Marketing Glossary of Terms & Definitions

You don’t have time to go digging for answers to all your questions. Heck, you’ve got a business to run! To help you gain clarity quickly on terminology you’ll encounter along your marketing journey, we put together this glossary of terms. Use this reference to elevate your knowledge of digital marketing. We recommend bookmarking this page so you can return to it again and again anytime you have a question about a marketing term.

We hope this helps you improve your digital marketing skills and grow your business confidently.

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A/B Split Test

A/B testing, also known as split testing, is a method that lets you scientifically test the effectiveness of your marketing campaign.

When split testing, you create two versions (called variants) of your campaign to determine which statistically performs better. Once you find which variant performs best, you can update your strategy based on what you learned about the winning email.

This allows you to identify what works best with your audience.

Abandoned Cart

Abandoned cart campaigns are emails that are automatically sent to someone who puts an item in their shopping cart or starts the checkout process but does not finish it.

These campaigns are really helpful because they are sent to people who expressed a clear interest in purchasing from you, but just didn’t follow through yet. Abandoned cart emails are a great place to reinforce the benefits of what you’re selling, sharing social proof from happy customers, or offer discounts to help people make the purchase.


Above-the-fold refers to content initially seen and before the user scrolls to view additional content.The term comes from print newspaper where it referred to stories seen on top of a folded newspaper.

Ad Copy

Ad copy refers to the text seen in an advertisement. The copy normally explains the benefits of a product in order to encourage the consumer to purchase that product or service.

Ad Extensions

Ad extensions is a feature in search advertising which expands your advertising message allowing you to include additional pieces of information. Ad extensions may include phone numbers, location, reviews, pricing.

Advertising Budget

Advertising budget is the amount of money a company sets aside over a specific period of time in order to execute various marketing initiatives.

Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing is a form of marketing in which a company pays an individual a commission by generating sales through a product signup.

Alt Text

Alt text are images shown on a webpage that include a descriptive field. If for some reason the image is unable to be shown, the Alt Text text is displayed instead. For example an image of a cat might have a descriptive Alt Text of “brown cat chasing a mouse.” Alt Text are also helpful to the visually impaired. Screen readers often use Alt Text to describe what the user might not be able to see.

AMP for email

AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages) for email provides interactive elements with real-time updates displayed right in the inbox. With AMP you can incorporate content such as image carousels and polls.

Anchor Text

Anchor text is the clickable text that describes a link. Anchor text is not a url, like “”. It is linked text that tells the reader where they can expect to go after clicking, for example “Learn More”.


An API (acronym for Application Programming Interface) is a set of definitions and protocols allowing two or more softwares to communicate with each other. An API can be used to automatically pass data from one software to another.


Authentication is the process of verifying the identity of a user. It is a term used in email marketing for protocols such as DKIM, DMARC, SPF, and BIMI to make sure the sender of an email can be identified and trusted. It is important for ensuring emails are able to be delivered to the recipient.


An Email Autoresponder is a type of email automation in which a message is automatically triggered based on specific requested information. This is the first message in the sequence of follow up messages. For example, it could be the email sent after a confirmed new subscriber requests information.


A backlink is where one website has a hyperlink on a piece of text, image, or button which, when clicked, sends that traffic to another website.

Behavioral Targeting

Behavioral targeting is when you send messages to a group of people based on actions they have or have not taken.

For example, sending a sales promotion about new snow gloves to people who have previously purchased winter jackets. Or promoting an ebook on illustration to people who have previously clicked illustration links in your newsletter.


BIMI stands for Brand Indicators for Message Identification. It allows email recipients to view certified brand logos for messages sent by fully authenticated senders.

With BIMI, brands are able to associate their logos with messages, and have full control over which logo is displayed as their email avatar. This helps guard the consumer against fraud.


Blocklist (previously known as “blacklist”) is a list of sender emails who are believed to have sent spam or other forms of abusive emails. This list is developed and maintained by people or companies accepting email that will reject an email based on domains or IP address.


