SEO? PPC? WTF? Marketing Jargon, Explained.

wtf - marketing jargon explained

Have you ever been in a meeting with your marketing agency or your marketing department and heard so many acronyms, buzz words and general nonsense that you wanted to stop the meeting and shout WTF

It’s a trap many of us fall into, using marketing industry jargon and assuming that people know what we are talking about. 

Well, have no fear. Below you will find definitions and simple explanations of all of the marketing terminology you could possibly need. If you want me to add in any others, just let me know. 


Adwords (now Google Ads) 

Adwords (now rebranded as Google Ads) is the advertising platform that allows marketers to bid for adverts to show up in the results on Google when someone types in a certain word or phrase. It works on a Pay Per Click basis, which means that you pay for every person who clicks on your ad. 

google ads

Affiliate Marketing 

Affiliate Marketing is a type of marketing where you promote the products of another company and get paid a commission or a percentage of how much that company make from your recommendation. For example, if you were to visit a website that shows the 100 top prams for babies, which had links to multiple different products on other websites, it is very likely that you are on an affiliate marketing website, and the person who created that website will be earning money from any purchases made via their website. 


Acquisition is usually used in marketing as a term to describe how your website has ‘acquired’ or received visitors to it. It is used in Google Analytics to understand exactly where your website visitors have come from, be it from a social media campaign or from another website directing people to come to your website. 

API or Application Program Interface 

As a very basic explanation, an API or Application Program Interface is something that is built to connect two different programs together to transfer data from one to the other.  For example, an API might connect an eCommerce website with a courier company’s internal delivery system, providing someone who is viewing the website with up to date information from the courier about where their package is. 


B2B stands for Business 2 Business, and in marketing refers to when a company is selling services or products to other companies, as opposed to selling their services to individuals. An example of a purely B2B company is a company who sells outsourced HR services – they would only be marketing themselves to other companies. 


B2C stands for Business 2 Consumer or Business 2 Customer and is the alternative to B2B. This is a company that is selling products or services directly to individuals. An example of a B2C company is a restaurant such as McDonald’s, or a clothing shop such as H&M. 


Bing is Microsoft’s alternative to Google. It’s a search engine which organises all of the websites that are available and prioritises the results according to the phrase or question that has been asked. It’s usually seen as the poor man’s version of Google’s Ads because of how many fewer people use it, but it’s not to be sniffed at when Microsoft Edge comes as a standard on Windows Devices. 

Bounce Rate 

Bounce rate is a statistic that is commonly reported on in marketing campaigns. A ‘bounce’ is when someone has arrived onto your website and then left again without interacting. Interacting, in this case, means clicking anywhere on the page. If someone has only viewed 1 single page of your site, it shows that they aren’t engaged, aren’t interested in converting, and generally don’t want to stick around on your site. The bounce rate is the percentage of people who have ‘bounced’, and is a key statistic to monitor. 


very happy man on a space hopper showing what a bounce rate is

CLV, CLTV or Customer Lifetime Value 

Customer Lifetime Value is a prediction of the net profit that you can expect to receive from one customer.  This is calculated by multiplying your average order value by your order frequency rate, which gives you your ‘customer value’. Then, you need to calculate your ‘customer lifespan’ which is an average of how long a customer will typically be a customer. 

Multiply your ‘customer value’ by your ‘customer lifespan’ and, hey presto, you’ve got your CLV or Customer Lifetime Value. 

CMS or Content Management System 

This is the part of your website that allows someone who isn’t a web developer to manage the content on their website. You would log into your CMS to do things like change the text, change the images, add a blog. Most websites have them and a lot of them are managed through WordPress, but you may also have a CMS built in Umbraco, Drupal, Joomla or Magento, for example. 


Marketing types drone on and on about content all the time. “Content is king” we shout. Content is anything people can read, look at, interact with, namely text, images, infographics, videos, posts on social media, e-books, downloadable PDF’s, audio recordings, adverts….  

