The Vu Online digital marketing jargon buster

Are you tired of being bamboozled with tech-speak? Like every industry, tech has its in-house lingo, but as a digital marketing agency, we’re all about the people. Our mission is to keep things simple, so you can now translate tech talk with our A to Z digital marketing jargon buster.


Analytics is the area of digital marketing that is all about measuring success (or otherwise). Data about your website and app visitors are collected by an Analytics program and displayed in a report. The trick is to then use the reports to decide whether your digital marketing strategy is paying off. By regularly reviewing your analytics, you can run smarter campaigns.

Note: Google Analytics is the most popular analytics service. It can be set up and connected to your website and apps for free.


A lightweight computer program usually designed to run on a mobile device. Web apps (e.g., Google Docs) are designed for web browsers and can work across devices.

Augmented Reality (AR)

A technology which superimposes digital content on to the physical world, creating a hybrid experience. Pokemon GO is a popular example of AR technology. Compare with Virtual Reality (VR).


A replacement profile picture or animation. Avatars can range from a digital icon to a 3D character. People use avatars to create a unique online identity.

Note: Also a popular movie featuring cool blue humanoids.

Banner Ad

A wide and short online advertisement format that usually stretches across the top of a webpage. Compare with Skyscraper Ad.


Short for ‘web log’, a blog is a series of online posts (articles, news items, journal entries, etc.) designed to be regularly updated. The most recent content is displayed first, and older items are often organised into categories or dated archives.

Most importantly, a blog is a powerful way to increase engagement with your audience, providing valuable content that will encourage them to sign up to your mailing list.

Tip: Add a blog to your website and connect each post to a relevant landing page.


A computer program that enables you to access the internet. The most popular browser is Google Chrome, but you may be more familiar with using Safari (Mac) or Edge (Microsoft). Other popular browsers include Firefox, Opera and Samsung Internet. You can use your preferred browser across devices by setting it as your default.

Tip: Become familiar with your browser bar and add your favourite web apps and most frequently visited websites to it.


In the world of digital marketing, activity is scheduled through campaigns with an agreed start and finish date. A common example is a pay-per-click (PPC) advertising campaign. The ad is scheduled to run for, say, a month and the results are then analysed.


A smart computer program designed to simulate human conversation. Chatbots are often used to provide fast, reliable customer service – although some bots are definitely smarter than others.


The great think about writing a digital marketing jargon buster from scratch is that you catch the odd buzzword that usually slips through the net. Click comes up a lot in digital marketing (pay-per-click, click-through-rate ,etc.) but what exactly is a ‘click’.

In digital marketing, a click is the selection of an on-screen element (button, link, icon, etc.) The word ‘click’ comes from the sound made when you click a button on a mouse (commonly the left button to select an element).

However, a click could also mean a finger tap on a mobile device or trackpad, a key push on a keyboard or even a voice command that remotely selects an on-screen element.


The stuff you want people to interact with on your website and app. It covers everything from written text and images to videos and podcast episodes. You’ve probably heard the adage, ‘Content is king.’ Well, it is.

Content Marketing

Optimising content production to present your business offer effectively to your audience. We do a lot of this!


That magic moment when a visitor takes a meaningful action on your website or app. The specific action depends on your business goals, but it might be clicking a ‘Buy Now’ button, downloading an application form or playing an audio clip.

Note: Analytics programs, like Google Analytics, need to be told what counts as a conversion to you. It can then track conversions, calculate your conversion rate and spit out a cool report with lots of other handy info about your audience.

Conversion Optimisation

A set of modifications and tweaks one can make to a sales process to improve conversion rate.

Conversion Rate

The number of times a tracked action is taken compared to the number of times it could have been taken, expressed as a percentage.

For example, if you are tracking video plays and ten out of 100 visitors to your video page click the play button, your conversion rate is 10/100 x 100 = 10 percent.

Note: Click-through-rate is a popular type of conversion rate. See the separate entry for an example.

CPC (Cost-Per-Click)

In a PPC (pay-per-click) campaign, you bid against other advertisers to have your ad shown. If you win the bid, and your ad is clicked, the bid amount is deducted from your available budget.

Your ad campaign dashboard will display the average amount you paid per click as a CPC value. This is often itemised by keyword to help you fine-tune your campaigns.

CPM (Cost-Per-Mille)

The amount of money it cost you before a thousand pairs of eyeballs saw your advert. Can be a useful stat in a brand awareness campaign but not as important as CPC (cost-per-click) in a PPC (pay-per-click) campaign.

Note: A cynical person might say that the industry decided to use the French word for a thousand (mille) because £1 per million impressions sounds way better than £1 per thousand – but we’re sure that wasn’t the real reason.


An automated program that scurries around the internet and reports back what it finds. Search engines like Google use crawlers to collect data that will be used to index webpages and present them in search results.


