For businesses new to digital marketing, the influx of new terms and practices may be more than a little intimidating. Use this glossary as a guide to key digital marketing terminology, and to learn what makes digital such an exciting venture for businesses looking to expand their online presence.




A/B testing—or split testing—is a comparative method of testing everything from entire webpages to simple UI elements. A certain ratio of live visitors are served up version A and the other remaining percentage will see version B. It is a way to measure the results of design changes and determine with hard data, the better performing option using metrics like conversion rates, newsletter sign ups, or average time on page.


In digital marketing, “above the fold” refers to the part of a webpage that can be seen without vertically scrolling. It originates from the newspaper industry, where the term originally referred to the top half of a newspaper, and specifically, all copy that could been seen above the crease-line of the fold when displayed in print stands and book stalls. When used in relation to webpages, however, factors such as type of device, screen size, and the advent of responsive design can drastically change what can be seen “above the fold” for different users.


AdWords is Google’s proprietary pay-per-click online advertising program that allows advertisers to place ads among organic search results. AdWords is an auction, in which advertisers bid on keywords and search terms that they believe their customers are searching for and pay only for clicks on their ads. AdWords allows its advertisers to set a daily budget and only to pay for the clicks to the landing pages they choose.


Anchor text is the visible text of a hyperlink, “anchoring” the hyperlink in words and characters. Anchor text should clue the reader into what they might find by clicking. There are many types of anchor text, which include exact match, partial match, hybrid anchor text, and others. Anchor text can point to deep links within a domain or to external links outside the domain.


What’s an Application Programming Interface (API)? An Application Programming Interface (API) relates to a set of standards for accessing web-based software. Publicly released APIs, like those by Facebook, Google, Amazon, and Microsoft allow developers to create apps and websites that harness the functionality of those web-based pieces of software.


Marketing automation refers to software that exists to help marketers automate repetitive tasks like email and social media. When paired with a strong inbound strategy, it is a powerful tool that can help nurture leads and turn them into customers.


An avatar is a small graphical icon or figure that represents a person in the virtual world, like on internet forums and in video games.



A backlink—also referred to as an inbound link—is an incoming hyperlink from one website to another. The gathering of backlinks is called link building, and link building is an important part of an inbound marketing and SEO strategy. The more authoritative backlinks a webpage has, the more likely it is to have a higher organic rank, a higher domain authority, and in turn, the more likely the content is to be viewed by a wider group of visitors. Search engines, especially Google, trust content that has many good quality backlinks pointing to it and serve that content up more readily to its users.


Bandwidth is a measurement term usually used to described the rate of data transfer of a network, or the amount of data that can be spread measured in seconds, bits (bits per second, or bps) or millions of bits per second (megabits per second, or Mbps) or billions of bits per second (Gbps).


A web banner or a banner ad is a type of graphical advertisement that is displayed on a host site. Banner ads can be of different sizes and shapes, but are usually left-to-right and across the top of a host site (referred to as a leaderboard) or up-and-down and to the side (called a skyscraper). Banner ads also function as hyperlinks pointing to the advertiser’s website. The host is paid for allowing the banner ad to be displayed on their site.


A blacklist can refer to a list of email or IP addresses that are blocked due to a malicious threat or SPAM. Blacklists can be used by servers to block attempted or perceived attacks to websites or servers, or companies can also use blacklists to filter out SPAM emails.


Bottom of the Funnel refers to the bottom portion of the sales funnel. That is, leads who are very close to purchasing your product. The concept is important in inbound marketing because it shapes the type of content that should be delivered to your leads. A lead at the top of the funnel should be targeted differently than a lead at the bottom.

Content at the bottom of the funnel should be focused on persuading your leads to purchase from you. They are aware of your company as well as your competitors, so at this stage it is about creating content that is closely aligned with your product, instead of the type of informative, trust-building content you may create for top of the funnel leads.


Bounce rate, a Google Analytics metric, is the percentage of single-page sessions, or visits that consist of only one page. A high bounce rate can differ according context. If a visitor has arrived and not found what they need, they may leave or “bounce” from the site. Or it could mean a visitor found what they were searching for, such as a phone number, and left the site with a good experience. Bounce rate can be influenced by many different factors, including site design, UI & UX.