We talk about online content, website content, social content, video content, offline content. The reason it’s so frequently mentioned is because content is what the internet is made up of, and engaging and useful content is the cornerstone of all good marketing campaigns. Just like this super engaging and super useful content you’re reading right now… 

content meme


Conversions in marketing are when your audience take the specific actions which your content, website or campaign is aiming to achieve. For example, if you run a blog website in which your aim is simply to create content that people read, your conversions would be reads, shares, comments, and subscribes. If you’re tracking an eCommerce website your conversions would be purchases, but also anything that contributes to a purchase such as add to basket, sign up to newsletter, contact form enquiries. A social campaign to generate brand awareness might track video views, likes, and shares. Conversion tracking is essential to monitor how well your marketing activities are performing and whether they are contributing to wider business goals. You should be thinking about the conversions you want to achieve before you run any kind of marketing campaign so that you can make sure the content you create will achieve that goal. 

Conversion Rate 

Conversion rate is a statistic which shows out of all the people who come into contact with your website or your campaign, what percentage of them actually take the actions you want them to take. Your website conversion rate is based on the percentage of your web traffic which ‘converted’. It’s really useful to know this figure because you can then invest in increasing your traffic and can estimate how much this will impact the number of conversions which you can then use to predict how much additional revenue this will contribute to your business. 

CPC or Cost Per Click 

CPC stands for cost per click, which is a statistic we measure in paid advertising such as PPC and Social Media Ads and determines how much you are paying for each click on your advert. You would usually hear this in the context of paid social ads or Google Ads campaigns. 

CPL or Cost Per Lead 

CPL stands for Cost Per Lead and is a statistic to explain how much each individual lead is costing you for that campaign. It’s a simple sum – divide the amount you’ve spent by the number of actual leads you’ve generated, and you have your CPL. It’s generally used in pay-per-click advertising such as social media or Google Ads, but you can also get this figure as a whole based on your total expenditure on marketing vs the total amount of leads you’re generating. 

is it cost per lead you're looking for

CSS or Cascading Style Sheet 

CSS stands for Cascading Style Sheet and it’s the language that website designers and developers use to explain how content on the web page should be displayed. CSS and HTML are for presentation purposes, explaining how something should look, whereas other programming languages are to perform some sort of function. 


CTA stands for Call To Action. This is simply when you ask the viewer of the content, be it a web page, an advert or a social media post, to take the action that you want them to take, be it to ‘get in touch’, ‘click here’ or ‘share this post’. Analysis and testing of your CTA’s with regards to the copy used, their appearance, and their placement, can have a big impact on your CRO (defined below!). 


CTR or Click-Through Rate 

CTR stands for Click Through Rate and is a statistic shown as a percentage which explains out of all the people who have seen your advert (usually measured in ‘impressions’), how many people have actually clicked on your advert. If 1,000 people have seen your Google Ad, and 75 of them have clicked on it, you calculate your click-through rate by dividing the number of clicks by the number of impressions (75 /1000 = CTR of 7.5%) 


CRM is an abbreviation of Customer Relationship Management, and usually is referring to a database a company has of its customers, their contact details, records of their contact with the company, and records of their purchases. Examples of the most popular CRM systems are programs like salesforce, but we use Notion (and we love Notion, Notion is ace). 

CRO or Conversion Rate Optimisation 

CRO is short for Conversion Rate Optimisation, and this is the act of improving the ‘conversion rate’ (aka how many leads you are receiving) of your website, campaign or piece of content. CRO is all about the psychology of the user; are you selling the product properly? Are you explaining how it solves their problems? Are you encouraging the conversions well enough? Is the language you use persuasive enough? Is there an eye-catching call to action? Is the call to action too complication? CRO is a continuous process rather than a one-off, and should be a key part of all marketing campaigns.  

