Digital Marketing Terminology: Online marketing terminology that applies to the touchpoints along the Customer Journey.

John Cousins
February 7, 2023
5 min read
The Customer Journey

There is terminology specific to online marketing and apply to touchpoints along the Customer Journey.

One of the most important pieces of online marketing is your Call to Action. This is an instruction you provide to your audience as a way to provoke a certain response. Calls to Action typically use a verb, such as Save Now or Buy Today. You’ll find them in banner ads, on website landing pages, and in social media posts.

The traffic that comes to your site has to come from somewhere, whether it was an advertisement or an email. Traffic comes when someone Clicks on your Call to Action. We want to measure the Click-through Rate. As marketers, we’ll often measure performance by how many clicks an ad receives. Every time an advertisement is shown, it counts as an impression. The Click-through Rate is calculated as how many people clicked on the ad in relation to the amount of impressions.

click through rate

As you drive traffic to your site, you’ll want to measure how long someone stays on your website. The Bounce Rate is when a visitor arrives on your website, but leaves after visiting only one page. They’re said to have bounced and your Bounce Rate is the percentage of these visitors. A Bounce Rate can apply to an entire website or a single page.

The term Abandonment is used when a user does not complete the goal you intended for them. A user is following a particular path say to checkout from an e-commerce store or to complete an online form for more information, and then they leave the process early. In marketing we aim to reduce Abandonment.

There are tools now to identify those visitors who abandon a shopping cart or other activity and then you can re-market to them. These are high percentage leads because they have exhibited an interest in your offer.

impressions and frequency

As you begin to scale up your marketing efforts you’ll encounter paid advertising and the term Ad Impression. Each time your advertisement is displayed to a user it counts as an Impression.

Impressions are related to Frequency. Frequency is the amount of times an individual will see your ad. If your ad had 10 Impressions, with a Frequency of two, then five individual people would have seen that advertisement.

When a user completes your goal, whether it’s buying a product or downloading an application, they’re said to have Converted. Your Conversion Rate is the percentage of visitors who entered into this experience and actually completed the goal. To understand how a user converted or when, we need to use what is called a Tracking Pixel. These are minuscule one-by-one pixel images that are embedded in your website. They track conversions, website visits, abandonment, and ad views.


Advertising only makes sense if it brings you a positive return on investment and to analyze ROI, we look at Cost Per Acquisition or CAC. This is how much it costs you per goal completion. For example, if you ran an advertisement with a goal of getting an application download and that ad cost you $100, then if one person downloaded the app, despite the hundreds of potential customers that clicked on it, the Cost Per Acquisition for that single user would be $100.

The CAC is then compared to the Lifetime Value or LTV. Every customer has a value relative to how many purchases he or she make over the course of time. Some will buy once and never return, others will become repeat buyers. Your lifetime value is a prediction of the average net profit attributed to that relationship. With paid advertising, you want your Cost Per Acquisition to be lower than your Lifetime Value or CPC<LTV. If this is not the case, you are losing money.

There are two basic kinds of paid advertising: text ads that are driven by keywords in Search Engines like the Google Ads platform, and Banner or Display ads.

Banner Advertisements and Display ads refer to visual images, either static or animated, that are used to generate brand awareness or entice a user to click. Banner or Display Advertisements contain a Call to Action.

When you run these advertisements, the Call to Action will drive someone who clicks on it to a Landing Page. It’s important that the user arrives on a page that is specific to your promotion. If you don’t use a targeted webpage, it’s unlikely they’ll convert. This page they first arrive on from the ad is called the Landing Page or Splash Page.

paid and organic search SEO

Let’s compare Paid and Organic search results. When you conduct a search on Google, you have two types of results: paid results, which are typically the first couple of links and a handful of links on the right sidebar; and Organic listings which are not paid and instead achieve their rank through the search engine algorithm prioritizing them as the most relevant. Attempts to rank high with the search algorithm are called Search Engine Optimization.

Attribution is a term that has gained prominence in marketing as a performance metric to gauge the effectiveness of ads and content.

Attribution in digital marketing is giving appropriate credit to the sources, which ultimately bring a prospect to your paywall and have them convert into a paying customer. Each step contributes to the ultimate goal.

Attribution is a measure of the touchpoints along the customer journey and how much weight to give to each in the sales funnel. In this way we can measure the Return on Investment of each step and eliminate or refine underperforming steps and double down on better performing stages.

There are many attribution models to help identify the sources that helped you acquire the new business. Google Analytics is a very popular and effective one.

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John Cousins
Author, Entrepreneur, & Teacher

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