Marketing Acronyms Explained: How to Be Digitally Smart (or at Least Look Like You Are!)

by Josh Barney

Ever overheard a group of marketers or entrepreneurs talking in three-letter codes like their lives depend on them?

If you’ve found your way onto this page you probably have, and no doubt, you want to find out what those marketing acronyms mean (everybody’s a bit nosey at heart).

Don’t sweat it, I’ve got you covered. In this post I’m going to explain the most popular marketing acronyms, so you’re always in the know.

Use this list to get digitally smart and you’ll never have to blankly smile and nod again.


Marketing Acronyms Explained!


(Cost Per Acquisition) one of a digital marketers most prized marketing acronyms, CPA stands for cost per acquisition. This refers to the amount a marketer/entrepreneur is paying for a prospect to reach a desired goal, usually via digital advertising e.g. how much you have to pay to acquire each lead or customer via Facebook ads.


(cost per lead) see CPA (above).


(cost per click) another very popular term, CPC stands for cost per click. Its meaning is simple, how much money an advert costs to get somebody to click on it. To work it out follow this formula: Advertising Spend/Number of Clicks.

For example, if I ran an advert with a £10 budget and 10 people clicked on it, my cost per click would be £1.


(customer relationship manager) this marketing acronym stands for a key part of retaining and luring new customers to any business. Customer relationship management refers to communications, strategies and processes that aim to analyse and improve the customers experience and journey, as well as maximising their value. This marketing acronym is also used to describe the software that deals with CRM.


(call to action) every marketer wants to maximise the number of people who take their desired action and a great way of doing this is by tweaking their CTA or call-to-action. The CTA is usually a button on an advert or landing page (e.g. ‘Add to Cart’, ‘Register’ or ‘Learn More’) that encourages prospects to take immediate action.


(click through rate) another very important metric when analysing the success of digital advertising, CTR refers to the percentage of people who click on an advert’s Call to action (CTA) button. To work this out, use the following formula: Total Impressions (how many people saw the ad) /Total Clicks.

For example, if I ran an advert that reached 100 people and 10 of those clicked on it, I’d have a CTR of 10%


(conversion rate) if you’re selling online or chasing leads, a tiny percentage change in CR can make a huge financial difference. Conversion rate refers to the percentage of people who convert from prospects into customers or leads. This is calculated by dividing the number of people who see an offer/landing page/registration page, by the number who take it. For instance, if I was selling curtains and 50 people saw the buying page and 10 of those bought the product, I would have a conversion rate of 20%.


(key performance indicator) although not strictly a marketing acronym, KPI refers to the most important measurements of a business’ success in any area, including marketing. This will vary depending on a brand’s aims. A website hoping to increase awareness might use traffic and subscriptions as a couple of their KPI’s.


(pay per click) a type of digital marketing particularly relevant to search engine marketing, PPC refers to an advertising form where the advertiser pays each time their ad is clicked on. Search engines like Google and Bing both with this type of model. For example, if I was paying £2 on a PPC basis and I received 100 clicks, I’d have a total PPC spend of £200.


(return on ad spend) it’s crucial for any marketer to understand how much they are yielding from their digital adverts, ROAS answers this question. The ROAS formula has a few layers to it, so we created an ROAS calculator to estimate your advertising return before you run any campaigns.


(return on investment) everybody is in business to make money, ROI is a measurement of the financial return of a business as a whole and its individual campaigns. To discover your ROI, simply subtract the amount you’ve invested, by the amount you’ve returned.


(search engine optimisation) search engines are an incredible source of qualified traffic and this makes SEO (probably) the most used marketing acronym. It refers to the process of making a website appeal to a search engine (particularly Google), so it may rank higher in results and receive more traffic. Learn more about the top SEO factors in our guide to the 35 Most Important Google Ranking Factors in 2018.


(search engine results page) in direct relation with the marketing acronym above (SEO) SERP refers to the pages that are displayed by a search engine after a searcher makes a query. The SERP displays the most suitable results for the searched keyword(s).


(strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats) one of the most important steps in analysing a business and deciding a marketing strategy, SWOT is key. The analysis is broken down into four stages, strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. A successful SWOT can have huge positive implications for a business.


(user experience) not strictly a marketing acronym, UX stands for user experience and it relates to all of a user’s interactions with a brand/business. UX is often used to refer to website design as businesses attempt to make their websites as user friendly as possible. A good UX will increase the number of return customers and therefore, boost a business’ chance of success. 

Marketing Acronyms: The End Has No End

psychology of colour in marketing

So, those are (what we consider) the most commonly used marketing acronyms, but on this occasion, the end…

…has no end.

There are loads more marketing acronyms and we’ll be updating this list regularly (every time I realise I’ve forgotten something!). Make sure you keep an eye on the page, or leave any suggestions in the comments below.

What is your most commonly used marketing acronym? Do you love them or hate them? Let us know!

If you enjoyed this post, you’ll probably enjoy our guide to Explaining Marketing Strategies to Somebody You Just Met at a Party!

Josh is the Founder of We Imagine Media, an award-winning content marketer, best selling author and creator of the He creates and strategises content, sharing the most successful tactics with his lovely audience. He hates writing in the third person, follow him on the social links so he can get back to writing as himself.

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