Glossary of Online Marketing Terms

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Glossary of Online Marketing Terms

Adsense is the name of Google's paid advertising program for web publishers. It is the counterpart to its Adwords program for web advertisers.

Adware is advertising supported software which automatically plays, displays or downloads advertisements to a computer.

Adwords is the name of Google's CPC program for web advertisers. It is the counterpart to it's Adsense program for web publishers.

An Advertiser on the web is conceptually similar to an advertiser in traditional media - someone who individually or as an organization promotes their product or services through a public medium. However, the mechanisms of advertisng online, as well as the organizational capabilities needed for success, are quite different. Advertisers love the web because the results from the dollars they spend online are much more measurable than in traditional media. However, advertising online requires a very different mindset as the web is a conversational medium and ads cannot interrupt that conversation, especially as social media becomes an increasingly large part of the web's focus and content.

Advertising Network
An Advertising Network is an intermediary that sits between advertisers and publishers. The network sells inventory on the publishers' web properties to advertisers. The advertising network can consist of a few or thousands of publishers. The terms under which an advertiser may buy space vary greatly between networks, as does the control advertisers have to chose the specific web properties on which they desire to advertise.

An Affiliate is a website which links back to an e-commerce site such as (which was the first to use the concept) with the goal of making a commission for referred sales. The term is somewhat related to the broadcasting industry (especially in North America), where a network affiliate (or affiliated station) is a local broadcaster which carries some or all of the program line-up of a television or radio network, but is owned by a company other than the owner of the network.

Affiliate Marketing
The creation and use of marketing programs for a network of affiliates. The parallel is channel marketing through an indirect sales channel in traditional physical world sales.

Affiliate Network
An Affiliate Network is a company that acts as market maker between advertisers who need affiliates and publishers who wish to earn revenue as affiliates. There are hundreds of these networks, the largest of which are Commission Junction and Linksys.

Alt Tags
Alt Tags are hypertext tags that are attached to content (e.g. images) and hypertext links. The alt attribute is used in HTML and XHTML documents to specify text that is to be rendered when the element to which it is applied cannot be rendered. Search engines use the tags as another indicator of the purpose/content focus of a page and of the page to which it is linked. Thus SEO experts leverage these tags as part of a site's search engine optimization.

AOL Email
AOL is mainly known as an ISP and for its front end proprietary client software which was one of the earliest interfaces to the world wide web (and which has now been supplanted by html front ends). However AOL has a more critical role for email marketers, as it is a major backbone for web traffic and thus email traffic. AOL has very strict spam controls on its network, and their front end makes it incredibly easy to report spam abuse. As a result, AOL is the first and primary vendor with whom you can be blacklisted when sending bulk emails. Once blacklisted, it is extremely difficult to clear your IP address(es) from that list, and the size of AOLs email traffic effectively prevents you from doing any email marketing.

The AOL guidelines and standards for email publishers are all collected here. AOL also has an "Enhanced White List" to which bulk mailers may subscribe to avoid blacklisting. See AOL's Enhanced Whitelist.

Attitudinal Segmentation
Attitudinal Segmentation categorizes target customer groups by a shared set of attitudes they maintain about the world they live in, people, products, or services.

Automated Bid Management System
An Automated Bid Management System is a software tool that will continuously monitor bids and performance for CPC campaigns and automatically adjust bids for specific keywords based on specific goals, such as avg cost/click, avg position on page, etc.

Banner Ads
A Banner Ad is an embedded advertisement in a web page. It is intended to attract traffic to a website by linking to the website of the advertiser. Banner Ads are usually an image (gif, jpeg, png), JavaScript program or multimedia object constructed with Silverlight, Java, Shockwave or Flash, often employing animation, sound, or video to maximize presence. Images are usually in a high-aspect ratio shape (i.e. either wide and short, or tall and narrow) hence the reference to banners. These were the earliest, dominant form of online advertising using a cost per thousand impressions (CPM) model until the economic downturn in 2001. At that point, Google introduced Adwords, based on a cost per click (CPC) model that has become the more dominant ad type and pricing model. Several types of banner advertising have also moved to the CPC model, although CPM still dominates the banner ad world.

