The ultimate guide to online marketing terms and acronyms.
TERMS FOR NOOBS
It’s made even more so if that new arena is filled with terms, acronyms and jargon that you’ve
never heard before. There might not be a bigger culprit in this game of confusion than the world
of marketing. Online marketing in particular.
That’s why I’ve set out to lend a helping hand, by clearing up (or at least trying to describe) the
most common terms that you’ll run across as you begin to step into this world of online market-
ing to help grow your eCommerce business and eCommerce marketing strategy template.
I might go so far as to call it the ultimate cheat sheet of marketing terms for noobs (well I’ll try at
Don’t be afraid. They are just letters (and they do mean something important)
TAKING ON ANY NEW CHALLENGE AND DIPPING
YOUR TOES INTO A NEW ARENA IS ALWAYS
Average Order Value is a pretty straightforward measure. It is the size of the aver-
age total purchase a typical customer makes on your site. Another similar term for
this from the world of brick and mortar retail is basket size. This is an important
number for every eCommerce retailer as it will influence the traffic and number of
shopper leads you will need to meet certain milestones in profit.
Application Programming Interface. As you begin to expand or customize your
online store, you’ll begin to encounter various APIs. These are the connection
points between different software packages or blocks of code. For example, if
your site is built with Shopify and you want to customize your store with some
third party apps, those apps will most likely be communicating with your store
(sharing information and data) through the Shopify API.
Budget, Authority, Need, Time. This is a simple model used to gauge the pur-
chase readiness or qualification of a potential customer or sales lead. It’s a model
that helps to rank your potential customers by likelihood to buy. The more criteria
you can check off, the more likely they are to buy something now. Do they have
budget? Do they have the authority to make a purchase? Do they need what you
have to offer? When are they looking to buy? No matter what you sell, or who you
sell it to, BANT is a universal model that can be applied to almost any sales or
CAN-SPAM is a US government bill with the full name being: Controlling the As-
sault of Non-Solicited Pornography and Marketing Act of 2003
In short it is a set of regulations that have been put in place to protect consumers
from spam or unsolicited messages. The bill does allow marketers to send unso-
licited messages provided they comply with the following 3 requirements
Unsubscribed compliance; that is providing a clearly visible mechanism for re-
cipients to opt-out of future messages. Content compliance; ensuring the subject
lines and body copy are relative to the offer and do not make use of deceptive
language or claims. Sending behavior compliance; restricting the volume and
frequency of message broadcasts.
A Content Management System is a computer program or set of software tools
that allows publishing, editing, and modification of website content from a cen-
tral console or user interface. The most popular CMS on the market is WordPress,
which has a rich developer community as well as a broad user base of people who
have leveraged its ease of use and flexibility to build their website assets. In the
world of eCommerce there are also several commerce focused CMS tools such as
Cost Per Acquisition. This is how much it costs you to acquire a new customer.
It’s a simple but very important measure of your marketing effectiveness and cost.
This is again one of the foundational numbers you can use to forecast out how
much budget to allocate towards your marketing. If you have an accurate sense of
what your CPA is then marketing budgeting becomes easy. For example if I know
that my CPA is $10 and I need to find 50 new customers, then I can estimate that
the marketing budget to reach this goal should be about $500.
Cost Per Click is the measure of the price of having a web visitor click on one of
your advertisements. It’s one of the more common billing or cost metrics used by
online traffic sources. From a marketer standpoint it’s great because it means you
only pay for usage. Whereas in the old media days, marketing return could be am-
biguous. In the Cost per Click model you can see exactly how much your advertis-
ing costs, based on ad performance.
Cost per Thousand (Mille). This is an alternative billing or cost model to the CPC
model. Rather than paying for each individual click like with CPC, a CPM based
online campaign instead is charged per thousand impressions. That is the adver-
tiser or marketer is charged each time the advertisement is shown to 1000 web-
Conversion Rate. Every online marketing campaign is a series or chain of several
events. Web visitors will see an ad, click on an ad, be sent to a website asset, and
eventually be passed through to purchase a product or submit their name and
contact information. The Conversion Rate is a measure of the overall effectiveness
of that entire chain of events. Whereas numbers such as CPC can help manage ad-
vertisements at a very granular level, Conversion Rate is a number that marketers
can use to gauge the total effectiveness of an entire campaign.
Cascading Style Sheets is a computer language used to define the look and feel
of a website. CSS is designed to enable the separation of document content from
document presentation, including elements such as the layout, colors, and fonts.
