Quick Guide to Digital Acronyms

Digital marketing has changed the way businesses reach consumers. Along the way, the industry has developed its own vocabulary filled with catchphrases, technical jargon, and abbreviations. In order to help you stay up to speed, we’ve put together a cheat sheet of the most commonly used acronyms when discussing digital marketing, digital platforms and user interaction with the web.

Since the introduction of social media, the spread of smartphones, and speech recognition technology, digital marketing has evolved rapidly and so has the language to describe it. And, with the industry constantly expanding to include everything from search engine optimization and display ads to pay-per-click advertising and influencer marketing and more, it seems like new terms are added every day. 

If you’ve ever been left scratching your head after hearing some initials tossed around in a discussion about digital marketing, don’t worry. You’re not alone. It can be difficult for even the most experienced digital marketing professionals to keep up. However, with most companies spending anywhere from a quarter to half of their marketing budgets on digital marketing, it is important for everyone involved in helping to grow their brand or business to become familiar with the most widely-used lingo.

Nowadays, traditional and digital marketing are increasingly integrated and interdependent. So, whether you’re in sales, marketing or any other brand-building role, a basic grasp of digital terms will put you in a better position to discuss your company’s strategies, analyze results and explore ways to better connect with consumers.

Our guide to acronyms will get you started in the right direction. Keep the list ready to pull up on screen whenever you get stumped or print it out and hang it in your workspace. By adding new terms as you come across them, you will slowly build your fluency in the language of digital marketing. In no time, you’ll be nodding along knowingly as a colleague discusses optimizing CTR through A/B testing or argues that DAU is the most important KPI.

API = Application Programming Interface
Programming interface that allows developers to build website applications and interact with different systems, databases, and other applications

A/B Testing
Used in marketing to test two different variations of digital content that measures the different conversion rates between the two. A/B testing is typically used to find which variation produces the highest conversion rate. What’s a Conversion? A conversion is a term used for when a user who is using your website, landing page, application, etc. turns into a paying customer or generates a lead.

CPA = Cost Per Acquisition or Cost Per Action
The cost at which you pay for a customer to become a conversion. It is calculated by dividing the total cost of conversions by the total number of conversions.

CPC = Cost Per Click
the price paid for each click, typically used when there is a set daily budget.

CPM = Cost per Thousand
The cost that you pay to display an ad that will reach 1,000 members of an audience.

CSS = Cascading Style Sheets
The language used to add design, layout, customized style and other style aspects to web pages created with HTML.

CTR = Click Through Rate
The rate calculated using the number of people who click on your ad after seeing it. Typically used to measure the success of your keywords and overall success of your ads.

DAU = Daily Active Users
The total number of users who interacted with your website or app. Typically used to measure the frequency of engagement with your website or product.

HTML = Hypertext Markup Language
The coding language used to build website pages and responsive emails as well as other forms of digital media.

What are Impressions?
Also known as a view, refers to the point in which an ad or social media content is viewed once by a visitor, or displayed once on a web page.

KPI = Key Performance Indicator
A performance metric to help evaluate the success of targeted goals.

MMS = Multimedia Messaging Service
Messages that include images or videos that are sent from one mobile device to another using cell data.

PPC = Pay-per-click
Used in internet advertising where advertisers pay for each time a user clicks on their ad versus if their ad is only viewed (impression)

ROI = Return on Investment
Measuring the performance success of an investment relative to the cost of the investment.

SDK = Software Development Kit
Software development tools that are used to allow the developer to build and customize a program.

SEM = Search Engine Marketing
Paid advertising through the selection and use of keywords to improve your website’s ranking on search engine result listings. SEM is also used to create ads nestled within search engine result listings.

SEO = Search Engine Optimization
The strategy of using relevant keywords in your website copy and naming techniques of images and links in your website’s code to boost the quantity and quality of traffic to your website through organic search engine results on sites such as Google, Bing, Yahoo, etc.

SMS = Short Message Service
Commonly known as a text message sent to mobile devices over a cellular network.

UGC = User Generated Content
Used to describe any form of content such as video, photos, blogs, and other forms of media that has been created by consumers or end-users and is publically available to others.

UI = User Interface
Anything that a user interacts within a digital space or service.

UX = User Experience
Refers to the experience that a user has while interacting with your website, application, landing page, etc. particularly when it comes to the ease of use and function.

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