A blog in an online publication where regularly published articles (or blogs) are posted. This could be a section of a website or its own platform.

Bounce Rate (Email Marketing)

A bounce rate for email marketing is the percentage of emails sent but not successfully delivered to the recipients. A bounce rate is calculated by dividing the number of bounced (hard or soft bounce) emails by the number of emails sent.

For example: If 100 emails were sent and 5 bounced, the bounce rate would be 100 / 5 = 5%

Bounce Rate (Internet)

A bounce rate on the internet is the percentage of people who visit a website and take no action before leaving the website.


Branding is a name, logo and all other visual information connected with your product or service.

Broadcast Email

A broadcast is a single email message sent to a list or segment of subscribers. The information contained in a broadcast message tends to apply to all recipients.

Bulk Email

Bulk email is a single email communication which is sent to a large group of email addresses at the same time.



A call-to-action (CTA) is an instruction in an email or on a website designed to have the visitor take a desired action. Some common CTA’s are “buy now”, “sign up”, or “register”.


The CAN-SPAM Act is a federal law that regulates the sending of commercial emails. Each email that is in violation is subject to a financial penalty. The main requirements of the CAN-SPAM Act are:

  1. It bans false or misleading header information
  2. It prohibits deceptive subject lines
  3. Your email give recipients an opt-out method
  4. Opt-outs be honored in a timely manner
  5. Commercial email be identified as an advertisement
  6. The sender’s valid physical postal address


CASL is the Canada’s Anti-Spam Legislation, it is a law indicating how email marketers can send emails in Canada. The law’s purpose is to deal with spam and other electronic treats.

Click-Through Rate (CTR)

Click-Through Rate is the rate at which a particular URL in an email message is clicked based on the number of subscribers who opened the email. Click-through rate is calculated by dividing the number of clicks by the total number of emails sent.

For example if you sent 100 emails and received 25 clicks on the links within that email your Click-Through Rate would be 25%.

Click-Through to Open Rate (CTOR)

Click-Through to Open Rate is he rate at which a particular URL in an email message is clicked based on the number of subscribers who opened the email. Click-through to open rate is calculated by dividing the number of unique clicks by the total number of unique email opens.

For example: if 50 emails were opened and 10 people clicked on the links within that email the CTOR would be 20%.

Complaint Rate

Complaint rate is the rate a subscriber marks an email as spam. A complaint rate is calculated by taking the total number of complaints and dividing it by the total number of recipients. Your goal should be to keep your complaint rate no higher than 0.1 percent.

Conditional Content

Conditional content, also known as Dynamic Content, allows you to display different text, visuals, or calls to action within an email to certain people. Content can change based on subscriber data and behaviors. Tags can be used to identify different groups of people and display alternate content within a single email message.

Confirmed Opt-in

Confirmed opt-in, also known as verified opt-in or sometimes double opt-in, means that a recipient (your subscriber) has verifiably confirmed permission for the address to be included on your specific mailing list. By confirming (clicking the link in this message) a subscriber has given you expressed permission to send messages to their address.

Conversion Rate

Conversion rate is a desired action taken by the recipient of your email or website. This can be as simple as clicking on a link, downloading something from your website or making a purchase.

Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO)

Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO) is the process maximizing the percentage of recipients who take a desired action in your emails or on your website.

Cookies are small files that are stored by your browser which contain information that is specific to a user. Cookies are used to help webpages tailor experiences directly to a visitor, such as remembering your name or login information.

Cost Per Acquisition (CPA)

Cost Per Acquisition (CPA) is the cost to acquire a new customer. CPA is calculated by dividing the total spend by the number of new customers acquired.

For example: if a $1,000 advertising campaign generated 5 new customers, the CPA would be $200.

Cost Per Click (CPC)

Cost Per Click (CPC) is the amount paid for each click on your link to visit your website or a particular landing page. CPC is calculated by dividing the total cost by the number of clicks.

