Social media, marketing and digital marketing terms and definitions without all the hype.
A: Advertorial to Avatar
Paid advertising that contains editorial-like content.
Affinity and Affinity Groups
People with similar interests who congregate in one place, like in chat rooms, on discussion boards or on social networks. A community of people sharing a common culture.
An organization that creates collections of feeds.
Generally a formula used to solve a math or computing problem, and used by search engines to rank results. The calculation takes into account many factors, like where keywords appear and inbound links to a website. Google's algorithm includes more than 200 parameters to determine how a page ranks in search results.
API (Application Programming Interface)
An API allows one software application to interact with another. They include instructions for software developers, defining how information needs to be exchanged between them. An API may specify routines, data structures, object classes and protocols. These instructions are often found in the “developer toolkit” found on a software company’s website.
An image used to represent a computer user; often used as a replacement for a photo.
B: Badge to Browser
A graphic image or icon provided by a social site to represent a membership, accomplishment or other behavior.
Bizographics (AKA firmographics)
Similar to demographics, which are the characteristics of an individual, bizographics define an organization and the people who fall within a target profile.
A small computer program used to search the Web automatically.
Software used to read Web pages; popular versions include: Chrome, Firefox, Flock (integrates social tools), Internet Explorer, Opera and Safari.
C: Channel to Crowdsource
Organizations involved in getting a product to market, from supplier to manufacturer to distributor to wholesaler to retailer, and anyone in between. May also be used to define the medium used to convey information, as in a communications channel.
A small icon indicating the availability of an RSS feed; typically found on a blog or Web page.
An overabundance of advertising messages that obscures a specific message.
CMS (Content Management System)
Software used for storing, controlling, revising, and publishing websites. One of the most popular is Wordpress.
Any type of printed materials used for marketing, such as business cards, brochures, sales sheets, fliers, etc.
Column Inches (CI)
A typical unit of measure for newspapers. A CI is one column wide by one inch high. In the U.S., newspapers are six columns wide with a standard column width of about 1 and 13/16 inches.
In computing, a small piece of text stored on a user's computer by a web browser; may identify user preferences, shopping cart contents, session information, or other data used by websites. Each time a browser connects with a website’s server, a cookie is sent to the browser. Cookies may be used to track users as they visit various sites. Users can choose to accept or reject them, although rejecting cookies can render some sites unusable. Some shopping carts or login systems, for example, require cookies to work properly.
A promotional code, digital voucher or printed certificate that provides a buyer with a discount. If you're wondering if you should use them to promote your business, read Coupons for Marketing: Pros, Cons and Tips
The idea that a group of people can do a job typically done by an employee or contractor. On the Web, an open request is made and anyone can respond. May be used for brainstorming, market research, design or to carry out particular tasks.
D: Dashboard to Downstream
An interface that makes it easy to manage data from several sources by bringing it into one place. Dashboards may be used to show website traffic statistics or feeds from several social sites. Cyfe is a good example.
In marketing, it’s what sets a business apart from the competition. Differentiation value may be found in products and services, pricing, distribution or the way a business promotes itself and provides a strategic advantage.
Download (also see Upload)
Transferring a file to a computer.
Downstream (also see Upstream)
The sites a visitor goes to next after visiting a website.
When a bit of code is injected into a Web page for the purpose of placing content, like a video or slideshow. Applications, like widgets, may be embedded, too.
F: Favorite to Folksonomy
Either a browser bookmark saved as a shortcut to a website; or an object someone saves to their profile on a social site, as in favorite people, videos or articles.
Often associated with RSS. Publishers create feeds to share their content as it’s updated. Subscribers to the feed read it using a feed reader or newsreader. A feed reader is software that aggregates content into one place for easy viewing. The user subscribes to a feed by entering the feed’s URL or by clicking an RSS icon. The reader then updates the feeds as new information is published.
Folksonomy (AKA, collaborative tagging, social classification, social indexing, and social tagging)
A system used to create and manage tags to organize content.
Gadget (also see Widget)
A small bit of code placed on a website to perform a specific, novelty function.
H: Halo Effect to HTML
The perception someone has of something or someone based on the context within which they experience it.
A word or words (no spaces) with the symbol “#” in front of it. Used on Twitter to identify Tweets related to a specific topic.
Host (AKA Web Host)
A service that runs Internet servers, which provide the means for delivering content to the Internet. Other services may include email, ecommerce functionality and website builders.