Behavioral Segmentation
Behavioral Segmentation groups target or existing customers by their behavior. Behavioral segmentation can categorize individuals by either specific behaviors or general behaviors, depending on how detailed the segmentation needs to be.

Bid-Based Advertising
Bid-Based Advertising is a form on online advertising in which an advertiser makes a bid for an available slot on a publisher's site or within a bid-based network. The position of the ad on the page, or whether it is displayed at all, is determined by how the bid compares to other advertisers who are bidding for the space at the same time. Google's Adwords program is one form of bid-based advertising. Many other networks have bid-based advertising programs. Examples include vertical search engine and the online directory

Blacklists are maintained by email providers and spam filters of email spammers that prevent them from sending email across the Internet. One common mechanism for implementing blacklists is a DNS Blacklist. A DNS Blacklist, or DNSBL, is used by an Internet site to publish lists of IP addresses that should be avoided. The technology is built upon the Internet Domain Name System, or DNS. DNSBLs are chiefly used to publish lists of addresses linked to spamming. Most mail transport agent (mail server) software can be configured to reject or flag messages which have been sent from a site listed on one or more such lists.

A web log. Usually maintained by an individual to record on-going, or near real-time activities or thoughts. Often includes images and video. Like an online diary.

Bounce Rate
Two uses. 1. The percentage of visitors to a site that visit a first page and immediately leave the site. 2. The percentage of emails from an e-mailing that never reach their intended recipient (usually due to the fact the email address is no longer valid).

A Brand is the promise made by a product or service. It consists of many elements, including product or service features, ancillary services (e.g. technical support), values espoused by the company, words and images the company associates with its businesses, and the media it uses to communicate about itself. The brand, when delivered, must meet the "expectation of the brand" (the mental model) in customers' minds. If it is does not, customers will lose trust in the brand and devalue it.

Brand Ladder
A Brand Ladder is a tool used by marketers to express the features of a brand.

Brand Reach
Brand Reach is the number of individuals exposed to a brand or product in a given period.

The CAN-SPAM Act of 2003 (15 U.S.C. 7701, et seq., Public Law No. 108-187, was S.877 of the 108th United States Congress) was signed into law by President George W. Bush on December 16, 2003. It establishes US standards for the sending of commercial email and requires the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to enforce its provisions. The acronym CAN-SPAM derives from the bill's full name: Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography And Marketing Act of 2003, and is also a double entendre around spam.

Click Fraud
Under the CPC model, Click Fraud occurs when a publisher generates fake clicks solely for the purpose of inflating revenues earned from advertisers. e.g. by having a person sit in the office and click on Google Ads that appear on the publisher's site. Click fraud can also be caused under other scenarios, e,g. by a competitor, who by clicking on an advertiser's CPC ads causes the advertiser to pay for ads that will never generate revenue.

Click-Through Rate
The Click-Through Rate, or CTR, is a measure of audience receptiveness to an online ad or email. Click-Through Rate is the percentage of people that click on an ad or email N(c) divided by the total number of impressions N(p). CTR = N(c)/N(p).

A Cohort is a group of objects or individuals being studied in a statistical research program that share one or more common characteristics.

Conjoint Analysis
Conjoint analysis, also called multi-attribute compositional models or stated preference analysis, is a market research technique in which research participants are required to make a series of trade-offs. Analysis of these trade-offs reveals the relative importance of the features or attributes that are being compared. Conjoint analysis has traditionally been carried out using some form of multiple regression, but in recent years a more probablistic approach using Bayesian analysis has become more prevalent..

Consumer Research
Market research that focuses on defining attitudes, behaviors, preferences, or other characteristics of consumer cohorts.

From the perspective of SEO, content is any text, images, flash, and video that can potentially be spidered by a search engine web spider.

Content Quality
Two meanings. 1. Whether the writing, images, video, or flash on a web page meets generally accepted standards of semantics, style, and grammer. 2. From an SEO perspective, whether or not the content on a web page follows best practices for getting high search engine rankings on the desired keyword.

Contextual Advertising
Contextual Advertising is a form of targeted advertising in which the advertisements themselves are selected and served by automated systems based on the content displayed to the user. A contextual advertising system scans the text of a website for keywords and returns advertisements to the webpage based on what the user's viewing context.

