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Digital Marketing Acronyms Local Businesses Need to Know by 1LocalBusiness


Digital Marketing Acronyms for Local Businesses


Do you know what ROI means?

Ok, how about PPC…and LTV??

Digital marketing speak is sometimes difficult to decipher, and with new acronyms popping up all the time it can get downright frustrating just trying to understand what the heck you’re reading.

As marketing professionals, it’s downright embarrassing when we happen upon an acronym of which we are not familiar.

Of course, most local business owners are probably thinking, “BFD” or “ who cares, acronyms won’t make or break my marketing.”

Allow me to illustrate the importance of acronyms with one simple real-life conversation between myself and one of our clients, he’s a dentist:

Me: “Hey Dr. C*****, how’s it going?”

Dr. C: “Chris, I have to tell you, that little conversation we had last month really opened my eyes.”

Me: “Well good, how so?”

Dr. C: “Well, I managed to figure out the average lifetime value of a new patient.”

Me: “That’s great to hear, you don’t know how many Docs I talk with who get the concept but never come to a number.” “So what is it?”

Dr. C: “First I have to tell you, when you were talking about LTV last month I didn’t have the foggiest idea what you were talking about – thank you for the follow-up email by the way – that helps explain things tremendously.”

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Why Acronyms Are Important


Without knowing the lingo you’ll always be playing from behind.

Especially when you’re wasting time sitting on one of those software demo webinar things consuming confusing statistics before getting to the hard sales pitch.

Nobody wants to play the marketing & advertising game from behind, the objective is to win.

Winning for local businesses engaged in digital marketing equates to:

  • more new customers
  • improved retention of your existing ones
  • more referrals of friends & family
  • more 5-star reviews
  • show up higher than your local competition in local search results
  • increase sales of additional products & services
  • improve productivity

As a local business owner, you need to know what these acronyms mean.  so that you can make good choices for your business in the future.

That conversation between Dr. C & I went on for another forty minutes or so, but the point is, Dr. C didn’t even know what the average lifetime value of a new patient at his practice was – that’s what LTV means, BTW (by the way).

Sorry, couldn’t help myself.

This is just one example of how important it is to understand some of the most common and not so common digital marketing acronyms.

It doesn’t matter if you’re a dentist who’s hell-bent on going the DIY route with your social media marketing, or if you pay some huge consulting agency tens of thousands of dollars a year, you want to know what’s happening.

You need to know where your marketing & advertising dollars are going and how your efforts are performing.

Dr. C didn’t know what LTV meant, so he took the time to learn, then, more importantly, apply what he learned in a practical sense to better understand a huge financial benchmark in his practice.

You’re involved in the marketing & advertising of your business, therefore you need to understand the vernacular, and that includes acronyms.

Acronyms also save time & space.

No, this isn’t some analytical playoff hockey breakdown of how the NY Islanders swept the Pittsburgh Penguins.



Sorry, had to.

Aside from saving time, acronyms also have a practical benefit, they save characters on your social media & email communications.

And since you’re well aware of the declining attention spans of your collective audience, you know the value of short & concise vs. long-winded and pedantic.

So let’s get to listin’!


71 Digital Marketing Acronyms Local Business Owners Need to Know


To be sure, this is a running list of the most widely used acronyms that I hope continually evolves as new acronyms become widely adopted.

Here is a comprehensive list of acronyms to help you better understand your digital marketing performance.


AIDA: Attention Interest Desire Action


If you’ve ever seen Glengarry Glen Ross then you already know this one, Alec Baldwin crushed it, but I digress.

Local business owners don’t really need to know this digital marketing acronym, it’s just funny to start the list.

But don’t be mistaken, you do need to first have the attention & interest of a potential new customer before that person has the desire to take any action – like call or visit your business.


API: Application Program Interface


An API specifies how software components interact with each other. You can bet some of your local competitors and certainly larger chain businesses use APIs to manage their Google My Business listings, ad campaigns, customer communications & more.

APIs save time & help with automation.

Do you or the people you trust to execute your digital marketing plan employ the use of APIs?

B2B: Business To Business

Products or services sold directly to other businesses.


B2C: Business To Consumer

Products or services sold directly to customers.


BR: Bounce Rate


A “bounce” is when a user visits your website and navigates away from your website after viewing only one page, it is usually expressed as a percentage.

You want a low bounce rate, you want people spending time on your website and reading multiple pages.

Better to know how people are interacting with your website than just continue operating on hunches.


CMS: Content Management System


A content management system is a computer platform that enables you to publish, edit & organize written and visual content from a central interface.

For example, the websites & blogs we develop are built on WordPress, one of the most popular CMS applications in the world.

For the average local business owner, a CMS system would benefit you by acting as the content engine for your blog & social media efforts.


CPC: Cost Per Click


An online advertising model where the advertiser pays the publisher a pre-set amount whenever the ad is clicked. (aka Pay Per Click – or PPC).

You are the advertiser, Google, Facebook, Bing and whomever else you advertise with are the publishers. This is the amount you pay for a click that is generated from your ad.


CPA: Cost Per Acquisition


This value represents how much it costs you to acquire a new customer – or lead – including all marketing/advertising costs.

