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Our industry is full of acronyms and initialisms, used everyday in marketing discussions, strategies, and reports. While the very purpose of these short letter combos is to speed up communication, they can often slow things down – way down – if people are unsure what they mean. Here’s a glossary of some of the most-used…and some others that come in handy, too.

Industry Acronyms

B2B = Business to Business
When a business’ product is targeted for other businesses.

B2C = Business to Consumer
Where a business’ product is targeted for individual consumers.

CMS = Content Management System
An application that lets you publish, edit, and organize online content from one centralized dashboard (eg: WordPress, ConstantContact)

CPA = Cost per Action
When the advertiser pays for each specified action (ie: impression, click or sale).

CPC = Cost per Click
When the advertiser pays the publisher a pre-set amount whenever the ad is clicked, also known as Pay per Click, or PPC (ugh, another acronym).

CPM = Cost per Thousand
The cost to reach one thousand people via a specific advertising tactic. If you wondering why there’s an ‘m’ – the ‘m’ stands for the Latin word mille, meaning one thousand.

CTR = Clickthrough Rate
The ratio of users who click on a specific link to the number of total impressions. This is an important one to watch.

CRM = Customer Relationship Management
Refers to an approach to managing a company’s interaction with its customers (current and future) by analyzing the data about a customers’ history with a company.

CTA = Call to Action
An instruction to the audience or customer designed to get them to take the next step (ie: Learn More, Book Today, Give Us a Try).

CX = Customer experience
Refers to the interaction between a company and a customer over the duration of their relationship.

HX = Human experience
Evolving from a focus on transactional “customer” experiences to better understanding what people value to engage with them in a more meaningful and mutually beneficial way.

DNS = Domain Name Server
That place in the clouds where your website’s URL lives.

FTP = File Transfer Protocol
The standard protocol used to transfer computer files from one host to another host over the internet.

HTML = Hyper Text Markup Language
The code language that makes up websites.

IP Address = Internet Protocol Address
The numerical label assigned to each device participating in a network.

KPI = Key Performance Indicator
Usually determined before the launch of a campaign, these indicators are what we measure to track success (clicks, sales, followers, leads, side grins, high-fives, etc.).

LTV = Lifetime Value
The prediction of the net profit attributed to the entire future relationship with a particular customer…ahem, human.

SaaS = Software-as-a-Service
A software licensing and delivery model where software is licensed on a subscription basis and is centrally hosted (think Adobe Photoshop, Microsoft Office 365, or Salesforce).

SEM = Search engine marketing
Type of digital marketing that promotes websites by increasing their visibility in search engine results, either by paid or organic efforts.

SEO = Search Engine Optimization
The process of maximizing the number of web visitors by loading high on search engine results, a.k.a. making Google love you.

SMM = Social media marketing
A form of Internet marketing that utilizes social networks as a marketing tool. Everyone’s doin’ it.

UGC = User-generated content
Content organically created by users outside of your company.

UI = User interface
Everything designed into an information device with which people interact (think websites, dashboards, apps, etc.)

UX = User Experience
The interaction people have with UI

WOM = Word of Mouth
This one doesn’t need much explanation, other than it’s the most amazing, most free type of marketing. You want this.


Social Acronyms, JFF (just for fun)

DM = Direct Message
The private message function on social media platforms.

BTW = By the way
Okay in text usage, not okay when verbalized as “B T Dubs”

BRB = Be right back

DAE = Does anyone else…?
Eg: “DAE think Kanye West is CRAY? Oh, all of you? Cool.”

ELI5 = Explain like I’m 5
We use this a lot. Super handy.

F2F = Face to face
Especially popular on dating apps (before March of 2020).

FOMO = Fear of missing out
One of the only silver linings of this pandemic: the relief FOMO sufferers are feeling.

YOLO = You only live once
Can be the root cause of FOMO.

FTFY = Fixed that for you
Often used by tech support

FTW = For the win!

ICYMI = In case you missed it
ICYMI, this glossary is for people who don’t know what ICYMI means.

IMO = In my opinion
Eg: “IMO, Tears for Fears was one of the best bands of that decade. And many other decades.”

IRL = In real life
Not the internet

LMK = Let me know
Eg: “LMK what your biggest challenges are, and I will help you.”

PPL = People
Eg: “Listen up PPL! Kanye West is CRAY!”

And finally…

MTFBWY = May the force be with you.