There are a lot of acronyms used in internet marketing, and it can be overwhelming trying to figure out what they all mean. There are 12 important ones that can help you navigate the world of internet marketing with more confidence.

1. AIDA – Attention, Interest, Desire, Action

AIDA is the process that a business walks its target audience through toward making a purchase. Step 1 is to get their attention, step 2 is to pique their interest in what you can offer, step 3 is to build their desire for what you are selling, and step 4 is to inspire them to take action so they make a purchase. This can—and should—all happen within a short span of time. One advertisement can usually progress through all of these steps.

2. BR – Bounce Rate

A website’s bounce rate is the percentage of website visitors who stop by, but don’t stick around. Much like someone who is “just looking” at a physical store, they stop by, but they leave before taking any meaningful action. Typically with websites this happens because the people coming to the website aren’t a good match for the website content. That can mean that the traffic coming to the website isn’t targeted enough, meaning people coming in aren’t a match for what you sell, or that the website content isn’t convincing the visitors that you have what they need.

3. CAC / CPA – Customer Acquisition Cost or Cost per Acquisition

The CAC or CPA is the amount of money spent on marketing and advertising to get one new client or customer to make a purchase. This cost can be lowered by optimizing the sales funnel to bring in highly targeted leads who will be more likely to buy. This means taking steps to ensure that your marketing and advertising efforts are as effective as possible.

4. CMS – Content Management System

A website’s Content Management System is sort of like a software program that lives on your website and gives you the tools to change what content is being shown on the website. This lets you manage your website’s content without learning programming, and a CMS is usually secured with a login and password so that the only people who can make changes to your website are the ones you approve access for. The most popular content management systems allow the website owner and their marketing team to post articles to a blog and edit the website’s pages. This makes it much faster and easier to update information or add new content to your website.

5. CPC – Cost Per Click

The CPC is the amount it costs for each click in PPC (pay per click) advertising. This number is usually an average cost based on the campaign costs and number of clicks. Lower CPC is better, but if your bounce rate is high then that suggests your clicks may not be targeted enough; it’s better to pay a little more for high-value clicks.

6. CRM – Customer Relationship Management

A CRM usually refers to a CRM tool, which is software that can be used like an advanced address book. Some CRM tools are more advanced than others, but their base purpose is to organize contact information of your clients and the prospects you’ve been in contact with. Some CRM tools are advanced enough to include “tags” that allow you to categorize people so you can further personalize your correspondence with them. For example, you might want to designate whether a person is a current customer or a prospective customer so you know whether to say “welcome” or “welcome back” when you call or email that person.

7. CTA – Call to Action

All good marketing should have a CTA. The call-to-action is something that inspires the audience to take action. Often it can be as simple as saying, “click the link below to find out more” or as obscure as “comment below with your favorite color” on social media. The CTA is asking or telling your audience to do the thing you want them to.

8. CTR – Click-Through Rate

The CTR is the percentage of people who click on an ad out of the number of people who have seen it. So if 100 people see the ad, and 10 of them click, the CTR is 10%. This measurement is typically used to show how well matched your audience is to your ad. The CTR alone is not an indicator of success, but it is a measurement of the attention the audience is putting toward the offer being advertised. With a great CTR you can build a warm lead, so the next step is closing the deal.

9. KPI – Key Performance Indicator

KPIs are the measurements by which you determine success. Your KPIs may differ from someone else’s, since they are tied closely to your individual goals. Determine your KPIs by asking what must be achieved for your campaign to be successful.

10. PPC – Pay Per Click

PPC is a type of advertising where you only pay for the number of times someone clicks your ad, which can be helpful since you’re not being charged every time your ad is shown to someone. Paying per click means that you only pay for leads who show interest. Once they click, the advertisement’s job is over and you’re responsible for closing the sale. With PPC advertising it’s important to make your ads appeal to people who would buy if they clicked, rather than trying to get as many people to click as possible.

11. SEM – Search Engine Marketing

SEM is marketing centralized around increasing SEO (Search Engine Optimization), such as running paid ads on search engines. This is a way to pay for a good ranking on a search engine without putting in the effort to build your SEO, which is why it works so well for newer websites that haven’t had time yet to build that reputation with the search engines.

12. SEO – Search Engine Optimization

SEO is the tactic of improving a website to increase their likelihood of showing up sooner in search engine results, like on Google. Search engines use software to check your website to see what it’s about so they know when it might be a relevant result for someone searching for a certain term. SEO is about making sure the search engine software can understand what your site is about so they’re more likely to show your site as a result for relevant searches.


This article was originally commissioned for Onslow Creative. Due to technical issues a link to their website is currently unavailable.