Conversion Rate
Conversion Rate is the number of people who buy a product or service from a specific offer, divided by the number of people to whom the offer was presented (impressions). CR = N(b)/N(t) where N(b) equals the number of buyers and N(t) is the namber of impressions solicited to the offer. On the web, conversion rate often measures conversion from one page to another, or from a specific page to a purchase (on an ecommerce site).

Cookie Stuffing
Cookie Stuffing is a blackhat online marketing technique used to generate fraudulent affiliate sales. It involves placing an affiliate tracking cookie on a website visitor's computer without their knowledge, As a result, the affected user generates fraudulent affiliate sales when they visit the target publisher's site and either creates an account or makes a purchase (depending on the terms of the affiliate agreement).

Cost Per Acquisition (CPA)
A payment mechanism that pays web publishers when they deliver an actual sale to an advertiser that advertised on their site. Also known as Pay for Performance, CPA is the most common form of payment mechanism used in affiliate programs.

Cost Per Click (CPC)
A payment mechanism that pays a publisher every time someone clicks on an advertisement appearing on the publisher's website. see also Pay Per Click

Cost Per Lead (CPL)
A payment mechanisism that pays a publisher every time his website, email, or landing page delivers a lead to the advertiser.

Cost Per Thousand (CPM)
Cost Per Thousand is a payment mechanism by which a publisher is paid by an advertiser for every thousand times an ad is presented on their website. This model is most similar to the more traditional print, radio, and tv advertising models and is the payment mechanism that has the most business risk. Under this model, the only performance promise made by the publisher is to show the ad in an agreed-to location on the website. If no one ever clicks on the ad, the publisher is still paid.

Cost Per Order (CPO)
See Cost Per Acqusition.

see Web Spider

Crisis Public Relations
Crisis Public Relations is another name for the immediate triage response of a public relations team to a significant event that has an large negative impact on a company's, brand's, or person's reputation.

Customer Relationship Management System
A system used to manage any or all customer facing activities, including pre-sales, sales, post-sales, and customer service.

Customer Segmentation
Customer Segmentation is the act of categorizing a group of prospective or actual buyers into subgroups based upon some set of common criteria that those buyers share. Segmentation is often done on demographic, psychographic, geographic, behavioral, or attitudinal characteristics.

Database Marketing
Database Marketing is the use of databases to determine target recipients to receive an offer. An email or direct mail campaign would almost always be considered a form of database marketing. What distinguishes database marketing from other forms of marketing is the fact that sophisticated analytic tools are applied to databases containing large amounts of data about individuals backgrounds and buying behaviors. These analytics cross-tabulate data in myriad ways to find the customer segments most likely to respond to a specific offer from the advertiser.

Data Mart
A Data Mart is a company whose main business is collecting large amounts of data about individuals, their backgrounds, their attitudes, and their behavior and selling that data, as well as their analytic services, to companies who wish to better understand their customers and/or make offers to those customers. Data marts can collect both personally identifiable information (PII) or data for which the specific person is not known.

A web directory or link directory is a web site that specializes in linking to other websites. Directory categorization is usually based on the web site overall rather than one page or a set of keywords. Sites are often limited to inclusion in only a few categories. Web directories often allow site owners to directly submit their site for inclusion, and have editors review submissions for fitness. The two most well-known directories are Yahoo! Directory (which was the first directory developed) and the directory of the Open Directory Project, also known as DMOZ.

Directory Submission
A submission of a web site, its address, and description to a directory that allows submission by site owners.

Display Advertising
Display advertising is a form of online advertising where an advertiser uses graphics, pictures, or other artwork as part of the ad. Banner ads are the most common form of display advertising, enough so that the two terms - banner advertising and display advertising - are used interchangeably.

DMOZ is an abbreviation for, which is the directory of the Open Directory Project (ODP). It is a multi-lingual, open content directory of World Wide Web links owned by Netscape. It is constructed and maintained by a community of volunteer editors. DMOZ is very difficult to get into, but very worthwhile as it propogates its entries to numerous other directories.

