Digital marketing can be a field with lots of jargon and acronyms. It’s not another language, but it may seem that way sometimes. If you’re new to the industry or need a refresher, we put together this handy guide of digital marketing terms to know. Be sure to bookmark it, so you never have to search for them again.


The Essential Digital Marketing Terms You’ll Need to Speak to Advertisers

The proficiency of your advertisers will vary. Some may have a high awareness of digital advertising tactics, while others have very little knowledge. Understanding these terms well means you can convey them to your customers in plain English, so there’s no intimidation factor.

A/B Testing

In digital marketing, you often want to test different copy, creative, email subject lines or CTAs. In most cases, it’s a good idea to have one single element you change. You’ll have two versions in testing, and the one that leads to more conversions or interactions will be the “winner.”

Click-Through Rate (CTR)

CTR is a ratio of the number of users who click on an ad compared to the total number who saw the ad (its impressions).

Number of impressions / number of clicks = CTR

Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC)

CAC is the specific dollar amount to convert one customer. Knowing this helps you predict budgeting for campaigns.

Total cost of campaign over period of time / new customers acquired = CAC

Cost Per Click (CPC)

CPC is the amount an advertiser pays when someone clicks on an ad. It can relate to search engine marketing or paid social media ads.

Total cost of all clicks / number of clicks = CPC 

Cost Per Impression (CPI) or Cost Per Thousand (CPM)

CPI refers to the amount an advertiser pays per 1,000 impressions.

Display Ads

Display ads are visual units promoting a product or service over a network of publisher websites. They can be static or video.

Engagement Rate

Engagement rate reflects the percentage of followers or viewers who engage with a post. Types of engagement can include likes, shares and comments.


This is a location-based ad tactic that targets audience members by geography. Consumers must enable location services to receive such ads.


Impressions describe the number of times an ad displays from its source and is countable. Clicks or interactions are not part of impressions.

Lookalike Audiences

Lookalike audiences are options in social media marketing. Advertisers can upload email lists of existing contacts of current followers, and the social media platform then finds common characteristics among its members to display the ad.

Native Advertising

This type of advertising refers to the attempt to match ad content with the property where it displays. It’s in-feed and not disruptive.

Open Rate

Open rate is an email marketing metric that is the percentage of opened emails compared to the total number sent.

Total number of emails sent / users who opened the email = open rate

Over-the-Top (OTT)

OTT advertising delivers ads directly to viewers over the internet via streaming video services or devices, including smart and connected TVs (CTVs).

Pay Per Click (PPC)

PPC refers to paid advertising, either on a search engine like Google or on a social media site like Facebook. Advertisers pay to display ads on these platforms through bidding.

Remarketing or Retargeting

It’s a strategy that retargets people who visit a website. They may see display ads on other websites they visit or in their social media feeds.


Segmentation is a strategy in digital marketing that groups like customers. It’s most often used in email marketing.

Search Engine Marketing (SEM)

SEM describes paid search engine marketing. It’s interchangeable with PPC.

Target Audience

Target audience is the specific group of people with shared attributes that meet your advertisers’ ideal buyers. Those can relate to demographics, geography or preferences.


You can find these terms and many more by downloading our digital marketing terms glossary.


Educating Advertisers on Digital Marketing Terms

These terms represent metrics and strategies that are important to your advertisers. Explaining these before you launch a campaign will set expectations and provide clarity.