The top digital marketing terms you need to know


Every industry has its own collection of jargon and acronyms. Digital marketing is no different. Understanding some of the basic jargon can decrease confusion and help you make better decisions. Here are the most useful ones to know: 

Search terms: When you run a search in Google, the words you type are called the “search terms”. 

Google Ads: When you search on Google the top four results are often ads. This is indicated by small text saying “Ad” beside the result. These are “search ads” which are part of Google Ads. They are powerful because the businesses advertising can choose which search terms they want their ads to show for, meaning these ads a highly targeted. Over the years Google Ads have expanded beyond the text-based ads seen on search results to also include Shopping ads showing products when you search, plus YouTube ads and image ads that show on websites, such as news sites or TradeMe. These all fall under the banner of “Google Ads”. 

AdWords: This is the old name for Google Ads. The name was changed to “Google Ads” way back in July 2018, so if you still call it “AdWords” it’s time to update your lingo!

Keywords: When running Google Ads we can set rules for which words your ads will show up for.  The rules we set are called “keywords”. When someone searches, if their search term matches the keyword rule that was set, then that company’s ads might show. 

PPC: Pay Per Click. When running Google Ads, and other online marketing, the costs are often on a Pay Per Click basis. This means that the advertiser is only charged when someone clicks on the ad.

CPC: Cost Per Click. When running PPC campaigns, CPC is the measurement of the average cost per click. The data in online advertising is amazing. You can measure the average CPC per campaign, keyword, ad, geographic location and more. 

CTR: Click Through Rate. This measurement shows the level of engagement with your ads. If your ads are shown 1000 times and clicked on 50 times, then your CTR is 5 percent.  Just like CPC, you can measure the CTR per campaign, keyword, ad, geographic location and more.

SEO: Search Engine Optimisation. This is the process of getting your website higher up the rankings in search engines. Hardly anyone clicks to page two of Google search results.  So to get your business found, you want to appear on page one of results for the search terms that are related to your business. The best place to be is at the top of page one.  The top three results generally receive 67 percent of the clicks, so ideally that’s where you want your site to be found.  However, it takes a lot of work to convince Google that your website is the most important website to display for the search terms relevant to your business.  The process of doing this is called SEO.

SEM:  Search Engine Marketing. This includes both Google Ads and SEO, as both of these forms of marketing reach people when they are searching on search engines. 

SMM: Social Media Marketing. This includes Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, TikTok and other social media platforms.  It includes both organic (non-paid) posts as well as paid advertising. 

S&M:  Not a marketing term. It’s best not to use this acronym when meeting with your marketing agency!

Remarketing: Sometimes called “Retargeting”. This is the ability to show ads specifically to people who have visited your website or engaged with your Facebook page. It is a powerful way to build your brand recognition among people who have shown some interest in your business. 

Conversion Rate: Getting visitors to your website is important. But getting them to convert into leads or customers is the real aim. Your conversion rate is the percentage of website visitors who either contact you (become a lead) or who purchase from you.

CPA: Cost Per Acquisition. This measures how much you are spending on advertising to get a lead or customer for your business. If your business relies on leads (rather than selling online)  CPA is the most important figure to keep an eye on as a business owner or manager.  This tells you how much it costs to get a new lead into your business.

ROAS: Return on Ad Spend. This measures how much revenue you receive from every dollar of ad spend. It works best for ecommerce stores. For example, if you spend $2000 on ads and the people who click those ads buy $20,000 of goods on your ecommerce website, then you have a ROAS of 10. It means for every $1 of ad spend you received $10 back in revenue. For ecommerce stores, ROAS is the most important figure to track, to know how profitable your campaigns are. 

The next time your digital agency or Marketing Manager drops these terms into conversation, hopefully you’ll have a clearer understanding of what they’re talking about, and maybe, you could even drop in a few of these terms yourself!  


About Author

Josh Moore

Josh Moore is the managing director at Duoplus - a Hamilton-based digital marketing agency that specialises in helping businesses get more leads and sales by getting found online through SEO, Google Ads and Facebook campaigns. www.duoplus.nz

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