Earnings Per Hundred Clicks
Earnings Per Hundred Clicks, also known as EPC, is the ultimate test to tell which of the affiliates you're promoting is performing the best. For example, is an affiliate program that pays $100 commission better than a program that pays $5 commission? EPC is a way of better understanding the business value of the relationship. EPC is calculated by dividing the commission generated by an affiliate C(a) by the the number of clicks N(c), so that EPC = C(a)/N(c)

Focus Group
A Focus Group is a number of people brought together into a small group setting for the purpose of researching some aspect of their attitudes or behavior. A focus group allows researchers to interact directly with cohorts or customer segments and to probe individuals on a much deeper basis than can be accomplished with a survey vehicle.

Frequency is the number of times a member of a marketing cohort receives an impression for a specific product or brand within a specific period.

An Index is a structure within a database that speeds retrieval of information from the database. When applied to the content on the web, an index collects, parses, and stores critical information about any web page crawled by a search engine web spider to allow fast and accurate information retrieval.

Integrated Online Presence
Integrated Online Presence (IOP) is a OnlineMatters developed term describing an approach to internet- and multi-channel marketing. IOP focuses on creating a holistic presence for a brand and/or product on the World Wide Web that maximizes both reach and frequency of impressions to specific and well-understood customer segments.

Interactive Advertising
Interactive Advertising is a term that describes a form of ad on a publisher website with which the viewer can perform an action that causes the ad to respond. Adwords and other CPC programs are one form, clickable banner ads are another. There are also interactive ads that only respond upon mouse rollover but are not clickable.

A Keyword is an index term, subject term, subject heading, or descriptor, in information retrieval. Keywords are used by search engines to determine relevance of entries in their indices to a specific query.

Keyword Density
Keyword Density is a measure of the number of repetitions of a keyword on a web page. Keyword density is often one of the key metrics used by search engine optimization specialists to determine if a page is optimized for a specific keyword.

Landing Page
A Landing Page is a content page on a website to which traffic is directed, either through paid search or email marketing.

Lead Nurturing
Lead Nurturing is a process by which leads are tracked and developed into sales opportunities. Lead nurturing usually begins with an unqualified lead (suspect) entered into a CRM system. The CRMS is then used to send offers to the suspect to which they respond. Leads are categorized based on their behaviors and subsequent offers are made based on that categorization. Leads either move into the next step in a sales process or are set aside for future development/nurturing.

Link Analysis
Link Analysis is the examination of links on a website to determine their effect on the site's rankings in the search engines. Link analysis covers both links into the site from other websites (inbound links), as well as links within a site (site cross-linking).

Link Building
Link Building is an active program that increases the number of inbound links into a web site or cross-linking within a web site in order to increase that site's placement in the search engine rankings for specific keywords.

Meta Tags
Meta Tags are HTML or XHTML elements used to provide structured metadata about a Web page. Such elements must be placed as tags in the head section of an HTML or XHTML document. Meta elements can be used to specify page description, keywords and any other metadata not provided through the other head elements and attributes.

MSN Adcenter
Microsoft's cost per click advertising program. Similar to Google Adwords

Multidimensional Scaling
Multidimensional scaling is a statistical approach for exploring and visualizing similarities or dissimilarities in data. An analysis based on multidimensional scaling starts with a matrix of item-item similarities, then assigns a location to each item in an N-dimensional space, where N is specified beforehand. In marketing, multidimensional scaling usually uses an N <=3, so that the resulting "map" may be displayed in a graph or 3D visualisation. Multidimensional scaling is often used to create a "preference map" that shows the tradeoffs between product features that a typical individual in a customer segment is willing to make.

Natural Language Search
Natural Language Search is a term describing the act of making a query, and the return of results from that query, to a web search engine. Natural language search refers especially to the list of results at the center of a web results page, as compared to any of the CPC ads that surround those results. Search Engine Optimization focuses on this aspect of web search, attempting to maximize both the relevance and precision of results to a specific query.

Open Directory Project
The Open Directory Project is a multilingual open content directory of World Wide Web links owned by Netscape that is constructed and maintained by a community of volunteer editors. ODP uses a hierarchical ontology scheme for organizing site listings. Listings on a similar topic are grouped into categories, which can then include smaller categories.

Open Rate
Open Rate is an email-marketing metric that is defined as the number of emails N(o) opened by receipients of a specific email campaign divided by the total number of emails sent N(t) or OR=N(o)/N(t).

Opt-in describes the status of an individual relative to email marketing programs of a specific email publisher. An opt-in is an individual who has given written permission to receive emails from that publisher.