Cost Per Thousand (CPM)

Cost Per Thousand (CPM) is the amount of money it costs for every thousand people. CPM is calculated by dividing total cost by visitors, then multiplying that by 1,000 (CPM = cost/impressions * 1000).


CSS (Cascading Style Sheets) is a design language used in simplifying the process of building websites.

Customer Journey

Customer journey is the journey a customer takes from awareness to becoming an advocate of your brand. A customer journey is defined through these stages: 1. Awareness 2. Interest 3. Consideration 4. Purchase 5. Retention 6. Advocacy for your brand

Customer Relationship Management (CRM)

Customer Relationship Management (CRM) is a software and technology used to manage and track interactions with customers and prospects.


Delivery Rate

Delivery rate is the percentage of emails sent and successfully delivered to the recipients. A delivery rate is calculated by dividing the number of emails delivered by the number of emails sent.

For example: If 100 emails were sent and 95 were delivered, the delivery rate would be 95%.

Digital Marketing

Digital marketing is any online marketing efforts used to promote your brand, products and services. Examples of digital marketing include email marketing, paid advertising, social media marketing, search engine optimization.

DKIM (DomainKeys Identified Mail)

DKIM is an email authentication technology that helps stop spam and phishing attacks emails. It also connects domains in the email to the email message in a strong way that mailbox providers pay attention to. In other words, it makes an email “leaf” stand out in that proverbial large river.


DMARC (Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting & Conformance) is the current policy for email authentication. Basically, it’s an ISP’s way to protect itself from spammers pretending to send emails from their network. Any unauthenticated email — no matter how legitimate the content — could end up in a subscriber’s spam folder.


A domain is the location of a website. For example: is the home page domain for AWeber.


Drag-and-drop is a gesture in which the user selects a virtual object by “grabbing” it (click and hold) and dragging it to a canvas or other area.

Drip Campaign

A drip campaign is of a series of time-based automated emails which are sent over a specified period of time to an email subscriber based on specific actions or account changes. A drip campaign is used to nurture a relationship by sending specific email communications at the right time in the customer’s decision making journey.

Dynamic Content

Dynamic content, also known as Conditional Content, allows you to display different text, visuals, or calls to action within an email to certain people. Content can change based on subscriber data and behaviors. Tags can be used to identify different groups of people and display alternate content within a single email message.



Ecommerce is also known as electronic commerce or internet commerce. It is the buying and selling of services through the internet and the transfer of money is completed online typically with a credit or debit card.

Email Automation

Email automation are emails which are automatically sent to an individual or multiple people based on a response to subscriber behavior or action.

Email List

An email list is the total number of subscribers who have opted-in to receive emails.

Email Marketing

Email Marketing is the act of sending communications to customers/subscribers who have opted-in to receive commercial messages through email.

Email Personalization

Customize the content of a message to provide a personalized experience for your subscribers. You can incorporate simple personalizations such as someone’s name or geographic location. You can even customize a section of content or an image based on characteristics of a subscriber.

Email Preheader

When viewing a message in your inbox, an email preheader — also known as the Johnson Box or preview text — is a snippet of text shown next to or underneath the subject line.

Email Sender Reputation

The reputation of your IP address and domain name, as calculated by an algorithm created by ISPs and email providers. The algorithm takes into account subscriber behaviors, like whether or not they open an email, click a link, report a message as spam and more. If engagement is good, this tells the ISP/email provider to route future emails to the inbox instead of the spam folder. If a subscriber isn’t engaged with your emails, ISPs will route them to the spam folder. If this happens to a lot of subscribers, it can hurt your sender reputation in the long run by making it more difficult for those who want your emails to receive your emails.

Email Service Provider (ESP)

An email service provider is a software company that offers email service. These services allows users to send email marketing communications to a list of subscribers.


Featured snippets are short “snippets” of text at the upper section of Google’s search results. Feature snippets are used to quickly answer a searcher’s question. Google automatically pulls this content, which their algorithms believe best answers the question, from web pages in Google’s index.



