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Cutting Through the Digital Marketing Jargon: Terms to Ask Your Marketing Agency

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Clicks. Impressions. Click-through-rate. Conversions. Chances are you’ve heard these terms thrown around under the umbrella of “digital marketing.”  To those in the industry, these terms are part of our everyday vocabulary.  With the majority of people switching from browsing the internet on a desktop or laptop to a mobile device like a smartphone or tablet, digital marketing is quickly becoming the new normal….and there’s a reason why.  Digital marketing allows us to provide advertisements and content to high-interest users.  Not only can we use digital marketing to target a highly-defined demographic, we can do it at a relatively low price.

More and more we’re having clients ask us how digital marketing might benefit their business and, ultimately, their bottom line.  As a marketing agency, we provide a variety of strategies for our clients, but it’s important to cut through the industry jargon.  As the Digital Marketing Manager, I want to arm you with the knowledge you’ll need to know when discussing your digital marketing strategy with any marketing agency.  The better informed you are, the better questions you’ll be able to ask your marketing agency.

10 Digital Marketing Terms to Know:

Simply put, an impression is any time your ad is viewed.  This could be any ad from a display ad, a video ad, a text ad…any of them.  One view of the ad = one impression.  If the same user sees your ad multiple times, then you’ll have multiple impressions.

A click is simply when someone clicks on your ad.  One. Simple. Click. Once a user sees your ad (which is an impression), that user clicks on the ad to take them to a specific landing page, such as your website.

Landing Pages
Landing pages are a digital marketer’s secret weapon.  The landing page is nothing more than where the user goes after they click your ad. However, a landing page isn’t necessarily your home page.  In fact, if you’re sending clicks right to your homepage, you’re probably missing out on a big opportunity.

The landing page your ad is sending users to should be related to the ad that clicks to it. For example, if your ad is showcasing a particular brand of cat food, the landing page should be about that specific cat food.  You’ll see a greater amount of success if your landing page directly relates to the ads you’re running.

Click-Through Rate (CTR)
The CTR is simply the percentage of people who clicked your ad verses the total impressions. For example, if you had 10,000 impressions and 100 clicks, your CTR is 1%. The average CTR for display ads, text ads, and video ads all vary.  The CTR is an important metric to gauge how successful your digital ads are performing.

While your CTR depends on many factors, you can control most of them.  The one factor that can have a big effect on an ad’s CTR is the creative.  How your ad looks is a big factor on if users decide to click your ad. Making small changes to your ad and testing the performance of the new ad versus the old ad is called A/B Testing.  We’ll talk more about A/B Testing in our next blog and why it’s so crucial.

Ah conversions.  It’s one of my favorite words at RSA.  Why?  Because conversions tell me whether our marketing efforts have worked or not.  A conversion is any action you want a user to complete on your website.  They can be anything:

  • Filling out a form
  • Downloading a PDF or brochure
  • Signing up for a mailing list
  • Making a phone call
  • Making an online purchase
Conversions are the most important part of your digital marketing campaign.  Without conversions, you’ll never know how well your campaign is performing.  Any marketing agency not tracking conversions is wasting your money.

Cost per Thousand (CPM)
This is a bit of a tricky term.  Not because it’s necessarily hard to wrap your head around, but it’s hard to measure the success of your campaign if you’re basing a budget on CPM.  CPM doubles as a pricing model for digital advertising and a reporting metric. The CPM refers to impressions. While RSA doesn’t typically use this rate model with our clients, many digital marketing agencies use rates based on a CPM. For example, you could buy 10,000 impressions at a $5.00 CPM and it would cost $50.00.

At RSA, we strongly suggest not entertaining a proposal that includes just a CPM rate.  Your digital marketing strategy should be contingent on more than just impressions, but conversions as well.  An honest, reputable marketing agency will charge you based on the return of your investment.

Cost per Click (CPC)
While this is more of a pricing model, it can be used as an important metric. Basically, the CPC model boils down to this.  You only pay for your advertisement when someone clicks on your ad.  One of the reasons this is such a great model is because it means that advertisers have to craft an excellent message in order to get people to click the ad.  Those clicking on the ad are already high-interest clients, so the rate for a conversion is pretty good.

Think about it like this, let’s say you write an ad that’s okay.  Nothing special, maybe it’s a little off topic. Maybe it’s a little unfocused.  Your ad might get you a million impressions and you won’t pay a dime. However, you won’t receive any clicks either, which totally defeats the purpose of the ad.  On the other hand, let’s say you create an amazing ad that attracts everyone and their dog.  You’ll blow through your budget in just a few days with only a few hundred impressions. Finding the right balance between impressions and clicks is an extremely important part of any digital ad campaign.

With GPS, mobile devices, and the advent of big data, targeting options for marketers have shot through the roof.  Gone are the days when we’re only targeting websites with banner ads in different physical locations.  Today, we’re targeting by geography, browsing habits, device type, interests, hobbies, and more.  What does that mean?  Well, it means that you can craft a very specific message to a very specific user who is more likely to complete a conversion.

Analytics data is collected from websites and used for a variety of reasons.  A digital marketing agency will often use analytics to see and understand how users are interacting with your website, social media platform, or email campaigns.  Analytics are important because they help us see the “big picture” when it comes to a digital marketing campaign.  Some of the different types of data included with website analytics include:

    • Visitors
    • New and Returning Users
    • Time on Site
    • Pages Viewed
    • Demographics
Not only can website analytics help with your digital marketing campaign, they’re also integral in helping optimize the performance of your website

Organic Traffic
I’ve mostly been talking about terms related to a paid digital marketing campaign.  While a paid campaign is very beneficial, having organic traffic to your website is crucial.  Organic traffic is the traffic your site receives from unpaid search results, which is why it’s considered organic.  Organic traffic provides highly qualified traffic to your website through search engines (Google, Yahoo, Bing, etc.), which means the content on your website is considered relevant to a particular search.  The more relevant content you publish to your website, the better your search results.  This is one of the main goals of SEO and content marketing because it provides a powerful platform for long-term growth.  If your digital marketing strategy doesn’t include a plan for increasing the amount of organic traffic to your website, you’re missing an essential part of your digital strategy.

Digital Marketing Terms Recap
Digital MarketingThere’s a lot here, I know.  However, you now know ten more terms than you knew yesterday.  My hope is that you’ve gained a little bit of knowledge into how digital marketing works.  With this little bit of knowledge, I hope you’ll be able to ask some informed questions when you consider digital marketing with a marketing agency.  Consultations at Robert Sharp & Associates are always free, and we’d love to sit down with you and discuss any questions you may have about a digital marketing strategy for your business.  Feel free to contact us with any questions you might have.

If you liked this article, below is a link to another article on the same SEO subject mater:
How to Use SEO in Your Digital Marketing Strategy

Matt Bitz
Digital Marketing Manager
Google AdWords Certified
Google Analytics Certified

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