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Marketing Terminology Acronyms (or MTAs)

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acronyms of common business, digital and marketing terms

Acronyms for Marketing, Website Design and SEO

Yes, to be honest that acronym in the title I made up myself. I wonder if it will catch on.

In all areas of business and marketing from strategy, content and websites, to publishing and analysis, a great deal of specialised terminology is used. As often as not customers are uncertain of the primary meaning of these marketing terms even before they get shortened into acronyms.

This post is here to present this (by no means definitive) list of business jargon and marketing acronyms, and a short explanation of their meanings. It is simply a basic dictionary of marketing terms for when someone asks “what does xyz mean?“.


Marketing acronyms

B2B – Business to Business

Business to Business refers to any form of commercial transaction between businesses only. This would be the exchange of products, services or information between one business and another and intended for business usage. This is as opposed to Business to Consumer (See B2C).

B2C – Business to Consumer

Business to Consumer describes any form of transactions between a business and an end consumer. This would cover the sale or provision of information, products or services intended for personal use. The alternative to this would be Business to Business (See B2B).

BR – Bounce Rate

Bounce Rate relates to users visiting your website. It refers to the number of visitors that view multiple pages on your website versus those that only view a single page before exiting. It is typically described as a percentage value of total visitors vs those that only view a single page. A high bounce rate is not normally considered a good thing.

CCA – Content Creative Agency

A full service creative and digital marketing agency. Great people to work with.

CPA – Cost Per Action

Cost Per Action, also referred to as Cost Per Acquisition is a pricing model for online advertising. The advertiser pays for a specific result (or action) from the viewer whether that be clicking a link, submitting a form or completing a sale. CPA also incorporates Cost Per Click (See CPC) and Cost Per Lead (See CPL) models.

CPC – Cost Per Click

Cost Per Click is a form of online advertising where the advertiser pays for a click through a link. The most well-known version of this form of advertising would be Google Adwords, but also appears on other networks including Amazon, Linkedin and Facebook.

CPL – Cost Per Lead

In Cost Per Lead campaigns, payment is made for the acquisition of contact details of people interested in the advertisers goods or services. This could be in the form of email addresses for a newsletter, or phone numbers and names for follow-up calls.

CR – Conversion Rate

The Conversion Rate is the proportion of people that simply browse a web page versus those that take a specific action. This action can be anything from joining a newsletter to making a purchase. Enhancing conversion rates is usually a good way to boost profitability of a business (See CRO).

CRO – Conversion Rate Optimisation

Conversion Rate Optimisation involves a systematic approach to increasing the number of website page visitors who complete a specified action. Whilst the specified action is often the completion of a sale, it can also be things such as joining a newsletter or filling in a form. Many CRO techniques involve amending the written text or layout of a website page to prompt users into action. The optimisation of conversion rates benefits businesses as its purpose is to increase the number of sales (or actions taken) without needing to increase the volume of visitors.

CTA – Call To Action

A Call To Action is a phrase aimed at prompting viewers into an immediate response or action. A very simple example of CTA statement would be “Buy Now!”, however long Call to Actions can work very well. The language of a CTA should include strong action verbs to direct customers as to the action they should take.

CTR – Click Through Rate

The Click Through Rate is the proportion of visitors to a website page who click on a specific link. It is typically described as a percentage or ratio of total page visitors, to those who clicked the specified link. CTR is primarily used as a metric for success of online advertising campaigns.

CX – Customer Experience

Customer Experience refers to the complete journey a customer has with a company from initial brand contact through to after sales support. This includes direct interactions such as enquiries or purchases, as well as indirect interactions such as marketing and advertising materials. Customer Experience is a combination of the actions a business takes and the reactions and feedback a customer makes. A good CX involves managing a customer’s expectations, and delivering the experience they expect.

DM – Direct Mail, or Direct Messaging

Direct Mail involves the delivery of a physical piece of marketing material such as brochures, catalogues or postcards (amongst others). This usually takes place by means of the postal service, or letterbox drops.

Direct Messaging involves the sending of a private communication between the sender and another user of a social media network. Most often referred to with Twitter, however other networks including Facebook, Instagram and Linkedin have this functionality.

FAQ – Frequently Asked Questions

FAQs are an excellent way for businesses to answer a set of questions that customers commonly ask. They are usually found on websites and are helpful in providing better information to customers and saving time for the business.

GA – Google Analytics

Google Analytics is a free software service provided by Google that allows for the monitoring and measurement of website traffic. It provides statistical and reporting tools that aid in analysing and actioning steps to improve website performance.

KPI – Key Performance Indicators

Key Performance Indicators are measurable values that are used to determine the performance of a business against important goals. KPIs can be used to measure anything from individual campaigns to overall business success.

NPS – Net Promoter Score

The Net Promotor Score is a tool used to gauge the level of satisfaction and loyalty between a business and it’s customers. The NPS is based upon answers to the question “How likely is it that you would recommend our company to a friend or colleague?”. Criticism for this method has been brought that due to its brevity the NPS fails to consider customer behaviours and the reasons for their responses.

