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30 Digital Marketing Buzzwords and What They Actually Mean

Digital Marketing

“Buzzword” is the flashier, snappier version of technical jargon. It can help anyone sound relevant and demonstrate expert knowledge when used correctly. Misuse it, however, and you’ll lose credibility.

The digital marketing industry is saturated with buzzwords—some worth mentioning more than others. If you’re not sure whether your use of “trend-jacking” or “thought leader” sounds insightful or is probably raising eyebrows, then this article is for you!

Below are some of these often-used digital marketing buzzwords, what they mean, and if they’re still worth using or ready for retirement.

1.  10X Content

This content refers to material that is said to be ten times better than the next best piece of available content that discusses the same topic. 10X content is superior to other content using the same keyword and has a high probability of ranking well on Google. 

Verdict: The number may be a bit arbitrary (why not 100X?), but it does effectively convey the message.

2. A/B Testing

A/B testing means experimenting with two versions of web pages, email headlines, ads, or CTAs to determine which is better at achieving the desired results. For example, you can test whether “Buy Now” or “Buy Today” drives more traffic. 

Verdict: A/B testing also goes by split testing and bucket testing, but of the three, it is the more popular term used in digital marketing circles.

3. Advertainment

A combination of “advertisement” and “entertainment,” this type of ad tries to blur the line between promoting a product or service and providing media entertainment. Audiences want to be amused, and it may be easier to create an entertaining ad than use this word and keep your integrity intact.

Verdict: Still somewhat novel, but consumers quickly grow tired of gimmicks

4. Algorithm

An algorithm functions like a formula or set of rules. Search engines, social media platforms, and just about any streaming service utilizes algorithms to determine what content appears and which ones are most relevant to their users.

Verdict: It’ll take a lot before algorithms go out of style.

5. Astroturfing

Astroturfing is an orchestrated marketing strategy in the pretense of unsolicited comments from the public. It is like writing negative reviews on Yelp about your competitors, posing as customers unsatisfied with their products or services. The same goes when you post positive reviews about your business to build your reputation.

Verdict: Astroturfing is an unethical practice that deceives and manipulates the public. Hence, it should be avoided.

6. Attribution Model

An attribution model is a set of rules that determine how credit for conversions is assigned to different touchpoints in a conversion path.

Say you found a business site by clicking its Google ad. Then, you return to it a week later through social media. Within the same day, you came back through their email campaign, and hours later, you made your purchase—that’s your buyer’s journey. Through the attribution model, businesses can identify your buying behavior.

Verdict: Since setting up an attribution model is a prerequisite to proper tracking, this term will likely stay in the digital marketer’s list of acceptable buzzwords.

7. Clickbait

The term “clickbait” refers to outlandish and misleading headlines aiming to drive clicks. If you’ve encountered phrases or questions like “You Won’t Believe What Happens Next” or “How to Achieve Results with This One Weird Trick,” they are most likely clickbait articles.

Verdict: While it is overused, we don’t see this buzzword going away anytime soon due to clickbait’s prevalence in contemporary content creation strategies.

8. Clickthrough rate (CTR)

Clickthrough rate refers to the ratio of users who clicked on your media compared to those who viewed it, measuring the success of a campaign. This term applies to pay-per-click ads, email marketing, and SEO. 

Verdict: CTR is an established industry term that effectively conveys the results of campaigns to the client.       

9. Content Shock

This phenomenon occurs when people become overwhelmed by all the texts, videos, and photos they need to organize and consume. In short, when people drown from too much content.

Verdict: This term sounds gimmicky—it may get annoying when overused.

10. Contextual Marketing

A marketing strategy that uses data to make targeted ads for specific customers. Notice when your social media ads are related to your latest Google searches? That’s contextual marketing. 

Verdict: This is a relevant term in the industry that we won’t see going away soon.

11. Conversion

Conversion is used in sales when converting potential customers into buyers. In digital marketing, this term may refer to website visitors going from simple users to leads or customers buying your products, downloading your materials, or subscribing to newsletters or monthly memberships. 

Verdict: This is a convenient term to use as a catch-all due to the variety of specific actions that are worth tracking as a website goal,

12. Event-Triggered Email

From the term itself, a user receives an email triggered by the occurrence of a particular event. Examples of this strategy are welcome, onboarding, notification, order confirmation, and transactional emails.

Verdict: Event-triggered emails are getting increasingly more common; hence, the term’s usage is also becoming more common—and it isn’t a bad thing.   

13. Gated Content

Gated content often comes in the form of whitepapers, online courses, video tutorials, and case studies and is placed behind a paywall or is for registered members only. This is a way for marketers to drive better leads, as the users who avail of these types of content are more likely to be part of the in-market audience.

Verdict: Gated content is certainly a more elegant way to describe paid content. So go for it!

14. Inbound Marketing

Inbound marketing involves the practice of publishing content online, like blogs or podcasts about your industry, to capture the attention of your target audience. You do this to let customers find you and help you build relationships with them.

Verdict: It’s practically its own branch of digital marketing now—it’s here to stay.

15. –jacking

From ‘trend-jacking,’ to ‘newsjacking,’ to even ‘meme-jacking,’ the many iterations of this word simply describe taking topics or formats relevant to your audiences and using them for your marketing purposes.

