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Supercharge Your Pipeline

77 Digital Marketing Terms & Stats for Business Professionals

November 19, 2015

By Amber Kemmis

Whether you are an executive, marketer or work in the financial department, chances are you’ve heard a coworker or peer use a digital marketing term you’re unfamiliar with. To help you in those times of need when you’re left saying, “Huh?”, here is a glossary of terms commonly use in digital marketing. In addition, a glossary can be pretty boring, so you’ll also find a fun and/or informative statistic related to each term.


General Terms

  1. Closed-loop marketing: The use of analytics and data throughout a customer’s lifecycle to improve marketing and sales strategies. To “close the loop”, marketing and sales teams unify their reporting and strategies to generate higher ROI. Considering 69 percent of CEOs believe they are wasting money marketing initiatives, according to Forbes, the majority of marketers have adopted closed-loop marketing in one form or another.

  2. Content marketing: Similar to inbound marketing, content marketing is the use and distribution of content that provides valuable information to help a company grow and retain website visitors and customers. Altimater cites that 70 percent of marketers do not have a consistent or integrated content strategy.

  3. Contextual marketing: Contextual marketing refers to any advertising or tailored marketing messages that are based on the user’s demographic or behavioral data. When in-house marketers are able to quantify ROI and use a personalized website, they see a 19 percent increase in sales (Monetate/eConsultancy).

  4. Digital marketing: A comprehensive and loose term that refers to marketing that utilizes various digital channels to build brand awareness and ultimately generate customers. Fifty percent of companies surveyed by Smart Insights and TFM&A say they use digital marketing, but lack a defined strategy.

  5. Email marketing: The use of email and email performance benchmarks to reach prospects, customers and evangelists. Email marketing leads are rated as high quality by 40 percent of B2B marketers (Software Advice Survey).

  6. Inbound marketing: A marketing strategy that builds interesting and valuable content to attract the attention of people to your company rather than seeking them out as is done with outbound marketing like purchasing lists, cold calling, trade shows and sending snail mail. According to Hubspot data, inbound practices produce 54 percent more leads than traditional outbound practices.

  7. Marketing automation: The use of software and technology to streamline various marketing channels and make them automated. Over 50 percent of top-performing companies have adopted marketing automation (Forrester).

  8. Marketing channel: A way of moving products or services from the producer to the consumer. Marketing channels can be direct, indirect or a combination of both. For example, a company may rely on distributors to sell their product but also use a company website to drive sales directly. According to a survey from 2014, 48 percent of marketers say search-optimized websites are the most effective channel for distributing their product or service (Statista).

  9. Native advertising: The placement of a brand, product, or service where the ad appears in the same context of the user interface. It’s almost like an ad in disguise because the marketing content blends with the content on the third-party application. A study published on Adweek found that 57 percent of millennials are OK with sponsored content, which is really another term for native advertising, but only if it is interesting.

  10. Search engine marketing: A marketing tactic that works to grow a website’s online presence through traffic from search engines. Nearly 100 percent (93 percent to be exact) of online experiences start with search engines (ImForza).

  11. Social media marketing: The use of social sites such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and YouTube to grow traffic to a website or grow brand awareness. Social media has 100 percent higher lead-to-close rate compared to outbound leads (HubSpot).

Planning & Developing a Marketing Strategy Terms

  1. Buyer’s journey: The process and journey a prospective customer goes through to reach your company. It involves research and communication with your company, as well as within the buyer’s network of those involved in the buying process. According to Forrester Research, almost 75 percent of B2B buyers spend more than half of their buyer’s journey doing online and independent research before researching offline.

  2. Buyer/marketing persona: As defined by HubSpot, “A buyer persona is a semi-fictional representation of your ideal customer based on market research and real data about your existing customers.” Using a buyer/marketing persona makes 2 to 5 times more effective and easier to use by ideal users (HubSpot).

  3. Content and editorial calendar: Helps marketers to plan development, publish and distribute content of various types. A content and editorial calendar helps marketers to carry out their overall content marketing strategy. 84 percent of marketers who say they are ineffective at content marketing actually have no documented strategy (Content Marketing Institute).

  4. Content mapping: Allows marketers to be more personalized and timely in delivering content by mapping existing and required content needed to each buyer persona and buyer’s journey. As widely used as this tactic is, there isn’t much statistical evidence supporting or contradicting, but I couldn’t leave out a stat, so here it is . . . Americans spend 1 hour and 14 minutes everyday eating, which is less than any other country in this study by the OECD.