Brand awareness is the extent to which consumers are familiar with your brand and the qualities that make your brand unique. Brand awareness is, in part, influenced by your brand identity.


Brand guidelines, also called brand standards or corporate identity manual, are the requirements for visually representing your brand. Usually, a document details what fonts you use and for what purposes, any colours your brand uses (and the hexadecimal codes, RBG numbers, CMYK percentages, and Pantone numbers associated with each), how your logo should should be used, etc.


A link is broken when it does not takes the user to the intended page once they click it, possibly because the URL was entered incorrectly when the link was coded, because the page was moved, no longer exists, or is blocked by a firewall.


Bulk email, sometimes also called an email blast or mass email, is an email that is sent to many people at the same time. Usually, email blasts are sent out when there is something urgent or newsworthy that your company wants to tell its contacts, like when you are having a sale. Email blasts are for when you want to send to people in a one-off fashion, while automated marketing emails are used when you want to send a series of emails to your contacts.



On a website, a call to action (CTA) is a clickable image or line of text that prompts the user to do something (take action), like download a file or register for an event. In other media (a commercial, for example), a call to action is a prompt to do something, like call a number or go to a website. CTAs are important in marketing because they tell the consumer what to do and attach a sense of urgency to the action.


A content management system, or CMS, is typically web-based software that provides a platform to create and manage digital content. Popular content management systems include WordPress and Joomla.


Content refers to the “meat” of any inbound marketing strategy; it’s the blogs, offers, pages and social media activity you post to engage with visitors. Every piece of content you create, whether it’s a simple blog or detailed infographic, must be created with purpose, and tailored around informing or helping your intended audience.


Content marketing is the strategic approach to creating and curating web content, whether it’s done through writing blog posts, creating ebooks, or a number of other ways. It’s purpose is to attract customers by providing content that is relevant to their lives and the problems they face. Content marketing is closely tied to inbound marketing and personas.


The definition of a conversion is somewhat twofold. In a general sense, a conversion happens when someone becomes a paying customer. But a conversion can also be when a user takes an action that you have deemed as valuable. That can be almost anything—filling out a form, downloading an ebook—whatever you decide is most valuable to your business.


Your conversion rate is the percentage of site users who take a specified action (make a purchase, download an ebook, etc.). Conversion rates are calculated by dividing the number of users who converted by the total number of users.


An HTTP cookie is a small piece of data that is sent from a website and then stored in the user’s web browser and collects user information. Cookies are used so that websites can remember information about the user, like what items were in their shopping cart during their last session or what pages they have visited before. For example, Google Analytics uses HTTP cookies to gather information about a website’s users to monitor their habits on a site. This kind of information is very valuable to marketers.


Copy is content meant to persuade someone to take action—buy a product, download an ebook, sign up for a newsletter, etc. Copywriting is the act of writing that content. Why is copywriting important? Copywriting is very important to marketing because it is what makes the consumer actually take an action related to a brand. Your website can look great, but if it doesn’t have meaningful copy that pushes people to interact with you, it is useless.


Cost per acquisition is the cost per acquiring a new customer. A low CPA is evidence of efficient marketing strategy.


Cost-per-click is the amount an ad platform, like Google AdWords or Bing Ads, charges for one click on a single advertisement on their network. Generally with CPC pricing you only pay when someone clicks on your ad and not when your ad is simply viewed or served.


Similar to cost-per-click, CPM is an acronym for cost-per-thousand, and is used in pay-per-click advertising to denote the cost per thousand impressions of an ad on the display network. “Thousand” refers to the number of times the ad has to be served to trigger a charge, “M” being the Roman numeral for 1,000.


CRM is a sales/marketing acronym which either describes Customer Relationship Marketing or a Customer Relationship Management tool that acts as a database to facilitate and coordinate marketing activities. Some of the most popular CRMs include Salesforce, Hubspot CRM, SugarCRM, Microsoft’s ClickDimensions, Oracle Sales Cloud, BatchBooks and many others. CRM’s can be simple online databases of contacts as well as a very advanced and customised marketing and sales tool.


