Marketing buzzwords are thrown around the office everyday, none more so than the acronym. An acronym is an abbreviation of a phrase, shorted into one word using the initial letters from each word of the phrase. While these might streamline emails and save us milliseconds per sentence, when we take a step back, the quantity of acronyms we use, as well as potentially baffling industry newbies, can be confusing. They also lead us to assume we’re universally understood, something as digital marketers, we should know not to presume.

For something light and refreshing today, take a look at our breakdown of commonly used marketing acronyms (CUMA?). You never know, you might even learn a new one!



SEM stands for Search Engine Marketing. One of the pinnacles of digital marketing, SEM revolves around increasing a business’ visibility in search engines’ SERPs (see no. 4) through paid advertisements.


SEO stands for Search Engine Optimisation, but can also be referred to as ‘organic’ or ‘natural’ optimisation. It is the process of refining the technical and content elements of a website in order to improve its visibility in search engines such as Google and Bing, without the use of paid promotion.


PPC stands for pay-per-click and is a form of internet marketing whereby advertisers pay ‘per click’ for a visit to their website. PPC advertising is used across search engines such as Google, Bing and Yahoo! and uses a bidding system to trigger the cost of each click (see no. 7).


SERP stands for Search Engine Results Page. The SERPs are the search results a user is shown after typing a query into a search engine (Google, for example). The results served to the user aim to match the keyword entered, to best aid the user’s query.


CRM stands for customer relationship management. CRM is concerned with improving and maintaining a business’s relationship with its customers. This is achieved via the monitoring of the customer’s journey and experience with the company e.g on the website, social media, and email or telephone enquiries.

DR ads

DR ads stands for Direct Response Advertisements. This form of advertising is designed to engage an immediate reaction from a consumer. Within each DR ad is a ‘device’ which the user is prompted to react to, i.e. a CTA (see no. 11) to click on to receive a discount for a product.


CTR stands for Click-Through Rate. CTR is one way of measuring how successful an online or email campaign has been. It enables marketers to measure how many clicks a specific link receives, as a percentage of the total views the link (campaign) achieved.


CPC stands for cost per click and relates to no. 3: pay-per-click advertising. The CPC is the monetary value of one ‘click’ on an advertiser’s website advert, as charged by search engines such as Google and Bing. The CPC is determined by a bidding system whereby advertisers set their maximum bid. Other variants, such as an advertiser’s Quality Score, also play a part.


CPA stands for cost per acquisition or cost per action. This refers to how much an advertiser is willing to pay a search engine e.g Google for an acquisition such as a sale or an email sign up.

B2B and B2C

B2B stands for business-to-business and relates to the trading of products or services between businesses. This is opposed to a B2C exchange, which stands for business-to-consumer, and represents a financial trade for a product or service between a business and a ‘regular’ customer.


CMS stands for content management system, an application used to manage the content on a website. A CMS will allow multiple users access to manage varying content types, such as text, imagery and video, as well as technical site elements including page titles, meta descriptions and alt tags.


CTA, as a marketing term, stands for call to action. Most commonly a message, link or ‘button’, the objective of a CTA is to promote an immediate response from the reader. For example, ‘click here’, ‘book now’ or ‘read this’.


UX stands for User Experience. It refers to the encounter and experience a person has while using a product, website or application. It’s especially significant in terms of ease of use and satisfying delivery of the product, and is absolutely crucial to product creation.


CX stands for Customer Experience. This refers to the process of keeping a customer engaged and satisfied with a company’s services. This in turn helps a company maintains its position ahead of its competitors.


GA stands for Google Analytics, a free web analytics platform created by Google to track and measure website traffic, performance, and offer user insights.


KPI stands for key performance indicator, a numeric unit or qualitative measurement used to assess the success of a business’ or an individual’s performance. KPIs are often used as targets in a marketing campaign and may include metrics such as website traffic, email sign-ups, conversions, and sales.

WoW, MoM and YoY

Standing for week-on-week, month-on-month, and year-on-year respectively. These terms refer to the comparison of performance (of anything from website traffic to sales) over the specified time period. For example, a week-on-week comparison would compare the performance on a Monday to that of the Monday in the week previous; month-on-month to the same date the month previous; and year-on-year to the same date one year ago.


ROI stands for return on investment, a percentage calculation used to measure the efficiency of a business’ investment. ROI is calculated by dividing the cost of the investment (for example, a new website build), by the profit generated (sales), and multiplying this by 100.


RT stands for Retweet. This refers specifically to social media platform, Twitter. Retweeting is the action of forwarding, or reposting someone else’s tweet. You can either add your own message to the original tweet, or simply repost it as is on your own Twitter profile.


HTML stands for Hypertext Markup Language. HTML is a form of tagging for text files, which enable website creators to customise effects on hyperlinks, font, graphics and colour of pages on the internet.


If you think we’ve missed any off, tweet us: @add_mustard or comment below.