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Have you ever seen or heard a digital term and didn’t know what it meant? Let us help decipher the language! Below we’ve explained what some of the most commonly used digital words and phrases mean. To help simplify, we’ve broken these terms down into four categories: search, social media, digital marketing, and internet/web terms.

Click on a term below to jump down to its definition:

Algorithm | Analytics | Bounce Rate | Keywords | Search Engine Marketing | Search Engine Optimization

What is an Algorithm? Algorithms are a set of rules or instructions primarily used by a computer program to carry out some type of problem or computation. Algorithms are used by search engines to retrieve information and deliver results ranked by relevance to the search query.


  • What are ‘analytics’? Analytics are website tracking tools that allow the site owner to track the behavior of their website traffic on their site. An analytics tracking code is installed on every page of your site and provides information such as the number of unique or returning visitors, devices used to access the site, pages visited, how users got to the website, etc. The most commonly used is Google Analytics.
  • Why are analytics beneficial? Analytics are a very valuable tool when trying to grow web presence. They give users an idea of how visitors are using the site, how long they are staying on the various pages, and how many repeat visitors or customers the site is getting. Because this information can help you understand your customers, it can then be used to help plan, strategize, and structure your marketing efforts.

What is the bounce rate? Bounce rate is the rate of users who leave a website after viewing a single page.


  • What is a keyword? We could go on about this one because there are so many things that go into a keyword, but we’ll start out with the basic definition – a keyword is a word that represents the main theme in a piece of content. A keyword is what a person types into the search engine, and that is what the returned results are based on. You can see why it’s so important to use relevant keywords – you want your site to come up when users are searching for something related to what you offer.
  • What is keyword density? Keyword density is the percentage of times a keyword shows up in a webpage out of the entire content. A recommended keyword density is around 1 – 2% (one or two times per 100 words). This is a good rule of thumb to prevent keyword stuffing.
  • What is keyword stuffing? Keyword stuffing means a keyword is overly used in web content with the purpose of manipulating search engines. This is actually a bad idea because it can cause your page or pages to be pushed further down in the search results.

What does Search Engine Marketing (SEM) mean?
This is a form of digital marketing that uses paid advertising to promote a website and increase visibility in search engine results. This can also be referred to as PPC (Pay Per Click).

What is Search Engine Optimization (SEO)?
These are non-paid tactics, also referred to as organic (traffic that comes through clicking on a non-paid search engine result), used by a company or marketing agency to help a website appear higher in the list of results on the search engine results page (SERP). Proper SEO strategies can bring in a higher number of quality visitors to a website.

Social Media Terms

Here are some of the most-used digital terms regarding social media. If you’ve ever heard one of these used and were confused by what it meant, now you’ll know!

What is A/B testing? A/B testing is when two different versions of a social post are used to target different groups of an audience to see which version is the most effective. The content that is deemed most efficient will be the one that is used going forward. A/B testing can also be used for web pages or ads.

What is a social media audience? This is the specific group to be targeted with a social media campaign based on the likelihood of the people in the group to react or interact with the company/post.

In social media, what does ‘average response time’ mean? This is the time it takes for a brand/company to respond to a request or complaint on social media. Obviously, the quicker, the better.

What does ‘boost’ mean in social media? Boosting a campaign means spending money to increase the number of people that will see your content. This will cause a post to show up as sponsored content on other users’ social media accounts that aren’t already followers. The amount of reach (the number of unique accounts who have seen your ad or content on a social media platform) increases as more money is spent.

What is clickbait? This is a type of manipulative advertising that often uses headlines that distort the truth to persuade people to click on an ad and is typically looked down upon.

What is a conversion pixel? This is a small piece of code that is placed on a website that injects a tiny image onto the site that tracks and reports data on visitors’ actions and communicates it back to the social media account. This tactic can help brands see if their ads are generating conversions.

What is crowdsourcing? Crowdsourcing is when a brand involves a large group of users in social media activity to generate ideas or content. Asking for suggestions or preferences from followers for specifics about a new product is one example.

What is a dark post? Despite how it sounds, this is actually not a sorrowful post. A dark post is a post that isn’t published on the brand’s own timeline and only shows up in the audience’s feeds.

What is ‘disappearing content’ on social media? Disappearing content is content (such as Instagram stories) that “disappears” after a set period of time and can’t be accessed or found once it is gone.