PPC – Pay Per Click

Pay Per Click is a model for internet advertising. Also referred to as Cost Per Click (See CPC), the most commonly known delivery method is Google Adwords.

PR – PageRank, or Public Relations

PageRank is an algorithm created by Google that analyses website links for the purpose of determining relevance an importance. Whilst PR has a bearing on search rankings, it is not the only algorithm known to be used in ordering search results.

Public Relations refers to the efforts in creating and maintaining goodwill between a business and the public. PR is usually done through publicity and free media rather than paid marketing and advertising.

PV – Page View

A Page View counts as a single visit to a website page. If a page was reloaded or returned to from another page, it would count as an additional Page View. PV is used as one metric for visitors to a website.

QR Code – Quick Response Code

QR Codes are a little like barcodes. They are machine-readable codes designed to hold information, however a QR code can contain considerably more information than a barcode. QR code information, such as contact details or a website address, can currently be captured through many smartphone cameras. This makes QR codes potentially useful for some mobile marketing strategies.

ROI – Return On Investment

The Return On Investment is a measurement of the benefit gained from an investment against its initial cost. In marketing it is a simple way of determining the effectiveness of a campaign or process. The higher the ROI, the better the results. For marketing, ROI is calculated with the formula; ROI = (campaign sales – cost of marketing) / cost of marketing.

SEM – Search Engine Marketing

Search Engine Marketing refers to the promotion of websites by increasing their appearance on search result pages (See SERP). This is mainly done through paid search advertising such as Pay Per Click (See PPC or CPC). This is different than having website appear in natural or organic search results (See SEO).

SEO – Search Engine Optimisation

Search Engine Optimisation is the process of improving the volume and quality of website traffic delivered through organic search results. SEO involves a range of techniques and tactics from fixing structural website problems through to building connections with other websites and businesses. SEO is also one of the techniques used in local search marketing.

SERP – Search Engine Results Page

When a person enters a query through a search engine such as Google or Bing (or any other), the responses to that query are delivered on the Search Engine Results Page. For website marketing purposes it is generally more beneficial to have your website appear on the first SERP, and closer to the top position. This is part of the goal of Search Engine Optimisation (See SEO).

SWOT – Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats

SWOT analysis is a basic strategic planning framework to help a business determine its Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats. By identifying these elements a business is able to foresee potential problems or opportunities before they arise, and deal with them appropriately.

UI – User Interface

The User Interface is the human-facing side of an interaction between a person and a machine. Having a well-designed UI delivers benefits including reduced human error, clarity of purpose, and the ability to prompt users to take specific actions.

USP – Unique Selling Proposition

Unique Selling Proposition is a catchphrase of marketing and sales companies around the world. The USP is meant to highlight a unique point-of-difference for a business, product or service. It is a way for businesses to differentiate themselves from competitors, which is always useful in marketing.

UV – Unique Visitor

Unique Visitor is a website metric where visitors to a site are counted only once during a reporting period. This is regardless of the number of pages they visit or actions they take on the website. Measurements are typically made by recording a visitors IP address (See IP address).

UX – User eXperience

User Experience is a subset of Customer Experience (See CX). UX typically deals with the experience a customer has when interacting with a business product or service.

WOM – Word Of Mouth

Word-of-mouth is considered the Holy Grail of marketing and promotional goals. It refers to the personal recommendation of a business from a satisfied customer. Word-of-mouth can be either verbal recommendations or written recommendations. The power of a personal referral will boost your business reputation and beat paid promotion almost every time.


Social Media acronyms

FB – Facebook

Pretty unusual that you wouldn’t have heard of Facebook. Still the largest social network in the world. Facebook can be very useful in some social media marketing campaigns.

G+ – Google+

Google+ or Google Plus was the social network setup by Google to compete with Facebook. As of August 2019 the consumer side of the G+ network will be shutting down.

LI – Linkedin

Linkedin is the largest professional network in the world. It is aimed more at people making connections in their working lives rather than their social lives. Linkedin marketing can be useful when promoting business product or services (See B2B) as opposed to retail.

RT – Retweet

Twitter terminology meaning the reposting of a tweet. This is a method for sharing other people’s posts. Using RT at the beginning of a tweet is also a non-official method for alerting followers that you are retweeting.

SM – Social Media

Social Media is a range of online community-based communications platforms that allow users to share, collaborate, message and network. Beyond the most commonly known SM networks there are a host of other platforms available, each with its own flavour. Blogging platforms such as Tumblr and Reddit, photo sharing such as Pinterest and Instagram, or event platforms such as Meetup.

SMM – Social Media Marketing

Social Media Marketing cover a range of online marketing techniques used to create brand, product and business awareness. Typical methods include the development of social profiles on known social networks, as well as the creation of shareable content. SMM is also used to aid in the increased appearance of your website in search engine results (See SEO).

SMO – Social Media Optimisation

Social Media Optimisation is the process of optimising your website to promote social media sharing. Similar in many ways to Search Engine Optimisation (See SEO), its main purpose is to drive traffic back to your website.

