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A beginner’s guide to common marketing abbreviations

Marketing Abbreviations
What are abbreviations for marketing and why are they important?
7 general marketing abbreviations and acronyms you should know
14 marketing abbreviations and marketing acronyms about cost and performance
12 marketing abbreviations and acronyms about process
Final thoughts

Team meetings and Slack channels are bursting with marketing abbreviations and acronyms. Navigating industry jargon may feel like unfamiliar territory at first, but using shortened terms can be a more efficient way of communicating.

If you’re new to marketing, it’s crucial that you understand the fundamentals of using key marketing abbreviations and acronyms.

In this article, we’ll explain the essential marketing abbreviations, including examples of how you might hear these terms being used.

What are abbreviations for marketing and why are they important?

Abbreviations for marketing offer a quick way to reference key concepts such as user engagement and performance analytics.

However, they are only useful if everyone is on the same page. Misunderstanding terms can lead to monumental mistakes that consume team time, budget and reputation.

For example, say a new marketer misunderstood a team leader ask them to send a SOW to the client. Instead of sending a “statement of work” detailing the upcoming project, they send something else entirely – confusing the client and embarrassing the company.

For this reason, it’s crucial to build a knowledge database of these abbreviations so they become second nature.

To help you master industry jargon, we’ve created this glossary of marketing abbreviations.

7 general marketing abbreviations and acronyms you should know

Here are seven of the most common marketing abbreviations and acronyms you’re guaranteed to hear if you work in marketing.

CRM: Customer relationship management

A customer relationship management platform is a tool businesses use to centralize internal and customer data. It helps businesses manage sales deals, track leads and build relationships. Some CRM tools, like Pipedrive, offer advanced features and add-ons, such as email marketing and lead generation.

Example: “We need to add those new contacts from the conference to the CRM.”

CTA: Call to action

CTA is an acronym used in marketing to describe specific directions for audiences to take after engaging with their content. A CTA can be a button or an embedded link. From social media posts to landing pages, they can be added to all types of content and encourage customers to subscribe to a newsletter, buy a product or book a demo call.

Example: “We need to optimize the CTA on our landing page for a better click-through rate.”

CTR: Click-through rate

This is an engagement metric measuring the percentage of customers that click on a link compared to the total number of customers who viewed the link. For example, an email marketing click-through rate measures how many customers clicked on a link in the email versus those who simply opened the email but took no action.

Click-through rate formula

(Number of clicks ÷ number of views) x 100

Example: “Our CTR was up 10% with that campaign.”

ROI: Return on investment

This metric determines how much money companies make compared to how much money they spend. ROI is similar to your return on sales ratio (ROS) because it lets you know if an investment is worth it.

Example: “Our ROI for our last social media campaign was 250%.”

SOW: Statement of work

This project management document outlines every detail of a project. It includes the deliverables, timeline and project expectations. The goal of an SOW is to ensure every marketer on the team is on the same page before the project commences.

Example: “Has the SOW been sent to the client for this project?”

WOM: Word-of-mouth

This is typically a written acronym referring to customers telling people in their network about the company. It’s a tactic that can be actively encouraged through various strategies, such as referral discounts and creating buzzworthy content.

Example: “Let’s try to encourage more WOM with a referral rewards program.”

UX: User experience

This refers to how enjoyable a customer’s interaction is with a website or digital product. A good user experience is when users don’t have to search for what they need, but the company provides it for them.

Example: “To improve the UX of our website, we need to optimize the navigation bar.”

14 marketing abbreviations and marketing acronyms about cost and performance

Cost and performance are the bread and butter of digital marketing. They are attached to metrics that indicate whether a company is meeting its revenue and efficiency targets.

Here are the top abbreviations to familiarize yourself with.

BR: Bounce rate

This is a metric that shows how long users spend on your web page before leaving. If a user clicks on your website and leaves without engaging with any of your other pages or links, they’re considered a bounce.

