Digital marketing is an industry fraught with complex terminology and numerous terms exist to describe ways of promoting digital media. Below is a non-exhaustive roundup of common (and some not-so-common) online marketing terminology that you may hear, either when browsing the web or listening to others talk about the subject area.

Socialsphere – Refers to the ongoing chat on social networks and the communities that form as a result of this. Other similar terms include ‘Twittersphere’, which aims to describe the collective chitter-chatter on the Twitter social networking platform.

Responsive – Adaptable and able. Responsive is now the de facto term for fluid website layouts that can adapt seamlessly to different devices with varying screen sizes, like tablets or smartphones. Since more people than ever find businesses using their mobile or tablet, a responsive layout is crucial in order to clinch a sale.

Audience Optimisation – Audience Optimisation is a trendy way of saying “build a good site that your target market will enjoy visiting”. This concept is nothing new, but it is surprising the number of articles – even from established publishers – that claim this is the next big thing on the web.

User Engagement – Often used interchangeably or in conjunction with ‘audience optimisation’. User Engagement describes how interested a user is in your content. Historically, ‘stickiness’ was a term used to describe how person interacted with a website, but repeat visits and the ability of a site to draw and keep an audience is the main gist of the term.

Analytics – A word that frequently confuses those inexperienced with digital marketing. Analytics usually refers to the website tracking software provided by Google. It is a more advanced version of the traditional visitor counter, as seen in the early to mid-1990s. Why it’s useful: It tells you where your website visitors came from, how they found your site, which pages they visited, how long they stayed for, and so on. Similar trackers are available but Analytics is by far the most widely used.

Thought Leader – An individual in an industry that drives conversation on how to move the direction of the industry forward. Organisations can also be named thought leaders, although it is often a recognised person with a large number of ‘followers’, especially on social sites. In most cases the individual or company will be highly prominent and respected.

Mobile First – A relatively recent term that some marketers and web developers have coined. ‘Mobile First’ means developing or designing primarily to function on mobile devices like smartphones or tablets. In many cases, they will function just as well on desktop computers, but in the first instance, the approach is geared towards mobile.

SERPs – Search Engine Results Page(s). When you enter a phrase into a search engine and get a list of web pages, this is known as a SERP. Although this is the industry term, many people simply refer to the pages as search ‘listings’.

Organic/Natural – Often refers to the non-paid results pages on search engines. For example, ‘Sponsored Links’ on Google are paid by advertisers and as such are not organic. On the other hand, ‘organic listings’ are returned by a search engine algorithm so these can be termed ‘natural’ or ‘organic’.

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