When you are starting out new in the digital marketing field, you may encounter technical jargon or acronyms that can be overwhelming and intimidating at the same time. But you shouldn’t worry much as these terminologies are pretty easy to understand. As you start learning the principles of digital marketing, you will get more comfortable with these words.

Here, I will try to explain these words in the simplest possible way with the use of examples and images wherever possible. There is also a PDF version of these terms & definitions-Digital Jargon Buster which you can download from the home page.

Organic Search

Paid Search

Impressions

Reach

Facebook Story

PTA

Viral Reach

Engagement

Consumption

Homepage

Landing Page

Session

Bounce Rate

Exit Rate

Conversion

Conversion Rate

CTR

PPC

AdWords Bid Strategies

CPM

vCPM

CPC

CPV

CPA

Organic vs Paid Search

Organic Search

A free/unpaid/natural listing that appears on a search engine (Google, Bing etc.) because of its relevance to someone’s search terms.

Paid Search

Basically advertisements for which owners pay a fee to have their website displayed in top search engine results page placement.

Impressions

The number of times your content was shown on News Feed, Timeline or an ad.

Always remember that-

A viewer doesn’t have to engage with the post in order for it to count as an impression

One unique user can be shown multiple impressions of the same piece of content

Reach

The number of unique users who saw your piece of content.

Easy Explanation (Reach vs Impression)

Imagine you and your Facebook friend Rahul are followers of Aamir Khan on Facebook. So when he shares the trailer of his latest movie Dangal, it appears on both of your Facebook timelines.

Your friend Rahul who is an ardent fan of Aamir Khan also shares the trailer of Dangal on Facebook with all his friends. So it appears again on your feed.

Now think what would be the Reach & Impression in this scenario?

Reach=2 (You and your friend Rahul are 2 unique users who saw the trailer, right?)

Impressions=3 (because twice it served on your feed & once on Rahul’s feed. This is irrespective of the fact whether both times you saw the trailer or not)

Facebook Story

Facebook Ticker

What you would call your Facebook friend’s activity when it appears on your news feed? Notifications. Nope.

For example, when your Facebook friend Pooja check-in to IGI Airport, New Delhi or claim an offer by Zara or like, comment & share Justin Bieber’s India concert post, you get to know, right? How? It displays on your news feed and also you get notified on the right side of your Facebook page (via Ticker).

So basically Facebook stories are how your feed displays what your Facebook friends are doing. And this goes beyond what they post directly on Facebook. Simple na?

This is what my feed displayed when my dear friend Unni was traveling to Goa

Please remember that Users on Facebook create stories when they do the following activities-

  • like a post/page,
  • comment/share a post,
  • post on the page wall,
  • answer a question,
  • claim an offer
  • RSVP (RSVP means “please reply”) to a page’s event,
  • mention the page in a post,
  • tag the page in a photo,
  • check in at a place,
  • share a check-in deal,
  • like a check-in deal,
  • write a recommendation

PTA

From my experience, I can easily say that PTA is one of the most confusing social media metric and most of the people get it wrong. But trust me, it’s not tricky at all. Let’s see what exactly it is.

PTA stands for People Talking about This. It means the number of unique users who generated a story about you content.

Remember Raj & Simran from the movie DDLJ? But they didn’t break up.

Easy Explanation 1

Raj & Simran are a couple who are very much in love with each other. Simran is a  photographer who shares all her work with her Facebook friends. Whenever she uploads anything, Raj is the first person to like, comment & share her work. Simran’s Mom & Dad also do the same. So in this case, PTA is 3. (Raj, Mom & Dad are 3 unique users who are generating stories about Simran’s work)

Now, after a few months, Raj & Simran break up their relationship. On the other hand, Simran’s father deletes his Facebook account for some reason.

Now, when Simran uploads her work on Facebook, Raj who is still friends with her on Facebook doesn’t like, comment or shares her post. He just clicks on the pictures (to enlarge them & to see who all are commenting :P). Like always, Simran’s mother encourages her by liking & commenting on her daughter’s post. So in this case, PTA is 1. (Simran’s Mother)

Please note that when Raj is clicking on the pictures, he is not generating any story.

How many times have you seen a movie & never discussed it with anyone?

Easy Explanation 2

Consider a real life scenario where 2 friends Ram & Shyam go and watch Bahubali 2 in a theater, come back home & tell their parents how awesome the movie was. Also, they review the movie on their respective blogs.

So here PTA would be 2 as they both generated stories about Bahubali 2 by telling their parents & to their followers through their blog.

Now what if they just had seen the movie and forgotten about it without discussing it with their family or friends. In that case, PTA would have been “0” as no stories generated about the movie. Just watching the movie doesn’t count as PTA.

Viral Reach

It is the number of unique individuals who saw a specific post from your Page through a story published by one of their Facebook friends.

