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Digital Dictionary

A Jargon Busting Guide For Digital Marketing Terms

Here is your Simple honest-to-goodness Guide for understanding the various Digital Marketing terms in use.

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Above The Fold

The content that can be seen on a screen without having to scroll down. Key in web design as web users need to find what they are looking for very fast. All the most important information should be visible to entice visitors to read more.


Text and image advertisements by Google that appear on websites

Affiliate Marketing

An agreement between two websites. The affiliate agrees to feature content on their site that aims to drive traffic to another e-commerce site. In return, the affiliate site receives a percentage of any sales generated by this traffic. Typically companies with e-commerce sites that want to sell products to a particular target audience will use this approach.


Notifications that can be set up for various search terms, events or website metrics. These are often sent to an individual via email, e.g., whenever a company/product name appears on the internet in newly published content, Google Alerts is a commonly used alert system.


An algorithm is a mathematical, computational or statistical method that calculates a number of variables into a single output. Google, for example, use algorithms for ranking pages to the top.

Alt Text

An Alt Tag is used in HTML (see HTML) to attribute a text caption to an image on a webpage. Images that are tagged tell the web user what the image is about, displaying the text when an image cannot load. It is good SEO practice to tag all images as search engines will not see images.

Anchor Text

When a link is displayed on a website or in an email, it is usually highlighted in a different colour and underlined. The anchor text is the text that is seen in a link.

Banner Ad

A web banner or banner ad is a form of advertising on the internet. This form of online advertising entails displaying an advertisement within a webpage. It is intended to attract traffic to a website by linking the the website of the advertiser.


A Blog is a type of website that allows user, also known as bloggers, to post entries on topics and to allow others to comment on the posts. Blogs are easy to update, encourage repeat visits, create fresh content and inbound links to your website, which is good for Search Engine Optimisation (see SEO).


The practice of saving the web address of a webpage or website so that it may be easily found again. Bookmarks can be managed with a browser or with downloadable software. Very useful for sites that you visit regularly.

Bounce Rate

In web analytics, (see Google Analytics) this refers to the percentage of people that do not progress beyond the first page they land on within a site within a certain time limit. It can be an indicator for web content that requires revisions.


The number of emails that were unable to reach their final destination.

Breadcrumb Links

Links, usually on the top of the page, that indicate where a page sits within the hierarchy of the website and usually provide a path back through the website.

Broken Links

Links to pages which no longer exist or have been moved to a different URL without redirection. These links usually serve pages with the “404 error” message (see “404 error”). Most search engines provide ways for visitors to report on broken or “dead” links.


An application used to access the Internet. Popular browsers include Google Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer and Safari.


A high speed storage mechanism that allows users to access sites much quicker rather than reloading the sites every time.

Click Tracking

Measuring the number of clicks it takes to enter or exit a website.


Content Management System. A script or program for maintaining websites that allows companies to update content regularly and maintain websites without relying on external resources.

Contextual Advertising

Advertising on content websites rather than on search sites. Where adverts are placed is based on the content of the website.


A visitor completing a target action which could include making a contact or completing an online sale.

A small file that is stored on an end-user’s computer and allows websites to identify that user, store information about the user and allow the website owner to construct a profile for that user.


Cost Per Click. Refers to when an advertiser only pays when their ad is clicked upon, resulting in a visitor to their site. This is typically from a search engine using Pay Per Click search marketing (see Paid Search).


Cost Per thousand. In  Pay per Click advertising, CPM refers to Cost per 1000 ad impressions i.e. the cost an advertiser pays each time their ad appears 1,000 times.


Harnessing the skills, talents and ideas of a broader community, usually through social media.

Domain Name

The name of a server that distinguishes it from other systems on the World Wide Web. Snap’s domain name is


Available in electronic form; able to be manipulated and read by a computer.

Email Marketing

A direct form of sending a marketing message to a specific database using email software.

Entry Page

The first webpage visited when someone enters a website.

Exit Page

The last webpage a user visits before exiting a website.


A dominant, free-access social-networking site which is available to companies and any person 13 years of age or older.


