Don’t you hate it when you read a definition and then you need to look up definitions for the words in the definition? That won’t happen here!

Below are 32 terms to help you navigate your way around the digital marketing landscape. Some of these terms are very basic and some are a little more complex, but this list is DEFINITELY not complete. We’ll be adding more terms over time, so don’t lose hope if your favorite term isn’t currently on the list.


above the fold (ATF)

In print “above the fold” means the portion of content, usually in a newspaper, that’s visible immediately without the reader needing to unfold the paper. In digital spaces, the term refers to the content visible immediately without requiring the reader to scroll. Sometimes people say “above the scroll” instead.

a|b testing

A/B testing is a method used to compare two or more different digital advertisements or landing pages to determine which one performs better.

The great thing about digital is that creating and placing variations is easy so you can test virtually anything: the message, calls to action, copy, images, etc. If you can change it, you can test it.


Analytics refers to the data and statistics behind a website, advertisement or social post and how users interact with it. Analytics can be used to uncover information about how many people browse a website, how much time they spend on the website and the specific actions they take while they’re there.

Analytics display aggregate data and do not attribute actions to specific users. This data helps marketers and designers understand user behavior to improve the user experience.


In the context of marketing, attribution is the process of identifying the sequence of touchpoints and user actions that occurred on the way to the completion of a desired outcome, like a sale.

This helps marketers understand what combination of events, in what order, brought about that outcome. Digital attribution considers digital channels only, while cross-channel attribution considers both online and offline channels.

bounce rate

The bounce rate is the percentage of website visitors who left a site from the page they first landed on. They didn’t explore the rest of the website – they came and then left in a “single-page session.”

A high bounce rate might indicate design or usability issues, but it can also reflect that website visitors successfully located the information they wanted on the first page and had no further need to click around.

click-through rate (CTR)

The click-through rate is the number of users who click on a link or advertisement compared to the number of total number of users who saw it. This ratio is commonly used to measure the success of digital advertising campaigns, website landing pages and email campaigns.

CTR = clicks ÷ impressions

conversion rate

The conversion rate refers to the percentage of users who take a desired action compared out of the total number who had the opportunity.

The desired action can take many forms. It might be purchasing a product, registering for membership, subscribing to a newsletter or downloading a software demo. It’s essentially a show of commitment.

A successful conversion rate depends on several factors, all of which must be satisfactory to yield the desired results — the interest level of the visitor, the attractiveness of the offer, and the ease of the process.

engagement rate

Engagement rate means different things in different contexts but ultimately refers to the percent of total users who took an action. Below are some examples of how engagement rate applies in different areas of marketing.

  • Advertising —  Engagement rate is the percentage of people who engage with an ad. The measure is most commonly used with rich media and other interactive display formats. Ad Engagements / Impressions = Engagement Rate (%)
  • Publishers /Content —Engagement rate measures the level of engagement that a piece of content elicits from an audience. It shows interaction and can be calculated based on the percent of total users who commented, shared or “liked” something.
  • Social — Engagement rate is the number of interactions people have with your post  –likes, comments, shares, retweets, etc.— out of the total number who saw it.

infinite scroll

Also known as “endless scrolling” and “unpagination,” this is a technique in webpage design where additional content is appended dynamically to the bottom of the page as the user approaches the end of the content already being displayed.

This technique engages the user and encourages him or her to stay on the website by “rewarding” staying and scrolling with new and interesting content.

unique views or users

Each time a web page is viewed from a unique device, tracking systems register one new view or user.

If the same individual views the same page on a desktop, mobile device and tablet, it will count at three unique users. You will not be able to see the relationship between these three views – you will only see independent data points.


email marketing

Email marketing is when a company sends emails to prospects and / or existing customers. It could be a regular newsletter linking to relevant articles, a stand-alone email announcing a special promotion or another approach. Marketers can segment their lists to match specific emails with specific audiences or go for a more general approach.


