Digital Marketing: a glossary of terms you need to know

Part One: Digital Marketing Terms (A-D)

As a founder of a startup, digital marketing is one of your most valuable tools to get your project out there. In this day and age it is essential to use digital marketing to promote your business in the right places. 

With the world of digital marketing constantly changing and expanding this can be super daunting, but it doesn’t need to be. 

Digital marketing should be accessible for everyone and you shouldn’t feel scared to ask questions when growing your business. 

We have written a handy series of jargon buster posts, a glossary to provide the answers to all of your questions, so you can kick off your marketing career on the right foot. 

Feel free to bookmark this post and come back to it when you need some clarity! For convenience we’ve divided the glossary into alphabetically ordered posts as there is lots to cover.

digital marketing terms, glossary for start ups, terms to know

A/B testing

Also known as split testing, A/B testing refers to the direct comparison of two variables to test which yields better results. By setting goals and analysing your findings, you can hone your content based on what has proven most successful.

Above the fold

Above the Fold refers to the visible part of your content when you open a website, email or newsletter. It originates from the fold at the top of a newspaper. Basically the first thing your visitor will look at when they open the page.

Ads Manager

A function of Facebook Business Suite, Ads Manager allows you to schedule, track and analyse all your ad campaigns in one place. 

Affiliate marketing

Affiliate marketing is useful to build awareness and engagement to your campaign, allowing influencers to become affiliates, sharing your campaign, and earning back an affiliate commission on any sales they drive to the campaign. It builds a good relationship with your audience, showing trust and engagement with your brand.

Alt text

Alt text can also be called alternative text or alternative descriptions. It is useful to let the reader know what they are looking at, especially important for visibility and accessibility purposes, or when using imagery on your site.


Analytics refer to the interpretation of your collected data patterns. They are drawn conclusions and statistics about how your campaign was received and how your audience interacted with it. They can be measured using tracking codes. 


Standing for Application Programming Interface, this is an interface which allows multiple software applications to talk to and extract data from one another. APIs are the best way to ensure quick and interactive interfaces ready for customer use. They can completely streamline the user experience.


This acronym stands for Business to Business, referring to marketing directed from one business to another. For example, advertising a product or service designed to aid other businesses or simply building a rapport with other brands.


This acronym stands for Business to Consumer, referring to any marketing directed from a business to their consumer-base, aimed to sell a product or service to a specific audience.


Backlinks or inbound links are when an article, blog or website links to other sites within their content. More backlinks will organically boost your page higher up in search engine results. They are viewed well by all major search engines.

Behavioural targeting

This is the process of advertising your product towards consumers with particular buying behaviours. This can be tracked by using Facebook Pixel or similar tracking codes to analyse customer behaviour at different stages of the buyer’s journey. You could trigger relevant adverts or automated email events depending on where the customer is in the buyer’s journey to help solidify a sale.


A blog is a website or online journal where writers can discuss topics in detail, often used as commentary, reviews or articles. Blogging can be useful to boost SEO rankings, targeting specific keywords and phrases to answer search queries and gain readership.


A bot is a software application designed to perform easy and repetitive tasks automatically so you don’t have to.

Bounce rate

Bounce rate refers to the number of times an email bounces back to the sender because it couldn’t be delivered to its recipient. There are two types of bounce. Soft bounce is when an email delivers but bounces back e.g. if an inbox is too full. A hard bounce is when the mail recipient doesn’t exist or the email address is invalid. This could also be when a visitor clicks on your website and leaves on the first page of the site. 

Brand guidelines

This is a set of guidelines outlining how a brand should be represented e.g. image, colour, font, tone.


The promotion of your business, product or service via distinctive design and promotional advertising, making your brand recognisable.

Buyer’s Journey

Buyer’s Journey, also known as Customer Journey is the process which a consumer will follow to make a purchase. There are 3 stages:

  1. Awareness – the consumer becomes aware of a problem or opportunity, beginning to research an answer.
  2. Consideration – the consumer researches every possible option available to them.
  3. Decision – the consumer whittles down their list to make an informed decision and purchase the item.