Example: “Our bounce rate on acquisition content was high last month, so let’s reevaluate our strategy for potential customers.”

Bounce rate formula

(Number of bounces ÷ number of attempted sends) x 100

CAC: Customer acquisition cost

This is the total cost of acquiring a new paying customer. You can determine your CAC by dividing marketing expenses by the number of new customers received. For example, if you spend $1,000 on marketing to acquire 100 customers, your CAC would be $10.

Customer acquisition cost formula

Cost of sales and marketing ÷ number of new customers acquired

Example: “We need to focus on optimizing conversion rates so we can lower our CAC.”

CLTV/CLV/LTV: Customer lifetime value

This is the total amount of money a customer is estimated to generate for a company during their relationship together. A high CLTV indicates good customer retention and vice versa.

Example: “We’re seeing a decline in our CLTV, which means we need to re-evaluate our after-sales service and hone in on customer retention.”

CPA: Cost per action

CPA is a pricing model where marketers pay a fixed rate per agreed action taken by the customer. For example, marketers might pay $2 for each webinar signup after seeing an ad instead of paying for the number of ad views.

Example: “Our average CPA for the last ad was $4. Let’s see if we can optimize the ad and bring it down in the next run.”

CPA: Cost per acquisition

This refers to the cost of acquiring new customers through a particular marketing campaign or channel. CPA is different from CAC because it measures cost per lead, not cost per paying customer.

Example: “Our CPA was higher than expected during our last campaign, so we need to find a way to lower it.”

CPC: Cost-per-click

CPC indicates how much money is spent on an ad campaign compared to the clicks received. CPC measures the performance of an ad, so the more people click a link, the lower the CPC is.

Example: “Let’s try to bring down our CPC with a more direct call to action.”

See PPC: Pay-Per-Click.

CPL: Cost per lead

This is an advertising pricing model where companies pay for each lead generated through advertising rather than impressions or clicks.

Cost per lead formula

Cost of generating leads ÷ total leads acquired

Example: “This ad campaign had an average CPL of $1.50.”

CPM: Cost per mille

CPM is a marketing acronym referring to the cost per thousand impressions. It is how much a company spends to display an ad one thousand times. In this calculation, one impression does not equal one customer. The same ad can make several impressions on one user.

Example: “Our last marketing campaign generated a CPM of $8.”

CR: Conversation rate

This refers to the percentage of website users who take a desired action.

Conversion rate formula

Conversions ÷ non-conversions

Whether a user downloads a lead magnet or purchases a product, your CR indicates which users are being converted into leads or customers.

Example: “Our last email marketing campaign had a CR of 15%.”

CRO: Conversion rate optimization

This is the process of optimizing your content to directly increase your CR. You can do this by refreshing content, revamping design, analyzing user behavior, testing new products and more.

Example: “Our social media team is working hard on CRO strategies.”

KPI: Key performance indicator

This is how marketers measure their progress toward a specific goal. KPIs refer to a range of specific activities, from monthly blog articles published to monthly website traffic. The important thing is that a KPI acts as a metric for success.

Example: “We have a weekly meeting to track KPIs and ensure we’re on track to hit our goals.”

MOM: Month-over-month

This is a report of a metric in the current month compared to its performance in the previous month.

Example: “The MOM revenue report showed a steep increase due to the holidays.”

PPC: Pay-Per-Click

PPC is a model of advertising that charges the advertiser based on how many people click on the ad. In this model, advertisers only pay when a viewer takes an action, such as clicks on the ad.

See CPC: Cost-Per-Click.

PV: Page view

This refers to how many times a user views a website page.

Example: “Our goal this month is for our blog posts to generate at least 1,000 PVs.”

YOY: Year-over-year

This is a report indicating changes or trends compared with the previous year.

Example: “The YOY report indicates the business is growing despite economic uncertainty.”

12 marketing abbreviations and acronyms about process

There are many marketing abbreviations that describe the marketing process itself. We’ve listed staple terms you’ll hear often.