  5. SMART Goals: A common goal setting framework used in marketing. The acronym “SMART” stands for specific, measurable, achievable, results-oriented and timely. 59 percent of content marketers say their number one goal is lead generation (LinkedIn).

Paid Channel Terms

  1. Bid: The total amount that you will pay for a keyword on paid search. Insurance industry keywords have been found to be the most expensive keywords (WordStream).

  2. Call extensions/ click-to-call: A feature of paid search ads that includes the business phone number on the add. With click-to-call, the user can click the phone number to make the call.

  3. Clicks: The total number of users who actually click the ad or paid search result. In the 2012 WordStream study, it was also found that 193.2 million clicks were generated per day on Google AdWords.

  4. Cost-per-click (CPC): The amount of money paid for each click-through to the company’s website that an advertisement generates on search engines or other publication websites. The average cost-per-click on the AdWords search network is between $1 and $2 (WordStream).

  5. Cost-per-conversions (CPA): This term, in relation to paid Facebook and Twitter ads, is the amount of money paid per converted event. The term, as it relates to Adwords, is the total cost of generating clicks or impressions divided by total amount of conversions. Since statistics vary widely on cost-per-conversion, I’m going to share a completely random statistic. There are 293 ways to make changes with a dollar.

  6. Cost-per-impression (CPI): The amount of money paid for each view of an advertisement rather than paying per click. This method of tracking ROI is most relevant to paid social promotions since Google AdWords calculates based on cost-per-thousand. The average cost-per-impression on Facebook is lowest at $1.54, while Twitter is $12.16 and LinkedIn is $27.90 (The Connected Business).

  7. Cost-per-thousand (CPM): A tracking metric only relevant to the Google AdWords display network, cost-per-thousand is the amount of money paid per thousand impressions with the maximum being a set bid. According to MontetizePros, the average cost-per-impression for technology companies is $5.25 in 2015.

  8. Display ads: A digital advertising method that uses rich media and banner images instead of text-only ads. 98 percent of advertisers are wasting their money on display ads (Unbounce).

  9. Display network: The display network is a channel on Google Ads that uses a collection of partner websites to present text and banner ads based on filtering partner sites relevant to the company, the user’s keywords and searches or past engagement with the company. There are over 1 million sites on the Google site network (Wishpond).

  10. Impressions: The total number of internet users who see your ad. In 2012, WordStream conducted a study that found that Google AdWords serves nearly 30 billion impressions per day.

  11. Paid Search: Paid search is the use of search engines or partner sites to pay for clicks or impressions of an ad on the search network. Google’s share of US paid search clicks is 79 percent (Search Engine Land), but the growth rate has recently slowed for Google as a result of more clicks going to Bing when Yahoo struck a deal with Firefox.

  12. Paid media: This is an umbrella term for any media attention that is paid for and includes marketing tactics such as social media ads, paid content promotion, pay per click, television ads, radio ads and direct mail. In 2014, $179.80 billion was spent on paid media in the US with digital accounting for 28.2% of ad investments (eMarketer).

  13. Remarketing: This is used to present targeted ads to website visitors or existing customers around the internet when they aren’t actively looking for your company. According to PPC Hero, a remarketing campaign has 22 percent lower average cost-per-click compared to search campaigns.

  14. View-through conversion: The number of visitors who saw a Google Adwords ad and did not click, but later visited the ad’s website. While there are no statistics on optimal view-through conversions, an article from Glew emphasis the importance of this metric. Reason being, only 0.1 percent of banner ads actually get clicked because humans just don’t click ads anymore; however, they may search the website on Google or type the URL directly into their browser. Thus, view-through conversion rate provides a more accurate measure of ad effectiveness.

Content Marketing Terms

  1. Blog: As a noun, a blog is a web page that is written to inform and educate readers. For many companies, it has become a source of business from digital channels. Marketers who make blogging a priority are 13X more likely to have positive ROI (HubSpot).

  2. Call-to-action (CTA): A message in the form of text-only or as a banner image that instructs the reader to take a next step. A personalized CTA converts 42 percent better than a general CTA (HubSpot).

  3. Conversion path: The path a user takes to convert into a lead or customer from the time they are referred to your website to the actual conversion on a landing page. Once again, there isn’t much data around this topic, so I thought I’d share that it’s estimated that at any given time 7 percent of the world’s population is drunk (are you a part of that 7 percent as you read this?).

  4. E-book: It is a book in the digital world. While the term originally only referred to book-length content in a digital format, it’s evolved to be a loose term for even short-form content that is packed as a book. Sixty percent of business decision makers say company content helps them make a better product decision (Content Marketing Institute).

