When it comes to digital advertising and marketing terms, acronyms like UGC, GDN, ROAS, RTB, SOV, and even TrV are commonly tossed around when discussing campaigns.

If you’re not familiar with them, you’re not alone.

Although shorthand ways of describing concepts are nothing new, the ever-expanding laundry list of industry abbreviated terms can confuse even the most seasoned and savvy of digital marketing professionals.

The world of Web marketing and paid ads is littered with technical jargon, catchphrases, and abbreviations. And anything that can be turned into a catchy acronym often is.

While some online marketing terms have become more widely known as marketing has gone mainstream, many acronyms remain unknown outside the industry — and some are even mystery to many people inside it.

Here’s our compilation of acronyms you should know and what they all mean:


General Marketing Terms

  • B2B: Business to Business

One business making a commercial transaction with another business, from wholesale product purchases to providing services.

  • B2C: Business to Consumer

The traditional business model of businesses selling directly to consumers, including local retail business, ecommerce, online banking, insurance, residential real estate, and many other products and services.

  • CX: Customer Experience

One of two commonly used marketing terms (the other being “consumer experience”) used to describe every interaction people have with a company throughout the buying process that influences a prospect or customer’s perception of the brand.

  • CTA: Call to Action

A hyperlink, button or image that drives the reader to take action on content or ads by downloading, calling, registering or attending an event.

  • DMA: Designated Market Area

A geographic location representing a neighborhood, city, county, state, region or country you choose to target.

  • IAB: Interactive Advertising Bureau

A trade organization that sets the industry standard for digital advertising, including ad specifications, best practices and business standards for anything digital advertising related.

  • KPI: Key Performance Indicators

Metric used across all industries to evaluate the success of various marketing strategies and campaign goals by tracking and measuring progress in areas brand awareness, lead generation, bounce rate, and sales conversions

  • MAP: Marketing Automation Platform

A technology that assists marketers in converting prospects to customers by removing high-touch, manually repetitive processes with automated solutions. The email campaign service MailChimp and marketing automation software Marketo are examples of MAPs.

  • NPS: Net Promoter Score

A survey-based customer satisfaction metric that measures (on a scale of 0 to 10) how likely people are to recommend your brand or company to others.

  • ROI: Return On Investment

A ratio between the net profit earned from campaigns and the cost of investing in marketing and advertising.

  • SMB: Small and Medium Sized Businesses

Businesses with between 5 million and 200 million in annual revenues. Also refers to businesses with 100 or fewer employees (small) and from 100 to 999 employees (medium-sized).

  • SMART: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, Time-Bound

The process of providing criteria for clear defining marketing or advertising goals or establishing objectives and outlining the action steps required to achieve them.


Digital Advertising & Marketing Terms

  • BM: (Facebook) Business Manager

A free integrated tool used on Facebook to manage ad accounts and pages from a single location

  • CAN-SPAM: Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography and Marketing

A U.S. law passed in 2003 that prohibits businesses from sending targeted emails without permission. (Marketers must include an unsubscribe option in all emails and they should not add names to it without the express permission of the recipient.)

  • CPC: Cost Per Click

An online advertising revenue model through which advertisers are charged by the publisher (typically a website owner or a network of websites) for each time a user clicks on their advertisement.

  • CPL: Cost Per Lead

All of the costs associated with generating a lead, including advertising dollars spent, collateral creation, web hosting fees and various other costs.

  • CPM: Cost Per Mille

A method publishers use to assign a cost to advertise on their platform by charging per 1000 advertisement impressions (M is the Roman numeral for 1000) through which advertisers are charged for every time their ad is seen, not how many times it’s clicked.

  • CR: Conversion Rate

The number of people who take action on an advertisement, divided by the number that could have. For example, if your email campaign reaches 100 prospects and 25 of them respond, your conversion rate would be 25%.

  • CRO: Conversion Rate Optimization

A system for increasing the percentage of visitors or prospects that convert into customers or take any desired action on websites, landing pages, social media and CTAs. A/B split testing is commonly used to determine which version of an ad or web page (version A or version B) is more successful in optimizing conversion rates.

  • CTR: Click Through Rate

A performance indicator that measures the percentage of prospects or visitors who take the next action on an advertisement, web page or email. For example, in the case of a landing page, the CTR would be the total number of people who visit the page divided by the number who click and move on to the next step.

  • DSP: Demand Side Platform

A technology that allows advertisers to efficiently purchase display ad inventory across Real Time Bidding (RTB) networks like Google.

  • eCP(x): Effective Cost Per (fill in the blank)

Average spend based on total budget and results. The “e” can be applied to all cost models (such as CPM, CPL, or CPA). With any digital advertising campaign, you may have several placements, cost models, and budgets in place, and knowing your average spend is important to determine the effectiveness of your campaign.

  • GA: Google Analytics

This is a data-driven Google tool that is used by marketers to track, analyze and report website, app, and ad traffic to better understand their audience, reach, activity and metrics.

