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Digital Marketing Terms You Should Know

by | Mar 4, 2021 | Digital Marketing

Digital marketing services, or simply "digital," is a term that encompasses all marketing efforts that use an electronic device or the internet.

Digital, in a general sense, is the leveraging of channels such as search engines, social media, email, and other websites to connect with current and prospective customers. It includes both paid and non-paid forms of promotion and advertising.


Marketing definitions

As with most industries, we have tendencies to get wrapped up in industry jargon — hey, we’re human! So, before we get started, let’s clarify a handful of general marketing definitions before getting to the nitty-gritty. 


In advertising, creative is the actual advertisement as it is served the audience. Creative can take many forms, including (but not limited to): images, text, video, audio and interactive content. In general, it’s an oft-used term that defines the deliverables used in a campaign.

Sales Funnel

A sales funnel is a visual representation of the journey potential buyers make on their way to purchasing your services or product. Potential customers enter via the top of the funnel as leads before converting to prospects and eventually customers. Further, a funnel can contain many different layers beyond the ones described above and can also be used to describe different types of user flows/interactions. 

Sales funnel

A simple sales funnel visualization


A conversion occurs when a viewer or customer completes a pre-defined action or goal that starts them on their journey with your brand. In digital campaigns, this is often filing out an online form, or making a purchase, but it can be defined for traditional campaigns to. QR codes and campaign-specific URLs are just some of the marketers try to track conversions in traditional medias like TV, radio and outdoor advertising. 


To define impressions is simple — it’s the total number of exposures to your advertisement. In digital marketing, these views are easily tracked while traditional medias such as TV, radio and outdoor, impressions may be estimated or referred to as viewership or views. 

digital advertising

Digital or programmatic advertising is the use of specific tactics and campaigns where the advertiser pays a fee for exposure. The term programmatic specifically refers to the process in which an advertisement is purchased, since it is automated or programmed, and allows inventory availability and pricing to fluctuate based on a variety of factors.


Display advertising, or cost-per-impression (CPM and sometimes CPI) are a form of advertising where the advertiser pays each time the ad is displayed (an impression). Display/CPM is much like traditional advertising in that you pay for views and how frequently it displays. Display/CPM can take many forms, including HTML and video advertising; however, it’s most common form is through graphical banner ads.

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FP banner ads - Digital Marketing Terms You Should Know

Examples of banner ads you may see around the web.


Search advertising (often associated with top-performing platform, AdWords) is an example of Cost-per-Click advertising or Search Engine Marketing (SEM). SEM is the process of making advertising purchases in search engines based on user’s search queries. It typically relies on a a Cost-per-Click model, where advertisers pay for their advertisements after the user clicks on it.

Due to the nature of the delivery, CPC campaigns tend to be most effective for advertisers whose customers are further down the sales funnel — the prospect has typically completed or is in the process of completing research about the product or service and is now looking to engage a brand.

google ads - Digital Marketing Terms You Should Know

Google Ads is always a top-performing SEM platform.


Not just an excellent Stallone movie, Over-the-top was initially named in reference to devices that go “over” a cable box to give the user access to TV content (e.g.: Smart TVs, Roku, FireStick, Apple TV, etc.) and includes mobile, tablet and laptop devices. In OTT channels, content is delivered via an internet connection rather than through a traditional cable/broadcast provider.

Connected TV/CTV

Connected TV is access to Smart TVs and devices. It differs from OTT in that it only delivers to devices that connect to (or are installed upon) the TV.

Organic traffic

Organic traffic is any traffic for which you do not pay for. This can come in form of direct traffic — where a user types your URL in their browser directly, a search engine, or even social media. Below are a few of the most common tactics.

Search Engine Optimization/SEO

Simply put, SEO is the process of continually improving your website in an effort to raise in the search rankings. Typically, SEO strategies involve optimizing page content for keywords, building links with other, similar content to help build authority, and publishing blogs in order to continually offer fresh content (something the search engines appreciate).

Google ipad Mockup - Digital Marketing Terms You Should Know

Drip Campaigns

Just like the name implies, drip campaigns use email to slowly engage visitors, often times offering content in exchange for user’s email, etc. They’re a slow, constant source for staying engaged with your audience.

Summin’ it up!

Overall, there is a LOT of marketing terminology out there, and this list is far from exhaustive. It’s intended to be a primer for those that may be new to the industry, are dipping their toes in advertising for the first time, or just tend to plain forget! We’ve all done one or all of those from time to time, so hopefully you’ll find this brief guide useful!



About the Author:



Partner and Co-Creative Director in charge of digital, Derek combines his creative talents, leadership and a problem solver’s mentality to implement successful strategies for our clients. Dog-Dad to Wellie, golf-obsessed.

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Digital Marketing Terms You Should Know

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