Favourite Icon. It is a small icon that identifies a bookmarked site. It can also be displayed in the toolbar of a web browser, making it a worthwhile branding effort.


Refers to a form of video software developed by Adobe Macromedia that creates graphic animations that are small file sizes.


A media-hosting network where users can upload and share image files. It is the largest photo-storage and photo-sharing site on the Web.


This is the interval at which email efforts or advertisements such as newsletters are sent, or displayed to users (daily/ weekly/monthly etc.).


Abbreviation for File Transfer Protocol, a standard for transporting files online.

Google Adwords

Google’s Pay Per Click (PPC) program allows advertisers to display their adverts on relevant search results and across Google’s content network via this program. When a person searches for a term that relates to that product or service, the ad is designed to appear. When the ad is clicked, the advertiser is charged hence pay per click.

Google Analytics

The free traffic analytics software provided by Google that gives in depth information on all visitor activity on websites with information that can be used to improve content and performance.

Geographical Targeting

Also known as geo-targeting or geolocating. Used to enable you to see where your visitors come from and give them specific information that is relevant to them based on their location.


Graphics Interchange Format. A GIF is an 8-bit-perpixel bitmap image format using a palette of up to 256 distinct colours. GIFs allow images to be reduced without degrading their quality.


A symbol (#) placed directly in front of a word or words to tag a post on Twitter. It is often used to group tweets by popular categories of interest and to help users follow discussion topics.

Heading Tags

Heading tags (H1, H2, H3 etc) are standard elements used to define headings and subheadings on a webpage. The number indicates the importance, so H1 tags are viewed by search engines as being more important that the H3 tags. Targeting key phrases in headings on websites is good SEO practice.


Hypertext Mark-up Language. This is the code read by web browsers. As an example, HTML emails usually contain graphics and can be interactive.


A link in an electronic document that allows you, once you click on it, to follow the link to the relevant web page. Hyperlinks are often written in underlined, blue text.


Information architecture (IA) focuses on organising, structuring and labeling content in an effective and sustainable way. The aim is to help users find information and complete tasks. It is a plan for how the website elements will be organised to make sure the user finds everything they need to find and is usually one of the first exercises in a web design project.


The catalogue of websites listed in search engines. Search engines index websites by scanning them.

Instant Messaging (IM)

Instant messaging (often shortened to IM) is a type of communication service that enables you to create a kind of private chat room with another individual in order to communicate in real time over the internet e.g. Facebook, Snapchat etc.

Internet Service Provider (ISP)

A business that provides access to the internet, generally for a monthly fee. e.g. Eircom, UPC.

Internal Site Search

Internal Site Search A search function specific to one site. This tool allows users to find whatever they are looking for on your site.

IP Address

The Internet Protocol (IP) address is an exclusive number, which is used to represent every single computer in a network.


A popular web coding language that is used on websites allowing users to perform actions on the site without requiring full page refreshes. Examples include analytics for page tagging and page animation.


A word or words used by a searcher on a search engine. In SEO, keywords are the words that a website is optimised to rank for and in Pay Per Click (PPC) marketing, keywords are bid upon by advertisers.

Keyword Phrase

Two or more words that are combined to form a search term/query – often referred to as keywords. It is usually better to optimise your website copy for a phrase rather than a single word as more searchers will search for a phrase rather than a word as they want more specific and relevant content.

Keyword Rankings

This term refers to where the  keywords/ phrases targeted by SEO efforts rank amongst the search engines. So when searchers use keywords relating to your business, they should be able to easily find you.

Keyword Research

The process of researching what searchers are actually searching for. Writing good website copy revolves around the selection of the best keywords/phrases. There are a multitude of tools out there that can assist with keyword research, which will help you discover the best possible keywords to use.

Landing Page

The page a user reaches when clicking on a search engine listing or a banner advertisement. The pages that have the most success are those that match up as closely as possible with the user’s search query.


A link is a  URL  embedded on a webpage, if you click on the link you will be taken to that page.

Link Checker

These tools are used to check your site for broken hyperlinks. Very useful.