CAC stands for Customer Acquisition Cost. It is the amount it will cost in money, time and resources to acquire a new customer.


A sequenced process of actions to promote and advertise a product to achieve a specific objective. Brands use campaigns to gain engagement, awareness and to achieve their goals. For example, selling their product, getting sign ups or generating leads. This can be achieved through channels such as online advertising, social media and email marketing.

Campaign Budget Optimisation

Campaign Budget Optimisation (CBO) is a function of Facebook Ads, which automatically controls your ad budget to yield the best results. The advert getting the most attention will have more budget behind it as it is appealing more to the audience. 

Churn rate

The churn rate refers to the number of customers that have stopped buying or using your service. You can calculate this by dividing the number of customers lost in the last quarter by the number you started with. This will show the percentage of customers that have dropped off. 

Content Management System

Content management systems (CMS) are software applications designed to facilitate creation and modification of digital content via a simple user interface.

Content marketing

A type of marketing which involves creating online promotional materials and sharing them on different platforms to stimulate interest in your brand.

Content scheduling

Content scheduling is the creation and scheduling of blog or social media content before being published. Posts can be scheduled in-platform or using a third-party service such as Hootsuite or Loomly.

Conversion path

A conversion path refers to the journey a visitor takes from entering a site to making a qualified purchase.

Conversion Rate

A conversion is essentially a qualified lead, when a visitor completes your desired goal. The conversion rate refers to the number of successful conversions divided by the total number of web visitors i.e. your percentage of successful sales.


Cookies are small pieces of data which collect and monitor your browsing behaviour.


CPA stands for Cost per Action or Cost per Acquisition. CPA is how much it typically costs the advertiser for a customer to complete a specific action. e.g. an affiliate will receive x amount back for every successful purchase.


CPC is the average cost per click on your advert.


CPL is the average cost per qualified lead.


CPM is the Cost per 1000 impressions and typically helps you gauge how many viewers your campaign is reaching. The M typically stands for metric.


CRM stands for Customer Relationship Management system. A software application which manages all operations of business within one cloud-based system such as contacts, sales, employees and data insights. For example, Zoho.


CRO is an abbreviation for Conversion Rate Optimisation. Essentially it’s the optimisation of your site in order to boost your number of conversions e.g. optimising your buyer’s journey.


Crowdfunding is when you start a project or business venture, by seeking small monetary contributions from a large audience in order to fund your project. Examples of crowdfunding platforms include Kickstarter, Indiegogo and Crowdcube. This can be through the form of equity crowdfunding – giving away a percentage of your business in return for investment or reward-based crowdfunding giving away a product or unique rewards in return for a smaller pledge. If you want to learn more about crowdfunding look here.


Cascading Style Sheets are a function of HTML5 coding which allows you to elevate the style and layout of your website.


CTA or Call to Action is a command or phrase which tells the reader your desired goal. e.g. shop now, learn more, sign up. A call to action is usually a link or button. 


CTR is an abbreviation for Click Through Rate. This is the rate of clicks in relation to the number of impressions your site receives. It is the percentage of impressions that follow through to clicks on your page. 

Customer Journey

See Buyer’s Journey above.

Customer marketing

A type of marketing aimed at existing customers, trying to solidify your brand and create continued growth and customer loyalty.

Customer personas

Customer personas or buyer personas are fictional archetypes that represent portions of your customer base based on collected user information. Lots of digital marketers use personas to target their content based on their existing database’s traits and buying behaviours.  

Customer Retention

Customer retention refers to a company’s ability to retain their customer database for a long time. This could mean customers return for future purchases rather than stopping custom or defecting to alternative brands. There are many ways to boost customer retention e.g. keeping your brand consistent and transparent, rewarding customer loyalty and giving good customer service.

Digital marketing

What is digital marketing? Digital marketing is a type of marketing which utilises online technologies such as social media, websites, email communication and electronic devices. These tools and platforms allow you to create impactful digital campaigns which promote your brand. 

Display advertising

A type of advertising which utilises visual graphics in order to promote a brand. For example, through imagery, banners, audio and videos.

Thanks for reading. Don’t forget to save this post for clarification next time you come across something new! Keep your eye out for part two soon.