Opt-out describes the status of an individual relative to email marketing programs of a specific email publisher. An opt-out is an individual who has specifically denied permission to receive emails from that publisher.

Organic Search
see Natural Language Search

Page Headers
A Page Header is the section of a web page that is contained within the <head> and </head> tags. Page headers contain general information, also called meta information, about a document that helps search engines identify the main topic or purpose of a web page.

An algorithm developed by Sergei Brin and Larry Page that measures the relevance of a particular web page to a specific query. The PageRank algorithm is the fundamental algorithm underlying the Google search engine.

Paid Inclusion
Paid Inclusion is a hybrid of natural language search and paid search that places natural search engine results at the top of a search results page independent of how that page would otherwise rank in the SERPs. This manipulation of ranking, and the actual placement of a specific result, is based on a fee paid to the search engine. Paid inclusion was an invention of Yahoo!, and they continue to be the main proponent of that product in the web search engines (as compared to shopping search engines, which often practice a form of paid inclusion). Paid inclusion is very controversial as it can often compete with a company's organic search results.

Paid Search
Paid Search is any form of online advertising that ties the presentation of an ad to a specific keyword-based search request.

Pay Per Click
Pay Per Click is a form of online advertising where advertisers pay a publisher when someone clicks on an ad presented on the publisher's website.

Permission-Based Marketing
Permission-Based Marketing is a term that describes marketing programs that only contact an individual who has given specific permission to have offers or other information presented to them. Permission-based marketing is usually used in relation to email marketing, where many unethical email publishers will send emails to a wide audience ("spam") without concern for whether the individual desires to receive the offer.

A Persona is model of a specific customer segment based on behaviors and attitudes. Personas are used to define audiences for which products and marketing programs should be targeted.

Another acronym for Cost Per Acquisition (CPA).

Another acronym for Cost-Per-Click (CPC).

Another acronym for Cost Per Order (CPO).

Precision is the fraction of search results returned in a SERP by a search query that are relevant to the information need. In an ideal world, a search has 100% precision, which means that it finds all relevant entries in the database, and no more than those entries.

Primary Research
Primary Research is market research that directly engages with the target customer segments or cohorts in order to collect needed data for analysis. One form of primary research is focus groups.

A publisher is anyone who produces a website for public viewing/consumption.

Quality Score is a variable used by Google, Yahoo! (called Quality Index), and MSN that can influence both the rank and cost per click (CPC) of ads in their bid-based advertising programs. To determine the order in which ads are listed, each ad has the following formula calculated: bid * Quality Score. Ads are then listed in descending order based on the result of that equation.

see Brand Reach

Relevance is the fraction of entries in a database that meet the information needs of s specific query.

Reputation Management
Reputation Management is a relatively new public relations specialty that focuses on managing brand, product, or personal perceptions through an active, near real-time program of conscious engagement in social media outlets.

SB 1386
SB 1386 stands for California State Bill 1386, which is a California law that regulates the use of personal identifiable information. The law was introduced by California State Senator Peace on February 12, 2002, and became operative July 1, 2003. SB 1386 requires an agency, person or business that conducts business in California and owns or licenses computerized 'personal information' to disclose any breach of security (to any resident whose unencrypted data is believed to have been disclosed).

Search Engine
A Search Engine is an information retrieval technology that returns a set of relevant results from a database based on a specific query on the database.

Search Engine Consultants
An individual or firm that specializes in one or more forms of online marketing that ties to a query on a specific keyword by a search engine.

Search Engine Index
see Index

Search Engine Marketing
Search Engine Marketing refers to any form of paid advertising that ties the presentation of an advertisement to a search by a web search engine on a specific keyword. see also Paid Search

Search Engine Optimization
Search Engine optimization, or SEO, is the science of adapting web sites so that their pages show at the highest possible position in the search engine results page for a specific keyword or keywords.

Search Engine Results Page
A Search Engine Results Page, or SERP, is the list of results returned against a specific query on a web index like Google or Yahoo!

