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Combating Digital Bias: Digital Marketing Terms 101

Updated: Jul 27, 2022

Marketing can be filled with, what seems like, heaps of jargon, leading to confusion, gatekeeping and an over-exhaustion of time. We’re here to demystify the terms you’ll come across during your marketing journey by providing education and resources, empowering you to own your company’s marketing plan.


Search Engine Optimization (SEO): A way to optimize your website and content, to ensure visibility across search engines like Google and Bing.

Search engines help people find products and services. To garner potential customers, business owners should strive to rank in the top three pages of search results, to increase the chances of website visibility. Search engines “crawl” a site to evaluate and index the site’s relevancy, trust and authority. A successful SEO plan leverages onsite and offsite factors that your business can implement to garner more relevance, trust and authority to rank higher on search engine results. One note to keep in mind, SEO targets unpaid traffic compared to paid or direct traffic.


Search Engine Marketing (SEM): A marketing strategy to increase page visibility on the search engine result pages, promoted by paid advertising.

Unlike SEO, SEM utilizes advertising dollars to boost a webpage’s visibility and ranking on search engines. The post is paid (otherwise known as “paid search”) to be visible to the targeted audience identified as best suited to engage with the campaign's ad, usually based on interest.

This form of marketing is leveraged to increase ad visibility by garnering your website a higher positioning in attributed search results. Since SEM is backed by paid advertising, businesses can track how well the ad campaign performs and adjust strategies accordingly to improve ad performance. SEM is used to increase traffic (from the targeted audience) to a specific landing page, in hopes of customers or viewers taking action on the webpage or engaging with the content.

Marketing Funnel

Marketing Funnel: This describes a customer's journey, from first learning about a business's product/service, to making a purchase (or conversion), to displayed loyalty or advocacy of the company or brand.

When first introducing a product, brand or service, it is essential to focus on the top of the funnel, awareness. Potential customers won’t purchase purposefully from you if they aren’t familiar with your product, brand or service. By driving awareness, you feed your marketing funnel, grow each following stage of the funnel and ultimately drive long-term conversions.

  1. Awareness - The customer is introduced and educated about your business and its products or services.

  2. Consideration - The customer weighs the information they have about your business after gaining more insight and comparing it to competitor options.

  3. Conversion - The customer completes a purchase or desired action.

  4. Loyalty - The customer displays long-term retention tendencies and lifetime loyalty.


Engagement: The measurement of comments, likes, retweets, saves, video views, shares, etc. performed by a user on social content. Engagement encompasses the total number of times a person takes action on a social media post.

There’s a reason why this term is used in nearly every digital marketing conversation. Engagement provides insight into how well the content or campaign is performing with viewers. A brand wants to implement ads on YouTube videos, to gain more traffic to their website? They'll use engagement metrics to track how viewers are interacting with the ad and evaluate the efficacy of the ad placement and content.

To resonate with the audience, the ad needs to be engaging enough that the audience either stays interested throughout the video or likes, subscribes or clicks through the ad. Businesses have the opportunity to take a look at the analytics to determine how the video ad can improve based on the performance metrics.

Want more viewership on your posts? There's an unwritten rule in social media: the more engagement a brand has with its followers, friends or viewers, the more a social network rewards the user with an increased advantage within the platform’s algorithm, increasing post and account viewership.


Shadow-ban: A block from a social media site or online forum without the owner’s knowledge, typically by making a site or user’s posts and comments no longer visible to other users.

With growing tension on social platforms regarding freedom of speech and censorship, shadow-banning is rising. Social media platforms like Instagram and Facebook have come under fire for reducing the visibility of social accounts that post and share content around social and political issues, specifically posts discussing race, identity, anti-capitalism and social justice.

See the steps below to verify your account status on Instagram.

It’s important to note that shadowbanning can happen to accounts that don’t disobey community guidelines. There’s a level of digital bias impacting accounts that share content related to anti-racism, sexism, anti-capitalism, etc., which can also lead to related posts being shadow-banned. Most of the time, these platforms don’t notify the account that they are being shadowbanned, but there will be a drastic decrease in engagement and visibility. Stay tuned for our next blog post, where we expand more on the topic of shadow-banning.


Below are some additional commonly used terms in the digital marketing space.

