Online Marketing – A Definition of Terms

flyfisherman and fly

flyfisherman and fly

*image courtesy of eMarie Photography

It is often the case when dealing with professionals in any industry, from flyfishing to insurance litigation, that various phrases come up often… and yet are completely foreign to the outside observer.  Flyfishing, which I’ve recently taken up with the help of my father-in-law, Dave Allen, has proven to completely stymie and confuse me… and that’s only after the kind of fly for that day has been discussed! At times, it helps to have someone around to help you understand what is meant by the unique terms in each field. Here are some of my own definitions for key terms that get tossed around in most online marketing conversations:

A Definition of Terminology

  1. Adwords – This is the name for Google’s Paid Advertising Solution.  It allows advertisers to pay money to display on Google’s search engine, as well as other sites that have legal affiliation with Google.
  2. Conversions (Goals/Leads/etc)- This is a generic term for the intended large goal of a website.  In an ecommerce site, a conversion is probably a hard sale.  In a service related website, a conversion is most likely a “lead” or a “contact me” request.  It is essential to determine what is (or are) the goal conversion(s) for your website.
  3. Conversion Optimization – This is the art of utilizing various elements to increase the number of conversions on a website or advertising channel.  This generally involves things like: different forms of testing (Running side by side A/B ads), historical data comparison (did something work before that doesn’t now? Or did we change something we shouldn’t have that used to work?), and many other methods of optimization.
  4. CPC – Cost per Click.  In this advertising method, a company pays for every time their advertisement is actually clicked.  Variations of this are: CPM (Cost per 1,000 Impressions – number of times the ad is viewed) and CPA (Cost per Aqcuisition).  For example, Amazon’s Seller Central is a CPA marketplace in that the business only pays Amazon when they sell an item.
  5. CTA – Call to Action.  This is an essential aspect of a website but one that is generally not considered well when a site is designed.  This is the goal that you are leading your visitor to on every page.  It should be the goal of that page and one that uses theme design and wording to cause the visitor to desire to “take the next step.”  It generally involves action and verbs.  For example, if someone is on the “About Us” page, perhaps the call to action would be a very obvious box with phone number and “email us” button that says: Want to Learn More?  Call Us Now!  This is a simplistic example, but it demonstrates the aspect of “leading” the site visitor to the next step in the “path” you want them to take.  Here are a couple of articles I have written on this that you may find helpful:  Is Your Website Guiding or Distracting Your Visitors? and How to Give New Life to Your Old Website.  
  6. Google Display Network – This is part of Google Adwords that allows the advertiser to target picture, video, or text ads around the internet on websites that have opted in to displaying ads from Google.  The targeting has continue to increase in accuracy so a specific website can be chosen based upon content or visitor demographics.  This can be a good channel but it is tricky and it’s easy to allow non-targeted clicks through if not careful!  Many ad agencies will charge more for the Display Network because of ad design (image or video) and the amount of time it can take to build and target the campaigns accurately.
  7. Google Search Network – This is part of Google Adwords that merely shows text ads on Google’s search engine as well as other search engine affiliates that display Google results.  This is the most common place to use advertisements with Google Adwords.
  8. Keyword – This is the term for any word or word phrase that can be bid on (PPC) or used for site optimization (SEO).  For example, this is one keyword: widget, and this is one keyword: buy widget in billings mt.
  9. Landing Page – This is a generic term for a page on a website that is used specifically for the purpose of sending people there first.  There can be one main landing page or 1,000.  It is generally a good idea to have a landing page be as targeted as possible to a specific target audience and ad group.
  10. Organic Search Results – This refers to the part of a search engine that display unpaid results.  For example, in Google, this is the main column underneath the initial 3 ads that are generally shown.  These results are chosen by Google with an extremely complicated and super-secretive algorithm that uses a large variety of factors to determine ranking.
  11. PPC – Pay Per Click… simply another way to say CPC.
  12. SEO – Search Engine Optimization.  Short answer: This is the art of helping a website appear higher in organic search.  Long answer: Wikipedia article.
  13. SERPs – Search Engine Result Page.  This is a term describing the page that appears when someone types a keyword into a search engine (like Google or Bing) and then presses the search button.  What displays with all of the search results is called a SERP.
  14. Target Audience – This refers to the intended group of people you are most invested in reaching.  Sometimes a target audience is not necessarily who you think they are.  Sometimes there can be more than one target audience.  For example, a basketball manufacturer may find that their target audiences are: (1) college Athletic Departments (2) street-ballers (3) parents with toddlers (who want small basketballs for backyard play).  It is then helpful to designate various landing pages targeted specifically to each target audience.  It should also be noted that there will always be anomalies and unique individuals that visit for various reasons.  A target audience however, is identified as a majority of people that you most want to reach for a specific purpose.  It is then wise to organize and theme the website (or the website parts) as specifically as possible to those target audiences.
  15. UX – User Experience.  This is a term used in marketing/web design to identify elements that should be a certain way because of the fact that a real person will be looking at them/using them.  A good marketer and a good web designer will always keep UX in their minds and be thinking about how each change or suggestion will affect real people interacting with the website.