Algorithms. Automation. Artificial Intelligence. It may sound like science fiction, but it’s just another day in the digital marketing space. Working within a landscape that is always flush with new technologies, the experienced marketer knows that their industry is constantly evolving. And, as always, new concepts beget new language and brand-new digital marketing terms and buzzwords to add to a marketer’s repertoire.
These seemingly ever-changing digital marketing key terms can be daunting whether you’re brand new to online marketing or are simply trying to keep up with evolving marketing trends and jargon while at the same time balancing a busy work schedule. It’s a lot for anyone to have to keep track of!
However, being able to effectively translate and traverse the world of digital marketing buzzwords is a vital step to ensure that you understand the best strategies, tactics, and optimizations available for your business today.
That means if you take the time to brush up on your internal marketing glossary and stay up-to-date on the latest digital marketing trends and digital marketing terms, it will end up being worth it in the long run. This is true for marketers at any level who are looking to advance their skill sets, careers, and businesses.
The difference between digital marketing terms and digital marketing buzzwords
Before jumping into the definitions of some of today’s top digital marketing key terms, it will be helpful to make a distinction between the concepts of “digital marketing terms” vs. “digital marketing buzzwords.” Though often used interchangeably, there are actually important differences for marketers to be aware of between the two.
The top digital marketing terms discussed in this article specify keywords and concepts that the experienced marketer (or those with aspirations of reaching that status) should be familiar with.
Whether you’re a small business (SMB) owner or manager who wears a lot of hats, a part-time marketer or gig worker, or a full-time marketing professional, these are digital marketing terms and topics that you should definitely know about.
However, it’s likely that people who don’t work in the marketing space (or who don’t have an advertising or communications background) will not be as aware or well-acquainted with these niche industry terms and concepts.
Digital marketing buzzwords, though, are much more likely to be known by individuals outside of the marketing industry. These terms have become so popular and are used so often that they’ve crossed over into the common language lexicon and are now acknowledged as trendy terms in mainstream and pop culture. We’ll tackle defining some of the most common of these terms first!
Top digital marketing buzzwords everyone should know
The digital marketing term “advertainment” was coined to define marketing tactics that serve to engage the target audience via entertainment vehicles such as television shows, movies, songs, and other digital communications.
In recent years, advertainment has become more popular among savvy brands looking to promote their products and services and help them stand out in the midst of ever-increasing advertising noise and costs.
2. Big Data
Big Data is a term used to describe the accumulation and analysis of digital information. When it comes to marketing, the goal behind utilizing Big Data is to use it to help you make better business decisions and improve business strategy and performance.
Big Data can come into play for marketers looking to boost brand awareness or increase customer acquisition, engagement, and retention.
Clickbait is any content that is written with the sole intention of gaining clicks. Clickbait can include news headlines, blog content, videos, or any other kind of web content that is eye-catching, scannable, and typically written to elicit some kind of emotional response in the reader (whether that be shock, curiosity, amusement, or intrigue).
While some people may have a negative connotation of clickbait, good marketers understand the potential benefits it offers and are able to use it both ethically and effectively to expand the reach of their brand and grab the attention of their audience.
The key is to make sure you’re speaking to your target market’s pain points and providing actual value within your clickbait content rather than utilizing false information or misleading captions simply to increase traffic.
The term gamify seems to be popping up more and more as a trending digital marketing buzzword. To put it simply, gamification describes the method marketers use to incorporate a branded game into their digital marketing strategy.
Marketers can gamify their brand via the use of mobile apps, online AR (augmented reality) games, and other interactive digital content such as surveys and quizzes.
Gamification is highly effective as a marketing tool because people tend to get very involved and engaged when playing a game, and high engagement and interest levels are exactly what most brands are looking to attain from potential customers.
5. Influencer Marketing
An influencer is an individual (usually highly visible on one or many social media platforms) who is known to have specific knowledge or unique insights within a particular niche or marketplace.
Digital marketers will often team up with influencers who hold sway over a portion of their target audience to help drive people toward their products or services.
Influencer marketing works because consumers often put a lot of trust in the recommendations made by influencers they feel positively towards, and smart marketers know how to utilize this affinity to help influence purchase decisions and, ultimately, increase revenue.
Newsjacking is the digital marketing term for the increasingly popular practice of utilizing a viral news event or news story to promote a product or service.
This tactic is becoming more common every day and is now often used by larger brands looking to trend alongside timely topics and, in doing so, expand their own brand reach.
7. Shoppable Content
Shoppable content is a digital marketing term used to describe online resources (including images, ads, social media posts, blogs and videos) specifically designed to lead potential customers down the funnel as they click through to make a purchase.