A business-oriented social networking site for professionals. Similar to Facebook, LinkedIn allows members to connect with other users on the network, share status updates, and participate in groups and chats but the focus is on careers and profession.

Load Time

The length of time it takes for a page to open completely in the browser window.


When content from two or more sources is combined

Meta Tags

Meta tags are there to tell search engines what exactly web pages are about. It’s important that your Meta tags contain targeted key phrases. Meta tags are made up of meta titles, descriptions and keywords.

Meta Description Tag

A short paragraph describing the page content. This summary is usually shown on the Search Engine Results Page (SERP) if it contains the term searched for. The spiders use the meta tag description to determine the topic of the page, making the use of targeted key phrases important. Search for your company and you will see what the SERP returns and this will show the Meta Description Tag i.e. the words that appear.

Meta Keyword Tag

A list of the words and phrases that are important and relevant on the web page. The use of targeted key phrases is important here – but remember not to use an excessive amount of keywords – four or five relevant keywords is enough.


Stands for Multimedia Message Service. An extension on SMS, allows picture, sound or low quality videos to be sent on a wireless network.


A number from 0 to 10 indicating how high a site is likely to rank in the search results.


Mid-page unit. These are digital ads that are generally 300 x 250 pixels. One of the most common formats for online advertising.


Navigation is what allows users to move from page to page in your site. It is essential that your navigation is user friendly. If the users can’t easily find their way, they won’t travel deeper into your site.

New Visitor

A unique visitor who visits a website for the first time ever in the period of time being analysed.

Open Rate

This is also referred to as the read rate. This is the number of emails that are opened in an  email marketing campaign as a proportion of the total number of emails sent.

Organic Listings

Also known as “natural” listings, these are search-engine results that have not been purchased. They are calculated solely by an engine’s algorithm and are based on the merits of the listed pages. Typically, most search engines will display several sponsored ads related to search terms (often separated by background colour or otherwise highlighted) before displaying the non-paid listings.

Organic Search

These are the listings generally found on the left hand side of a Search Engine Results Page (SERP) and are not influenced by direct financial payments. These listings are results based on factors such as keyword and content relevancy within a webpage: SEO is used to boost success.

Outbound Links

These  links will, once clicked on, take users to another site.

Page Rank

Page Rank gives a ranking or score to every webpage on the internet based on the number and quality of the page’s back links, this score is a number out of 10 with 1 being the lowest and 10 being the highest. Anything above 5 means your site is doing well!

Page Views

The number of times a page was successfully requested.

Page Views Per Visit

The number of page views in a reporting period divided by the number of visits in that same period.

Paid Search

Placing ads for products or services on Search Engine Result Pages (SERPs) (listings appear at the top of the page and on the right hand side) and on content sites across the internet. These ads are typically small snippets of text linked to product pages.


A criminal activity where “Phishers” attempt to fraudulently acquire sensitive information, such as passwords and credit card details. Often this is done by masquerading as an entity the victim is likely to trust (another person or reputable business) via some form of electronic communication usually email.


Publishing audio programs via the internet, allowing users to subscribe to a feed of new files. Podcasting enables independent producers to create selfpublished, syndicated “radio shows”. Listeners may subscribe to feeds using “pod catching” software such as iTunes (a type of aggregator), which periodically checks for and downloads new content automatically.


Pay per Click. Buying sponsored adverts on search engine results pages and content pages and only paying for those ads on a performance basis.


In search, ranking is used to describe the relative position of a web page in the SERPs.


The URL of the web page that a user was on before reaching yours. The server’s logs capture referral URLs and store them in their log files. Furthermore, if a user used a search engine to find your website, the key phrases they used to find your site will be embedded in the referring URL.

Repeat Visitors

A unique visitor with two or more visits within the time period being analysed.

Responsive Web Design

Responsive Web Design (RWD) is a type of web design approach aimed at crafting sites to provide an optimal viewing experience—easy reading and navigation with a minimum of resizing, panning, and scrolling—across a wide range of devices from mobile phones to desktop computer monitors to tablets. The content changes format according to the device it is being viewed on.

Return Visitor

A unique visitor who is not a new visitor to the site.