What is ‘frequency’ in social media? Frequency in social media refers to the average amount of times an ad was seen by a unique user. This term is used across marketing and is not unique to social media.

What is geotargeting? In social media, geotargeting is when an advertiser chooses to include or exclude users from their audience based on the user’s geographic location.

What does ‘impression’ mean in social media? Impression is a term in social media advertising that refers to the number of times a post or ad was seen/viewed or engaged with. Impressions take into account all views and interactions from all unique viewers.

What are key performance indicators (KPI)? These are the metrics used to measure the success of a campaign. A direct sales campaign would have KPIs such as clicks, conversions, average order value, etc., whereas an awareness campaign might focus more on reach, impressions, engagement rate, or click-through rate.

What is native advertising? This is paid social media content that looks organic. This might be original content that has been promoted to extend its reach (the number of people who have seen a post).

What is the ‘relevance score’ on Facebook? A relevance score is a score between 1 – 10 which indicates how well the audience is responding to an ad in Facebook based on clicks, likes, or other actions. A higher relevance score means that the ad is more likely to be chosen over other ads targeting that audience.

What is rich media? Rich media is any media that has to be interacted with, such as polls, quizzes, games, or videos.

What is social listening? Social listening is a tactic used to monitor social media platforms for brand or product mentions, and gives companies the opportunity to join into conversations about their brand, products, or services.

What is user-generated content? User-generated content is content created by people outside of the company that promotes the company’s brand. When users submit some type of content in response to a company’s request on social media, such as asking users to submit images of them using a product, that is an example of user-generated content.

Digital Marketing Terms

Did you know there is somewhat of a difference between traditional marketing and digital marketing? Well, there is. Check out what these digital marketing terms mean below.

What does ‘buyer persona’ mean? Buyer personas are the characteristics of a preferred customer based on niche research and current or past customers.


  • What is a conversion? A conversion happens when a website visitor fulfills a desired goal such as making a purchase, signing up for a newsletter subscription, or submitting some other type of information.
  • What is a conversion path? This is the “path” taken by a user on a website that leads them to make the conversion, through steps such as filling out a form, making a purchase, or some other desired action.
  • What is the conversion rate? This is the percentage of people who made a conversion or completed the desired goal. It’s calculated by dividing the total conversions by the total number of visitors.
  • What is conversion rate optimization (CPO)? This is a digital marketing strategy aimed at influencing website visitor behavior and prompting certain actions such as viewing a certain page, buying a product, filling out a form, or some other desired action.

What does cost per click mean? Cost per click (CPC) is the amount of money a business or entity is charged each time someone interacts with their ad. CPC = amount spent / total ad clicks.

What is digital storytelling? This is something that can be done by anyone and uses web tools to tell stories online using mixes of graphical media such as images, videos, text, music, and/or audio.

What does integrated marketing mean? On our website, we explain integrated marketing as an effort to “deliver a seamless, customer-centric experience across multiple channels. Integrated campaigns across 4+ channels outperform single-channel campaigns and are more effective at building brands, all while maximizing your budget.” Learn more on our website.

What is lead nurturing? Lead nurturing is a way of communicating with a lead (a person who has shown interest in a brand) using different channels, such as email, social media, or paid ads, to keep them engaged.

What is retargeting? This is a term that means using a paid ad to target past website visitors, with the intention of getting them to go back to the site and complete a conversion. Also known as remarketing.

What is return on investment (ROI)? Return on investment is the ratio comparison between the initial amount invested in an ad campaign to the amount of profit that it brought in. The goal would obviously be to get a positive ROI, meaning that the amount of money brought in exceeded the initial investment.

What does top of the funnel (TOFU) mean? Possible leads that have just entered into a brand’s buyer journey – this usually starts with becoming aware of the brand.

Internet/Web Terms

Many of us have been using the web for years and feel pretty knowledgeable about it. We invite you to check your knowledge against the list of internet/web terms below and see if you’re familiar with what any of these words mean!

What is accessibility? Accessibility aims to make information on the internet or a website accessible to everyone online, even those with a disability or impairment.

What is alt text? Alt-text is the descriptive text used to explain the visual content of an image that is displayed on a webpage. It is intended to help visually impaired website visitors get an idea of what an image looks like. If, for some reason, an image doesn’t display, its alt text will show instead.

What does ‘back end’ mean? The back end is the unseen part of a website, usually comprised of the database information and website code.