When shoppable ads and videos are executed well by marketers, leads get exactly what they want when they want it without any distractions or delays drawing out the sales funnel. The best examples of shoppable content allow consumers to make purchases immediately — without ever having to jump from the platform it’s hosted on. In this way, it can be a win/win for both buyers and sellers.
8. Snackable Content
This tasty-sounding digital marketing buzzword is defined as content that is typically short and easy for readers to consume and process.
Effective snackable content should consist of highly eye-catching and visually engaging media elements (often designed to be viewed on mobile devices) such as GIFs, memes, ordered lists, videos, and infographics.
Digital marketers love to use snackable content as an effective lead-generation tactic due to its ability to grab attention quickly and encourage likes and shares on social media.
Top digital marketing terms every marketer should know
Now that we’ve covered some of the most popular new digital marketing buzzwords, we’ll move into territory that’s geared a bit more specifically toward those who identify as marketers.
Whether you’re a full-time marketing professional, an SMB owner with a small marketing team, or anyone aspiring to work in the marketing or advertising space, these are a few of today’s key marketing terms — achieve fluency and you’ll be that many steps closer to digital marketing success.
1. A/B Testing
A common digital marketing term also referred to as “split testing,” A/B Testing is the process of comparing two different versions of a piece of marketing content (usually email messages, but also sometimes web pages, call to action text, or subject lines) to determine which version produces better results.
A/B testing is a vital tool for marketers looking to improve conversion rates and optimize their messaging, apps, or websites.
2. AI (Artificial Intelligence)
Artificial intelligence (AI) is permeating the world of marketing. Any time a machine is designed to operate in ways that mimic human intelligence, that’s AI. If you encounter a chatbot, use Siri on your iPhone, or leverage marketing automation — you’re benefiting from AI.
Marketers love AI because it gives them access to efficient data processes that can effectively replace human action. Automated processes allow businesses to boost productivity, cut costs, and deliver a superior customer experience with less time and effort.
An algorithm is a formula that allows a computer to follow a set of calculations in its problem-solving operations. For example, Google uses algorithms to determine the priority of search rankings. Remember the Hummingbird update? It affected 90% of all search traffic.
Google’s changes to the search algorithm directly impacted how brands were able to be found and how they drove revenue online. Facebook also uses algorithms to determine the relevancy of the ads and content it’s serving up to users.
Marketers listen when algorithm changes are announced because it impacts their ability to reach and engage their audience.
Analytics is the process and practice of measuring and assessing the metrics and KPIs for your business. For example, marketers should track the open rates, click-through rates, and conversion rates for all email marketing campaigns.
Keeping track of channel statistics like these is critical for marketers looking to carefully monitor business performance, manage their budgets, and optimize processes.
Analytics also refers to a feature that marketing automation provides. Many marketing automation platforms offer a visual dashboard so you can easily see how you’re doing through KPIs and other important metrics. Analytics is what allows you to measure your marketing — and without measurement, nothing gets improved.
5. Brand Alignment
Brand alignment refers to the desired state for a company where all the key stakeholders (both internal and external) fully understand the purpose behind your brand, why it exists, and what it’s trying to accomplish in the marketplace.
The concept of brand alignment is vital in making sure you have a strong brand identity, as a murky identity and unaligned brand degrades the performance of your business and will ultimately hurt your bottom line.
6. Brand Personas
The best way to define a brand persona is as a collection of attributes, personality traits, behaviors, beliefs, attitudes, and values that encompass a particular brand, allowing their target audience to better understand and connect with them. When created and deployed effectively, a company’s brand persona will answer the key question of “who they are” as a brand.
Buyer personas are important because they help set you apart in a competitive marketplace. When a business is setting out to first create a brand persona, it’s often helpful to begin by considering how they are different from their competitors and what makes them special or unique as a brand. Then, build on those differences to create a persona that feels authentic and accurate to your brand.
7. Content Marketing
Content marketing is a broad term used to define the efforts marketers take to strategically create and promote content (including anything from articles, whitepapers, blogs, and emails to videos, webinars, and podcasts) to their target audience to serve a specific purpose for their brand or cause a certain action on the part of the consumer.
Content marketing is often carried out to help boost brand awareness and increase audience engagement, as well as to attract new or repeat visitors, generate hot new leads, or drive more purchases. When done effectively, content marketing has a great return on investment (ROI) because it can continue to deliver for a brand over the long term.
When it comes to the digital marketing term “conversion marketing,” the definition refers to marketing strategies that are designed to encourage potential customers to take a specific action. When done well, this works to effectively “convert” a lead that is browsing your website into a new customer for your brand. And, of course, these kinds of website conversions are key to the success of any online business operating in today’s highly competitive landscape.
By converting customers who have already shown some degree of interest in their product or service, marketers can maximize their efforts with conversions. This allows them not to have to reach quite as many brand-new leads in order to generate the same volume of sales.
