What’s “SEM”? 23 Digital Marketing Terms Explained

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Have you ever had a discussion with a digital marketing expert and had no idea what they were talking about?

Every profession has its jargon, including digital marketing and public relations. When not explained properly, jargon can be exclusive. It’s the opposite of easy-to-follow communication, which is what we should all strive towards.

However, many digital marketing experts continue to use jargon. To help you feel more confident when talking to these individuals, I’ve created the below glossary of digital marketing and public relations terms.

23 Digital Marketing And PR Terms

General Digital/Content Marketing Terms

Inbound marketing
Popularized by HubSpot, inbound marketing is a digital marketing and public relations methodology that champions the development of online content to attract customers. Inbound marketing is the opposite of traditional marketing, which seeks to disrupt potential consumers through the use of ads, spam mail and commercials.

CTA
CTA stands for call to action. The ideal CTA in digital marketing and public relations will encourage a person to take that extra step in the “buying” process. CTAs often appear as hyperlinks, downloads and/or buttons, and may include action words like “Donate Now!”, “Click here for more information” or “DOWNLOAD THE FULL REPORT!”. The success of a CTA is often measured by its CTR (see below).

CTR
CTR (or clickthrough rate) is a common term in digital marketing that examines the percentage of online visitors who click on a call to action. For example, a website headline that is seen by 1,000 people and clicked by 155 of them would have a CTR of 15.5%.

Newsjacking
According to marketing strategist David Meerman Scott, “newsjacking” is the process by which you inject your ideas or angles into breaking news, in real-time, in order to generate media coverage for yourself or your business.

Lead
In sales, a lead is considered a potential customer (i.e., someone who has shown interest in a service by subscribing to an email list.) In the non-profit world, a the definition of a lead can be expanded to include a potential volunteer or donor.

Lead generation
Lead generation is the practice of acquiring leads (emails). In the advocacy non-profit world, leads can typically be acquired by having potential supporters submit their emails to subscribe to a newsletter, sign a pledge, participate in a webinar, etc.

Landing page
A landing page is a webpage used to generate leads (i.e. email addresses). A typical landing page will include a lead form, which is used to collect emails in exchange for an offering such as a free download.

Infographic
An infographic is essentially informational content in picture form. An infographic is structurally similar to a blog post, though with less text.

Search Marketing Terms

SEO
SEO (or search engine optimization) is the practice of organically enhancing your website so that your webpages rank higher in search engine results. Keyword development and link building are components of SEO.

SEA
SEA (or search engine advertising) is the online advertising of your website so that your website and online offerings place higher in search engine results. Google Ads is a popular search engine advertising platform.

SEM
SEM (or search engine marketing) is the practice of enhancing your website, both organically and paid, so that your webpages rank higher in search engine results. SEM combines both SEO and SEA.

Keywords
In public relations and branding, keywords are used to help your organization drive a message and connect with an audience. In search engine optimization, keywords are the most relevant words in your web content. When used appropriately, these words – which are often the same as your brand keywords – will help drive search traffic.

PPC
PPC (or pay per click) is an online advertising model that takes into account the amount of money spent per ad click.

Email Marketing Terms

Open rate
In email marketing, the open rate is the percentage of an email campaign’s recipients who opened your email.

CASL
CASL (short for Canada’s anti-spam legislation) is a law that protects Canadians from spam emails. As a result of CASL, companies and organizations must now include an “opt-in” for all commercial emails, text messages and instant messaging.

Opt-in
Before people sign up to receive your emails, they must first opt-in. In Canada under CASL, subscribers must manually opt-in to receive emails.

Personalize
In email marketing, to personalize an email is to customize it to specific targets within your audience. Email personalization can apply to content, targeting and analytics/measurement.

Social Media Marketing Terms

Impression
In social media marketing, particularly for Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, an impression represents a single view of your post.

Hashtag
A social media hashtag, specifically for Twitter and Facebook, is an identifying tag used to categorize and market your post.

Livestreaming
Livestreaming is a live broadcast. Livestreaming social apps, which include Twitter-owned Periscope and Meerkat, allow users to send out live broadcasts through their mobile phones and are highly interactive.

Digital Analytics Terms

Conversion rate
Conversion rate is the percentage of online visitors who take a preferred course of action. This preferred action may include clicking on a call to action.

Macro conversion
In digital analytics, a macro conversion is a conversion that is directly tied to your business/organizational objectives. For example, if your objective is to sell tickets for an event, then your macro conversion would be the number of people who purchased tickets as a result of your marketing efforts.

Micro conversion
In digital analytics, a micro conversion is a conversion that is indirectly tied to your business/organizational objectives. Using the same example above, a micro conversion may include the number of people who chose to “Read more” about your event, thus demonstrating their interest.

Did you find this glossary of digital marketing terms helpful? Would you like to amend this list? Let’s discuss in the comments section below!

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