Direct Traffic 

Direct traffic is terminology to explain when someone comes straight to your website by typing in your domain in their search bar, or from a bookmarked tab. This is a way of measuring how many people are coming to your website because they know your brand (through advertising, recommendation, after seeing ads etc). You would expect your direct traffic to increase after doing a big television or radio campaign, for example. 


Your domain is your website address. Our domain is Your domain points to the server where your website is hosted so that when people go to your domain, your website appears. Domains are purchased on websites like 123 reg or Go Daddy, and they usually include your company name or your brand. 

DM – Direct Message 

A direct message is a private message sent between users on social media channels. It started on Twitter, as this is Twitter’s official terminology for this function, but now is an all-encompassing term which refers to private messages passed between two users on any social channel. Because it’s private, it may be a more flirtatious message than one you would post publically, and you may hear about someone “sliding into their DMs”…


Engagement is a term which refers to how many people have interacted with your social media post. Engagement covers likes or any ‘reaction’, comments, shares, link clicks, retweets… any kind of action that someone who has seen your post has taken. 

Featured Snippets 

A featured snippet is a highlighted result at the very top of Google’s search engine results page (SERP) which gives the searcher the information they need or the answer to their question, without having to go to another website to read the answer. If you Google ‘what is a featured snippet’ you can see that you get your answer within a featured snippet. If you happen to Google SEO Manchester, you will also see our result 

featured snippet

First Click / Last Click 

Discussing first click and last click is usually to do with attribution; how you decide which channel or campaign your ‘conversion’ came from. First click attribution would say that the channel which brought someone to your website the first time would get the conversion, even if the person didn’t convert on that first visit to your site. So, if I first came to an e-commerce website via a social media advert, but didn’t purchase anything until 1 month later when I visited the website directly, that social media channel and that campaign would be considered to have got my conversion. 

The last click is the reverse – no matter what channel I originally discovered the website, it is only the final activity during which I actually bought something which is given the conversion. So, using my example above, if I came to the site via a social media advert, but purchased a product when I came to the website directly, my conversion would be attributed to direct traffic, not social media. 

The first or the last click can give you vastly different data and can give you an unrealistic view of what channels are working and which aren’t. This is why it is really important for marketers to understand the whole picture of the conversion journey, as opposed to just reporting on first or last clicks. You can get a really good idea of this using attribution tracking tools like Ruler Analytics


A marketing funnel is how we describe the process of moving prospective or potential customers through multiple different channels or touchpoints to get them to the point of sale. 

GA or Google Analytics 

Google Analytics is a Google tool which measures activity on your website. It is incredibly useful for marketers and tracks a ridiculous amount of data. It can track where the traffic on your website has come from, where people navigate to around your site, whether they ‘converted’ or checked out on the site, how long they spent on the website, and much more more. I would recommend anyone with their own business or anyone who needs to understand the marketing of a business to do the Google Analytics training that is available to make sure you use this amazing tool to the fullest. 


Obviously we all have goals, professional and personal. But in marketing, generally when we are talking about ‘goals’ we are referring to an action being completed on your website which is a signal that the user has taken positive action towards conversion, or even a conversion itself. It completely depends on what the main aim of the website is. For example, a ‘goal’ on an e-commerce site could be that the user adds to basket, it could be that they’ve added their email address to a sign up form, it could be a download of a white paper, or even just to read a blog. It all depends on what the company ‘goals’ are and what we consider to be an achievement of a goal on that website. 

Hamburger / Burger 

Sadly, we aren’t talking about real, delicious juicy burgers here. A burger in reference to marketing and specifically in reference to website design, is the symbol for menu which features three horizontal lines across. This is usually the way to display ‘menu’ on an app, mobile site or even now on menu desktop sites. 

shutterstock 592466789burger icon on a website.jpg

Lead Magnets 

Lead magnets are pieces of content which you drive traffic towards in order to get data from that user. For example, you create a piece of content which is only accessible when the user adds their email address to your mailing list. Lead magnets can be incredibly effective when creating inbound lead generation for a sales team. The idea is 1) Create really useful information for your target audience 2) Promote that information to them 3) Gather an impressive list of contact details from your target audience as they download your content. 

