Your #1 Guide to Digital Marketing Alphabet Soup


The world of digital marketing is full of acronyms and jargon that can be overwhelming for someone who’s not already in the know. If you’re new to email marketing, web design, and digital ads, you might not know where to start.

That’s where we come in.

Consider this your ultimate guide to digital marketing acronyms and abbreviations.  

A/B Testing

A/B Testing is a method for comparing the effectiveness of different variables in your marketing. An A/B Test uses two different versions of an email, webpage, ad, or other element to determine which gets more opens, clicks, or conversions. You can use A/B Testing to find which subject lines, buttons, designs, and phrases perform best with your audience. (More on A/B Testing from Harvard Business Review here.)

B2B and B2C

B2B and B2C mean business-to-business and business-to-consumer, respectively. A B2B model sells products and services to other businesses, while B2C sells directly to the end consumer. 


BR, or bounce rate, has two different meanings. When referring to webpages, BR is the rate of users who visit your website and leave without clicking anything else or visiting a second page. An ideal BR is between 26% and 40%, according to HubSpot.

In email, BR refers to the percentage of emails that get “bounced” back to the sender because they were unable to be delivered. The industry standard email BR is 2%, according to Campaign Monitor.


The Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography And Marketing Act is a piece of legislation passed in the United States in 2003. It is a set of rules for commercial emails, including requiring transparency on how recipients can opt-out of future emails. (Want to make sure you’re CAN-SPAM compliant? See a full list of rules here.)


A CDN is a content delivery network, a series of connected servers designed to efficiently deliver web content to users across a wide area. (More on CDNs from HubSpot.) 


Your CMS is your content management system, the application that allows you to build a website without needing to code it from scratch. Common CMSs include WordPress, HubSpot CMS, Wix, Shopify, and Drupal.


CRM, or “customer relationship management,” is a software system that helps you track your client data and communications. CRM software allows you to see where your leads and clients are at in their customer journeys, so you can focus on the prospects most likely to convert.


A call to action is an invitation to your reader to take a specific action. Great CTAs are obvious, simple, and easy to follow, like “buy now,” “schedule a call,” or “sign up here.” 


Your click-through rate is the metric of people who click on an ad, email, or webpage, usually divided by the number of impressions, views, or total recipients. Benchmarks vary by industry, but a good CTR for email is about 1–2%, and for ads, 0.5%. 


DomainKeys Identified Mail or DKIM is an email authentication standard that allows a recipient’s email server to confirm the identity of the email sender. DKIM helps prevent email scams and impersonation. 


DM can stand for direct mail (marketing via physical, printed mail pieces) or direct message (a private message sent directly from one user to another on a social media platform). 


Domain-Based Authentication, Reporting, and Conformance, or DMARC, is a protocol for email security. It uses SPF and DKIM to help detect and report fraudulent emails that impersonate another domain name. 


Domain Name System translates domain names into IP addresses. DNS is like the phonebook of the internet, connecting the domain names you type with IP addresses. 


Your email service provider (ESP) is the system you use to create emails, store and build your list, and send out commercial emails. Common ESPs include MailChimp, Klaviyo, Omnisend, Drip, and ConvertKit. ESPs are not the same as email clients, which are the programs you use to receive emails, like Gmail and Outlook.


The General Data Protection Regulation is a European Union regulation from 2018 that dictates how an EU citizen’s personal data can be used. If your business has personal data from EU citizens, you have an obligation to store that data securely, to erase unnecessary data, and to gain informed and unambiguous consent to receive emails.

You can read more about GDPR and its specific effects on email marketing here


Key performance indicators (KPIs) are measurements used to quantify success. Digital marketing KPIs include total website traffic, CTR on emails, digital ads, and webpages, social media followers and stats, and your number of leads generated per month.


MUV stands for monthly unique users, the number of unique individuals who visit your website in a given month.


PPC, or pay-per-click, is a model of digital marketing where an advertiser pays a fee each time one of their ads is clicked.


ROAS is return on ad spend, or the amount you earn for every dollar spent on digital ads.

ROI is return on investment. It’s not a term unique to digital marketing, and it’s a little more versatile than the ad-specific ROAS. 


SEO, or search engine optimization, is the process of improving your website’s visibility in search results. The better your SEO, the higher up your site will appear when a user enters a relevant query. 


The search engine results page is exactly what it sounds like—the page of results a search engine displays after you enter a query.


SPF, or Sender Policy Framework, contains information on domain names and IP addresses. An email client may check the DNS for SPF records to confirm the identity of the email sender.

UI and UX

User interface and user experience are web design terms for the different ways a user interacts with and experiences a webpage, app, or other digital software. Though they are often used interchangeably, they describe different things.

UI refers to aesthetic choices like color, typography, animation, and graphics. UX refers to structural design and ease of use. Good UI and UX work together to create an efficient, visually pleasing user journey. (You can read more on that from Colombia Engineering here.)


A URL is a Uniform Resource Locator, commonly called a web address. It is a unique identifier used to locate a resource on the internet, usually a webpage. URLs consistent of a protocol (like HTTP) and domain (like, and may include a path or “slug” (like /blog) to locate a specific page.


Your unique selling points or unique selling propositions (USPs) are the aspects of your product or service that set you apart from your competitors. 


Still struggling to find your footing in digital communications? You don’t have to navigate it alone. Schedule a call, and let our team of digital marketing experts help you use web design, email, paid ads, and more to grow your business and tell your story to new customers. 

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