What is a backlink? A backlink is when one website links to another. One strategy in SEO is to have strong and relevant content so other trustworthy sites will link to your content as a reference. In turn, this helps a website gain authority and can increase rankings.

What does ‘bandwidth’ refer to? Bandwidth is the maximum rate of data transfer between two given points within a defined amount of time.

What does ‘below the fold’ mean? When navigating to a web page, ‘below the fold’ refers to the content that is not visible without scrolling. The term originated with newspapers, referring to anything that was literally below the fold on the front page of the paper.

What is client-side? Client-side refers to code that runs in a user’s browser and not on the web server.

What does ‘cloud computing’ mean? Cloud computing means using a virtualized environment to store data, making it accessible over the internet instead of on physical hardware, such as Google Docs or Microsoft Office Online.

What is a content management system (CMS)? CMS is a tool that is used to manage the content of a website and typically allows users to edit content in a WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) so they can add text and images without having to know how to code.

What is a cookie? No, we’re not talking about a snack. A website cookie is a temporary session (time spent on a site) data that is stored when someone visits a website. This data, which includes login information, products added to a shopping cart, or favorite items, can be remembered and used again when the user returns to the site.

What does ‘DNS’ mean? DNS stands for Domain Name System and is used to match an IP address (the unique string of numbers that identifies an internet-connected device) with a domain name (website URL) and the website information associated with that domain.

What is a favicon? A favicon is the tiny icon that shows up on a browser tab next to the web address or page title.

What does ‘front end’ mean? Front end refers to all of the elements on a web page that a visitor can see – text, images, colors, typography, and layout. It is the means by which a user accesses and interacts with a website.

What is a heading? Headings (h1-h6 in HTML) structure a webpage for both readers and search engines. Users skim and notice title headings. Heading tags also help search engines understand what the page is about. Headings should be used in order of content importance on the page, much like an outline, with H1 being the main page title.

What is HTTP/HTTPS? HTTP stands for hypertext transfer protocol. Wondering what that means? It is the browser request and server response that enables a web page to be displayed in a web browser. The browser makes the request for an HTML web page to the server by HTTP and the server processes and returns the response to the browser. The webpage is then loaded and can be seen by the end user. The “S” in HTTPS stands for “secure” because it signifies that data is secured when transferred over a computer network.

What is a landing page? This is the page a user lands on after clicking a link in an ad, email, or another page, and is created specifically for a marketing campaign to continue to the next step in the conversion process, whether that be making a sale, generating a lead, or some other type of conversion.

What is website metadata? Website metadata gives a brief explanation of web page content to search engines and is utilized in search engine results pages. A meta description is one of these tags, limited to 160 characters, and is the summary that appears in search results.

What does ‘open source’ mean? Open source refers to code (developed by a person or team) that is freely available for use by the public and can be changed, modified, or distributed depending on the needs of the team or person using it.

What does ‘responsive design’ mean? Responsive design is a web design that changes based on the width of the device on which it is viewed. Responsive sites readjust on smaller screens so content can still be seen and accessed easily, and expands to fit larger sizes where more can fit on the screen. When someone searches on a mobile device, responsive sites are prioritized in the search results.

What does ‘server-side’ mean? Server-side refers to website code that runs off the webserver and not off of the client’s machine. Client-side code is delivered faster than server-side code.

What is an SSL certificate? SSL certificates are what make websites secure because they enable data encryption. An SSL certificate changes an HTTP web address into HTTPS.

What is a title tag? Title tags are used in HTML to create clickable headlines in search results. Sometimes they are generated automatically from page content, but the algorithm will check the title tag first.

What does ‘UI’ mean? UI stands for user interface and is what a user interacts with on a device or page.

What is UX? UX means user experience and refers to how a user experiences a website. A website should be intuitive to how a user would need to access information on the site, and the content should be laid out in a way that makes sense and is easy to navigate.

What is a web server? A web server is a computer/system that provides websites, resources, data, services, or programs to other computers over the internet.

Final Thoughts on Digital Jargon

That was a dense list, but those are just some of the basic digital terms…there are SO many more that we didn’t even cover! Hopefully, this list has helped you gain a basic understanding of what some of the phrases used in the digital world mean. Check back for more information from us in the future! In the meantime, go have a conversation using all of your newly acquired digital knowledge!

Do you have a question about something above or something we didn’t mention? Drop us a comment below or –