Long-tail keyword 

Long-tail keywords are, shock, longer, more specific phrases that someone would type into a search engine. Generally, we talk about longer tail keywords being a) better converting and b) easier to target in your campaigns, especially when you are selling products that are quite niche. The idea is that someone typing in “Trainers” into Google is purely doing their research. Someone typing “adidas gazelle womens trainers pink and grey size 6” has done their research and knows exactly what they want, and are thus much more likely to check out and purchase from that search. 


Organic in marketing terms refers to non-paid for search and social media. So, on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter, your ‘organic reach’ is how many people see your post when you aren’t paying to promote it. Likewise with search, your ‘organic’ listings are to do with the results which aren’t being promoted on Google or Bing ads platforms. Search Engine Optimisation is what helps your listings on Google (or Bing) show up ‘organically’. 


PPC stands for Pay Per Click and it does what it says on the tin – you pay for every person that clicks on your ads. Generally, when marketers are talking about PPC, we are discussing the paid ads on Google which we run using a tool called Google Adwords, but Bing, Linked In and Facebook, as well as some other platforms have Pay Per Click models too. 

SERP or Search Engine Results Page 

This is the page you see once you’ve searched for a keyword in Google or Bing. You would normally see 10 organic results here, plus adverts, google map listings, featured snippets, and whatever other features Google or Bing are rolling out to test making their results page even more useful to their users. 

Soft Launch 

A soft launch is when your website developers launch your website but don’t drive any traffic to the website. It allows for testing on the live website to ensure that any issues are ironed out, and makes sure that the website is 100% ready before your social, PPC, and email campaigns can be started up again. 


In marketing, we often discuss the ‘source’ of your traffic. This is referring to where your traffic originated. If someone clicks on an ad they saw on Instagram to arrive at your website, the source of your traffic is Instagram. If they clicked on a link on a comparison website to arrive at your site, the source of the traffic is ‘referral’ traffic from that comparison site. 

SEO or Search Engine Optimisation 

This is the actions and work that is carried out to optimise your website to show up in Google for the search terms that are related to your products or services. The number of very specific and some very technical ranking factors that need to be addressed to get a website ranking and then ranking well (page 1) is mindboggling, but can boil down to excellent website performance on all devices, great content, and trusted, relevant links to your site from other sites. SEO consultants work alongside web developers, content writers and other marketing teams to get your website into a position where Google wants to send its users to your site to get what they want! 


Traffic is most likely referring to web traffic, which is, simply, the number of visits to your website. 

Remarketing or Retargeting 

Remarketing and retargeting are words which can be interchanged with each other. It refers to when someone has engaged with a campaign, an ad or a website and then, because of that interaction, advertisers are able to then show further adverts to that person. This is what people usually refer to as companies ‘following them around’ the internet. You might google a holiday destination and then a few days later you’ll be shown adverts by the company whose website you were on (or even a company whose site you didn’t click on). Retargeting / remarketing is one of the most powerful and underused tools by companies doing their own marketing. 

On purchases which take more thought and have a longer sales cycle, doing remarketing is a way to make sure you are still in the subconscious of these individuals who are definitely interested in your product or service. 

being followed

UTM Code 

A UTM code is something you attach to the end of a URL you would use in an advertising campaign (such as a social media ad or a PPC campaign) which would allow you to track how much traffic back to your website that specific campaign created. It is a great way to show you which of your campaigns and which of your channels are performing best. You can track the source of the campaign (e.g. Adwords) the medium (Display) and the campaign (Image_of_child_smiling_summer_offer). 


WordPress is the most used CMS (Content Management System… but you already know that, don’t ya!) in the world, with 35% of websites being built using WordPress. It is userfriendly, open source and it’s got all the functionality you need for the majority of websites.