One of the three most commonly used website languages. Can be read by a web browser and handles the design side of most websites (colours, typography, etc.)

CTA (Call-To-Action)

Any element on your website which encourages your visitor to interact with it. This might include a ‘Buy Now’ button, a ‘Click Here’ link or a note to fill in an application form and press ‘Send’.

CTR (Click-Through-Rate)

The number of times an on-screen item is clicked compared to the number of times it could have been clicked, expressed as a percentage.

For example, if your online ad is shown 100 times and three people click it, your CTR is 3/100 x 100 = 3 percent.

Note: The average CTR across industries is around 6-7 percent, ranging from below 4 percent, for lawyers, to over 11 percent, for arts and entertainment businesses.

Digital Agency

A business providing a range of digital marketing services.

Digital Marketing

A collection of online services provided to a customer to help them reach their target audience in a cost-effective manner. See our services page for a list of digital marketing services we offer.

Display Network

An online advertising network that connects advertisers with website publishers. A popular example is the Google Display Network which connects Google Ads campaigns with publishers using the Google AdSense revenue sharing service.

On a display network, advertisements can contain images, videos and text. Compare with Search Network.

Domain/Domain Name

A unique string of characters that tells a web browser to find and display a website’s home page. Domain names are sold and hosted by domain registrars and end with a suffix such as .com, or .org. Registrars usually charge an annual fee for this service. Domain names are organised through the Domain Name System (DNS).


Selling stuff online. An e-commerce website is specifically designed to mimic a real world retail business complete with product inventory, delivery rules, payment gateways and online product gallery.

Tip: If you have a WordPress website, you can transform it into an online store using the WooCommerce plugin.

Email Marketing

Using email to present your business offer effectively to your audience. This often involves building a mailing list and using an Email Service Provider (ESP) to schedule online newsletters and email series. We do a lot of this too!

Email Service Provider (ESP)

A business that enables its users to build mailing lists and schedule emails and other online content. Mailchimp is a popular ESP used by businesses of all sizes.

Note: Not to be confused with extra-sensory perception, although that would definitely be an asset to a digital marketing campaign!


A useful – if somewhat dehumanising – analogy that represents the customer journey from brand awareness to sale. At the top of the funnel are lots of vaguely interested people bumbling around. At the bottom is the guy with their finger hovering over the ‘Buy’ button.

Home Page

The webpage people land on when they enter your web address. A good home page provides an easy-to-use interface for finding your services, products, contact details and other useful content.

Note: Don’t send people here if you’re running a pay-per-click campaign. Send them to a dedicated landing page instead.

Host/Web host

The company or server responsible for displaying the customer’s website. Webhosts usually charge a monthly or annual charge for this service.


One of the three most commonly used website languages. Can be read by a web browser and handles the overall layout and structure of most websites.


The number of times an ad is displayed.

Note: This is not the same as the number of people who viewed your ad. An ad showed to the same person on two separate occasions would count as two impressions.


A searchable catalogue of webpages. Correctly coded webpages will be automatically found and indexed by crawlers, but you can take control of the process by sending a sitemap to the search engines directly.


One of the three most commonly used website languages. Can be read by a web browser and lies behind most cool interactive functions.


Keywords are one of the most often used jargon terms in digital marketing, but they are also one of the most misunderstood.

Keywords (which includes both single words and phrases), are words content creators place into websites in order to signal relevance to search engine crawlers. They include words placed in the content itself and words entered into specific places in the code that visitors don’t see.

Effective keywords for you will be those related o the search terms typed into search engines by your target audience. However, search engines have introduced measures over the years to ensure keywords cannot be used to game the system.

Good content marketing uses keywords in a natural manner to signal relevance while ensuring content is easy to read – in other words, both human and machine-friendly.

Landing Page

A webpage that has been specifically designed to ease a visitors journey from initial interest to a desired action.

For example, imagine you are a pet shop owner who’s realised they have an excess of cat food which needs shifting. You could create an ad campaign and companion landing page all about the cat food. An interested cat owner clicks the offer on the ad and arrives on your landing page which contains the final purchase step.

Had they been directed to your home page instead, they might have got distracted by your tips on looking after goldfish and forgotten all about the cat food. Landing pages also provide a way to make relevant keywords prominent, something that is difficult to do with an ‘all-purpose’ home page’.


Any on-screen element that takes the visitor to another webpage. They often take the form of clickable text, underlined and coloured to stand out, but they can also be embedded in images, buttons and random areas of the screen. Links hold the internet together, connecting people and organisations together and enabling webpages to be indexed and organised.


Have you ever come across the term ‘organic search’ or ‘organic content’ ? In web speak, organic is simply a way to distinguish between content you have directly paid to place and content you haven’t. When your ad wins a bid during a Google Ads Search campaign, for example, it will appear prominently in the search results with an ‘Ad’ label next to it.

