.


Organic Traffic

Organic traffic refers to the traffic a website receives from the regular non-paid search results on a search engine like Google.

You can increase your organic traffic by working on your search engine optimization.


Page View

A page view is a single request to load a web page. Page views are often used as a KPI of websites or to sell online advertising.

Most analytics tools will separate total page views from unique page views.

Total page views is how many views the page got in total. It counts multiple views by the same person.

Unique page views count only one page view per person. This number is always less than the total page views.


Paid Search Listing

This is a search result that’s been bought through an advertising platform like Google Adsense.

Marketers can advertise on specific keywords and their result will be shown when someone searches for those keywords.

Paid traffic campaign stat screenshot

Paid Traffic

Unlike organic traffic paid traffic is the traffic a website receives from paid search listings on search engines like Google.


Pay-Per-Click (PPC)

Many forms of online advertising charge based on clicks. PPC is the price paid for one click through to a website.

In platforms such as Google Adsense advertisers bid how much they’re willing to pay per click. The higher bids have their ads show first and are charged more.


Really Simple Syndication (RSS)

RSS is a technology that allows users to subscribe to a website’s content. They receive automatic alerts in an RSS reader when updates are made.

For example, someone can follow a blog’s RSS feed and instead of checking the website for new posts they’ll receive an alert when a new post is published.


Responsive Design

This is a design technique that’s used to optimize websites for mobile devices. With responsive design the content of a website will resize and adjust to fit the screen it’s being viewed on.


Return on Investment (ROI)

ROI is used to measure the profitability of a campaign. It’s measured as:

(the gain from the investment – the cost of the investment) / the cost of the investment

The result is a percentage. A negative ROI means the campaign lost money while a positive ROI means it made money.


Sender Score

Outgoing email servers have a reputation rating from 0 to 100. Mail applications will check the server’s sender score to figure out what to do with the email.

An email from a server with a low sender score will end up in the spam folder.


Social Media Monitoring

Simply the practice of monitoring your social media accounts for comments and issues that need to be addressed.

There are tools such as Hootsuite that make it much easier to monitor all your social media accounts.


Social Proof

This is a psychological phenomenon where people see what others are doing to see how they’re supposed to act themselves. People usually go along with the group.

Social media can be an excellent form of social proof, especially if you have very high follower counts. If so many people are following you then of course your content must be good.


Tracking Code

Many forms of online advertising have a tracking code which can be inserted into a web page to track conversions.

For example if you have an online store and you’re running Google Adwords ads you can embed a tracking code on your checkout page.

The tracking code will connect to your Google Adwords account and you’ll be able to see how many people clicked your ads and then made a purchase.

This is usually a few lines of Javascript code that you insert into the page’s HTML code. Many CMS systems make this quite easy to do.


Unique Visitor

A unique visitor is a single website visit from a unique IP address. Websites track the total number of visits and a unique visitor can visit a website multiple times.

Total visits is always higher than unique visitors.


Uniform Resource Locator (URL)

This is the full path to a page on a website. The full URL for this page is:


User Experience (UX)

This is the overall experience a person has using something like a website or app. It specifically refers to how well designed and easy to use it is.

Laptop and smartphone with user interface

User Interface (UI)

The interface a users uses to interact with a website or app. A well designed user interface is easy to use and looks great.


Viral Content

A piece of content that becomes super popular on the Internet getting a very high number of shares and views.

It’s pretty much impossible to predict if a piece of content will go viral or not. Giant brands such as Coca-cola will create as much as 20 different pieces of content for just one to go viral.


Web 2.0

Web 2.0 refers to the second stage of Internet development. There was a movement away from static web pages to more user-generated content and social media websites.

Sites that let users create their own content such as YouTube, Blogger or Facebook are considered to be Web 2.0 sites.


Web Hosting

Websites need a place to store their files. Web hosting is simply the space on a server where all the different files of a website are stored.

If you’re just starting off with your first website I highly recommend the company Bluehost. This website is hosted by WP Engine and I highly recommend them as well, especially if you’re looking for a server with a bit higher performance.


Word of Mouth

This is the passing of information from person to person. Traditionally this was done orally hence the term word of mouth.

Today it refers to the passing of information online as well.