Digital Advertising 101 - Understanding Technical Terms and Lingo

CPC, CTR, SOV, page views, bounce rates, open rates, engagement rates - heard these terms before but too shy to ask what they mean? We’re here for you!

Let’s start with the basics.


These are some common terms you might see when viewing analytics about your website, such as from Google Analytics.

  1. Unique visitors: The number of distinct individuals who visit your website, usually much less than the total number of visitors.
  2. Visits: The number of visits to your website, which includes return visits by unique visitors
  3. Demographics & Interests: Age, Gender and interests of your visitors.
  4. Page views: The number of times a particular page was viewed.  This gives you an indication of your most and least popular pages.
  5. Time spent: Time spent on a page, or your website. If time spent increases, it’s a good sign that visitors are engaging with your content.
  6. Bounce rate: The percentage of visitors who land on your website and leave after viewing only one page. If your bounce rate is high, it could mean that your ads or keywords are not relevant to the page content.
  7. Landing page: The web page that a visitor first lands on your website.
  8. Sources: Where your visitors are coming from e.g. social media, paid media and advertising.
  9. Exit rate: The percentage of people who left your site at a particular page

Digital advertising terms

  1. Impressions / Views: The number of times an advertisement has been served up to a target user. There are ad models that sell based on CPM or Cost per thousand impressions.
  2. Keywords or Phrases: When advertising on Google Ads (previously known as AdWords), you specify keywords or phrases that you want to target your ads with, and will bid on. For example, when someone searching for “Car wash package”, and if you bid on the phrase, your ad will stand a chance to be shown to the search user.
  3. Target audience: Your existing and potential customers, usually defined by age, gender, earning power, location, and other interests.
  4. Cost per click (CPC) / Pay per click (PPC): An advertising charging model that charges based on clicks. This is a popular model because advertisers only pay when someone clicks on the ad, which indicates interest.
  5. Cost per acquisition (CPA): An ad model that charges based on a specified action or outcome such as a sale, click or form-submission e.g. a contact request, newsletter sign up, registration, etc.
  6. Cost per engagement (CPE): An ad model that charges based on engagement metrics such as views or clicks.
  7. Click-through-rate (CTR): Percentage of clicks on ads or call-to-action buttons. This is usually calculated by dividing the number of clicks over the total number of impressions. A low CTR usually indicates a lack of interest.
  8. Retargeting / Remarketing: A form of online advertising where ads are served to people who have already visited your website, or engaged with your ad.
  9. Ad optimisation or Campaign optimisation: Tweaking certain aspects of your advertisements to improve the impressions, clicks and click-through rate.
  10. Conversion: This is usually defined as the completion of an action by a web user to your website. the action can be sending an email enquiry, putting something in the shopping cart, completing a registration, etc. additional tracking is usually required to record such activities on websites.
  11. Search Terms: These are the actual terms users have searched for, shown your ad, and then clicked on your ad to visit your website.

Social Media 

  1. Engagement rate: How much your post is liked, shared, on commented on.
  2. Reach: The number of people who saw your post.
  3. Views: The number of times your post was seen.

What other digital advertising terms would you like us to explain? Drop us a note to tell us.


  • Getting your head around the basic terms is the first step in creating a successful digital marketing campaign
  • There are plenty of terms out there (and more created everyday) but the basics will be enough for you to understand how to implement your own campaign.
  • Don’t be put off by the jargon, most of these terms refer to simple activities you can learn and implement yourself.


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