Digital Marketing Terminology & Acronyms You Must Know (25+ Terms)

8 min read
digital marketing terminology, marketing a business, digital marketing acronyms

Digital Marketing Terminology

In the world of digital marketing, it’s important to be aware of the language and terminology we use across the industry. Whether you’re a business owner, a marketer, salesperson, or anyone in the business world, knowing these digital marketing terms and their acronyms will help you see a clearer picture when conversations about marketing start.


It’s important to note that some digital marketing terminology carries meanings in other industries, sometimes the same, but often the acronyms represent a completely different meaning. A quick example, CPA in digital marketing terminology means Cost Per Acquisition, but in the financial world, a CPA is also the title of a Certified Public Accountant.



1. Cost Per Acquisition (CPA)

Referenced across industries, but vital to digital marketing Cost Per Acquisition is the amount of money you spent to acquire a paying customer, often represented as an average (Avg. CPA) allowing you to understand the performance of your marketing efforts, and evaluate the effectiveness of your marketing channels. Marketers use CPA to benchmark success and compare to industry and historical trends.


2. Cost Per Click (CPC)

Used in digital marketing, Cost Per Click often seen as (Avg. CPC) is the total or average dollar sum a single click on an ad or paid media placement costs your company. In search marketing, you often reference the CPC of a specific keyword to determine its viability for your business. It’s important to note that more competitive industries can expect a higher Avg. CPC when running PPC campaigns.


3. Cost Per Engagement (CPE)

Not as commonly used, but an important metric, Cost Per Engagement puts a value to individual engagements on your ads and is often seen as an average (Avg. CPE).  Comments, likes, shares on a social media ad would all be considered engagements, and in an awareness campaign understanding your CPE is very important.


4. Cost Per Lead (CPL)

Similar to CPA, Cost Per Lead is used to identify the cost associated with acquiring a lead, usually in the form of contact information via a landing page.  Furthermore, a lead is generally considered to be someone who has shown interest in your services but is not yet a paying customer.


5. Cost Per Mille (CPM)

Referenced across industries, but vital to digital marketing Cost Per Acquisition is the amount of money you spent to acquire a paying Mille translated to English means one thousand. Cost Per Mille (CPM) is the metric used to assess your cost per 1000 impressions in paid advertising. CPM is often used as a reporting metric in awareness campaigns; such as video ads or display campaigns.


6. Cost Per View (CPV)

Your CPV or Cost Per View is how much you spent for someone to watch your video ad. Again commonly represented as an average (Avg. CPV), gives you insight into how much you’re spending to receive views on a video ad.


7. Conversion Rate (CVR)

Conversion rate should be a KPI in every single marketing campaign. A conversion, for example, could be a phone call, a scheduled meeting, a completed purchase, a subscription to a newsletter. So your CVR would be the percentage of impressions that completed a specific action, considered a conversion in your campaign. Formula: Impressions / Conversions = Conversion Rate


8. Customer Relationship Manager (CRM)

CRM or Customer Relationship Manager generally refers to software used by companies to organize customer data, manage client interactions, and track and engage with current and potential customers. The best CRMs enable you to perform and deploy various different outreach and marketing strategies within one system. There are 100’s of CRM options out there, we use our very own CarbonCRM Suite built on; because of its flexibility, we’re able to build the exact system we need when we need it. Learn more about the CarbonCRM Suite.


9. Call to Action (CTA)

CTA or Call to Action is the next step a marketer wants their audience to take. Vital to marketing, giving your audience a way to take action is important. For example, in an email, a CTA could be, “Book a time” or “Visit our website”. While on social media you may propose a CTA of “Link in bio” at the end of your posts driving action to your profile URL.


10. Click-through Rate (CTR)

Your Click-through Rate (CTR) is the percentage of people who saw your ad and proceeded to click it. This is important because this represents the preliminary success of your ad at getting the user to click.


11. Click-to-Open-Rate (CTOR)

Click-to-Open-Rate (CTOR) is similar to CTR but is commonly used when referencing email analytics. CTOR references more specifically the rate of clicks from people who actually viewed your email. This is important because this represents the success of your email and its CTA at getting the users to click.


12. Engagement Rate (ER)

Engagement Rate (ER) is the percentage of people who engaged with your content. Similar to CPE, engagement rate is a great success metric to track on social awareness campaigns.


13. Google Analytics (GA/GA4)

Google Analytics (GA) or its newer counterpart Google Analytics 4 (GA4), is the most common software used to monitor website traffic, and it’s free! Enabling you to track and view user activity, trends across your website, and gauge the performance of your different marketing channels based on your website traffic.


14. Google My Business (GMB)

Google My Business enables you to make your results richer in Google’s SERPs. With GMB, you’re able to add your business to Google Maps, as well as provide additional information about your business to users searching for it. List business hours, locations, products, or services, and even make update posts to keep customers informed at all times.