Conversion rate optimisation, or CRO, is the practice of optimising a web page, landing page, digital marketing ad, contact form or call to action to generate more conversions (clicks, leads, shares or sales). Conversion rate optimisation can involve copywriting, search engine optimisation, design and layout of UI elements to the same to the same end/goal: higher conversion rates. Often A/B or multivariate testing is involved to experiment with design and copy changes that might influence potential buyer decisions.


CSS stands for cascading style sheets and was developed for designers to change the overall look of a webpage. There are 3 levels of CSS; CSS1, CSS2, and CSS3. Most browsers support all levels of CSS1 and CSS2, and some of CSS3. Style sheets change the appearance of the document, apart from the actual content of that’s on the web page itself. The “cascading” element of CSS is where the styles are “applied” to the web page.


Customer retention refers to activities and actions that a company takes in order to keep, or retain, customers. Things like loyalty programs and email marketing are put in place to keep customers engaged and coming back to purchase from that company. Oftentimes, it is cheaper to retain a current customer than it is to acquire a new one.



Drip campaigns are also called many other names—like drip marketing, automated email campaigns, or marketing automation. They refer to a set of marketing emails that are sent out automatically to leads on a schedule. The idea is to “drip” your content down to your contacts, on a steady pace that keeps them engaged and your brand top of mind.



An ebook is an electronic version of a book that is formatted for reading on a screen, rather than printed. It can be viewed on a computer, tablet, or phone.


The exit rate of a page on your website is the percentage of sessions[link] where that page was the last page before the user left your site. This means that the user did not land on that page, but instead viewed other pages on your site before navigating to the exit page through your site navigation.



Forms are the quick, fill-in-the-blank questionnaires featured on inbound landing pages. These are designed to gather visitor information, and provide insights to a user’s place in the sales funnel. Forms identify who a visitor is; what information they’re accessing (as well as pain points and interest), their email contact information and phone number, as well as other identifiers, such as company, occupation or post code.



What is Google Analytics? Google Analytics is Google’s proprietary website analytics platform. By inserting code snippets into your website, you can use Google Analytics to help you recognise where your web traffic is coming from, how people interact with your website, what parts of your site capture their attention, and what elements leave something to be desired.


A gravatar is a globally recognised avatar. You create a profile only once and upload your avatar. Then, on any gravatar enabled site, your gravatar automatically follows you there, and you won’t need to create a new account for each new site you come upon.



HTML stands for hypertext markup language, which is the standard programming language for creating webpages. Every page on the web is created with HTML, because HTML gives a webpage its structure. It can be thought of as a skeleton that holds all of the page elements together.


HTML5 is the newest version of HTML that allows for new technologies and capabilities previously unavailable with other versions of HTML.



Inbound marketing uses marketing tactics to draw customers to you (inbound), instead of pushing your content out and fighting for the attention of consumers (outbound). It’s all about attracting customers with specifically targeted content made for them.

The best inbound strategies follow a four-part path of “attract – convert – close – delight.” At each stage in the inbound methodology it is important to create content to engage interested audiences at the right lifecycle stages.

Inbound marketing in practice: Use content marketing and the sales funnel in combination. Create personas and content strategies for each point in the sales funnel for each persona. Know your audience, and make your website the source for information in your industry. That way, when people search for something, they find your site. Capture them as leads by creating offers (some sort of expert information in exchange for their personal information, like email), and nurture those leads until they eventually purchase from you. Keep nurturing them so that they will continue to purchase from you and you will continue to have a relationship with them. Blog posts, emails, ebooks, white-papers, and infographics (among others) are all types of content you can use to draw people in.




A keyword is a word or group of words that a user inputs into a search engine in order to find information related to that keyword. Long tail keywords are longer and more specific. Consumers are more likely to use long tail keywords when they are further down the sales funnel and closer to actually making a purchase.