A file written and stored in the settings of a website that restricts search engines from listing certain pages of the website on their results pages. For example, content such as privacy settings on your website would not need to be ranked by the search engines as it is regulatory requirement.


Really Simple Syndication. RSS allows you to receive/ syndicate information without having to constantly open new pages in your browser.

Search Engine

A tool for searching the internet. Users of search engines enter keywords relevant to their search and the search engine returns both organic and paid listing results from its databases.

Search Engine Algorithm

Search engines rank web pages based on different sets of criteria: while they may attribute different values of importance to the criteria they tend to consider the same factors in general. The programme which search engines use to judge these factors and rank web pages in their result pages is called their ranking algorithm. Algorithms are regularly updated to combat spam and malicious SEO tactics. As the algorithms change and put more or less importance on certain factors, SEO companies do the same.

Search Term

Search terms are the words entered by the searcher.  Search engines  will then look for these words in their index and return matching results. Also known as Search Query.


Search Engine Marketing. This is the process of getting a website to achieve  top rankings  for its chosen  key phrases on SERPs.


Search Engine Optimisation. The creation or tweaking of a website to increase the amount of traffic to it from search engines. The aim is to get the page to rank highly on SERPs.


Search Engine Results Page. The page that shows the results for a search on a search engine. In terms of SEO, websites should  aim to be the first result on the SERP.


On a website, this is a page that links to every other page in the website and displays these links organised according to the information hierarchal structure.

Skyscraper Ad

A web banner ad with dimensions that are usually 120 pixels wide, 600 pixels high and are placed on the outside edges of web pages


A mobile marketing product from Snap which allows you to embed a mobile optimised disposable webpage into an SMS message so that you can include more information in your message along with rich media such as video and audio.


Short Message Service. The transmission of short text based messages to and from a mobile phone, fax machine or IP address.

Social Media

The media that is published, created and shared by individuals on the Internet, such as blogs, images and video.

Social Network

In the online sense, this refers to a type of website model where individual members become part of a broader virtual community.


An automated program that scans or crawls web pages to gather information for search engines. Also called trawlers, crawlers and robots, or bots.

Sponsored Links

The paid search results on a SERP.


Media playback directly from the internet.

Subject Line

The title of an email  communication. As it is the first element of the communication that will be seen, it needs to attract attention and entice the user to open the email.


A keyword which is attached to a blog post, tweet (see “hashtag”), social bookmark or media file. Tags help categorise content by subject.

Title Tags

The (preferably keyword rich) title text you select will appear in the top bar of a user’s browser when they view the web page. Title tags should be a brief and accurate description of the page’s content.


Measuring the effectiveness of a campaign by collecting and evaluating statistics.


This refers to the visitors that visit a website.


Twitter is an online social networking and microblogging service that enables users to send and read short 140-character text messages, called “tweets”.

Unique Visitors

The number of individual people visiting the website at least once within a specific period of time. Each individual is only counted once.


Uniform (or Universal) Resource Locator. The unique address of a site or web page on the internet.


Usability is a measure of how easy it is for a user to complete a desired task. A really important factor for consideration in how users navigate websites.


User Experience is a term used to describe the overarching experience a person has when interacting with a particular product or service and how it is delivered on a website. The first requirement for exemplary UX is to meet the exact needs of the customer and make it very easy for them to find the information they require and take the action they want e.g. purchase an item, contact your company.

Visit Duration

The length of time a visitor spends on a website in a session.


An individual visiting a website.

Web Analytics

Site analytics are essential to the success of any website – they provide you with information detailing how visitors are interacting with your site as well as how successful your supporting eMarketing techniques are on your site’s performance. Site analytics provide you with a comprehensive and insightful analysis of your website as well as an insight into what needs to be done to ensure even greater success.

Web Browser

This is what allows you to browse the World Wide Web  – examples of browsers include Internet Explorer, Safari and Firefox.

Web Design

The layout and structure of a web page. Web design is not solely about making the page look pretty, it’s also about functionality and usability.