15. Google Search Console (GSC)

Google Search Console is SEO’s best friend. GSC provides you tools to help track and measure your site’s Search traffic performance. Provides you with tools for tracking site health, resolving errors, as well as reoccurring insights to help streamline changes. The biggest use of GSC is tracking your performance in Google SERPs.


16. Google Tag Manager (GTM)

Google Tag Manager is a tag management tool that allows you to add code, in the form of tags to your website or app. GTM enables you to track actions and metrics across your site or apps and funnel that information back to countless different sources. Google Tag Manager is an intricate part of the conversion tracking process. 


17. Interaction Rate (IR)

Interaction Rate often referred to as the “Click Rate” is the percentage of people who interacted or “clicked” your ad. There’s virtually no difference between IR and CTR, they’re interchangeable but different programs or mediums tend to lean towards one or the other.


18. Impression Share (IS)

Impression Share, used in Search Engine Marketing especially is the metric used to identify your cut of the SERPs. Essentially, your Impression Share is how much percentage of the time you appear in the results, and what rank or placement.


19. Keyword(s) (KW)

Keywords are everything in digital marketing. Sometimes named buzzwords, KWs are how your audience knows this content is for them, and not anyone else. Every industry has keywords, often highly relevant and commonly used, but generally unique. Keywords are the hidden language within an industry that indicates whether you know your stuff. Keywords are used across digital marketing in copywriting, sales pitches, and especially in Search marketing. Each term in this blog would be considered a Keyword in the context you’re reading currently.


20. Key Performance Indicator (KPI)

KPIs are everything in business, but especially in marketing. Key performance Indicators are determined by you, based on what you’re trying to achieve with marketing. As mentioned above, CVR is a highly common KPI, conversions in a marketing campaign are your metric of success because you’ve identified them as a completion of a specific goal.


21. Pay Per Click (PPC)

Pay Per Click is often referenced in PPC campaigns, is a form of marketing often associated with Search Ads. In a PPC campaign, you are not paying for a specific amount of reach, or a specific amount of clicks, you are paying for each and every click individually. In Search Ads, we target KWs based on a PPC model, meaning every click has a unique cost.


22. Return on Ad Spend (ROAS)

ROAS, or Return on Ad Spend, is used across digital marketing in assessing the financial viability of an ad. It takes into account specifically the revenue generated compared to ad spend. At CarbonWeb we often use ROAS to determine a winning ad in a Split Test commonly known as an A/B Test. 

Return on Ad Spend is easy to calculate, take your total conversion value and divide it by your ad spend. If we spend $1000 in a week and generate $2000 that’s a ROAS of $2, now on our other ad we spend $2000 in a week, but generate $7000, that’d be a ROAS of $3.50 per dollar spent. Also, making the second ad the winner in our Split Test scenario.


23. Return on Investment (ROI)

A common term in virtually all industries, Return on Investment or ROI is a ratio used to compare the gains (or losses) from an investment, relative to its cost. ROI is used for determining how effective, or profitable a particular investment is. Easy to calculate, you divide your net profit (or loss) by the initial cost. 

For example, let’s say you spent $1000 on a social media campaign: $500 for a social manager and $500 on social ads. If you netted $2000 in sales through social media, that’d equate to a 100% ROI. (Nice job btw!)


24. Search Engine Marketing (SEM)

SEM or Search Engine Marketing should play a big role in your marketing efforts. Consisting of both paid and organic marketing, SEM is the culmination of SEO, PPC, and other techniques used to surface to the top of the SERPs. We use SEM because it provides ample opportunity for organic traffic and growth not achievable in any other way.


25. Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Referenced across industries, but vital to digital marketing Cost Per Acquisition is the amount of money you spent to acquire a paying SEO or Search Engine Optimization is the art form and science of enhancing the quality and quantity of your website traffic, through indexing with search engines like Google, Bing, Yahoo, etc. The ultimate goal of SEO is to increase your website ranking in the SERPs, making your site more visible to prospective customers.


26. Search Engine Results Page (SERP)

SERPs or Search Engine Results Pages are the webpage results you see after looking something up on Google or any other search engine. The SERPs are where more than 90% of website traffic comes from, so ranking high on these pages is essential to business growth, and the reason why SEO is so important.


27. Urchin Tracking Module (UTM/ UTM Code)

UTM or Urchin Tracking Module generally referenced in UTM Codes, are snippets of code attached to the end of a URL. UTM codes are one of many tools marketers use to track the progress and results of their marketing campaigns. The codes serve as parameters for what we want to track inside of our URL.

For example, let’s say we’re running Google Ads to When we’re looking at our website data in Google Analytics, we want to know which campaign the users on the website came from, to do this we need to attach UTM codes to the URL. .

But wait, there are more Digital Marketing Terms, right?

In the world of Digital Marketing, the terminology is rather endless, but if you understand these 27 digital marketing terms and their acronyms you are well on your way to being fluent in the language of digital marketing. The language doesn’t stop here though, checkout our blog on Green Marketing and it’s counter part Greenwashing.


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