Keyword targeting is the act of building a website, content piece, or search ad specifically geared towards a keyword so that the site, content, or ad is shown as a result on SERPs[link] when people search for that keyword (ranking for that keyword).


Keyword research is the process of finding and researching search terms to rank for. Marketers use keyword research to determine what keywords to target and to find variations of those keywords to plan content strategy and increase SEO.



A landing page is any page on a website that a visitor can arrive at, or “land” on. Within the context of marketing, a landing page is a page that is designed with a specific purpose in mind, either to generate leads or to persuade the visitor.

The goal of a click through landing page is to motivate the user to click on to another page. Usually used in e-commerce situations, they “warm up” a visitor to a potential purchasing decision. Then the user “clicks through” to a shopping cart or similar page to actually make that purchase. They increase conversion rates because users are more educated about their decision.

Lead generation landing pages are used to capture user information. Say you have an ebook you want users to download. On a blog post, there is a button to download the ebook. When users click on it, it takes them to a landing page with a form where they input their name, email, and any other information that is relevant to your business and its marketing goals. That is a lead generation landing page.



The meta description is a short snippet of text (about 165-175 characters) that summarises a webpage’s content. Search engines use the meta description of a page as the short blurb describing the site underneath a search engine result. Therefore, an optimised meta description is an important part of on-page SEO.


Meta tags are bits of HTML code that provide data about a webpage’s content to a search engine. Meta tags do not appear on the page itself, but within the head tag of the page’s HTML code. The meta tag has different attributes that tell search engines different things. For example, the Description attribute describes what your webpage is about. Optimising your meta tags is an important part of on-page SEO.


Middle of the Funnel refers to the middle portion of the sales funnel. Consumers who are in the middle of the funnel are aware that they have some sort of need to be solved and are looking for a solution. The concept is important in inbound marketing because it shapes the type of content that should be delivered to your leads. A lead at the top of the funnel should be targeted differently than a lead in the middle.

Content in the middle of the funnel should be focused on educating your leads about the benefits of your products or services and why they are the best. Content here starts to become more brand-specific. Middle of the funnel consumers are interested in buying from someone, so start to tell them why it should be you.




An offer is a special piece of content that you provide Web visitors to push them through the sales funnel. The best offers are informative, and serve to help, entertain or otherwise engage audiences in a way that establishes trust in your company. Free guides, ebooks, charts, videos, case studies and infographics are all examples of suitable offer content.


What does it mean when someone opts out or unsubscribes from your emails? When someone elects to opt out or unsubscribe from your email marketing, that means they have chosen to no longer receive emails from you.

You must add an unsubscribe link to the bottom of every email marketing message. Sending an email without an unsubscribe link violates PECR regulations, can significantly damage your email sender credibility, and can even potentially leave your marketing open to costly fees or litigation.
In addition to being a legal requirement, adding an unsubscribe link is smart email practice. You only want to send emails to people who actually want to hear from you. Don’t try to trick people into staying on your list—make your unsubscribe link clearly visible and offer a simple unsubscribing process.


Traditional marketing strategies, such as cold-calling, print advertisements or exposure through other media platforms. While there is still a time and place for outbound marketing strategies, these tactics take a backseat in today’s digital, user-based marketing world. Inbound has changed the face of marketing as we know it. Today’s business leaders must adapt their marketing strategies to not just include the web, but thrive in it.



A pageview is a single request to load (or reload) one page in a web browser. Pageviews is a metric that represents the total number of views of a page.


Pay per click is an agreement in which companies pay a fee every instance one of their advertisements is clicked (most often, in the form of search engine advertisements); it’s a means of purchasing site visitors instead of generating traffic through organic search. In search engine PPC, advertisers bid on space in paid-for search engine results.


A buyer persona is a representation of a company’s ideal customer(s). Personas identify all of the characteristics of a company’s target customers—what they’re like, what they want and need, what worries them, things they are searching for, etc.—so that you have a better understanding of your customer base and how to market to them throughout the sales funnel.




