Digital marketing terminology - cutting thought the jargon

Digital marketing terms all businesses need to know

In today’s fast-paced world of constant online chat, businesses need great digital marketing strategies to capture and keep their customers’ attention. With clients on the move and accessing their information and products via mobile or tablet – as well their usual computer – it’s vital for businesses to adapt their traditional marketing approach and bring it up to date.

With increased opportunity comes increased challenge, and for many, the ever increasing dictionary of digital marketing terms can be like a whole new foreign language that must be quickly mastered in order to keep up with the pace. The crucial point is that digital marketing is not just about reaching new audiences, but about measuring engagement so that ad campaigns can be effectively targeted and budgets don’t go through the roof.

With that in mind, here is my handy glossary of common digital marketing terms that crop up in a lot of my conversations with clients, both at Illustrate Digital and also during my freelance projects.

PPC – Pay Per Click

This is a method of internet marketing where advertisers pay a set amount each time their advert is clicked. This is what’s called a “bought visit” to your website as opposed to an “organic visit” – one where a customer enters a word or phrase into a search engine and clicks on a website link that has appeared as a result of the words entered.  As the name suggests, you pay a sum of money every time someone clicks on your advert.


AdWords is a service offered by Google and is a form of PPC advertising. AdWords targets adverts against specific searches in search engines.  When a prospective customer searches on Google, ads appear above the organic results in the top 3 positions, and also at the bottom, showing 3 more ads. Through the display network, Google also uses advertising space on thousands of websites who have signed up with Google to display Google ads on their sites.

SEO – Search Engine Optimisation

This is a hugely misunderstood technique in the digital marketing world.  SEO enables the growth of organic search engine results.  It involves elements of improving rankings, driving traffic and increasing awareness of the site across search engines. A good SEO strategy will mean that a business’s website will achieve a better ranking on search engine results pages for a wide range of search phrases. It should be noted that whilst I build all websites with SEO very much in mind, I’m not an SEO agency. I say that because I see multiple claims of this and that when it comes to SEO, but the fact is, any solo web developer who says they can get you to the top result on Google is lying – it’s difficult enough even for an SEO specialist team!

Responsive websites

Responsive website designs are sometimes also referred to as mobile-friendly designs and to a large extent the terms can be considered interchangeable.  Being ‘mobile friendly’ is a huge part of getting part of the SEO right for your website, since Google will mark your website down a notch or two for not being mobile friendly.  Responsive designs are simply a website design that will work well for your customer whether they are viewing it on a mobile screen, a tablet or on a laptop. The design ‘responds’ to how the customer is viewing it, making it a good experience for the user. All of the sites I built are built responsively, for that very reason.



A CMS is a “Content Management System”.  Most websites should be run on a Content Management System these days and if yours isn’t, then give me a call!  Once upon a time, websites were hand crafted page by page.  This quickly showed itself to be a problem when someone decided to make whole site changes such as to change the logo or the colour of the website. It also soon demonstrated that it was costly to always get a web professional to change small pieces of copy on one page, or to add a new news item. Content Management Systems allow you to edit the content of the pages of your website without touching the design, which also makes it easier and cheaper to keep your website up to date and in good order. WordPress is by far internet’s most popular CMS (powering over 27% of all websites online!), which is why I use it exclusively.


Hashtags and tagging

My generation has been raised with social media and so social media related phrases come naturally to us younger people. Hashtagging and tagging someone are two very different things though.   Hashtags are a word or a phrase preceded by the # symbol.  Introduced originally on Twitter to help people to filter out conversations on this platform, hashtags are now widely adopted on other social media websites such as Instagram.  They are also now considered to be marketing tools for getting a wider group of people to join in on a single conversation online.

Meanwhile, tagging someone is when you add your friends and connections on social media into a post so that they notice it in their notifications.  Widely used on Facebook and Twitter to cut through the noise on these two very busy websites.

LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter Ads

Just like Google, large social media websites also allow you to pay for ad space on their websites.  Because people are signed into social media, this makes it much easier to target audiences demographically.  After all, on Facebook you enter your date of birth, where you live, where you work, check into restaurants, bars, airports, cinemas and museums. This demographic information across everyone who has a Facebook account allows highly targeted advertising to take place.  Twitter and LinkedIn also target, although less specifically than Facebook.  When looking at advertising budgets, don’t discount social media advertising.

The Internet is not a mysterious force.  It is published by and then used by people, just like you and me. Therefore, when considering and planning a digital marketing strategy, it is always a mistake to forget that customers are still people who have the same characteristics as they do when they walk into your shop.  Your digital presence should be helpful and convey your marketing message quickly and effectively, but not bombard the customer with loud, shouty messages that will simply turn them away. I hope this article will help you navigate the constantly evolving digital world.  While it may seem different from that of previous business generations, you will soon come to realise that it is in many ways just the same.

Josh Bedford
WordPress Specialist and Developer. I like watching Formula 1, collecting vinyl, watching Louis Theroux documentaries and spending hours making Spotify playlists.