General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is a privacy regulation that gives European Union citizens control of their personal data. An email marketer needs to have a lawful basis to process subscriber data which primarily comes from consent of the subscriber (opt-in).



An H1 is an HTML tag representing headings on an HTML page or an email template. The H1 is the primary or most important heading where h2, h3, h4 or less prominent headings.

Hard Bounce

A hard bounce is when an email cannot be delivered because of a permanent failure. A permanent failure means that email will always end up with the same result. Hard bounces negatively affect deliverability.

HTML Email

HTML email is the use of HTML code to provide formatting and semantic markup capabilities in an email that are not available with plain text. It allows the inclusion of font styles, images, colors, etc. to create a more branded and visually alluring email message.

Hyperlink is a website address placed into a message or image that is clickable by the recipient.


IP Address

An IP (Internet Protocol) Address is a unique number assigned to machines that connect to the Internet and allow that device to be identified. These numbers can be either Static, meaning they stay the same or Dynamic, meaning they change.

Inbox Placement Rate (IPR)

Inbox placement rate is the percentage of emails that were delivered to the recipient’s inbox as opposed to the junk or spam folder.

Internet Service Provider (ISP)

Internet Service Provider is the business that provides a user access to the Internet.



JavaScript is a common programming language used in websites and web applications. It can be used to update content, make pages interactive, and control animation.


Key Performance Indicator (KPI)

KPI’s are the “key” quantifiable metrics used to measure success of an organization, department, employee, or process.


Landing Page

Landing page is a webpage often geared specifically for an offer in an email. When the subscriber clicks to visit the page they don’t have to read your entire site to find your offer, the landing page contains all the information they need and gives them a method to take action.


In marketing and sales, a “lead” (also known as a prospect) is a person or organization interested in the product or service you’re selling and whose contact information you have. Although there may be many people interested in what you’re selling, you can’t track them until you have a way to identify and contact them. Generally, marketing is responsible for acquiring new leads and sales is responsible for converting them into customers.

Lead Magnet

Lead magnet is an incentive to encourage someone to join your email list. Something of value to your prospective subscriber. This can be a variety of items including digital downloads or coupon codes.

List Hygiene

The regular efforts that are done to maintain a healthy email list, such as re-engaging inactive subscribers and removing those who no longer want to receive your emails.


Marketing Automation

Marketing automation are actions that take place automatically based on subscriber action. Automations can range in complexity making this a powerful tool in your marketing toolbox. This can include simple actions like automatically sending a welcome message when someone subscribes to your list. And also include robust targeting based on clicks within a message or making a purchase.

Meta Description

A meta description is a short summary of your webpage added to the HTML of your site either directly or using a CMS or website plugin. It often appears in search engine results below the page title and is read by users and search engines. Well-written meta descriptions can entice searchers to click on your site instead of others.



A newsletter is an email that a creator, business, or other group or individual regularly sends to their audience. These emails can contain important information, links to content, or other updates.


Omnichannel Marketing

Omnichannel marketing is a sales approach that follows a prospective buyer to the “channels,” or different places they’ll interact with your business. The prospect is shown ads and marketing campaigns that “know” what they have already seen and done, even on other channels.

Channels can include your brick-and-mortar store, your website, social media, paid ads, email marketing, SEO, and more. The key to omnichannel marketing is having platforms that can integrate to automatically exchange lead and customer information.

Open Rate

Open rate is the percentage of subscribers who open an email. An open rate is calculated by dividing the number of unique opens by the number of emails delivered.

Open rate can not be tracked when sending plain text emails.



Phishing is an attempt by scammers to contact individuals using email, phone, or text message in order to fraudulently mislead them into providing passwords, credit card information or bank information.

Plain text email

Plain text emails are simple email messages that contain no formatting such as images, fonts, and colors. With a plain text email you will not be able to track the number of opens on a message.