Paid Media

A/B Test - Split run test, two different versions of a campaign, with a variable difference, that are tested and measured for effectiveness

Ad extension - A feature on ads allowing advertisers to include additional pieces of information, including price, links, ratings, etc

Call to action (CTA) - A prompt on a website or ad that directs the user to take a specific action

Click-through rate (CTR) - The percentage of people who saw an ad and performed a click

Conversion - A user who performs the intended action when visiting a website

Conversion rate optimization (CRO) - Improving the percentage of website visitors who complete an intended action

Cost per action (CPA) - Converting by taking the intended action = The total ad spend / total number of users

Cost per click (CPC) - A particular way of billing advertisers for a campaign, based on the number of times a user clicks on an ad

Destination URL - The URL assigned to an ad’s landing page

Event tracking - A recorded trail of all interactions taken on a website from a site visitor

Google Ads - An interface that allows users to create and monitor Google Search, Youtube, Display and Shopping ad campaigns

Impressions- The number of times a post or ad was seen

Key performance indicator (KPI) - A business’s goal and benchmark for success.

Landing Page - The webpage a user is directed to from an ad or link

Pages per session - The number of times a user visits a page per session = the website’s total page views / total number of sessions

Pay-per-click (PPC) - When advertisers pay each time a user clicks on the ad

Retargeting - Connecting with users who’ve taken a previous action with your brand, such as visiting your site, signing up for your newsletter or engaging with your social channels

Return on ad spend (ROAS) - Revenue attributable to an ad divided by the cost of the ad

Return on investment (ROI) - Measure of profit based on a campaign’s performance, ROI = (Revenue - Cost of goods sold) / Cost of goods sold

Target Audience - A specific group of consumers who are more likely to engage with a specific product or service

Urchin tracking module (UTM) - Simple code attached to a UR, allowing a business to track and generate analytics via Google Analytics

SEO (Search Engine Optimization)

Alt text - Text in the HTML code describing an image

Backlink - Links from other websites that direct to the site (also called inbound links)

Black Hat SEO - SEO tactics intended to game the system through spammy, malicious or deceptive behavior in an attempt to increase rankings at the expense of the user (opposite of White Hat)

Bounce rate - A measure based on the percentage of visitors who pivots after viewing the page only once

Broken links - Non-existent web page

Domain Authority - Search engine ranking score that measures the success of a site’s visibility when being searched

Google Analytics - A Google-owned platform that collects information about web users and allows webmasters to see how users arrived, engaged and behaved on a site

Google Business Profile Manager - (formerly Google My Business) A tool for businesses and organizations to manage their online local presence across Google

Google Search Console - A tool offered by Google to help maintain, monitor and troubleshoot a site’s presence in the Google Search results

Google Tag Manager - A tool offered by Google that allows users to easily manage and install multiple tags (or snippets of code) on a website from one account

Header tags - HTML element that is used to designate headings on a web page

Meta Description - HTML markup that allows users to see a snippet of a web page (max 160 characters)

Negative Backlinks - Link associated with a spam-like, irrelevant or artificial source

PageRank - Google’s method of ranking web pages within the search engine results page on placement level

Page speed - A measurement of loading page speed

Pixel - Snippets of a code attached to a webpage to gather information on the site’s visitors

Query - Words typed into the search bar

SERP - Search engines results pages such as Google or Microsoft Bing

Site sessions - A series of interactions a user has taken on a website within a time frame

Search volume - The number of times that a keyword was searched, typically measured monthly

Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) Certificate - A digital certificate that signifies your website is secure

Title tag - HTML code tag that allows a page to have a title, also the header of text that appears on the SERP (also known as meta title)

Traffic - Visits to a website

White Hat SEO - SEO tactics that put users first by following the recommended search engine guidelines, while maintaining the integrity of a website, to achieve higher rankings (opposite of Black Hat)

Social Media

Boosted post - Assigning a set amount of dollars behind an existing, organic social post for a set duration to increase its reach

Comment- A user’s response to a social media post

Follower - A user subscribing to another user’s content

Follower Growth Rate - (# of followers at the end date - # of followers at the start date) / followers on the start date * 100

Impression - The number of times a post or ad was seen

Like - An option for users to click in order to express interest in the content

Save - An option for users to archive other user’s content

Share - An option for users to send content to another user

Reach - The number of unique users that saw a post or ad

Link Clicks - The number of clicks on links within a post or ad

View Rate - (Views / impressions) * 100

Defining Metrics by Channel

Engagements - The number of times someone took action on a post or platform

Facebook - Clicks, shares, likes, reactions, comments, saves

Instagram - Likes, comments, shares, saves

Pinterest - Saves, likes, clicks

TikTok - Plays, comments, duets, likes

Engagement Rate - Total engagements / followers * 100

Industry Benchmarks

FB: 0.10%

IG: 1.22%

Digital marketing strategies can be complex and multi-faceted, making it more difficult for business owners to manage their marketing plan in-house, and that’s why agencies like Avenue exist, to help make digital marketing more accessible for businesses of all sizes to navigate. The Avenue team is committed to democratizing the digital landscape by sharing our experience and knowledge with our community and doing our part to combat digital bias within these platforms. Follow along to gain more insight!

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