Digital Advertising Terms ‘Un-Sucked’

By Amanda Korth, Digital Advertising Manager

Published: February 13, 2016

“The next time you feel the need to reach out, touch base, shift a paradigm, leverage a best practice or join a tiger team, by all means do it. Just don’t say you’re doing it.” You’ve likely heard it all. Whether sitting in meetings, subject to a sales pitch, or standing around the water cooler, you cringe at the first mention of any annoying, pretentious and useless buzzwords.

But when it comes to talking about your digital advertising results, the ones meant to drive business objectives and influence sales, the latest buzzwords or jargon are a cop out for reporting on ‘vanity metrics’ and avoiding the communication of a clear return on investment. Usually, because there isn’t one to communicate.

Jargon masks real meaning. So if you’re really trying to cut through the clutter and tell a clear impactful story around digital advertising, maybe it’s time to try something new: plain English.

Here are the top digital advertising buzzwords, what they actually mean, and why some of them don’t even matter.

A/B Testing – Testing different versions of an ad to see which performs better. Constant refinement and testing allows for continued advertising improvement.

Behavioral Targeting – Display advertising that targets users based on previous behaviors online. This allows for ads to be more relevant to the user as they are based on previous browsing history.

Call to Action (CTA) – The specific message of an ad that drives a user to click. Example CTAs include: Order Now, Download Today, Learn More, Start Saving, etc.

Click Through Rate (CTR) – The percentage of people who click an ad versus those who have seen the ad. The industry average CTR is typically between 0.20% and 0.30%, Envano clients have seen up to .6 – +1% click through rates.

Clicks – The top metric to determine how much traffic an ad has driven. Clicks measure the number of visitors to your website from the campaign.

Contextual Targeting – Targeting that is based on the content of the current page.  If you are reading a fitness article, a contextual ad might highlight running shoes or a gym membership.

Conversion Rate – Each website should set at least one goal to measure how users flow through the site. Conversions include sales, a visit to a location page, a PDF download, or a video view. Whatever you set as a goal/conversion, the conversion rate is the percentage of users who complete that goal. This is crucial to measuring effectiveness of different campaigns.

Cost Per Click (CPC) – The amount of money it costs to get one click to your website.  This is an average found by dividing total dollars spent by total clicks.  This metric can be tempting to use as the best indicator of a successful campaign but low cost traffic doesn’t necessarily equal quality traffic.

Cost Per Lead – Certain campaigns are designed to generate sales leads. The cost to acquire these leads is determined by taking total campaign cost and dividing by the number of leads generated.

Cost Per Thousand (CPM) – Cost per thousand impressions. This is an industry standard term to indicate the cost of showing 1,000 ads.  Standard costs can range anywhere from $2 to over $20 depending on network and ad type.

Display Advertising – Graphical ads that are used to generate campaign awareness and clicks to site.

Geo-fencing – Small areas around a specific geographic location used to target ads, send mobile alerts, or track specific actions.

Impressions – Measure of how many times users see an ad. Each instance is an impression. Contrary to popular belief, impressions are not an ideal metric to benchmark success against. At Envano, impressions are considered ‘vanity metrics.’ Vanity metrics are easily manipulated, and do not necessarily correlate to the numbers that really matter: active users, engagement, the cost of getting new customers, and ultimately revenues and profits. The latter are more actionable metrics.

Pay Per Click (PPC) – Many forms of digital advertising are billed on a pay per click basis. You are only charged for the ad when a user clicks on it.

Reach – The number of unique people who see your advertising across platforms. Always balance reach with frequency to provide the greatest impact.

Remarketing – When a user visits your site you can place a tracking mechanism in their browser that allows you to target them with specific advertising after they leave your site. This can be a simple ad that you show anyone who visits any page of your site or a specific ad customized to the page they visited.

Need help navigating digital advertising jargon and a sea of ‘vanity metrics?’ Fill out our contact form and let’s chat!