17 Digital Marketing Words You Need to Know to Survive the Digital Shift

The digital transformation is here—and so is all its digital jargon. Are you keeping up with the lingo?
Yasmin Khan
by Yasmin Khan on February 20, 2017 in Business
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 digital marketing terms and definitions

Digital marketing has taken the virtual world by storm. It's initiated new ways of connecting with people by tapping into the things they care about. But with the focus on digital marketing, many businesses are left scrambling to keep up—because, like any industry, it’s replete with its own language.

Wouldn’t it be convenient if you had a handy digital marketing glossary to help you navigate the jargon-filled waters as you make the digital shift?

(You’re welcome.)

As you lead your crew through the ups and downs of startups or enterprises, it’s essential to understand the basics of digital marketing and how it can help your business thrive. Take the virtual helm by diving deeper into digital marketing terms and definitions to see the big picture of your success. So get out your notepad, laptop, tablet, or other tool of choice, and commit these (and how to apply them to your business) to memory—because you’ll need them.

Digital Marketing for Dummies

That being said, here are the digital marketing words you need to know to get on board and take the lead.

A/B testing

A/B testing, as the name implies, is the process of testing two variables or versions, such as a website or call to action, to optimize their performance. This ongoing process of identifying and isolating which elements your audience responds favorably to can help your company run campaigns that resonate with and attract your audience. When paired with a solid strategy for optimizing conversion rates, you can help tap into greater revenue and success.


COCA, or Cost of Customer Acquisition, is the amount of money you spend on attracting and converting a single customer. This can be found by dividing the campaign spend by the new customers generated by those dollars. Businesses that pay attention to metrics are able to modify their approach to establish a stronger campaign that generates more customers within their set budget.

Content marketing

Content marketing is an inbound marketing tactic that ditches traditional advertising and focuses on creating value for the intended audience through creating and promoting quality content. The goal: Engagement. The results? Six times higher conversion rates than traditional marketing.


Cost per Acquisition is an affiliate marketing pricing model in which a company pays only when a customer completes a specified action, like filling out a form, getting a quote, signing up for a free trial, etc. This less-risky marketing method is often attractive to businesses, because it means they won’t be left high and dry when many click but few convert—they only pay for leads and sales.


In Pay per Click (PPC) advertising, every click costs—so every click counts. You can calculate the Cost per Click (CPC) by dividing the campaign spend by the number of clicks generated. More clicks means a lower CPC, but if they aren’t resulting in conversions, you need to reexamine your keywords to ensure they’re targeting the right crowd, and your marketing funnel to ensure it’s optimized to convert.


Cost per Lead (CPL) is related to the Customer of Customer Acquisition (COCA), but hones in on the cost of acquiring a single lead, who must then go on to be convinced that you offer the best solution. Keeping strict tabs on costs like these ensures that businesses receive solid returns on their investment without pouring endless dollars into a marketing plan that isn’t generating solid results.

Digital marketing

Digital marketing encompasses all online marketing methods across channels and platforms. B2B and B2C companies are spending more on digital marketing efforts than ever before—because they work. Businesses that have a digital marketing plan in place typically generate higher ROI, and are able to stay more competitive in the long run.

Inbound marketing

Inbound marketing brings together online marketing tactics to promote quality content that provides value for customers. This method is in stark contrast to interruptive traditional marketing, like print or radio advertising and cold calling. By creating an inbound marketing strategy, businesses can connect with their customers in more natural, relational ways that today’s customers care about—and that are proven to drive higher conversions.


Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) are measurements by which companies evaluate progress and success of their marketing efforts. These metrics ensure that businesses stay on track toward reaching goals and milestones, and—when missing the mark—enable them to re-strategize for the next round.

Lead generation

Lead generation is a process every company must follow to both identify and nurture prospects toward becoming customers. The process also empowers companies with choices regarding targeted offerings, monthly lead goals, pricing per lead—to name a few. Companies that are focused on their customers' needs create a win-win environment for both themselves and their customers throughout the process and upon conversion.

Location-based advertising

LBA integrates the mobile market and GPS to target customers where they’re physically located. This pinpointed marketing is popular among retailers, who use it to send email offers and ads to their customers based on their specific location, grabbing their attention when they’re already where they need to be to buy.

Mobile marketing

Mobile marketing is marketing optimized for use on mobile devices. Culture continues to grow more digitally attuned and “smarter”—and this trend is not going away. Location-based mobile marketing  enables companies to tap into time-sensitive advertising, and get information, coupons, and offers straight into customer hands when they’d be most likely to use them.


Pay per Click (PPC), as it’s so aptly named, is a form of advertising wherein companies pay based on the number of clicks an ad receives. If customers search for a keyword that matches a keyword list from the company, it’s a fit, and ripe for clicking. Targeting a very niche audience can help businesses minimize non-converting clicks from curious passersby, and tap into an audience that is actually seeing the solution they offer.


Return on Investment (ROI) is a performance measurement that shows a company’s revenue and profitability in relation to resource spent. It can be calculated by subtracting the cost of investment from the gain from investment—but is often more difficult to measure, but not impossible, for tactics like content marketing where gains are not always easily identified. Measuring ROI helps businesses ensure that they are running efficiently and optimizing their spend for the highest returns.


Search Engine Optimization (SEO) optimizes a website with elements, like keywords, that factor into the off-page site performance (like being ranked by search engines). In addition to keywords, search engines also crawl sites for things like tags, internal link structures and inbound links. Keeping your website optimized helps search engines increase your visibility by increasing search rankings and getting your content (and business) in front of your audience.

Social media

Social media sites are channels for connecting with consumers, developing relationships through engagement, and promoting shareable, compelling content to wide or targeted audiences. They are ripe for driving brand awareness and generating leads. Businesses that tap into the right social networks for their audiences, and have a strategy in place to take prospects through the marketing funnel yield high returns and an engaged and loyal following.


Brand visibility is about how well you’re getting your message out to your audience. If people know you, you have visibility—but it’s easy for a brand to get lost in a competitive world. By developing a consistent message and sharing it through social media, traditional media, and in every output from your company, businesses can build trust and create loyal customers and brand ambassadors.



Are you already utilizing a variety of digital marketing tactics in your business but need to know if your marketing mix is making a difference? Or are you just beginning to consider incorporating digital marketing strategies into your business? Wherever you are in the process, knowing how to implement your new-found knowledge is crucial to increasing the value and ROI of your business.

So whether you go it alone, or hire an outside agency to consult with and lead the digital charge—with this digital marketing glossary in hand—you’ll be empowered as you see the big picture of how each piece fits into the digital puzzle, and into your long-term success.

Yasmin Khan

Yasmin Khan

Yasmin is the marketing manager at Bonafide. She loves writing, tweeting, and positive change. She's all about the big picture and the greater good.