This can also be referred to as cost per action or CAC – customer acquisition cost. Either way, it’s an essential acronym to know for any business owner.

Without knowing this important digital marketing acronym, you have no idea how much it costs you to acquire a new cusomter via any of your current marketing & advertising channels.


CPL: Cost Per Lead


This is somewhat similar to CPA, it’s the amount it costs you to generate a new patient lead. A lead is someone who contacts or visits your business.

Sometimes it’s a price-shopper, other times it’s a product question, maybe it’s a disqualified lead asking about something you don’t ofer…point is, just like with CPA, you need to know your CPL if you want any accurate picture of your digital marketing ROI.


CPP: Cost Per Phone Call


Cost-Per-Phone Call (CPP or “Pay-Per-Call”), is a digital cost-per-lead advertising model similar to CPC/PPC. With CPP, the advertiser is charged for each phone made from people responding to your ad.


CTA: Call To Action


An instruction to the audience or website visitor that is designed to provoke an immediate response. A call to action (CTA) is a digital marketing acronym that refers to the next step a marketer wants its audience or reader to take.

For example:

  • Call Us Now
  • Dowload Your Buyer’s Guide
  • Click Here to Claim Your Offer


CTR: Click Thru Rate


Click-through rate (CTR) is the ratio of users who click on a specific link to the number of total users who view a page, email, or advertisement.

It is commonly used to measure the success of an online advertising campaign for a particular website as well as the effectiveness of email campaigns.


CR: Conversion Rate


A conversion happens when a visitor to your website completes a desired goal – like placing a phone call or submitting an online form to request an appointment.

The percentage of total visitors that convert is called your conversion rate.

Your conversion rate is one of the most important performance indicators you have because it tells you how many people actually follow through on whatever action you want them to take – call, submit a form, share, like, comment…etc.


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.


CRO: Conversion Rate Optimization


The practice of auditing, testing and implementing a system to increase the number of conversions from visitors on a given web page. For example, you add a “Call Now” button to your website to improve the conversion rate.


CSS: Cascading Style Sheet


Not entirely digital marketing, more so web development but you can’t have one without the other.

Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) is a stylesheet language used to describe the presentation of a document written in HTML or XML (including XML dialects such as SVG, MathML or XHTML).

CSS describes how elements should be rendered on screen, on paper, in speech, or on other media.


DNS: Domain Name Server


Think of DNS as an internet phone book.

It’s a system that controls what website & email your domain name points to. DNS translates domain names to IP addresses so browsers can load Internet resources.


ESP: Email Service Provider


An email service provider (ESP) is a company that offers email services – think Gmail, Yahoo, iCloud, Outlook…etc.

In addition to offering email marketing platforms, some email service providers also offer email creation, consultancy, training and other email related services.

These agencies – like Constant Contact & Mailchimp – are known as full-service ESPs.

FTP: File Transfer Protocol


The File Transfer Protocol (FTP) is a standard network protocol used for the transfer of computer files between a client and server on a computer network.

Only the most diligent DIY marketing business owners will ever need to use FTP, maybe to transfer your website to another hosting service, or to backup your site.


GA: Google Analytics


Google’s web analytics service that allows you to track important website metrics & visitor behavior.


HTML: Hyper Text Markup Language


The standard markup language used to create webpages.

Like CSS, more so web dev than digital marketing acronym, but anyone engaged in digital marketing needs to know this acronym.

Make sense?


IM: Instant Message


A peer to peer real-time communications service that uses text-based communication over the Internet.


IP Address: Internet Protocol Address


An Internet Protocol (IP) address is a numerical label assigned to each device connected to a computer network that uses the Internet Protocol for communication.

An IP address serves two principal functions: host or network interface identification and location addressing. Every device that connects to the Internet has a unique IP address and looks something like this:


  • IPv4: 01.27.900.436
  • IPv6: 2001:0db8:85a3:0000:0000:8a2e:0370:7334

In order for computer networks and servers to “talk to one another,” computers rely on a language made up of numbers and letters called an IP address.

KPI: Key Performance Indicator


Key performance indicators (KPIs) are business metrics used to track and analyze factors deemed crucial to the success of your digital marketing plan – or ad campaign, direct mail campaign, social media marketing campaign…etc.

A few KPIs for a local business could be:

  • Phone calls
  • Phone calls
  • Appointment form submissions
  • Event RSVPs

You should know these before undertaking any advertising or digital marketing efforts. You can’t measure what you don’t track!


LTV: Lifetime Value of a Customer (or Patient)


The prediction of the net profit attributed to the entire future relationship with a particular customer.

Customer lifetime value is the metric that indicates the total revenue a business can reasonably expect from a single customer.

It considers a customer’s revenue value and compares that number to the company’s predicted customer lifespan.


PR: PageRank


PageRank is a way of measuring the importance of website pages.

PageRank (PR) is an algorithm used by Google Search to rank web pages in their search engine results. PageRank was named after Larry Page, one of the founders of Google.


PV: Page View


A page view is a visit to a page on your website. Also referred to as a page impression, it’s the request to load a single HTML file of an Internet site.

