Online advertising, from A to V

A glossary of the most common online advertising terms.

Analytics – in digital advertising, analytics is the information resulting from systematic analysis of data gathered from advertising or marketing activity such as e-mails, newsletters, blog reads, Facebook and Twitter posts, and Google AdWords spend.

Banner ads – also known as “display ads”, these advertising units are images that advertisers place on known publishers’ Web sites in order to attract or re-attract their target audience.

Blogging – from the term “web log”, in which a user actively updates a visible section of a Web site in order to inform or attract users and customers on a regular basis.

Brand – a business’ brand is the sum total of all its users’ and customers’ opinions of that business; a business can choose to intentionally shape its brand, or allow market forces to shape its brand.

Channels – this is a delivery mechanism for marketing activities. A business’ message is delivered via one or more marketing channel such as e-mail, social media, blogging, advertisements, etc.

Click-through rate (CTR) – this identifies the percentage of people who click on a link to land on the marketer’s Web property. The term is used in relation to e-mails, ads or Web site views.

Consistency – the importance of continuing with a course of action, such as blogging, in a regular frequency in order to repeatedly expose the intended audience to the marketer’s message.

Content calendar – a tool that provides for time-based structure and discipline for the digital marketer in planning, assigning, creating and delivering content to the marketer’s target audience.

Conversion rate – the percentage of unique visitors to a Web site that are “converted” into customers, users or leads. Conversion takes the form of a purchase, membership sign-up, a download or a registration for newsletter.

Cost per acquisition (CPA) – a pricing model where companies are charged by advertising platforms only when leads, sales or conversions are generated.

Cost per click (CPC) – a pricing model where companies are charged by publishers for every click people make on a displayed/test ad, which leads people to the company’s Web site.

Cost per thousand (CPM) – this is a pricing model where advertising impressions are purchased and companies are charged according to the number of times their ad appears per 1 000 impressions. This model makes the most sense when trying to increase brand awareness.

Delivery – this is the receipt of a message from the marketer to a group or individual in the target audience.

Distribution – the means by which a product or service is delivered to its end-user or customer

Engagement – in digital marketing, the term for user interaction with a particular piece of shared content: likes, shares or comments on Facebook; retweets, replies and favourites on Twitter; and link clicks on all forms of social media.

Facebook Ads – an advertising platform offered by Facebook. It enables paying customers to use hyper-targeting to reach a very specific audience via advertisements placed in the users’ timelines.

Frequency – in digital marketing, how often a task is performed; for example, the frequency of a blog post or Twitter update.

Google AdWords – an advertising platform offered by Google. It enables paying customers to use hyper-targeting to reach a very specific audience via advertisements placed at the top and right sides of the search results page.

Impressions – the number of times a company’s ad will appear to its target audience, or the number of times a Web page appears in total. For example, one visitor could view five pages which would create five impressions. Two visitors could view five pages which would generate 10 impressions.

Keyword – this is word or phrase that your audience uses to search for relevant topics on search engines.

Keyword stuffing – this is the practice of using too many keywords in content in hopes of making it more visible on search engines. Search engines now penalise this behaviour.

Landing page – the page on a company’s Web site that is optimised to act as the entry page. When redirected from external links, this is the page to which the visitors will be led.

Meta description – the meta description is a few lines of text for each Web site that appear on the search engine results page.

Organic impressions – Usually relating to Facebook or Twitter advertising, this is the number of times your content was displayed in a user’s News Feed, ticker or on your page.

Organic traffic – this is non-paid-for traffic that is generated by a search engine which leads users to a company’s Web site.

Page views – the number of times a Web page or set of Web pages are viewed during a given time period.

Pages per visit – the average number of pages viewed by a single visitor during a given time period.

Paid content – content pushed out by the marketer via any paid means such as Facebook ads, Google AdWords, Twitter Ads or banner (display) ads on Web sites and newsletters.

Paid traffic – this encompasses any form of paid advertisement that directly points to your Web site and results in users visiting it.

RSS (Really Simple Syndication) – a technology that allows users to become subscribers of content and ultimately get automatic alerts if updates are made.

SEO (search engine optimisation) – the practice of optimising a Web site to be quickly, easily and properly indexed by a search engine, such as Google, allowing it to rank higher on a search engine’s results page. Higher rankings typically generate more traffic.

Social networking –  the practice of using Web- (or mobile-) based platforms to build online communities where people share common interests or activities. Popular ones include Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram.

Subscriber – a user who allows a company to send them messages via e-mail or other personal communication means.

Time on site – the average amount of time that a Web site visitor remains active on a particular Web site.

Total paid impressions – usually relating to Facebook or Twitter advertising, this is the number of times your paid content was displayed.

Total reach – the total exposure (measured in Web users or “eyeballs”) of an advertisement or piece of content.

Total unique user engagement – usually relating to Facebook or Twitter advertising, this is the number of unique users who clicked on, liked, shared and/or commented on your post.

Total viral impressions – the number of times content associated with your page was displayed in a story published by a person who liked your page.

Twitter Ads – the program operated by Twitter that enables paying customers to use hyper-targeting via Twitter users’ profile data to reach a certain specific audience via advertisements placed in the users’ timeline.

Viral marketing – this is a way of marketing where the audience is encouraged by companies to pass on their content to others for more exposure, through an easy share functionality.

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