20 Digital Marketing Acronyms You Need to Know

Have you ever come across a marketing term or phrase you didn't understand? If so, you're in the right place. Join us as we cover the basics of digital marketing jargon.

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In the world of digital marketing, you will find a lot of very specific verbiage and/or acronyms. Industry speak…so to speak.

With that in mind, it can be very confusing for someone who has little-no-knowledge of this topic. We thought it may be helpful to put together a short guide listing out a few common terms and their definitions.

Hopefully, the next time you engage someone in a conversation regarding digital marketing, you will a little better understanding of what they are trying to say. If anything, you can impress your friends with your expanded vocabulary.

Let’s get started…


KPI – Key Performance Indicator(s)

KPI, or Key Performance Indicator, is a measurable value that provides an indicator to the success of a certain objective related to your business.

CPC – Cost per Click

CPC, or cost per click, is the amount you pay for each click your ad receives. Every single click will cost you. Even if it’s your bored intern who is just trying to kill time by clicking on every one of your ads at the end of the day.

PPC – Pay per Click

PPC, or pay per click has the same definition as CPC. It is the amount of money you pay for each click your ad receives. Every single click will cost you.

CPM – Cost per Thousand Impressions

CPM, or cost per thousand impressions, is the amount of money you pay to reach one thousand (1,000) people. This is probably the most common pricing method used on the web.

Again, the number isn’t relative to unique views…one person can drive this amount up.

CPL – Cost per Lead

CPL, or cost per lead, is a common payment model where the payment is based on the number of leads generated through a campaign.

CPA – Cost per Acquisition

CPA, or cost per acquisition, is a measure of the total cost to acquire a paying customer. This cost may also apply to some other specific action. CPA may include marketing, research, etc.

LTV – Lifetime Value

LTV, or lifetime value, is the total amount a customer is estimated to spend on your business or products during their lifetime.

CTA – Call to Action

A CTA, or call to action, is the “thing” you are asking your customer to do. For example, this could be to submit an email, schedule a call, or enter a contest.

CTR – Click Through Rate

CTR, or click-through rate, is a ratio (usually represented as a percentage) of clicks on a specific link versus divided by the number of times the ads have been shown. It is a way to measure viewer engagement.

SEM – Search Engine Marketing

SEM, or search engine marketing, is a way to promote a result to increase visibility in search engine results. You are simply paying to have your result shown at the top of the search engine results.

SEO – Search Engine Optimization

SEO, or search engine optimization, is the organic visibility of your website within search engine results. In contrast to SEM, SEO is free and does not require any form of paid promotion.

BR – Bounce Rate

BR, or bounce rate, is the percentage of folks who only visit one page on your website and bounce or leave.

CMS – Content Management System

CMS, or content management system, is an application like WordPress that allows you to publish, edit, or manage your content in one location.

CR – Conversion Rate

CR, or conversion rate, is the percentage of visitors who perform a certain action on your website.

UX – User Experience

UX, or user experience, is the overall experience of a visitor on your website. This is usually represented by how easy or intuitive the website is to use.

IBL – Inbound Link

IBL, or inbound link, is a hyperlink to your website from another website.

PR – Page Rank

PR, or page rank, is where a website ranks as the result of a search engine’s algorithm. It’s a way a search engine measures, or assigns value, to your site. Explained another way, it’s how Google calculates how relevant a webpage is in comparison to what the end-user is searching for.

SERP – Search Engine Results Page

SERP, or search engine results page, is the results returned by a search engine in reference to a search.

SMM – Social Media Marketing

SMM, or social media marketing, is a type of marketing that uses social media networks as the driver.

ROI – Return on Investment

ROI, or return on investment, is how much profit is attributed to a particular marketing initiative.


Hopefully, this gives you a solid foundation when engaging in marketing conversations. This list is nowhere near comprehensive. There is a lot of very specific jargon you will inevitably come across. However, these 20 definitions should cover a bit of the basics.

Let us know what weird marketing acronyms or phrases you have come across. It’s always interesting to hear what’s new.

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