Customer relationship management (CRM) software helps you store and track customer information and interactions and manage those accounts. In the past, this data was mostly inaccessible due to its sheer volume and inherently disorganized nature. Manual data entry was simply too time-consuming.
Using data analysis to collate the engagement history across all of your marketing channels, CRMs are designed to provide customer visibility so you can improve your customer relationships, increase customer retention, and enhance your targeting.
CRMs offer a visual dashboard to help you gain a sense of clarity on your customers and where they are in the buyer’s journey. This makes it easy to glean actionable insights, drill down on key metrics, and drive results.
10. Customer Journey
The customer journey is the path of touch points a prospect takes before making a purchase decision.
The freedom to research a purchase online before reaching out means that consumers control their own customer journey map. Given the proliferation of online channels and mobile devices, buyers can also make first contact with your brand in a variety of ways.
Customer journeys are complex and varied. Experienced marketers at leading brands know to design their digital marketing strategies to align well with their customer journeys. This allows them to deepen the customer relationship every step of the way, creating rich opportunities for engagement on the road to a sale.
11. Email Marketing
Email marketing is a massively popular marketing strategy that, in a nutshell, utilizes emails to generate measurable returns for business owners.
Marketing emails are typically sent to either current customers or to warm prospective leads who have previously expressed some level of interest in your product or service and have agreed to receive more information (this key distinction is what keeps your email from being considered spam). The high-level goal and entire point behind email marketing is to drive some type of business-benefiting action on the part of potential customers.
Email marketing is especially valuable for small business owners and managers because it allows them to reach their audience in a way that is direct, effective, and affordable.
12. Landing Page
Landing pages are website pages designed by marketers as part of specific online campaigns. Once a user has clicked on a call to action link (on a digital ad or social post or something along those lines), then the user is directed to a landing page where the marketers hope to entice them to take further action by providing more details and information about the offer they’re promoting.
Landing pages are an essential tool for any digital marketer because they are created to increase conversions and, ultimately, revenue. When used correctly, landing pages will be among the most important pages on your website as they provide the opportunity to inform and create value, build trust, and turn new visitors into warm leads.
13. Lead Capture
The process a marketer goes through in order to obtain contact information (including names, email addresses, titles, and other details) from website visitors is referred to as “lead capture.”
One key aspect of effective lead capture is to offer visitors something of value in return for their information. Often an eBook, whitepaper, or other industry resource is given in exchange for the visitor filling out a form to receive the content they’re interested in. This is considered the final step of the lead generation process for marketers because once a business receives this key contact information, the visitor is considered a new lead and can now be marketed to with relevant information about their product, services, and brand (also called lead nurturing).
14. Lead Generation
Lead generation (also called lead gen) is often the first step on a company’s sales funnel, and it can best be defined as the series of actions taken by a marketer or a business to generate prospect interest in your product or service with the goal of converting their initial interest into a new sale.
Leads can be generated by capturing potential customers’ contact information through channels including:
- Marketing emails
- Landing pages
- Social media marketing
- Special offers
- Webinars and digital events
The above represent just a sample of the many lead gen strategies marketers use to gain the attention of potential customers and capture their contact information. Businesses looking to implement a successful lead gen strategy should begin by experimenting with a new tactic or two at a time and then monitor and measure results.
Once you find what works for you, don’t be afraid to stick with it, as the effectiveness of lead generation strategy tends to vary across industries and specializations.
15. Lead Nurturing
While business owners and marketers would love it if every prospect entering the sales funnel was immediately ready to move on through and was fully prepared to buy, this isn’t always the case.
Often, leads will need to be educated, informed, and otherwise enticed in order to progress onward through the sales funnel. And that’s exactly where lead nurturing comes in! Lead nurturing is a term used to describe the process used by marketers to create strong relationships between businesses and brands and their target customers. This is done by providing value via content, information, entertainment, or other means that engage potential buyers and, when successful, culminate with a purchase at the end.
Lead nurturing works by sparking a prospect’s interest and, in doing so, it boosts the image of a product or service in their eyes. Even if the lead isn’t in the market quite yet, lead nurturing helps improve the odds that they’ll remember and return to a brand when they are ready to buy.
16. Marketing Automation
The digital marketing term marketing automation refers to software tools that allow users to drive more leads, convert those leads to sales, and optimize their spending.
Automation is designed to provide key marketing functions like customer segmentation, email automation, campaign management, analytics and reporting, and much more. Some platforms also offer tons of additional features, like landing page designers, blog builders, social media management tools, etc.
There are many types of marketing automation, but when used properly, all of them serve the purpose of connecting all of your marketing processes in one central place, so you can track what your leads are doing and send them hyper-personalized content at exactly the right moment through exactly the right medium.