A/B Testing

A/B testing is when different versions of one item of content, such as an ad or a landing page, are shown to the target audience. The idea is to test which version performs better in a smaller sample before contributing a bigger chunk of the budget or showing the content to a wider audience. For example, marketers will often compare email subject lines to determine which one generates more opens and clicks.

Example: “Let’s run an A/B test with these ads and put budget behind the winner.”

ABM: Account-based marketing

ABM is a marketing acronym that involves a collaborative effort by marketing and sales teams in order to win over specific accounts. Each prospect is targeted with a uniquely planned-out marketing campaign tailored to land the account. It is a B2B marketing strategy (described below) that treats individual businesses as entire markets.

Example: “We have added three new accounts to our portfolio thanks to our successful ABM campaigns.”

B2B: Business-to-business

B2B refers to when businesses sell goods or services to another business rather than directly to consumers.

Example: “Let’s do a push on B2B next year. How can we get more businesses interested in our product?”

B2C: Business-to-consumer

B2C is when businesses sell goods or services directly to consumers rather than businesses, such as in retail or e-commerce.

Example: “We’re collaborating with influencers to promote our new B2C skincare line.”

CMS: Content management system

This is software for storing and managing content on a website, such as landing pages and blog articles. Popular CMS platforms are WordPress and Joomla.

Example: “We use a CMS for marketing automation on our website.”

EEAT: Experience, expertise, authoritativeness and trustworthiness

EEAT is Google’s acronym for high-quality content: experience, expertise, authoritativeness and trustworthiness. Google uses this acronym to reward high-quality content in search engines and to weed out spammy, low-quality content.

Example: “We want to make sure all of our content adheres to EEAT guidelines.”

GA: Google Analytics

Google Analytics is a service by Google that analyzes user behavior, website traffic and overall website performance. It’s a tool that marketers rely on to understand their target audience and create content accordingly.

Example: “We use GA to measure our conversions and sales.”

MQL: Marketing qualified lead

This is a lead who has shown an interest in your product or service and has been scored by the marketing team as a viable option for sales to pursue.

Example: “We brought in 120 MQL last quarter.”

SaaS: Software as a service

This refers to subscription-based, centrally-hosted software services like Pipedrive. It’s also known as “web-based software.”

Example: “The market is highly competitive for SaaS companies.”

SEM: Search engine marketing

This is when marketers use paid advertising to promote their websites in search engines. That way, companies can gain visibility and traffic.

Example: “We invest heavily in SEM because it increases our website’s visibility.”

SEO: Search engine optimization

This is the process of improving webpages for a better chance of appearing in search engine results pages (see SERP below). It includes on-page optimization (e.g., adding keywords and using correct Hypertext Markup Language tags, or HTML tags) and off-page optimization (e.g., creating backlinks through connections with other websites).

Example: “This page isn’t performing as well as expected, so let’s look at improving SEO.”

SERP: Search engine results page

This is the page of results a user sees after typing a query into a search engine like Google, Yahoo or Bing.

Example: “All of our content is SEO-optimized so it helps our ranking in the SERPs.”

SMM: Social media marketing

This is the process of using social media platforms like Instagram or TikTok to grow an audience and boost your brand’s visibility. This marketing strategy is a form of digital advertising built on brand authenticity and user engagement.

Example: “Our most effective marketing strategy is SMM because our customers love engaging on Instagram.”

Value Prop: Value proposition

This is the unique benefit that companies can offer consumers through their product or service. It’s a tool for businesses to use on their website, social media or marketing. It’s aim is to attract its target audience and differentiate itself from competitors.

Example: “Our value prop is so successful because it highlights all of the key benefits of our product.”

Final thoughts

If you’re new to digital marketing, learning the industry lingo is a key component to your success on the team.

While there may be hundreds of digital marketing abbreviations and digital marketing acronyms out there, this list is the perfect place for you to start.

Driving business growth