  • GDN: Google Display Network

Google’s network of over 2 million websites and apps that show display ads on their web pages, reaching over 90% of people on the internet, where businesses target consumers and other businesses on the display network using strategic topical keywords , placement on specific webpages and remarketing.

  • PPC: Pay Per Click

A digital advertising method through which publishers charge advertisers for each action (click) they take on ads. See also CPC.

  • PR: Page Rank

An algorithm used by Google to rank web pages in their search engine results using a numerical weight based on a number of different, confidential and proprietary criteria.

  • QS: Quality Score

A metric used by Google, Facebook, Yahoo! and Bing that determines both the rank and cost per click of digital ads.

  • ROAS – Return On Ad Spend

A PPC marketing metric that demonstrates the profit made as compared to the amount of money spent on the ads. Similar to ROI.

  • RON: Run of Network

A low-cost, high-reach form of online advertising delivery through which advertisers generally have no control over ad placement in return for lower rates and a broader reach on random pages of any site that is part of an ad network. Because of their low CPM, RON ads often used for testing using age or gender targeting analysis.

  • ROS: Run of Site

A form of online advertising that delivers and rotates digital ads on a specific website that advertisers use to maximize their budget without sacrificing exposure.

  • RTB: Real Time Bidding

A method of purchasing unsold ad inventory by CPM through an auction like — the now-ceased Facebook Exchange (FBX) — where the highest bid takes inventory priority.

  • SEO: Search Engine Optimization

A technical and creative marketing discipline focused on growing visibility and improve rankings in organic (non-paid) results to increase awareness and drive traffic. It is based on algorithmic variables on search engines like Google, Bing, and Yahoo.

  • SEM: Search Engine Marketing

The promotion of websites by increasing their visibility in search engine results pages (SERPs) primarily through PPC (pay-per-click) advertising.

  • SERP: Search Engine Results Pages

The pages displayed by search engines in response to a keyword query made by a user.

  • SM: Social Media

Platforms that allow users to post personal and/or business text, image and video content and socially interact.
Examples include Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube, Snapchat and LinkedIn.

  • SMM: Social Media Marketing

The discipline of using social media platforms to promote businesses through organic and paid campaigns.

  • SOV: Share of Voice

A calculation based on a percentage your ad is seen versus other advertisers. For example, if there are four advertisers rotating ads evenly on a page, each advertiser would have a 25 percent share of voice. If that same page has just one advertiser, that advertiser would have 100 percent share of voice.

  • SSP: Supply Side Platform

An automated technology also called sell-side platforms or yield optimization platforms, that allow publishers to maximize the prices at which they sell ad impressions.

  • TrV: TrueView

Video advertising sold by Google and run through YouTube, which includes in-stream, discovery and bumper ads.

  • UGC: User-generated content

Content created by users of a blog, social media network or online system or service.

  • VTR: View Through Rate

A metric used to report a ratio of the number of completed views of a skippable video ad, based on the number of impressions it received


Website Marketing Terms

  • BR: Bounce Rate

A bounce rate refers to the action a user takes when they land on a page of your website, and leave to go to another site (i.e. bouncing off of your page).

It can also refer to emails that don’t reach an inbox.

  • CMS: Content Management System

An application that consolidates and facilitates the creation, editing, management, and distribution of content. Generally used to refer to a website; WordPress is an example of a popular CMS.

  • IBL: Inbound Link

A hyperlink leading back to your website from a third-party site.

  • DNS: Domain Name System

A protocol that translates website URLs (which use alphabetic characters) into IP addresses (that use numeric characters).

  • GDD: Growth Driven Design

The design or development of a website in intentional increments through making continuous data-driven adjustments.

  • HTML: Hypertext Markup Language

A set of codes that are used by programmers use to create web pages and tell web browsers how to display them. Each individual code is called an element, or a tag, which is used to make up the structure and content of websites.

  • RSS – Really Simple Syndication

A way for users to keep track of updates to multiple websites (news sites, blogs, and others) in a single place and in an easily-viewable format, as opposed to having to manually check every single site individually.

  • UI: User Interface

A series of screens, pages, and visual elements and other conduits — either graphical or voice-controlled — that enable people to interact with a website, app, product or service.

  • UV: Unique Visitor

The number of individuals visiting a page on a website during a set period of time.

  • UX: User Experience

How a user interacts and engages with a website, app or platform (where they click, tap, swipe and visit), which can be shaped by testing different page designs, layouts, CTAs, colors, and content to improve conversion rates.

  • XML: Extensible Markup Language

A language used to define a set of rules for encoding documents in a format that is both human-readable and machine-readable. For example, an XML sitemap is designed to help search engine crawler robots to easily find all of the pages for a given website.



Well, that’s it: a primer on acronyms for some of the more important digital marketing terms.

From basic marketing terms to more specialized ad network-specific lingo, this list will help to build your vocabulary and navigate the increasingly complicated digital marketing and advertising industry.

New acronyms regularly pop up, so continually work to learn emerging marketing terms to help you better understand every aspect of your promotional efforts.