Digital marketing terms you should know

It can sometimes feel like marketers are speaking their own language. Here are the more popular digital marketing terms you could come across.

It’s estimated that $64 billion will be spent on digital ads in 2020. That’s a lot of cheese.

For many marketers, digital advertising has become the tail that wags the dog in lieu of TV, mailers, or some form of out of home advertising.

So if you haven’t checked it out already, you might want to consider reading the traditional marketing terms you should know post, first.

Digital advertising has encompassed my work life in nearly every capacity for the past decade. I’ve run digital ads since back when Buzzfeed used to charge publishers to boost their posts and Google Plus was a thing. So I’ve been fortunate to come across many digital marketing terms and concepts that I believe are important to know.

Here’s the digital marketing words that you should be aware of … in 5 minutes.

What is digital marketing exactly

Digital marketing is any effort to capture the attention of potential audiences using digital assets. Anything that you can attach to an email or distribute using the internet is a digital asset that can turn around and be marketed towards a specific group.

Paid search and display advertising (pop up and banner ads) are two of the most popular digital marketing tools, with roughly $23 billion to $30 billion being spent annually on paid and close to $100 billion on display.


CPM stands for the cost per 1,000 impressions or “Cost Per mile”. This is what it costs to get 1,000 eyeballs to see your ad, post, or any other form of digital content.

The difference between CPL and MQL is very important

CPL is short for “Cost Per Lead.” MQL is the abbreviation for “Marketing Qualified Lead.” Put the two together and you get the foundation of nearly every digital marketing campaign: generate as many marketing qualified leads at the lowest cost per lead as possible.

Here are a few examples of what determines lead quality.


Are the leads aligned with your product? You might not want to target people under 30 years of age for a target that only Seniors will buy.

Many ad platforms will give you a general idea of an individual’s income bracket. It’s natural that some people might not be able to afford what you’re offering and should likely be excluded.

Timeline to purchase

Most online web forms allow you to gather information on when your leads are intending to buy i.e. their timeline to purchase. Obviously, leads that are looking to make more imminent purchases are of more value than those who may be interested in purchasing down the road, if they decide to purchase at all.


Do leads from India offer the same value as those from Indiana? If not, you may want to adjust your digital marketing strategy accordingly or else you’re going to spend marketing resources on leads that are of little to no value.

Cold, Warm, Hot

Digital marketers are asked to do a lot of things. Once you acquire prospects that into leads (aka they’re qualified enough to send to the sales team) you need to NURTURE these leads. Cold, Warm, and Hot are ways of labeling which leads are ready to buy. Hot leads are considered near to almost certain buyers. Cold leads are either waiting to purchase or are simply not responding to messages, hence they’ve gone “cold.” Warm leads are somewhere in the middle.

Kim Kardashian’s Instagram engagement rate via HypeAuditor.

About Influencers

An influencer is traditionally a person or account on a social media with a large following. Given this large following, they have the ability to engage with and influence their audience or groups of people similar to their audience.

If you have 5 seconds and not 5 minutes, one of the best influencer marketing tools I use is the free plan for Hypeauditor. Look at the engagement percentage. If less than 2% of the account’s followers are engaging, the content is either not great and/or the account’s followers are fake*

*Accounts with crazy amounts of followers, say Kim Kardashian, are likely to have very low engagement percentages. Their followers are likely real people but not active on social media (i.e. they signed up once or twice and followed people who they knew, but that was the extent of it).


When people speak of SEO, they’re referring to how easy it is for search engines to recognize what the content of your site is about and if it’s engaging. Search Engine Optimization, or SEO, is the process of optimizing your website so that your content is effectively organized, easy to load, and is by-and-large easy to understand.

“Paid” implies that a lead or individual was attracted to your company due to an ad that you paid for.

Conversely, organic means a lead found you “naturally” and not via an ad. The terms organic and paid can be confusing as many digital marketers quite often run paid and organic posts side by side. Correctly attributing your leads is imperative so you know if your ads are doing better than your organic posts in generating leads. By properly attributing your leads, you can save money by reducing or potentially eliminating your ad spend).


The military uses tripwire to alert a pending enemy assault, usually by sounding an alarm or triggering an ordinance. In respects to marketing, a tripwire is less macabre.

A marketing tripwire is a lower cost product that is meant to generate a customer that can convert into purchasing a higher cost product. Say you’re an expert that wants to sell a 10-part video series for $599. Given that some prospects might not want to drop $599 right away, you create a 1-off episode they can download for $29.99. This allows you to generate a customer that you can begin to nurture over time and eventually convert to purchasing the $599 set. The 1-off episode is your marketing tripwire.

Lead Magnet

A marketing lead magnet is essentially a tripwire that is free of cost—a prospect offers up their email in exchange for getting access to a free product. For instance, a user can download or gain access to a video free of cost by offering up their personal information (phone, email, etc.)

From there, that lead is then nurtured until they are deemed to be a HOT lead that can be handed over to the sales team.

Google adwords vs adsense

These are two of the more often confused digital marketing tools, but have rather disparate functions.

Google Adwords

Adwords has been renamed to Google Ads (when you sign up, you select “search campaigns” to launch a paid search ad). If you don’t want to put the leg-work into getting your site to ORGANICALLY rank high, you can pay through Google Adwords to buy top placement on Google. Adwords is also known as PPC.


Google Adsense is where publishers (people who own and/or run a website) can sign up to place google ads onto their site, usually receiving a $1-$2 CPM for their efforts.

Google Display Network

Adsense is also synonymous with the Google Display Network (GDN). GDN is where digital marketers can PLACE their banner and display ads that are displayed on websites.

Final Minute

So that’s a good amount of content, but the highlights are that digital marketing is no different than traditional marketing, just with some new jargon and new(er) playgrounds.

If you’d like 5 minutes (or more) to discuss any of the above, feel free to reach out to me and connect via the button below.

This article was written by:

Paul is the Founder & Editor of He is a Certified Salesforce Marketer, FAA Drone Pilot, HSK Chinese Speaker, Ham Radio Operator, NASM Personal Trainer, and Certified Canon operator amongst other things. He hosted and produced the first original programs for Hulu and Twitch and helped launch a pilot program for teaching soft skills to incarcerated students. He currently runs content marketing for an aerospace company in Los Angeles. If you'd like to request a consultation, contact Paul here.

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