Marketing Terms: Defined

So many terms in marketing are used as commonplace, when in reality, customers are not classically trained in marketing, making these terms sound foreign and confusing. It is important that these terms are understood in order to get the most out of a marketing program, making fast and informed decisions. For this reason, we thought that it would be helpful to develop a term list defining many commonly interchangeable terms, typically tossed around regarding marketing activities.

Email marketing terms:

Soft bounce

Soft bounces describe a problem preventing an email from directly delivering to an inbox. They happen for any number of reasons including, a full inbox, auto-responses, forwarding, or down servers. Typically, email platforms allow several soft bounces before permanently removing an email address from a list. A soft bounce is distinctly different than a hard bounce.

Hard bounce

A hard bounce on the other hand, usually means that an email address is invalid or blocked. These can cause issues for companies. Unfortunately, there are penalties for too many hard bounces. High volume hard bounces will black list a company, causing many providers to classify emails as spam. To prevent this, most email platforms will immediately remove a hard bounce from your list.


Click through rate – Click through rate describes the amount of times a customer clicks a link in your ad or email. This metric is considered one of the best indicators of a well-designed marketing device as it describes the customer taking action. Vanity metrics are a wonderful opportunity for exposure, but if customers are not taking action, there is no point.

Bounce rate

Bounce rate is the measurement of how often your emails do not land in an inbox. This is displayed as a percentage and calculated based on how many emails are delivered to their target destination. High bounce rates typically result from unvetted or old email lists. There could also be an issue with your domain (for example, you were blacklisted for spamming).

List segmentation

List segmentation splits your email and contact lists into groups to deliver a stronger message to each group based on interests, geography, demographics, industry, and stage of discovery or sales cycle, along with a variety of other differentiators. This is a powerful way to connect with the customer on their level. This particular strategy also assists in the ability for drip campaigns and other automated customer journeys.

Search engine marketing terms


Search Engine Optimization – Search engine optimization is the king in the land of the search engine marketing. SEO describes the process of ensuring that a website is compliant to the most current algorithms used to rank websites. SEO strategy also is focused on ensuring a website ranks for specific keywords. SEO is so important because out of all the search engine strategies, in the long term, when used correctly, it yields the highest ROI.


Retargeting or remarketing is the process of tagging visitors to a specific online space. Once tagged, companies display specific ads to users anywhere online ad space is available. These campaigns typically have high ROI, as it is more effective to show several targeted ads to one person, than to show one ad to hundreds of thousands of people.


Geo-fencing is fairly similar to retargeting in the sense that a user is tagged and ads are displayed many times around the web. The difference is that the tagging takes place in real-time and real space. A company defines a target space, as little as a 1000 sq ft area. A tradeshow, a showroom, or competitor’s building, tags a user’s phone, displaying ads after they leave the area. These are also very targeted and high ROI advertising.

Above the fold

Above the fold, describes what a user sees before they scroll down a page. It is good practice to make your hook and intention known in this space, making the page more engaging. It also gives a user a reason to read more on the site.

Bounce rate

Bounce rate on a website has to do with how many users exit the page before looking at other pages. High bounce rates on a website indicate a need to reevaluate your keywords or AdWords. This metric typically deals with content relevance. If your bounce rate is higher than 56%, the site has technical, navigation, or aesthetic problems.


Domain Authority – Domain authority is a website ranking score, 1-100. Establishing a highly ranked or scored website, means a greater likelihood of garnering a decent ranking on search engines.


Page authority – Page authority is a ranking of likely a site places on search engines. It is important to ensure that all your pages have a decent level of page authority, rather than just one.


Pay per Click – PPC, or pay per click, refers to a specific type of paid digital advertising, usually in the form of links or banner (display) ads. Many PPC campaigns are provided through search engines, however they are also offered on social media platforms. They, as the name describes, mean the advertising company is only paying for the times a user clicks on a link or a photo, etc. These types of ad campaigns are beneficial to companies, because they are action-driven, measurable and trackable. They also tend to have a much higher ROI than impression-driven campaigns.

Professional Blogging

Professional or business blogging is the act of developing educational and informational insights or overviews. These articles are keyword optimized, share-able and designed with two purposes in mind. They create added value for the customer, provide valuable SEO ranking, and keyword ranking benefits.

Social media marketing


A pixel, a piece of code embedded in your site, tells the browser to drop a cookie. Search engines use pixels to identify which ads should display. When the user goes to a different site with a display ad slot available, the browser checks for a retarget pixel and notifies a “retargeter” of available ad space.

Buyer persona

Buyer personas are a profile of your ideal customer or buyer roles. They outline specific demographic, behavioral, and cognitive characteristics to illustrate the perfect customer. The company uses a buyer persona to seek out additional customers matching the same criteria.


Call to action is a button, link, or command a company gives a user to take the next action.

These are creative commands that capture the user’s information, get them to buy, or any other action that pulls them along the funnel.


Business to business – these are companies that exclusively work with other businesses. They tend to be manufacturing, professional services, or supplies.


Business to consumer – These businesses are what most companies fall under. They sell products and services to the everyday person or end of line users.

Engagement rate

Engagement rates are tied directly to users interacting with your content. When engagement, such as, commenting, liking, or sharing happens on a website, this drives additional SEO benefits. When they take place on social media platforms, they drive exposure and feed life (reach of the post).


Click through Rate (See above.)


Cost Per impression – This is essentially as it sounds. A company pays for every impression or any time an ad is displayed, regardless if the user sees it, engages with it, or converts. This is also called reach and is great for exposure, however as a standalone product, has fairly low ROI.

A/B split testing

This is a type of testing that has slight variations and ran at the same time, to the same type of audience. A/B split testing are intended to narrow messaging as they are used to measure which type of ad, message, or image is performing the best.

Look Alike audiences

This is reverse engineering a type of successful customer and finding others matching the same criteria for targeting.


Cost per action – This is a metric used to measure the acquisition cost of each customer. To calculate this, divide the total cost of the campaign by the amount of leads generated. Closely watching this metric, tells you where to adjust your campaigns or to reevaluate ROI.


Key performance indicator – KPI is a broad term, defined by the requirements of the company. It covers the terms your company, defined as important metrics. For many companies this includes CTR, CPA, CPI, impression count, etc. For most companies, KPI are focused on cost benefit analysis and ROI.

These marketing terms are used frequently when engaging any scale company. Knowing them reduces friction in important metrics and strategies conversations. It also reduces the time required to explain yourself and what you are hoping for your marketing.

If you have any questions about any of these terms, contact Nesbit Marketing:



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