Easy Explanation

At first, go through the story of Raj & Simran again (from PTA-Easy Explanation 1). Now consider there are 2 cousins of Raj- Anjali & Pooja who are his Facebook friends (They have not yet liked Simran’s page nor are they in her friend list). Earlier when Raj used to like, comment & share Simran’s work, it used to reach his friends too via Facebook stories. So when Anjali & Pooja clicks on the story published by Raj and check Simran’s work on her Facebook page, it is called Viral Reach which is 2 in this case.


Engagement vs Consumption (Facebook)

Apart from PTA, there are two other metrics which create significant confusion among marketers & analysts. These are Engagement-Engaged Users & Consumption-Consumers. There is a lot of content on Internet about this topic but frankly speaking it creates more confusion than solving it. This is so because Facebook itself has never given a proper explanation for these metrics (the official definitions of Engaged Users & Consumers given by Facebook are more or less same).  Also you can say that there is a fine line of difference between these two, hence the confusion.

With the help of these 2 detailed articles- one by Jon Loomer & the other here, I have tried to come up with a much shorter and simpler explanation.  So let’s understand these metrics one by one.

For the ease of understanding these concepts, I have divided them by Post Level & Page level Metrics.

Post Level

(Metrics related only to Facebook content like number of post likes, comments, shares, post reach etc.)

Consumers are unique users that consume your content by clicking anywhere on the actual post. These clicks may or may not result in stories (e.g. playing a video will not generate any story whereas posting a comment on a post will generate one)

Hence consumption can be defined as the total number of clicks ON THE MAIN POST LAYOUT/FRAMEWORK (whether the stories are created or not).

Engaged Users are unique users that either engage ON YOUR content, by clicking on items on the post (e.g. like, comment, share, clicking on the post to enlarge it etc.) or GO WITHIN, performing actions such as posting a reply on an existing comment or like a reply/comment, or click to see more replies.

Hence Engagement can be defined as the total number of clicks ON THE MAIN POST LAYOUT/FRAMEWORK AND CLICKS BELOW IT, IN THE COMMENTS SECTION (whether the stories are created or not.

Remember that engagement will always be equal to or greater than consumption.

Page Level

(Metrics related to page like no. of fans, page reach etc.)

Engagement includes all clicks and all stories generated about your Page. This includes stories generated that were not the result of a click within your page.

Here are some examples of stories that did not result from a click on Page content

– User post that tags/mentions your Page and was not written on your Timeline

– Check-in executed via mobile device without navigating to your Page

– Liking your Page from a user generated story-not from your Page or Page content

Hence, Engaged Users are unique users who generate engagement ABOUT the page.

If you ‘like’ Thomas Cook from its page and not from like ad that appeared on your timeline, then that click will be counted in Consumption, not in Engagement.

Consumption include all clicks and all stories generated within your Page. That means stories generated without clicks on page content (e.g., liking the page in Timeline) are not included.

Hence, Consumers are unique users who generate consumption ON the page.

Amazon India Homepage

Homepage

The main or introductory page of your website which can describe your overall business category and positioning. A homepage directs visitor to relevant content by drawing him deeper into the website.

Amazon India landing page for ‘today’s deals’

Landing Page

Landing Page is a response page of the website that a visitor usually sees first especially during a specific campaign like a sale, special launch offer etc. Basically, a brand directs its visitors to its landing page when they have to generate a lead or close a sale.

For example, I come up with my own free digital marketing course and create a separate page for it so that users can subscribe and download the content. So in this case, I will direct my users to this landing page first, and not the home page.

Session

Just a few days back, I made a visit to my dermatologist in Mumbai. Here is a sequence of events & interactions that took place when I reached there-

  • I went inside the clinic
  • Made an inquiry at the reception
  • Receptionist asked me to wait for 10 min
  • Read some magazines while waiting there
  • Went inside the doctor’s room for my checkup
  • Bought medicines from reception after the checkup
  • Paid the bill
  • Came back home

This real life scenario is called a ‘visit’. Similarly in the digital world, a session/visit is defined as a group of user interactions with a website that take place within a given time frame. For example, searching and comparing different types of headphones on Flipkart & then making a transaction to buy one. So a single session on a website can contain multiple page views and e-commerce transactions. By default, a session lasts until there’s 30 minutes of inactivity, but you can adjust this limit so a session lasts from a few seconds to several hours.

Bounce Rate

Bounce rate is defined as the percentage of users who leave a website (bounce) after viewing a single page and taking no additional action. Remember bounces are always one page sessions.

Bounce rates are used by businesses to determine the performance of their website’s entry page at generating the interest of visitors. An entry page with a low bounce rate means that its visitors view more pages and navigate deeper into the web site. On the other hand, a high bounce rate typically indicates that a website is not doing a good job of attracting the continued interest of visitors

Bounce Rate of Flipkart.com (as on September 26, 2017)

Amazon India’s Bounce Rate is considerably lower than Flipkart’s- this shows that people prefer to spend more time on Amazon.in as compared to Flipkart.com

 

WHY A HIGH BOUNCE RATE IS BAD FOR YOUR BUSINESS?