Qualified Lead

A qualified lead is a person or organization who is interested in your products or services and is a good candidate to convert into a customer or client for one or more reasons. Depending on your business model, this may be because they are able and willing to pay, they are located in the area where you offer or ship, they are well educated on your offering, or other reasons specific to your business. Leads can become qualified leads after a small amount of investigation and communication (a call or questionnaire).


Referral link is a unique link assigned to a customer, known as affiliates or advocates, once they have signed up for a referral program. Affiliates use the referral link to promote an online service that is then used to credit sale payments to the affiliate.

Return On Investment

Return On Investment (ROI) is a financial ratio used to measure the amount of gain or loss on a particular investment. ROI is calculated by dividing the net profit by the initial investment cost, multiplying that number by 100 to get the percentage increase/decrease.

For example: If you invest $500 to make $2000 your ROI would be 400%.

ROI: ($2000 / $500) * 100 = 400%

Role-Based Email Address

Role-based email addresses are email addresses that companies use to define a particular job or department of that company. These addresses are not associated with any one particular person at the company, they can be checked by multiple people at the company. The role in the email address is specified before the domain in the address.

Some examples of what role-based email addresses might start with can be found below:

info@ – contact@ – orders@ – support@ – admin@ – webmaster@


RSS stands for “Real Simple Syndication” which is a specific type of file format that can be automatically read by News Readers that subscribers have installed on their computers or access online.

Many websites publish an RSS feed that a visitor can add to their news reader. When a new item is published, the visitor will receive an automatic update letting them know that.



Safelist, also known as whitelist, is when a subscriber adds an email address to their contacts list within their ISP, like Gmail or Yahoo!. The purpose of safelisting an email address is to ensure it arrives in the subscribers inbox.


Email segmentation is a process of grouping your list into smaller subgroups based on certain criteria. Example of this would be sending a broadcast message to the people in your list who’ve purchased your product versus the subscribers who have not purchased yet.

Social Proof

Social proof is the practice of leveraging the power of peer influence to help someone made a decision. Social proof is effective because it helps people confidently make a decision.

Soft Bounce

A soft bounce is when an email is received to the recipient’s mail server, but was unable to be delivered. Additional attempts to deliver the message to the inbox will be made again over a 72 hour period. Reasons for soft bounces include a recipient’s inbox is full, the message is too large, or the server is currently unavailable.


Spam, also referred to as junk email, is unsolicited commercial email, typically sent in bulk.

Spam Filter

A program that detects and prevents unsolicited and unwanted emails from an individual’s inbox.


Sender Policy Framework (SPF) is a technique used to authenticate commercial emails. It helps prevent spammers from sending unsolicited emails under a forged name.

Subject Line

The subject of an email is a statement shown in the inbox to represent the contents of the email. Subject lines are important tools for encouraging recipients to open the message.



Tags are keywords or phrases that you can use to group subscribers together and assign specific campaign messages to them. Tags can help you learn more about your subscribers or help you determine which form they used to sign up to your list.

You can use tags with your sign up forms and campaigns to further automate your messages, or you can send broadcast messages to subscribers who have a certain tag applied. Tags can also help you manage your subscriber information from one list rather than having multiple lists.



Unsubscribes is an email broadcast statistic which indicates how many subscribers opted to unsubscribe from your email list from.


Web Push Notifications

Web push notifications are short, one-time messages sent to a user’s desktop when they have any web browser open. Visitors must first opt-in to receive these notifications. They slide in either on the top or bottom right-hand corner of the screen, depending on the operating system.

Can be used to deliver direct and time-sensitive messages that can link directly to a website, landing page, sign up form, or shopping cart.

Welcome Email

A welcome email is an email message that is automatically sent to someone when they join your email list. Welcome emails are important because, since they are typically sent immediately after someone signs up for your list, they have some of the highest engagement of any email you will send.

Welcome emails are great for learning more about your audience, asking for replies to form an immediate connection with your readers, and promoting your most helpful or loved products.