Verdict: While the concepts are sound, these words are bordering on overused.

16. Landing Page

Landing pages exist to generate leads or customers. They are businesses’ ways of addressing the potential concerns of their buyers by showing how their products or services can solve their problems. It’s an area where visitors “land,” with CTAs guiding them to where they need to be.

Verdict: It’s fair to say that the term has already cemented itself in the digital marketing lexicon.  

17. Micro-Moment

These refer to those instances when people instinctively turn to a device to accomplish something (learn something, discover something, watch something, or buy something). These micro-moments are incredibly important because they’re intent-rich and often where decisions/preferences are made.

Verdict: Although overused, this term still represents a very important concept that drives conversions.

18. Omnichannel Marketing

This term refers to a business’s presence across every channel. It’s about creating a consistent and unified experience for every buyer. An example would be sending a cart abandonment email reminding users to return to the site to purchase the items left in their carts.

Verdict: This term is relatively young, and we think that we are yet to see its peak,

19. Position Zero

Position Zero refers to the Featured Snippet, which is the result located above the top 10 organic search results. With the way Google’s going about displaying results, it may not actually be exempt from the number of search results on the page.

Verdict: Better stick to “featured snippet” instead or risk confusion later on.

20. Retargeting

Retargeting refers to the practice of serving ads to users who previously viewed a business’ website or offers. Retargeting gives them the chance to reach out to prospects who may not have been ready to buy the first time around. When done well, it can make all the difference in conversion rates.

Verdict: Definitely stays, but don’t get it confused with “remarketing.”

21. Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Search engine optimization is the process of improving a website’s visibility in a search engine’s results page by targeting specific keywords and adhering to publishing best practices. 

Verdict: Need we say more?

22. Snackable Content

Being short, quick, and easy-to-digest is what makes a piece of content “snackable.” Some think it’s the perfect term to describe Vines or tweets, while others believe that it’s unnecessary to use and annoying to hear.

Verdict: The jury’s still out on this one, so use it at your own risk.

23. Search Engine Results Page (SERP)

SERPs display the results of a search query, arranged in descending order of relevance. Nowadays, there’s more than just search results on the page, with search snippets showing definitions, products, and movie times populating it, too. 

Verdict: The SERP is the primary battleground of search engine optimizers—it will be relevant for a very long time.  

24. SoLoMo

This term is shorthand for “Social, Local, and Mobile,” three vital forces in digital marketing. There’s not much to say about this one…

Verdict: No self-respecting digital marketing agency would use this term unless the goal is to sound obnoxious or pretentious.

25. Thought Leader

Influential, expert voices in any industry can count as “thought leaders.” Many aspiring marketers aim to be thought leaders in their own right. While it’s an admirable goal to work towards, the term itself has been worn out by the many, many people who’ve used it to describe themselves.

Verdict: Credibility of the term is diminishing every day. Don’t call yourself or anyone a thought leader unless you can substantiate it.


Top-of-funnel or TOFU (awareness), Middle-of-funnel or MOFU (consideration), and Bottom-of-funnel or BOFU (decision) are stages of the sales funnel. You should tailor your sales approach to match what your prospect needs at that point of the customer buying journey.

Verdict: Shortening words can seem annoying and, in this case, totally unnecessary.

27. User Experience

User experience encompasses a target audience’s overall interactions with your business online. This phrase is used mainly to describe web design but it has found its way to almost every aspect of digital marketing. Without a positive experience, you could lose your audience to competitors that do.

Verdict: Still relevant. People ignore design that ignores people.

28. User Generated Content (UGC)

This type of content is made by the brand’s audience instead of the brand itself. An example is when companies post their customers’ fan art or testimonials. This practice builds a positive relationship between you and your customers and shows that you care about them, all while publishing free content.

Verdict: UGC is not a new concept, and the way it stands, it will still be in use for the years to come.

29. Viral

Viral is what digital marketers’ dreams are made of: reaching an overwhelmingly rapid, massive-scale success with your content. Kind of like when a virus takes over a host, hence the term “viral.” Unfortunately, going viral relies on the unusual and unpredictable whims of the internet.

Verdict: Steer clear of anyone who claims to have the ‘secret formula’ for it and run for the hills if a client demands it.

30. Your Money or Your Life (YMYL)

The term YMYL is based on Google’s guidelines for quality evaluators, where people evaluate search results according to specific guidelines. YMYL pages cover topics that can affect someone’s future health, safety, happiness, and financial stability. One example is a site explaining different plans and savings accounts for retirement.

Verdict: While the term sounds gimmicky, it is used by Google itself. And since many people use Google as their search engine, this term should stain in a digital marketer’s lexicon.

“If you have nothing nice to say…”

You’re likely to find all kinds of digital marketing tips, ebooks, and blog posts that use these marketing buzz words. You may even be using some of these words in your content. While there are buzzwords that rightfully exist to describe many marketing concepts, many of them can sound horrible and will distract from what you’re trying to say.

If you need to flex your marketing knowledge, skip the buzzwords and show, not tell. Think of it this way: what’s more likely to stay with your readers—the buzzwords for marketing or ideas and analogies that create a clearer picture?

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