HTML (HyperText Markup Language)
The main language and coding scheme used to create Web pages. It consists of tags (not to be confused with keyword tags) that determine how a page should look. The format of a tag is <object>. For example, the tag for placing an image is <img>.
I: to IP Address
The appearance of an advertisement on a Web page.
Remember when products used to rely on celebrity endorsements; like a famous actor who played a doctor on TV boosting medical products? Well, times have changed a bit, but the idea is the same. Get someone who has a following, usually one on social media, to talk about your product. That following may be a long list of Twitter followers, a popular blog, or a Pinterest Board getting loads of attention. They may actually be a real expert, but they don't have to be as long as their social media profiles are of a significant size. At the beginning of the "influencer" craze you could probably get them to talk about you for nothing, now many are requiring you to pay — just like an endorsement in the olden days.
IP Address (Internet Protocol Address)
A number representing a device accessing the Internet and its virtual location. The typical format is: 123.45.678.910
Words used to search for information online. Authors may anticipate the keywords searchers use, and create one, two or three word phrases to include in their content so they may be located. Learn more about how keywords are used for Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
L: Lifestreaming to Lurk
An online tool that aggregates all social interactions into one place.
Content that is created for the purpose of attracting other websites to link to it.
Hanging out on a social site without being identified.
M: Marketing Strategy to MSA
Strategy is a matter of charting your course between a beginning and an end point. You need to know where you are now (current status), and then determine where you need to go (objective). The strategy should be efficient and effective. A marketing strategy may be comprehensive in that it considers the whole business model. Or it may address a specific area of marketing, such as a pricing strategy, distribution strategy, campaign strategy or social media marketing strategy. Every marketing activity should be based on a strategic plan to make the most of a marketing budget. Marketing strategies have many core components, including target audience, positioning, brand identity, messaging, budget and schedule.
A web page or application that combines data or functionality not usually found together from two or more outside sources to create a new service. For example, it’s common to combine maps with neighborhood information.
HTML or XHTML element providing additional information about a Web page. It’s placed at the top of the page, but is hidden from view of the website visitor. Can be used to provide a page description, keywords or other information not included in other attributes. At one point, metatags were significant in achieving optimal search engine results, but this isn’t the case anymore. Other characteristics like incoming links from related high traffic websites, quantity and quality of content, functional links, viewer traffic, time spent on a site, content relevance and freshness have become more significant in determining rank.
MSA (Metropolitan Statistical Area)
U.S. government classification for a free-standing urban area.
Transmitting information to a select group of recipients, like sending an email newsletter to a customer list.
O: Organic Search to Out-of-Home
Results shown on search engines based on relevance to terms or keywords, rather than on pay-per-click advertising.
Advertising that reaches someone anywhere outside the home, such as billboards, shopping carts, digital signs, etc.
P: Pagerank to Property
Google’s linking algorithm for ranking the relative importance of websites on a scale from 1-10. It’s based on the number of credible inbound links a site has. A site’s PageRank helps determine where a site appears in Google search results.
A type of digital advertising where the advertiser pays when an ad is selected by clicking on it.
A type of advertising where the advertiser only pays for measurable results, like a sale.
Common to blogging, a URL that remains unchanged and points to a specific blog or forum entry, even after it is no longer current. They’re useful, because people often want to link to particular content or articles. When Web content was static, all links were permanent. Now, with so much content delivered dynamically, there arose a need for fixed URL’s. Many, but not all, blogging systems support them.
When used in user-centered design and marketing, it's a collection of characteristics that define a website visitor. Sometimes a persona is given an actual name to make it easier for website creators to develop content that targets a certain type of visitor. Characteristics may include where they're from, a psychographic and behavioral profile, and demographics. In addition, they may be defined by characteristics related to using particular devices (like mobile phones) or technologies (like websites).
A mechanism through which a blog notifies a server that its content has been updated. For example, pingomatic let’s search engines know when a blog has been updated. Ping.fm is used to update social networks.
Plugin (AKA add-in, add-on, snap-in, and sometimes extension)
A computer program that interacts with an application, such as a Web browser, to provide specific functionality.
A digital media file, or series of files, residing at a unique web feed address and distributed over the internet for playback on portable media players or computers. The term is a combination of “broadcast” and “pod.”
A website organizing and presenting information from many sources in a consistent way. Web portals offer other services, such as Web mail, news, financial reporting and more.
The place an entity (person, product, service or organization) occupies in a prospect’s mind, and specifically in relation to competitors for similar products or services.
A digital entity, such as a website, blog, email signature, Facebook Page or social network, “owned” by their creators.
