Harvard Media
Digital Marketing Glossary Blog header - woman on computer

In marketing, so many different terms are used every day to describe the job that is being done. With an industry that continues to evolve, it’s a challenge to keep up with it all. What do these terms actually mean? To help give you an idea and understanding, we have compiled a list of terms that are most commonly used at Harvard Media. 

    General Terms

      Content Marketing

      Focused on creating and distributing content that will attract and engage your audience. This should be done on a fairly consistent basis because it’s the bread and butter of upgrading your marketing.


      An analysis of data or statistics – this information can help pivot the success of companies’ online presence and decision-making.

        Search Engine Optimization (SEO) 

        Influencing a website’s visibility in an organic search engine, unpaid search results using backlinks, relevant keywords, publishing content, local listings, and more. 

        Search Engine Marketing (SEM)

        Internet marketing involves promotion by increasing the viability of search engine results. This is done through optimization and paid advertising. 

          Paid Media

          Used to promote paid content in order to drive new traffic to your website or business. This is used for branding, to promote transactions, etc.

          Owned Media

          Media you own, have control over and are unique to your brand. This includes websites, social media, blogs, etc. 

            Earned Media

            Is media exposure gained organically through methods other than paid advertising.  This is generally done through press releases to the media, word of mouth, etc. 

            Return on Investment (ROI)

            A ratio that evaluates profitability and efficiency by measuring the benefit a company gains from the investment. 


              Promote products or services through different channels and platforms – they do not solely rely on advertising. The channels and platforms can include TV, print, radio, and social media

              Content Audit

              An examination of how existing content is performing, which can lead to adjustments to increase the performance. Audits can be conducted on both websites and social media platforms. 

                Call to Action (CTA)

                An instruction to prompt users to take a specific action that aligns with the campaign or business goal. CTA can be Learn More, Sign Up, Buy Now, Message Us, etc. 

                Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) 

                Quantifiable metrics a company uses to evaluate its performance against its specific goals. 

                  Digital Platform Terminology

                    Budget Icon - HMI


                    The total amount of money you’re willing to spend on ads each day, month, or over the lifetime of your scheduled ad. This is an estimate for the cost. 

                    Clicks Icon HMI


                    When someone clicks your ad and is led to the landing page. The number of clicks directly correlates to the clickthrough rate, in which we base the success of some ads. 

                    Cost Icon HMI


                    The sum of money you’ve spent on your ads during its schedule. This may deviate slightly from the budget for pay-per-click ads.

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                    Landing Page

                    A website link that the ad will lead a user to. It’s essential that a landing page has important information to ensure the lowest cost per click and a high-quality score.

                    PPC Pay Par Click Icon HMI

                    Pay Per Click (PPC)

                    Advertisers pay a publisher (like Google) every time an ad link is clicked. It’s important that businesses do not frequently click on their own ads. 

                    Impressions Icon HMI


                    The number of times an ad was shown (impressions) to the number of people (reach). In most cases, the reach is lower because a person can see an ad more than once.

                    Big Strategy Icon HMI

                    Bid Strategy

                    The way we get Facebook, Instagram, and Google to bid in the ad auction based on your cost goals and your optimization for ad delivery. 

                    CTR Icon HMI

                    Clickthrough Rate

                    CTR measures how often people click your ad. This is calculated by dividing the number of clicks by the number of times your ad is shown (impressions). 

                    Conversions Icon HMI


                    Shows you what happens after a customer clicks your ads. This includes product purchases, newsletter sign-up, phone calls, or app downloads.  

                    Organic Leads Icon HMI

                    Organic Lead

                    A user who uses a search engine to find your company, rather than directly using the URL or clicking a PPC ad. These users often don’t know about your products or services before conducting an online search. 

                    Interaction Icon HMI


                    The main action associated with an ad. This includes clicks for text, product shopping ads, views for video ads, and more. 

                    AB Testing Icon HMI

                    A/B Testing

                    A process of showing two variations of a specific element, such as a website, ad copy, or graphic, to determine which variant will drive more conversions.

                    93% of online interactions start with search engines

                    Google Terms

                      Search Ads

                      A text ad that shows up in Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs). These ads must follow ad quality standards and are rewarded for high-quality landing pages, keywords, etc. 


                      Words or phrases that are used to match your ads with the terms people are searching for.  

                      Quality Score 

                      An estimate of the quality of your ads, keywords, and landing pages. Higher quality ads and landing page content lead to lower prices and better ad positions. Google is a stickler for ensuring the user gets the best experience online when they click an ad or visit your site organically.

                      Responsive Search Ads

                      A dynamic search ad that adjusts headlines and descriptions in real-time depending on what the consumer is searching for. Options can have up to 15 headlines and 4 descriptions.

                      Video Terms


                        Views are counted when a person watches a video for five seconds or more. 

                        Bumper Ad

                        Unskippable video ad played at the beginning or middle of a video. Bumpers must be six seconds or less and hosted on YouTube. 


                        Skippable ads are short in-stream video ads that play before, during, or after another video. Viewers have the option to skip your ad. 

                        Watch Rate

                        The number of times your video was watched at 25 percent,  50 percent, 75 percent, 95 percent, or 100 percent of its length. 

                        Website Terms

                          Pages Per Session

                          The average number of pages viewed during a session by one user. Repeated views of a single page are counted. This information is useful to determine the usefulness of your site.


                          Average Session Duration

                          The average length of a session.  Quite literally, how much time someone spends on your website for each visit.


                          The period of time a user is actively engaged with your website, app, etc. All usage data is associated with a session. Usage data includes screen viewers, events, e-commerce, etc. 


                          New vs Returning Users

                          The number of first-time users to the website during the selected date range versus those who have visited the website previously.  This indicates your online presence growth.

                          Conversion Rate

                          The percentage of users who complete an action on a website. This includes downloading content, filling out forms, etc. 


                          Bounce Rate

                          A bounce is when a user lands on your site/page, does not interact and leaves. Bounce rate is the percentage of single-page sessions in which there was no interaction with the page. 


                          A hyperlink from one web page to a different website or web page. 



                          The total number of pages viewed. Repeated views of a single page are counted. 

                          We’re Here to Help.

                          Like we said, marketing is complex. If any of this doesn’t make sense to you, we are happy to help!

                          Contact us today to learn more about marketing solutions that’ll take you and your company to the next level.