In the above discussed scenario of dermatologist, what do you think is an ideal scenario for their business? I go inside the clinic, talk to the receptionist & come back home OR I go ahead with a checkup, buy medicines, and pay the full fees. Obviously, the latter.

Similarly, you can compare the two scenarios where users sign in to Flipkart, view the home page & leaves the website in a few seconds (high bounce rate) VS users who spend considerable time on Flipkart by navigating product pages, adding items on their wish list & making purchases (low bounce rate).

Intrigued by this metric?

Check your website’s bounce rate here- https://www.alexa.com/siteinfo

Exit Rate

Exit rate is often confused with bounce rate but is quite different from it.

Exit rate is defined as the percentage of visitors to a website who click away to a different website from a specific page. They may have viewed other pages on the website and have just exited on that specific page.

Just like bounce rates, high exit rates can often reveal problem areas on your website but we can’t say that high exit rates are always bad.

When a high exit rate is bad

Suppose I want to buy an iPhone 7. So I sign in to Flipkart.com, search and compare different variants, select the 128 gb model and click buy now button. On the payment page, I feel that it is wise to check the price of this model on Amazon also. So I make an exit from the payments page & sign in to Amazon.in. There I find out the same iPhone 7 model is selling at a much lower price. So I make a purchase at Amazon.in.

When a high exit rate is OK

If I have a news blog with a paginated article (when one long article is divided into different pages) and the exit rate on the last page is high. So i guess that is not something to worry about? Users must have reached the end of the article. And it may be natural for them to leave at that point.

Conversion

Conversion is defined as the action you want visitors to perform on your website.

Generally when we think of the word conversion, revenue comes to our mind. But it’s not the case always. For example, a purchase made on Amazon is a conversion whereas a user filling subscriber form on digitalqueries.com may also be a conversion.

Remember that one business may set different types of conversion goals e.g. Video streaming giant Netflix may set goals such as subscription purchase, form submissions, and video views.

There are 2 types of conversions-

Macro Conversion– Primary conversion on a website which is most important to the business. For example, a completed sale on an e-commerce website or a completed lead generation form.

Micro Conversion– Secondary conversions/smaller engagements such as sharing a product on social media, allowing push notifications on your desktop, watching a product video or signing up a newsletter.

Conversion Rate

The ratio of total no. of Conversions to total no. of users visited to your website ((Conversions/User visited)*100).

Basically a high conversion rate shows your successful digital performance and website design i.e. users like what you are offering and they are easily able to access it.

CTR

CTR stands for Click-through rate.

It is the measurement of how many times your item of interest (Facebook/Google ad, email or a page) is clicked as compared to the number of times it is shown to the people.

A high click through rate is a good indication that users find your ad or email campaign helpful and relevant. It is calculated as ((Total Clicks/Total Impressions)*100))

PPC

PPC stands for Pay-per-click.

It is a digital advertising model where search engine giants like Google and Bing allow businesses and individuals to buy ad listings which appear above or below the organic search results. When a user clicks on a sponsored advert, search engine gets paid for it by the advertisers.

AdWords Bid Strategies

Few days back, I was reading somewhere that Google AdWords charges you when someone clicks on your ad and not on views. This is statement is not entirely correct.

Rather, AdWords offers different bid strategies to advertisers that are tailored to different types of business objectives. Depending on what your business wants to focus on- clicks, impressions, views or conversions, they can determine which bid strategy is best for them.

Basically, there are 5 types of AdWords bid strategies-

1) CPMCost per thousand impressions

When an advertiser chooses a CPM strategy, it means he has to pay based on the number of times his ads are shown to people (impressions).

For example, if Google AdWords charges Rs.500 CPM, then an advertiser has to pay Rs.500 for every 1000 impressions of his ad. The ‘M’ in CPM denotes the Roman numeral for 1000.

This strategy is used to increase brand awareness (but not necessarily generate clicks or traffic to your website)

2) vCPM- Cost per thousand viewable impressions

The disadvantage of CPM model is that an advertiser has to pay even if the ad is not actually visible to the users i.e. when an ad appears “below the fold” (portion of a webpage that a user must scroll to see) and user might never scroll down to see the ad. Or the user lands on a webpage and the ad disappears in less than a sec.

But with vCPM, an advertiser pays for impressions that are measured as viewable to the users. i.e. when 50 percent of ad shows on screen for one second or longer for display ads and two seconds or longer for video ads.

3) CPC- Cost per click

This means an advertiser pay for each click on his ads. For this, one has to set a maximum cost-per-click bid or simply “max. CPC” – the highest amount that an advertiser is willing to pay for a click on his ad

This strategy is used to generate traffic to your website.

4) CPV- Cost per view

CPV is used for video campaigns where an advertiser has to pay for a view. Google counts one view when a viewer watches 30 seconds of video ad (or if the video duration is shorter than 30 seconds) or interacts with the ad, whichever comes first.

5) CPA- Cost per acquisition

It is also known as Cost per action, Pay per acquisition, Cost per conversion.

In this strategy, an advertiser is charged when he gets a conversion for his ad. This can be a sale or a newsletter signup.