What your prospects and customers think and care about; defined by personality, values, opinions, attitudes, interests and lifestyles.
Q: Qualified Leads
Prospects who have an interest in purchasing a business’s products or services. Usually fit a predefined target profile.
R: Retweet to RSS
To share a Twitter post.
RSS (Really Simple Syndication)
A way for authors to publish frequently updated works —such as blog entries, news headlines, audio, and video—in a standardized format known as XML. XML allows the information to be repurposed for many different formats and programs known as feeds. Readers can subscribe to them to stay informed as information is updated, or to bring information into one place, as on a dashboard. RSS feeds can be read using a feed reader on the Web, a computer or mobile device.
S: Search Bots to Switching Cost
Method used to define prospects along selected characteristics and similar behaviors. It’s a practical way to target more precisely, but not have to implement separate marketing approaches for each individual.
SEM (Search Engine Marketing)
Any type of Internet marketing designed to increase website visibility on search engine results pages (SERPs).
SEO (Search Engine Optimization)
Increasing the likelihood that a website will appear favorably on a search engine results page by building it to accommodate the way these search engines look for information. Learn more about SEO
SERP (Search Engine Results Page)
The Web page produced by a search engine when a visitor uses words to find information.
Server (AKA Web server)
A computer that delivers Web pages and other services, like email, streaming audio or instant messaging, after a request is made from a browser.
Session (AKA User Session)
Period in which a user (with a unique IP address) interacts with a website.
A term coined in the book, Social Persuasion, it's interactive opportunities on a website where a visitor may participate or add information for free, and therefore take advantage of it for promotional purposes. May include: directories, Q&A’s, blog comments, press release posts, etc.
A mobile phone with the addition of computer-like capabilities, like email and the ability to access the Internet.
Value derived from social network connections.
When someone uses their online social network to get information, like advice, recommendations or referrals.
Spider (AKA Web Crawler)
A type of bot that browses the Web in a methodical, automated manner called Web crawling or spidering. Specifically used by search engines to stay updated.
When a website visitor returns to a site repeatedly, views several pages or stays for a certain length of time. It’s one way to measure the value of social media.
What a user has to give up to change to a new social site.
T: Tag to Tweet
Words a participant can add to their comments or content which make them searchable. Many sites allow users to select from a list of pre-existing words or to add their own.
Tag Cloud (AKA Word Cloud)
A group of words graphically represented, which appear on many social sites. The size and color of the words reflect how often they’re used in the social content of a site. They’re often clickable, which makes them useful for viewing popular topics.
Telecommunities (AKA Video Villages)
Groups of people who surf and comment on the Web while simultaneously watching television.
A small image that represents a larger one. Typically is clickable to another page, image or photo album.
A trackback allows Web authors to see who is referencing their material. A computer essentially sends a request from Site A to Site B, known as a “ping.” When Site B receives the ping, it automatically goes back to Site A to check for the particular link. If the link exists, it’s recorded.
An event that gets a prospect thinking about about making a purchase.
A Twitter message or post.
U: USP to URL
Unique Selling Proposition (USP)
A marketing concept referring to a combination of attributes, such as the chosen niche, competencies, products and services, that set a business apart from other ones.
Transferring a file to a computer.
Upstream (also see downstream)
Websites visited before the current site the visitor is on.
URL (Universal Resource Locator)
The address of a Web page AKA www.domain name.ext (.com, .edu, .org, etc.)
V: Value Proposition to Vlog
The benefit a business claims they will bring to people in their target market.
Speed at which information spreads from one website to another, its direction, and if it’s rising or falling, can indicate how relevant, useful, popular or viral it is.
Measures the number of people who share some bit of information or a story, where it’s being shared and who’s getting it. Indicates how relevant or important it is to these people and their networks.
A blog that primarily features videos.
W: Web 2.0 to Widget
Database-driven web applications, or websites that let you do stuff or more than just a brochure-ware website.
A tool used for creating websites, which comes in two forms. One is desktop software created specifically for that purpose, such as Adobe Dreamweaver. More common today are builders provided by hosting companies, such as Weebly or Shopify, which are typically designed for less technical users.
Widget (AKA module, snippet or plug-ins)
A small software tool that may be embedded in a website or added to person’s social profile to provide specific functionality.
XML (Extensible Markup Language)
A standard set of coding rules for the Internet. XML was designed to transport, store and describe information, as opposed to HTML, which focuses on how information is displayed. XML-based languages include: RSS, Atom, SOAP and XHTML.