Search Marketing
see Search Engine Marketing

Secondary Research
Secondary Research describes the collection of data for analysis that is based on the research of others - i.e. where information about a cohort or market trend is derived from second-hand sources such as third-party research or magazine articles.

see Search Engine Marketing

see Search Engine Optimization

An abbreviation for Search Engine Results Page

Social Bookmarking
Social Bookmarking is the act of tagging a specific web page for inclusion on a social bookmarking website. In a social bookmarking system, users save links to web pages that they want to remember and/or share. These bookmarks are usually public, and can be saved privately, shared only with specified people or groups, shared only inside certain networks, or another combination of public and private domains. The allowed people can usually view these bookmarks chronologically, by category or tags, or via a search engine.

Social Media
Social media is any form of online publication or presence that allows end users to engage in multi-directional conversations in or around the content on the website.

Social Network
A Social Network is a website, or network of websites, specifically established to allow end users to communicate directly with each other on topics of mutual interest.

The terms Spam is most often used to define email sent without permission to a vast, unfiltered audience. Spam can take many forms. Although it is most often associated porn sites and offers from online pharmacies, spam can be considered any form of email sent without permission, e.g. when a company sends a new kind of newsletter to a customer who has given permission only to receive a completely different newsletter

Supression List
A suppression list is a database of email addresses of individuals who have opted-out from receiving emails from a specific email publisher. Maintaining a single up-to-date supression list can be a real challenge for firms that engage in email campaigns through multiple third-party distributors (e.g. affiliates). Even if affiliates conform to all legal standards, their processes may make it difficult to synchronize suppression lists within the times periods needed by a mass emailer to maintain a current suppression list for the next planned mailing

Within the field of information retrieval, tagging is the act of actively assigning keywords to a document, whether in a database or on the worldwide web. Tagging can be done programmatically or manually. In the case of the world wide web, tagging often means social bookmarking, which is a manual act performed by members of a social network of assigning specific keywords to a web page to make the content on the page easier to find by other members of the social network.

Text Link Ads
Text Link Ads are simple paid advertisements consisting only of text. The business model for vairous text link ad networks varies, and can be cost-per-click (CPC), Cost-per-Thousand (CPM), Cost-Per-Acquisition (CPA or Pay for Performance), or Cost per Lead (CPL).

Title Tag
Title Tags are meta tags within the header of an XHTML document that define the title of the page that will appear in the browser toolbar. The title element is required in all HTML/XHTML documents.

Unsubscribing is the act of removing oneself from an email publishers opt-in list. Also known as opting out. Unsubscribe is also the most common word shown in links to landing pages that allow opting out for a specific publication. The unsubscribe link is a required element under most anti-spam laws, such as SB 1386, and can usually be found in small text at the bottom of any email.

User Experience Testing

Viral Marketing
see Word-of-Mouth Marketing

Web Metrics
Web metrics are established goals and standards for measuring website performance. There are standard metrics in online marketing (e.g. conversion rate) which are often used by web marketers to provide a baseline of website performance. However, more savvy companies develop web metrics unique to their business to help the, achieve a sustainable competitive advantage in their industry.

Web Spider
A Web Spider is software that follows links, either on a specific site or across the web, Web spiders catalog the data contained within the pages to which those links point. This data is then analyzed and used to create the search indices which are used to speed search queries.

A webinar is a seminar that is presented through the worldwide web.

Website Analytics
Web analytics has two meanings. 1. The tasks associated with analyzing activity on a website. 2. Softare or services used to perform analysis of activity on with a website. Web analytics covers a wide range of analysis, including (among others) sources of traffic, internal flows within a site, and revenue generated with various parts of these site.

Website Architecture
Website Architecture structure of the flows,links and metadata associated with a web site.

Website Audit
A review of the performance of a website against online marketing best practices. The concept of a website audit is most often aasociated with Search Engine Optimization, but also is often applied to any aspect of online marketing.

Website Traffic
Two definitions. 1. The number of unique visitors to a website. 2. The total number of visits to a website.

A whitelist is the list of email addresses of individuals who have given specific permission to a publisher to receive emails for the publisher.

Word-of-Mouth Marketing
Word-of-Mouth marketing is the act of creating programs specifically designed to initiate and maintain broad public discussion of a brand, product, or issue. This differs from the traditional concept of word-of-mouth, which has the implication that people refer other individuals to a business without the active intervention of that individual or business.

Yahoo Search Marketing
Yahoo!'s cost per click advertising program. Similar to Google Adwords.