With full visibility into what your leads are doing, you can more easily nurture them toward conversion.
MarTech (also referred to as a company’s MarTech stack) is short for marketing technology and is a term used to comprise the collective software tools and platforms marketers use to improve the overall effectiveness and efficiency of their marketing efforts.
A complete MarTech stack is often made up of a marketing automation platform, CRM, landing page and email builders, and social media tracking and listening tools.
A micro-moment (also referred to as “catch me in seconds”) is a digital marketing term for companies that have learned how to capitalize on those frequent instances we all encounter in our day-to-day lives where we need quick knowledge or help with something, and we inevitably reach for our phones for a helpful solution.
Anything as simple as checking movie times, comparing prices before an in-store purchase, looking up reviews for a local plumber, or researching a new recipe for dinner can serve as perfect micro-moment platforms for brands to utilize by serving up the perfect instant solution for potential customers.
The best brands capitalize on this trend by understanding what their customers want when they’re looking for quick answers in those micro-moments and then effectively crafting strategies to answer their customers’ key questions in real time.
19. Omni-Channel Marketing
Omni-channel marketing refers to an approach that prioritizes creating a seamless brand experience for customers wherever they are browsing and consuming content. When it comes to omnichannel marketing, the brands that deliver effective strategies are those that find ways to provide their prospects with consistent experiences in online, app-based, and brick-and-mortar platforms.
Always being where your customer is makes it easy to stay top of mind. If well-executed, these campaigns result in a personalized customer experience that drives more and more engagement with leads and customers.
20. Pay Per Click (PPC)
The digital marketing term Pay Per Click refers to the widespread practice in which advertisers are required to pay each time an online user clicks on one of their ads. PPC typically occurs via search engines (such as Google Ads), where advertisers bid on specific keywords that cause their ads to appear at the top of search engine results pages (SERPs) when users search for them.
PPC can be used to great effect for campaigns that aim to generate leads, boost sales, and increase brand awareness for a brand. With PPC, advertisers can display a targeted ad right at the moment a user is carrying out their search. For instance, if a user types in a search for “purple water bottles,” as an advertiser, you can show an ad exactly depicting the “purple water bottles” you have on offer.
21. Personalized Marketing
Personalized marketing is a digital marketing key term referring to strategies that involve targeting your messaging to a specific current or potential lead. Personalized marketing is carried out with the help of key data analysis and digital technology and commonly involves sending targeted personalized emails.
You may also hear personalized marketing referred to as “one-to-one marketing,” and the idea behind it is to be able to entirely customize your marketing messaging so that you are delivering the right content at the right time and meeting the needs of each individual lead. When personalized marketing is done well, recipients feel that they are receiving content and messaging that is truly valuable and relevant to their interests and needs.
22. Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Search engine optimization is the practice of increasing the quantity and quality of traffic to your website through organic search engine results.
Search engines use web bots, or crawlers, to scour web pages for data. Once gathered, this page information is fed through an algorithm, and through a wide variety of established ranking factors, your website receives a ranking.
In practice, SEO means attending to key ranking factors in order to get your business found online. Factors like the relevance of your content, how recently it was posted or updated, and even your page load speed can impact your search ranking.
The goal of SEO is to bring high volumes of quality traffic to your site. If Google perceives your site as valuable to users, you’ll be deemed relevant and therefore rank higher.
23. Social Media Profiling
A social media profile is a description of an individual lead’s social characteristics as identified through social media platforms such as LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram.
Social media profiling allows marketers to create targeted messaging that better speaks to their intended audience and connects with thought leaders and online communities.
24. Progressive Profiling
Progressive profiling is a term for the process of creating customer profiles slowly over time as they continually interact with your brand. This type of profiling is carried out by marketers via prompts and questions on subsequent form submissions to allow them to learn more about a current or potential customer.
Progressive profiling allows companies and brands to collect in-depth information about their prospects over time instead of potentially putting them off by asking too many questions on the front end. By coupling progressive profiling with the abilities offered via marketing automation, business owners and marketers can utilize the information they gather to then design more personalized experiences for leads who show an interest.
Knowledge is power with digital marketing terms and buzzwords
All of the top digital marketing buzzwords and terms outlined in this article are becoming more and more commonplace within the marketing industry as a whole. And that’s because they’re important! More than ever, data and measurement are determining which businesses succeed.
These terms reflect a shift towards the centrality of knowledge, personalization, and data in marketers’ lives. As technology becomes the cornerstone of the customer experience for both brands and buyers, language will continue to change to reflect what’s most current and most important.
Now that you have this list and understand these top digital marketing terms, you’re one step closer to speaking the language of today’s marketers — and many steps closer to digital marketing success.