A Call to Action is the specific thing you’re asking a website visitor to do on a
page. For example if you have a landing page designed to capture email leads,
then your call to action on that page would be some variation of “please enter
your email”. Crafting an effective call to action is one of the most challenging tasks
for any marketer. There are several factors that can influence their effectiveness,
from both a copy and design standpoint.
Click Through Rate. This is a measure of how many of the people who see your
ads actually click on them. From an ad standpoint this is one of the key measures
of effectiveness. Ads shouldn’t be designed simply to be seen, ads (online) are
only effective when they compel visitors to click on them to go through to your
landing pages. For online marketers CTR is the main measure of ad effectiveness.
Direct Messages are private messages that Twitter users that follow each oth-
er can send to one another. These are the Twitter versions of private messages
or SMS messages. They still have the same 140 character restriction as public
Earnings Per Click. This is a measure of the value of sales generated for each ad-
vertisement click. Again another important granular measure to consider in your
online eCommerce marketing strategy measuring the financial results or perfor-
mance of an online advertisement.
Facebook. You may or may not have heard of them :) They are the world’s largest
social network, and despite their many detractors are continuing to grow their
user base, which is currently well over 1 billion total users.
File Transfer Protocol (FTP) is a standard network protocol used to transfer files
from one host to another host over the Internet. This is a common way for dif-
ferent players in the ecosystem of eCommerce to communicate. For example it’s
common for eCommerce vendors to send batch orders for processing to a third
party warehouse facility via FTP.
GA is an acronym that some people use for Google Analytics. If you’re unfa-
miliar with Google Analytics then you should stop here and start learning about
it and how powerful the statistics it can provide can be. Understanding Google
Analytics is that important. One place to start is this previous post.
Life Time Value is a measure of the value a customer has to a store over the
course of their entire relationship or lifespan. This is one of the best measures of
the longevity of a business. As important as it is for every retailer (online or offline)
to get new customers, it’s just as important to keep the ones you already have and
keep them coming back.
Modified Tweet or MT is an acronym you’ll see show up on Twitter occasionally,
it’s used to signify when a user shares a post originally posted from another user.
They differ from a Retweet (RT) in that the original message has been modified
slightly to account for character limitations or other reasons.
Net Promoter Score. For some this might be one of the more obscure acronyms,
but NPS is a generally accepted measure of customer loyalty. For more informa-
tion on NPS I direct you to a full post dedicated to NPS that we posted a while
PPC Pay Per Click is another way to describe CPC or the Cost per Click billing model
for advertising online.
PageRank is an algorithm used by Google to rank websites in their search engine
results. PageRank is a way of measuring the importance of website pages.
According to Google: PageRank works by counting the number and quality of links
to a page to determine a rough estimate of how important the website is. The
underlying assumption is that more important websites are likely to receive more
links from other websites. This is one of the most important factors in where your
website will appear when someone performs a Google search.
Page Views are a measure of the number of views your website has had. The one
nuance to keep in mind is that Page Views measure the total number of pages that
were seen. Since most websites are comprised of several individual pages most
users who land on your page will view multiple pages adding to your total page
views. In fact a high number of page views per visit is a good indication of a higher
user engagement rate since it shows they are spending extended periods of time
exploring your site.
Really Simple Syndication, is a set of standard web feed formats to publish fre-
quently updated information such as blog entries, news headlines, audio, video.
A Retweet (RT) occurs when a Twitter users re-shares a post or piece of content
posted from another source author.
Search Engine Marketing is the term used for all of the marketing techniques
that serve to promote a website by way of improving the site’s visibility and ap-
pearance in search engine results.
Search Engine Optimization is one of the most popular forms of Search Engine
Marketing. It specifically refers to techniques that can be used to improve a web-
site’s ranking in search engine results related to their particular domain.
A Search Engine Results Page is the listing of results returned by a search engine
in response to a user search request. The results normally include a list of items
with titles, a reference to the full version, and a short description showing where
the keywords have matched content within the page. A SERP may refer to a single
page of links returned, or to the set of all links returned for a search.
Word of Mouth Marketing is a term used for all of the tactics involved in pro-
moting a business online through referral marketing software or refer-a-friend
type programs. When implemented correctly these can be highly beneficial and
cost effective programs for eCommerce businesses find new customers and build
loyalty with their existing customers. Now that social media has become such an
important part of all of our lives, WOMM has gained added traction since finding
recommendations and providing them is easier than it’s ever been.
A term coined by Google. The Zero Moment of Truth refers to the initial point of
influence that brands can have over customer’s buying decisions. That is a point
in time before a consumer even knows of the existence of your brand or has a
need for your product. Online, this can happen through an unexpected insight
resulting from a search, or from a coincidental product referral from a friend at a
time when a consumer isn’t even in a shopping or product research state.