SMS contesting

SMS, or “short message service” contesting allows prospective or existing customers to enter a contest via text message. In doing so, that individual gives the advertiser with their telephone number. Some examples of the contests Compulse creates through SMS are simple enter to win, instant win games, trivia-based contests and scratch-off style contests.

SMS marketing

SMS (Short Message Service) marketing involves sending a text message to the phone of a prospective or existing customer. It has a read rate of over 95%, with 90% of all messages read within 3 minutes of delivery, and a response rate that can be higher than 20%.


search engine optimization (SEO)

Designing and refining a website’s structure and content to help it rank favorably in search results.


behavioral targeting

Advertisers can choose to display ads to certain individuals based on their web browsing history.

contextual targeting

Advertisers can choose the pages upon which their banner ads appear. They can select pages that contain certain keywords or content categories.


These are all pricing structures for digital advertising in which CP stands for “cost per.”

  • CPD – Cost Per Day – commonly used when an advertiser runs many types of display ads on hand-picked dates
  • CPM – Cost Per Mille – the cost of 1,000 impressions
  • eCPM – Effective Cost Per Mille – the amount an advertiser paid for 1,000 impressions that were purchased under a different pricing structure (For instance, an advertiser paid per day (CPD) and received X impressions during that time, so X/CPD = eCPM)
  • CPA – Cost Per Action – the advertiser pays for each qualifying action (a sale, registration, etc.)
  • CPC – Cost Per Click – the advertiser pays each time a user clicks on an ad
  • CPL – Cost Per Like – on Facebook, the advertiser pays each time a user likes a page
  • CPV – Cost Per View – the advertiser pays each time a user views a video in full or for a pre-determined length of time


Geofencing is a type of location-based advertising in which a virtual “fence” is drawn around a predetermined location, often a business, and ads are served to consumers’ mobile devices while they are within the fence. These ads are often “calls to action,” encouraging consumers to visit with enticing offers.


Geotargeting involves using a user’s IP address to determine their location and then serving location-based content or advertisements.

It allows advertisers to serve their ads in specific countries, states, cities, and zip codes.  Geotargeting helps you focus your advertising efforts on the areas where you’ll find the right customers, and restrict it in areas where you don’t so you’re only paying to display to likely customers.

homepage takeover

Homepage takeover, abbreviated ‘HPTO,’ refers to a type sponsorship in which the advertiser receives 100% of the ad spots available on a publisher’s homepage or a relevant section page. Depending on the webpage, it might include standard display ads, wallpapers/skins, sliding billboards or other kinds of ads. Sinclair stations sell HPTOs at a cost-per-day (CPD).


Also known as “between-the-page,” an interstitial is an ad that either floats on top of a page’s content or appears as a full screen ad at natural transition points in a browser or mobile app. Interstitial creative served on web pages can move with content or maintain a locked position as a user scrolls.


A session is a group of interactions that a user takes on a website in one “sitting.” A single session can contain multiple page views, events, social interactions, and ecommerce transactions.

For example, if User A comes to your site for the first time on January 1, that user’s session count is 1. If User A returns on January 2, the session count is 2, and so on for each subsequent return.

share of voice (SOV)

Share of voice refers to the portion of display advertising spots on a particular medium (like a website) that a specific advertiser or campaign will receive. If every available ad spot makes a whole pie, share of voice refers to your part of the pie.


In the context of digital advertising, an impression is a single instance of an advertisement being delivered and displayed, regardless of whether the part of the page upon which the ad displays is viewed.

Note that one page view will count as multiple impressions if you have more than one ad on the page.


The collection of impressions available on a website for a given period.


(Urchin Tracking Module) is series of characters that you can attach to a custom URL in order to track the efficacy of advertisements through a specific source, medium and/or campaign name.

Utilizing UTM codes enable you to pull attribution metrics from sources like Google Analytics to understand where users came from so you can track how well a specific campaign, ad type, ad size, offer, creative message and/or medium is performing. This should inform your tactics so you can put time and money against the configurations that deliver the best return. Find Google’s simple UTM builder here.

Don’t see a term you think should be here? This post is a work in progress, so stay patient and you might see it here soon 🙂