YT – YouTube

YouTube is a video sharing platform owned by Google. Video content can be uploaded, viewed, shared and commented on. It also allows the creation of “channels” from where collections of videos can be managed and subscribed to.


Technical acronyms

API – Application Programming Interface

Application Programming Interfaces are libraries of programming code and specifications that allow different computer software systems to communicate and transfer data with each other. They are a little like a restaurants order counter, where an order goes in and food comes out. At no point do the customers or the cooks actually need to cross paths.

CSS – Cascading Style Sheets

Cascading Style Sheets are a method for describing the appearance of information on a website. CSS can be used to describe fonts, tables, layouts, colours and more. The other benefit to CSS is the ability to easily make changes site-wide rather than having to edit each page. CSS is one of the three backbones of the modern internet (strange beast, I know) along with HTML and Javascript.

CMS – Content Management System

At the heart of most modern websites is a software application known as a Content Management System. The CMS allows for easier creation and management of digital assets and content. Most CMSs also provide additional security, user control, and a reduction in the technical knowledge required to operate a website. When building websites for our clients, our CMS of choice is WordPress.

DAM – Digital Asset Management

A Digital Asset Management system is a tool for storing, organising and retrieving digital assets. A good DAM can manage a wide variety of file formats from business documents through to rich media such as photography, video and audio files. A Digital Asset Management system is in essence, another form of Content Management System (See CMS).

DNS – Domain Name System

DNS servers are where alphabetical website names (See URL) are matched with the location of the servers that hold the files (See IP address). This system is known as “name resolution” and without it you would need to type the IP address directly into a browser to access a website.

ESP – Email Service Provider

In general an Email Service Provider is a company that provides email services. More specifically for marketing ESP can refer to a company that provides bulk marketing email services.

HTML – Hyper-Text Markup Language

HTML is one of the three backbones to the internet, along with Cascading Style Sheets (See CSS) and Javascript. HTML is a text-based programming language that tells web browsers how to display written content and media assets on a webpage.

HTTP – Hyper Text Transfer Protocol

HTTP is the standardised method of transferring data between your browser and the website you are viewing. It’s protocols determine the specific actions that should take place when a browser or server are given certain commands. You may have noticed that “http://” or “https://” appear at the beginning of a web address in the top bar of your browser.

HTTPS – Hyper Text Transfer Protocol Secure

HTTPS operates in a similar way to HTTP above, except that all communications are encrypted. This prevent hackers from gaining useable information if they are able to intercept communications between browser and server. This is especially important if they intercept form data such as credit card numbers or personal details.

IP Address – Internet Protocol Address

The IP address system is the process by which two computers communicating with each other know where to send their data. An IP address often refers to a physical location at which exists either your own computer, or the one it is speaking with. It does get somewhat more complicated, so go here to learn more about IP addresses.

ISP – Internet Service Provider

An Internet Service Provider is a company or organisation that provides access to the internet. A user connects to their ISP via a modem, and from there can be connected to the wider internet.

IT – Information Technology

Computers and stuff.

SaaS – Software as a Service

Software as a Service is a licensing model where the software application is provided online rather than being installed locally. SaaS is typically offered as a subscription model rather than a one-off purchase. Pros for this model are rolling access to new features and fast delivery of updates. Cons are the ongoing cost and lack of services without an internet access.

URL – Uniform Resource Locator

Also commonly known as a web address, a URL references a web page, document or media asset on the internet. It is a link to the computer server that stores the searched for information or resource. The resource is found by way of the Domain Name System (See DNS). Confused yet?

WWW – World Wide Web

Often shortened to just “the Web”, the World Wide Web is an information space where documents and information can be access via the internet. Resources on the Web are identified by a Uniform Resource Locator (See URL) and joined by hypertext links.


General but useful business acronyms

CEO – Chief Executive Officer

As the top person in a company, the CEO is ultimately responsible for the operation and performance of that business.

CIO – Chief Information Officer

The Chief Information Officer is the business executive responsible for Information Technology (See IT) and computer systems within a company.

NSFW – Not Safe For Work

Not Safe For Work generally refers to content that is better viewed in private, or at least not in the workplace. Basically if it is something you could get fired, or a warning for getting caught viewing at work, it is NSFW.

SMB – Small to Medium Business

In Australia, a Small Business is classified by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) as one with up to 20 employees. A Medium Business is one with 21 – 200 employees. Other jurisdictions around the world will have slightly differing classifications.


As previously mentioned this glossary is not meant to be a definitive list (although we have tried to be thorough). There are also many, many terms used in marketing which are not reduced to acronyms. If you are interested in learning more of these try visiting this glossary of terms.

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Ben learned many of his lessons as a visual communicator in the dark, old days of film, but loves the opportunities and potential of applying his experience with the technologies that have emerged in the digital age. His breadth of knowledge and experience from web development to search and social allow him to lead his team in providing a holistic and comprehensive service to clients.

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