Marketing acronym glossary

Do you ever feel like the world of marketing is filled with nothing but acronyms that make little to no sense in a normal day-to-day conversation? You’re not alone. Especially when you’re starting out as an intern in a marketing company, jumping through hoops to impress your superiors, the pressure to be in the know can be tough to handle.

Which is why we’ve put together a brief glossary of acronyms, you know, for future reference:


Pointless Business Acronym – Okay, you got us. This one isn’t real, we just wanted to make you smile. We hope it worked. In all seriousness though, businesses have a habit of using acronyms for the sake of it. Don’t let your usage become pointless tedium. The next acronyms will be real.


Business to Business – Business to Business is a type of commerce transaction that occurs between businesses. This could be between a manufacturer and the wholesaler, the wholesaler and a retailer, a service provided by one business to another to mutually benefit both. With B2B there is usually a committee of people in an organisation who decide whether to buy or not. Not to be confused with B2C.


Business to Consumer – Often confused with B2B, Business to Consumer describes a business that sells products and/or provides a service to end-user consumers. An obvious example is the retail industry. B2C exists both on and offline but the acronym B2C tends to primarily be used to describe retail of the online variety.


Call to Action – In marketing, a Call to Action is an instruction intended to provoke an immediate response from the reader or viewer. Traditionally, a writer will use an imperative verb to influence the consumer’s behaviour. For example: “Click here for more details” or “Visit us on this address now!” If you’re designing a website, a CTA will come in the form of a banner, button, graphic or text that tempts a user to click it.


Content Management System – A Content Management System is a computer application that allows you to publish, edit, organize, delete and modify content from a central interface. A CMS is generally used within a working environment that is collaborative to ease efficiency. Around since the 1990s, they are usually used to run websites.


Cost Per Click – Cost Per Click is a business model used in online marketing, and often in PPC It is so called because users are billed by the number of times a visitor clicks on a banner. It doesn’t go by the number of impressions though like PPC. CPC is handy for advertisers with a set budget because the ad is removed after their budget is met.


Cascading Style Sheets – Cascading Style Sheets is a style sheet language used to describe the look and format of a document written in a markup language. It is designed to enable the separation of document presentation like the layout, fonts and colours which aids ease of use and limits discrepancies. In general, CSS is used to style web pages and interfaces that are written in HTML (Hyper Text Markup Language) and XHTML (Extensible Hyper Text Markup Language).


Click-Through Rate – The Click-Through Rate is a way of measuring the success of an online advertising campaign. Going back to PPC, the CTR is intended to capture the customers’ initial response to websites. It measures the proportion of visitors who click through to the site in relation to an ad that redirected them to that page. Marketers are given a better idea of whether or not a customer who goes to the site, stays and purchases.


Direct Message or Direct Marketing – On social networks like Facebook, Tumblr and Twitter, a DM is a direct message which does not appear on your public profile, but rather sends privately to the owner of that account. Just like an email. The difference is that a Direct Message on networks like Twitter and Tumblr can be published publicly if the account holder so chooses. Direct marketing is very different, this is the sort of marketing that sends communication directly to consumers. The most common example of this is letters from charities that arrive through our front doors.


Digital Rights Management – Digital Rights Management is a class of technologies that are used by publishers, manufacturers and copyright holders who want to control the use of digital content and devices after sale. It’s not just as simple as that though, because there are many competing definitions. Ultimately the aim is to control copying though, with second-generation DRM going further to control execution, printing, viewing, alteration too. You might know DRM better as Copy Protection or Copy Control.


Facebook – FB is the shortened name of the most widely used online social network in the world. I know it’s obvious to most in the world of digital marketing, but this writer once had a colleague who thought it stood for Fact Base. We can see where the logic lay there, but it was wrong. So to confirm: FB stands for Facebook.


Google Analytics – Google Analytics is a service offered by Google. It generates detailed statistics about a website’s traffic and the sources it comes from to measure conversions and sales. The product is primarily aimed at marketers who want to measure the way users respond to the content the brands they work for put out. The service is available both for free and as a premium charged version.


Hyper Text Markup Language – Hyper Text Markup Language aka the standard markup language used to create web pages. HTML is written in the form of HTML elements that form the building blocks of all websites. It is HTML that allows images and objects to be embedded, that provides the means to create structured documents that employ the use of headings, paragraphs, lists, links, quotes and varying fonts, formats and structures. This is where CSS comes in.


Internet Protocol Address – An Internet Protocol Address is a numerical label that is assigned to every computerised device. The IP Address has two functions: as a location addresser and as a form of host or network interface identification. Basically if someone were to track an action back to your IP Address, they would know where you are. The addresses are in binary numbers but are displayed so humans can read them.


Pay Per Click – Pay Per Click, one of the fastest growing online business models, is when an advertiser pays to advertise on a search engine for when a user enters specific key words that relate to their business. When you use PPC, you don’t create an ad, pay a website up front and hope people see it. You only pay if the user clicks on your ad.


Search Engine Optimisation – Search Engine Optimisation is the process of changing the visibility of a website or web page in a search engine’s search results. The higher the rank on the results page, the more frequently people will visit the site. The process of managing ‘natural’ or ‘organic’ search results by utilising the way a search engine works and the things people search for, is a dying speciality due to tighter restrictions, but when used responsibly can be very effective.






Search Engine Results Page – A Search Engine Results Page is the listing of results returned by a search engine when a user enters a keyword query. The results will usually include a list of items (a website if you’re using Google, Yahoo and Bing) with titles, a short description and highlights of the keywords that match your search. Usually referred to as SERPs, meaning all the links returned.


Word of Mouth – Word of Mouth marketing is the act of passing on an advertising message at the encouragement of an organisation who are selling a service or product. While it is difficult to control this kind of advertisement, there are a number of ways it can be implemented. You can take your message and hype it up, employ viral advertising and target the direction of WOM based on several characteristics, such as relevance of a brand to the audience.

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