Remarketing and Retargeting are two words for the same concept. Remarketing helps you reach people that have already visited your website. By using cookie data, you can put your ads in front of users that have already been on your website to reinforce your brand positioning in their minds and encourage another visit to your site.


Return on investment is an important metric in business. It measures the efficiency of an investment by calculating the return (or benefit) of an investment relative to the investment’s original cost. ROI is represented as a percentage. To calculate ROI, subtract the cost of the investment from the return of the investment, then divide that number by the original cost of the investment. For example, an investment that returns £5,000 and costs £1,000 would have an ROI of 400%.



The sales funnel is a visualisation of the process that people go through to becoming a customer of your business. The sales funnel can be outlined in a simple process. Understanding your sales funnel and how a user’s needs change as they go through the sales funnel is extremely valuable. It allows you to tailor your message and deliver content that speaks directly to their needs at each stage. Each stage of the sales funnel can be defined slightly differently.

At the top of the sales funnel, consumers fit your target demographic or persona, but they don’t have an immediate need for your product or services. Therefore, they may just be browsing online for other information. At this level of the sales funnel, it’s important to understand what your target persona does when they aren’t shopping for your services. What else are they searching for? What are they reading? At this stage they may not be aware they have a need for your product or service so you want to look for ways to get in front of your customer and position yourself as an expert and then show them they have a need for what you offer.

In the middle of the funnel, consumers know they have a specific need and therefore are in the process of researching a solution. At this stage, they are more qualified to become customers because they are ready to commit to a purchase, but they aren’t sure if they are ready to commit to purchasing from you. At this stage you want to be able to deliver them information that positions your company as the right solution to solve their problem.

Finally, at the bottom of the funnel, leads are converted into clients through highly targeted and specific content approaches. Those at the bottom of the funnel know what they need and they are ready to commit to purchasing from your company. Therefore you need to make sure your sales process can walk them smoothly across the finish line. They need an excellent user experience and reassurance that they are making the right decision.


A search query is a word or term that a user enters into a search engine in order to find information about that topic. The results for that query are shown on the SERP.


Search Engine Optimisation is the process of optimising websites to be indexed and ranked highly by search engines (like Google or Bing). Good, user-focused SEO tactics are considered White Hat, while tactics that try to trick search engines into ranking the page are considered Black Hat.


A search engine results page is the page displayed by a search engine (like Google or Bing) after a user enters a search query.



A taxonomy in web development terms—as in scientific language—is the concept of systematic categorisation and classification. In development, taxonomy allows CMS developers to group together similar items. Taxonomies can be customised to thematically organise multiple groups.


A title tag is an HTML element that is used to describe the page in SERPs. It is displayed at the top of a web browser, usually to the right of a website’s favicon. In many web browsers, only the first 55 to 60 characters of a title tag are actually displayed, but since title tags are important for SEO, usability, and increased incidence of sharing, it is wise to include at least one keyword in your title tag, which can be more optimised than the title of the article it refers to.


Top of the Funnel refers to the top portion of the sales funnel, or where prospects enter the sales funnel. The concept is important in inbound marketing because it shapes the type of content that should be delivered to your visitors. Someone at the top of the funnel should be targeted differently than a lead at the bottom.

Content at the top of the funnel is not brand-focused and instead answers a generic question that someone may be searching for. It serves to be informational, timely, useful, and trust-building. It can include things like social media and blog posts.



UI or User Interface refers to the physical elements that a user engages with. On a webpage or device this includes menus, buttons, date pickers, and text fields, plus elements like breadcrumbs, image sliders, pagination, etc. The user interface should seamlessly guide the user through a website or app and communicate the strengths and positioning of the brand while doing so.


User experience, or UX, is a term that is thrown around quite a bit, and more trendy to write on a whiteboard than it is to be explained. Essentially, it is user satisfaction as related to a website’s usability, accessibility, and reliability. When considering UX, ask yourself, “Does the user have a positive interaction with my site?”




What is White Hat SEO? White Hat SEO tactics are optimisation tactics that focus on the user, instead of trying to trick the search engine into ranking the site (called Black Hat tactics). White Hat tactics completely follow search engine rules and policies.