The results without the ‘Ad’ next to them are termed ‘organic’ results and their placement depends upon how well optimised they are for the search terms entered (see SEO).

PPC (Pay-Per-Click)

A common type of online advertising campaign whereby you create an ad, nominate a destination (e.g., a page on your website), set a budget and hit the launch button. In most versions of a PPC campaign, your ad will compete with others in an automated auction. If your ad wins, it will be displayed to your audience.

Every time someone clicks on your ad, money will be taken off your budget. When your budget hits zero, your ad is no longer shown. Google Ads is probably the most well-known PPC platform, but social media sites like Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter also offer PPC campaigns (this is often termed ‘Paid Social’ advertising).


A common website coding language. PHP works with JavaScript to handle most of the interactive features on a WordPress website.


Query is a general term that covers any process whereby one computer or network looks for and retrieves information from another. In most cases, the query will be translated into a language that can be understood by a database system. The system will then provide the response to the query.

For example, a search query translates a search term (keyword) into a language that enables the search engine to display a list of relevant webpages.


The process of displaying webpages, on search engine results pages, in an order reflecting their perceived relevance to the search terms entered. Also, the specific position of any webpage (for example, ‘your website is ranked on page one of Google’).

Search engine optimisation (SEO) is the strategy used to improve the ranking of webpages.

Search Engine

A computer network built for the purpose of displaying webpages and other online content in response to a search query.

Search Engine Marketing (SEM)

Optimising websites and/or managing online advertising campaigns so that a business’ offer is featured prominently on search engine results pages.

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)

If there’s one tech term that epitomises the need for a digital marketing jargon buster, it’s SEO because it’s pretty hard to define it without bringing in a whole bunch of other jargon words.

But we’ll give it a go: SEO is a set of modifications and tweaks one can make to a webpage (both to the on-screen content and to the code you don’t see). The goal of SEO is to prove to Google (and other search engine providers) that the webpage is of high enough quality that it should appear on the first page of results for people searching for information relevant to the content on the page.

How did we do?

Search Engine Results Page (SERP)

When a search term is typed into a search engine’s ‘search box’, it triggers a search query. The search network responds by displaying a results page containing a list of links to the most relevant webpages it has found. Hundreds of additional numbered pages may be linked to this first SERP. The most famous SERP is the highly coveted ‘Page One of Google’.

Search Network

An online advertising network that connects advertisers with search engine results pages. A popular example is the Google Search Network which displays Google Ads campaigns on Google search engine results pages.

On a search network, advertisements may be restricted to text only. Compare with Display Network.

Note: Google Ads and other ad networks often combine their search and display networks in hybrid strategies (e.g., the Google Ads Performance Max strategy).

Search Term

See Keyword


A computer or network dedicated to hosting webpages or online services.


Anything that happens, from when a visitor first arrives at your website to when they leave it, counts as one session to your analytics program.

Skyscraper Ad

A tall and narrow online advertisement format that usually stretches up the side of a webpage. Compare with Banner Ad.

Social Media

An online service designed for displaying user-generated content and encouraging social interaction. Facebook is the largest social media network on the planet, but others include Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and Snapchat. Apps and services such as YouTube, Twitch and TikTok share many features of social media networks.


See Crawler


The total number of people visiting a website, app or online space.

Unique Visit

A person accessing a website, app or online space.


See Web Address

User-Generated Content (UGC)

Content added to a website or network by its users. Social media exists mainly for sharing UGC, but UGC is also found on multiplayer gaming platforms (e.g., Minecraft and Roblox) and in wikis, which are user-populated websites.

Virtual Reality (VR)

A technology that replaces perception of the physical world with digital content, often via a specialised headset, creating an immersive illusory experience. Compare with Augmented Reality (AR).


A blog that is designed for displaying video content

Note: Pronounced as a single word rather than V-log

Web Address

A unique string of characters that tells a web browser to display a specific webpage.

Web Design/Web Development

The service and process of creating a website for a customer.


A viewable online file usually consisting of text, images and dynamic content organised and displayed to appeal to a specific audience.


A collection of webpages organised under one domain name.


The most popular website platform on the planet. Provides its core software for free via

Note: Not to be confused with which is a blog hosting service provided by the same people – but isn’t free.

You’ve got the phrasebook – now get the travel guide!

Knowing how to ask for train times in French is great, but it won’t tell you which areas of the country you want to have on your travel itinerary.

The same applies to your digital marketing journey. If you want to know where to start, what route to follow and what you can expect at the destination, book a place on one of our popular Digital Marketing Workshops.

And if you bring a copy of this digital marketing jargon buster with you, you can wave it in our faces if we slip into technologeze.

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