  5. Evergreen content: Content that will remain relevant today and in the future to your readers. One case study published on MoZ showed that an evergreen piece of content helped was able to grow social shares of that article from 127 in the first year to 631 social shares a year later (MoZ).

  6. GIF: An image file that is animated. Seventy-one percent of GIF searches are from males (Heavy).

  7. Infographic: A visual representation of data or insights. Ninety percent of information transmitted to the brain is visual (Unbounce), which means that infographics are great at capturing the attention of users who already have a limited capacity for the amount of information they are presented with.

  8. Landing page:  A web page that is designed to help convert a website visitor into a lead or customer. Companies with over 40 landing pages got 7X more leads than those with 1 to 5 landing pages (HubSpot).

  9. Podcast: A series or single recording of an audio file that can be downloaded online. The percentage of Americans who have listened to a podcast in the last month increased from 9 percent in 2008 to 17 percent in 2015 (

  10. Webinar: A meeting that takes place online. In a webinar, participants are able to share visuals or presentations. The average number of registrants who actually attend the webinar is between 40-50 percent (ReadyTalk).

Social Media Terms

  1. Facebook: Social networking site that allows users to connect and stay in touch with friends and family. There are over 1.23 billion active monthly users on Facebook (NextWeb).

  2. Followers: On social media sites, someone who opts in to receive your updates. With over 76 million followers to date, Katy Perry is the most followed person on Twitter (Twitter Counter).

  3. Google Plus: A social networking platform created by Google thats features overlap with many other social networks. It cost Google $585,000,000 to build Google Plus (Statistic Brain).

  4. Hashtags: A keyword or phrase on social media that begins with a hash (#) or pound sign. While a statistic on hashtags was hard to come by, one of the most popular and longest running hash tags of all time is #followfriday. This hashtag was used to give a shout out to those worthy of following. Anyone else remember the days of the #followfriday hashtag?

  5. Instagram: A social networking platform geared around sharing images and short videos. Instagram has 300 million active monthly users (eConsultancy).

  6. Likes: Basically, it is a thumbs up on Facebook. With over 100 million likes, Shakira is the most liked person on Facebook (Guinness World Records).

  7. LinkedIn: A social networking site designed for business professionals to connect, collaborate and share information. In February 2015, there were 3 million active job listings posted on LinkedIn (LinkedIn Report).

  8. Pinterest: A social networking site that allows users to pin and share images and other rich media to a board. Seventy-five percent of Pinterest usage happens on a mobile device (Sprout Social).

  9. Twitter: A network for information that is limited to 140 character messages. An average of 6,000 tweets are sent every second (Internet Live Stats).

  10. YouTube: A social networking and search engine site for videos. Every minute over 300 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube (CNBC).

  11. Reach: The exposure a brand gets across social media platforms. This is the total number of people actively following a brand through the various platforms such as Twitter and Facebook. From October 2013 to February 2014, organic reach on Facebook declined 49 percent as a result of changing algorithms in the platform (Social@Ogilvy).

  12. Retweet: A forwarded or reposted tweet. According to Buffersocial, tweets with hashtags get 2X more engagement.

Analytics & Reporting

  1. Click-through rate (CTR): The percentage of people who click an element or link in an email, ad or web page. It is also used interchangeably with view-to-click rate. The average click-through rate for emails sent by companies with over 50 employees is 2.98 percent (MailChimp).

  2. Bounce rate: A term found in Google Analytics, which is defined by Google as, “Bounce Rate is the percentage of single-page sessions (i.e. sessions in which the person left your site from the entrance page without interacting with the page).” A good bounce rate for a website falls between 26 and 40 percent (RocketFuel).

  3. Direct traffic: Traffic that comes directly to your website, which means the user types your website URL directly into their browser. A word of caution is needed when defining this term, however, because experiments by Groupon showed that up to 60 percent of direct traffic was actually organic search traffic or an unclassified source of traffic.

  4. Entrances: A tracking metric on Google Analytics for the total number of website visitors who entered on a specific page. While I wasn’t able to source any statistics on entrances, a fact on entrances is that this metric was introduced in 2012 to Google Analytics (MarketingLand).

  5. Exit percentage: A tracking metric on Google Analytics for the percentage of people who exit your website through a particular page. It is different from bounce rate because exit rate calculates those who may have entered on any website page but excited on that particular page. There is no statistic to share here, but instead a tip. Exit percentage can be a good indicator of where website visitors drop off your site, so track and analyze your pages with the highest exit rates to optimize.

