June 17, 2013 / by Sasha Novikov

Dictionary of Common Digital Marketing and Social Media Terms

Dictionary of Common Digital Marketing and Social Media Terms Each industry has its own jargon; terms that people who work in the field use as a natural second language, but that other people are unfamiliar with. Digital marketing and social media management is no different. Almost every week I speak with clients about web design, online metrics or analytics, and social media strategy and many of the terms I use confuse them—which in turn can hurt my sales pitch.

It is important for me, as a business owner and expert in my field, not only to understand the terms I’m using every day, but also to be able to explain them effortlessly to a client without offending or patronizing them. I believe this is a crucial communication skill that every professional person should practice. So today, in an effort to dispel some confusion about terms that are constantly flying around the office, I wanted to provide a short glossary of terms, explain them, and use them in context in order to help others understand my business.

Adwords | ædwərds |

Google’s paid search marketing program, the largest such program in the world and in most countries. Introduced in 2001, AdWords was the first pay-per-click provider offering the concept of Quality Score, factoring search relevancy in along with bid to determine ad position. Companies can buy a Google Ad in order to appear at the top the result list when a keyword or industry is searched.

Dictionary of Common Digital Marketing and Social Media Terms

Analytics | anlˈitiks |

Also known as web metrics, analytics refers to a collection of data about a website and its users. Analytics programs typically give performance data on clicks, time spent on the site, pages viewed, and a variety of other information. The proper use of web analytics allows website owners to improve their visitor experience, which often leads to higher profits.

Algorithm |ˈalgəˌriðəm |

The term search engines use for the formula that determines the rankings of your natural listings. In other words, search engines will periodically send a spider through your website to view all of its information. Their programs analyze all of the data to assign value to your site, rank it, and allow certain pages to appear on various searches. These algorithms can be very complicated and are always based on a variety of information provided by your site. Search engines closely guard their algorithms as trade secrets.

Backlinks |bakli ng ks|

Backlinks are links from one website that lead the viewer to another website. Backlinks function similarly to quoting a source when writing an article or paper. When I want to lead a viewer to another site, or when some other site wants to lead a user to my website, we use backlinks. Search engines use backlinks to judge a site’s credibility; if a site links to you, the reasoning goes, it is in effect vouching for your authority on a particular subject.

Branding |brand i ng |

The promotion of a particular person, product, service, or company by means of advertising and distinctive design.

Click Through Rate (CTR) |klik-θroō-rāt|

Click through rate is a common Internet marketing measurement tool for ad effectiveness. This rate tells you how many times people are actually clicking on your ad out of the number of times your ad is shown. Low click through rates can be caused by a number of factors, including copy, placement, and relevance.

Dictionary of Common Digital Marketing and Social Media Terms Hashtag |ha shtag|

A hashtag is a word or a phrase prefixed with the symbol #. It is a form of metadata tag. Short messages on social networks like Twitter, identi.ca, Tumblr, Instagram, Flickr, Google+, and now Facebook may be tagged by putting “#” before important words, as in: “A #Dictionary of Common #DigitalMarketing Terms.” Hashtags provide a means of grouping such messages into categories allowing other users to search for the word and the set of messages attached to it.


When a hashtag is used in a certain context, many have adopted the term “hashtagged.” For example, “I’ve just taken a picture of this margarita, and I hashtagged it, #delicious.”

Pay Per Click (PPC) |pā-pər-klik|

Also known as cost per click, pay per click is an Internet advertising model used to direct traffic to websites, in which advertisers pay the publisher (typically a website owner) when the ad is clicked. It is defined simply as “the amount spent to get an advertisement clicked.” With search engines, advertisers typically bid on keyword phrases relevant to their target market.

Reputation Management |ˌrepyəˈtā sh ən ˈmanijmənt|

Reputation Management is the understanding or influencing of an individual’s or business’s reputation. It was originally coined as a public relations term, but advancement in computing, the Internet and social media made it primarity an issue of search results.

Return On Investment (ROI) |riˈtərn-än; ôn-inˈves(t)mənt|Dictionary of Common Digital Marketing and Social Media Terms noun

ROI is the key statistic for many companies. It is the concept of an investment of some resource yielding a benefit to the investor. As a performance measure, it is used to evaluate the efficiency of an investment or to compare the efficiency of a number of different investments. In purely economic terms, it is one way of considering profits in relation to capital invested.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) |sər ch-ˈenjən-ˌäptəˌmīˈzā sh ən|

SEO is the process of affecting the visibility of a website of web page in a search engine’s “natural” or un-paid (“organic”) search results.


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