Web Server

A remote third-party computer whose job it is to deal with requests coming from web browsers.


eXtensible Mark-up Language. A standard used for creating structured documents. XML promises more efficient and organised delivery of data over the internet. XHTML is the XML version of HTML.


The most popular video-hosting and videosharing site and it is also currently the largest search engine after Google (also owned by Google). Users can view, upload and comment on video content for no charge, though companies can pay for sponsored promotion of videos or to have enhanced branding and design capabilities on their profile pages, known as “channels.”

301 Redirect

A permanent feature that redirects one url to another, particularly useful when websites are changed or updated.

404 Error

An error message that says that a web page could not be found.


Paid online advertising has become a crucial part of a marketing mix. Many businesses like this form of marketing because it provides fast results – it’s quick to set up and quick to begin to make returns on investment.

If you’re considering online marketing, don’t let the jargon put you off. This guide has been designed to demystify the terms used to describe one of the most successful marketing channels available.

Online Advertising/Online Marketing:

Any form of advertising online that a company will pay fr. This includes GoogleAdWords, Banner ads, and Remarketing.


AdWords is the name for Google’s paid marketing system. Advertisers bid on certain keywords in order for their clickable ads to appear (these ads are word based as opposed to image based). The more money they are willing to bid, the better the chance that their ad appears in a position that is superior to a competitor.

Behavioural Targeting:

When a person visits a website, the pages they visit and their behaviour on the site is collected as data. This creates a ‘profile’ for the user – when they return this profile data is used to allow advertisers to position ads that fit their profile.

Click Through Rate (CTR):

Expressed as a percentage, this refers to the total clicks on a link divided by the number of times that link was shown. Commonly used as a measure for online advertising. When a person visits a web page or search engine and clicks on an advertisement, this is called a click through. An ad or campaign with a high click through rate is considered a success.

Conversion Rate:

When a visitor to a website performs a specific task, it is considered a conversion. What that task is must be decided upon upfront – it could be anything from filling out a form to downloading a brochure to making an actual purchase on an eCommerce site. Conversion Rate is measured by the number of people who visit the visit vs the percentage of those people who performed the task.

Cost Per Acquisition (CPA):

Also called Cost Per Action, Cost per Conversion and Pay Per Action (PPA), CPA is a pricing model. The advertiser only pays when their ad results in a specific action (filling out a form, purchasing an item etc).

Day Parting:

Scheduling an ad to appear online at a specific time of day. People have different habits at different times of the day – advertisers who sell products or services that are affected by such behaviour can run their ads online only at certain times or certain days.

Enhanced Bidding:

Most online advertising (such as Google AdWords) cost the advertiser ‘market rate’  – that is, the more competitive the industry, the more an advertiser will need to bid to out-perform their competitors. Enhanced bidding (also called Enhanced Cost Per Click) means that you turn the power over to the platform to increase the bid automatically.


When an ad (such as Google AdWord ad) appears on a page, this is counted as an impression. Impressions in the measurement of the number of times the ad is seen, whether it is clicked on or not.

Mobile Marketing:

Also called SMS marketing or text marketing, this is delivering an advertising message to a specific device, usually a smartphone.

Pay Per Click (PPC):

Also called Cost per Click, this is an internet advertising model in which the advertiser pays the publisher (such as Google) every time their ad is clicked on.

Permission Marketing:

Also called Relationship Marketing, this form of marketing requires the prospective customer to give explicit permission for the marketer to send their message to them.

Pop Up:

A form of online advertising. When a person opens a web browser, it can trigger the opening of another web browser which contains an advertisement.


This form of marketing specifically targets people who have been to a website, viewed items for sale but have not yet made a purchase. Once  a visitor leaves the site and moves through other websites, an ad ‘follows’ them for a period of time, enticing the person back to the initial website.

Tracking Code:

This is a tool used by online experts that tracks a user’s interaction and movement through a website. This is done via a piece of code which is inserted in the back end of the site.

Viral Marketing:

This is a marketing strategy which attempts to promote a message via a social marketing network rather than traditional marketing networks. The idea is to create content that the target market will want to share with their friends, thus creating strong word of mouth.