  6. Lead-to-customer rate: The percentage of leads that convert into a customer. Outbound leads have a close rate of 1.7 percent, while inbound leads convert at a much better rate of 14.6 percent (HubSpot).

  7. Marketing analytics: The measurement and analysis of marketing activities to help improve performance. Eight percent of marketing budgets are spent on marketing analytics (HubSpot).

  8. Open rate: The number of people that open an email campaign compared to the total number of recipients. The average open rate for companies with over 50 employees is 23.45 percent (MailChimp).

  9. Organic search traffic: Traffic that comes from a search engine, which means that the user typed in a search query and clicked on your website in the search results. According to a 2014 study by Search Engine Watch, organic search traffic accounts for 51 percent of overall website traffic.

  10. Referral traffic: Traffic that comes from a referring website outside of the company’s website domain and subdomains. If the New York Times writes an article about your company and links to your website, this is considered referral traffic. Referral traffic can help to improve your website’s overall search engine rankings when referral links are quality links. While some marketing analytic tools will differentiate social media and search engine traffic from referral sources, not all tools will. If you consider social and search traffic as referral, you may want to take into consideration the fact that social media referral traffic has actually surpassed search engine traffic for some major publishers in recent years (Marketing Land), so this may account for any spikes you see in referral traffic.

  11. Sources: The various avenues that bring website visitors, leads and customers to a company. A source can be online and from sources such as organic search or email marketing, but it can also come from an offline event such as a trade show or cold call. The term “sources” can be found in analytic tools such as HubSpot and Google Analytics. Today, mobile traffic accounts for almost 50 percent of total traffic for U.S. retailers (Marketing Land).

  12. Submission rate: The percentage of people who fill out a form on a landing page relative to the total people who view the page. The average submission rate for HubSpot customers is 20 percent (Nick Sal’s Inbound Blog).

  13. Visitor-to-lead rate: The percentage of website visitors that complete a target action. Typically, a web form is completed to turn a visitor into a lead. The top 10 percent of HubSpot customers achieve a 2.20 percent visit-to-lead conversion rate (HubSpot).

Technical Terms

  1. API: An application programming interface (API) is a set of rules or protocols developers must use when working with a service or application. Since there aren’t many juicy stats floating around on APIs, did you know there are about half a million pieces of space junk orbiting the earth?

  2. CMS: A content management system (CMS) is an application that allows marketers to edit, manage and publish content. WordPress CMS is used for 24.7 percent of all websites (W3Techs).

  3. CSS: Cascading style sheets (CSS) describes a code language that describes how HTML should be visually displayed. Here’s a fun statistic: 0.3 percent of all accidents in Canada involve a moose.

  4. Domain name: An identification that helps an entity or organization be found on the Internet. It’s somewhat like a physical address on the Internet. There are 294 million domains and counting in 2015 (Enterprise Networking Planet).

  5. ISP: An ISP stands for Internet Service Provider. It is a company that provides access to the internet. There are around 2,000 ISP businesses (IBISWorld).

  6. Javascript: According to Mozilla, javascript is “a cross-platform, object-oriented scripting language.” Javascript is used by over 90 percent of websites (W3Techs).

  7. Registrar: In the Internet world, a registrar refers to the domain name registrar that manages Internet domains. An example would be GoDaddy. Another domain name registrar, Namecheap, cites they have over 3.000,000 domains.

  8. Site map: A list of crawlable website pages that helps search engines organize site content. An interesting statistic completely unrelated is that over 50 percent of jackpot lottery winners return to work.

  9. SSL: Secure sockets layer (SSL) is a security technology that encrypts links between the server and browser to keep data passed between the two private. Websites that are secure will have the HTTPs instead of HTTP. 36.4 percent of websites monitored by W3Techs do not use SSL.

  10. UX: The user experience (UX) is a combination of interactions with a product, website or app a user goes through, which may lead to positive or negative emotions and attitudes. If content is not optimized in the UX, 79 percent of users will search for another site (Experience Dynamics).

  11. Wireframe: A set of lines and images used to plan website structure and functionality. Although there isn’t a statistic readily available on a quantifiable benefit of using wireframes, they do help to save time and minimize revisions in the website design process.

To help us continuously grow this glossary, please share a digital marketing term that you weren’t able to find in the comments.

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Topics: Content Marketing, Analytics, Marketing Strategy, Social Media Marketing, Digital Strategy