Pageviews is a metric defined as the total number of pages viewed. If the visitor reloads a page, this counts as an additional page view.


QR Code: Quick Response Barcode


A machine-readable code consisting of an array of black and white squares, typically used for storing URLs or other information for reading by the camera on a smartphone.

Have you ever used one?


ROI: Return on Investment


Your ROI from any digital dental marketing endeavor is most simply the profit generated, minus the acquisition costs.

To calculate new patient acquisition return on investment at its simplest form, basically its:

  • ROI = (Revenue – Investment) / Investment * 100

…or you could dive deeper and say

  • (avg. value of a new customer – cost of acquisition) / cost of acquisition * 100 = ROI

For example, for easy math let’s say the average value of a new customer is $10. And the average cost per acquisition is $2. Those are two extremely conservative numbers.

(10 – 2) / 2 * 100 =  400%


RSS: Really Simple Syndication


RSS is a type of web feed which allows users and applications to access updates to online content in a standardized, computer-readable format.

RSS is a format for syndicating news and the content of news-like sites, including major news sites, news-oriented community sites, and even local businesses who have blogs.


SaaS: Software-as-a-Service


A method of software delivery and licensing in which software is accessed online via a subscription, rather than bought and installed on individual computers.

You probably use some type of SaaS platform already, for newsletters, for review generation, CE….etc.


SEM: Search Engine Marketing


Search engine marketing (SEM) is a form of Internet marketing that involves the promotion of websites by increasing their visibility in search engine results pages (SERPs), primarily through paid advertising.

Think Google Ads. See PPC.


SEO: Search Engine Optimization


Search engine optimization is the process of increasing the visibility of a website or a web page to users of a web search engine.

The term excludes the purchase of paid placement, referring only to the improvement of unpaid – or organic – results.


SERPs: Search Engine Results Pages


You search on Google for something, the SERPs are the pages of results you peruse to find what you’re looking for.


SMM: Social Media Marketing


Marketing your business using social media.


SMO: Social Media Optimization


The process of optimizing your social media presence and increasing your business visibility & branding on popular social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram & YouTube.


SoLoMo: Social, Local, Mobile

A popular digital marketing mantra circa 2012, SoLoMo stands for social, local, mobile.

The convergence of mobile and locally targeted social media marketing that has grown in popularity thanks to widespread social media usage, ubiquitous mobile devices, and geo-location technology.


TOS: Terms of Service


Rules by which website users must abide by in order to create an account, make a purchase, complete a download…etc.


UGC: User-Generated Content


This is content created by your customers & social media followers. Some of the most obvious examples are online customer reviews & recommendations.


URL: Uniform Resource Locator


Basically, it’s a set of directions and every web page has a unique one.

The address of a website on the internet. Ex:

The URL of your website incorporates your domain name, along with other detailed information, to create a “web address” to direct your internet browser to a specific web page.


UV: Unique Visitor


A term used in digital marketing analytics, a unique visitor is someone who visits your website at least one time within a given reporting period.

Each visitor to the site is only counted once during the reporting period, so if the same IP address accesses the site many times, it still only counts as one visitor.

You’ll want to regularly track things like how many unique visitors access your website, respond to an ad, or take a specific desired action on your website (like book an appt or make a call).

DWOM: Word of Mouth


Oral or written communication created by a satisfied customer that is posted online. The most obvious source of DWOM….reviews.’

By your happy customers to prospective customers explaining how great your products & services are.


Social Media Acronyms & Abbreviations Local Business Owners Need To Know


Some of these blur the lines between digital marketing and text (SMS) shorthand, but we’ll try to limit the more creatively teenage uses of the vernacular.


DM: Direct Message


A private message that is only displayed to an individual user, popular on Twitter & Instagram.


PM: Private Message

Same as DMs.


FB: Facebook


Yes, that. What should a local business do on Facebook? These 7 things…


G+: Google+


Google’s social network…that has gone the way of the DoDo.


IG: Instagram


Think images & video, owned by Facebook. In their words…A simple, fun & creative way to capture, edit & share photos, videos & messages with friends & family.

Hit us up on the IG. (I’ve always wanted to say that)


LI: LinkedIn


The largest professional social network.

Local businesses who do it right cultivate a network of local referral partners & build authority by commenting on, sharing, & publishing high-quality content.


RT: Retweet


On Twitter, when a user re-shares your Tweet, or vice-versa.


SM: Social Media


It’s media, it’s social.

Is your business noticing more referrals, more reviews, enhanced retention & elevated reactivations? If so, you’re doing it right. If not, change your strategies & tactics to achieve those goals.

Social Media Marketing & Management for Local Businesses

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TW: Twitter


Twitter is an American online news and social networking service on which users post and interact with messages known as “tweets”.

Tweets were originally restricted to 140 characters, but on November 7, 2017, this limit was doubled to 280 for all languages except Chinese, Japanese, and Korean.


YT: YouTube


A social network dedicated to videos & video-sharing. Owned by Google.

Your dental practice should have it’s own YouTube channel, populated with an introduction to your practice, educational videos to boost case presentation, patient testimonials, and more.

Subscribe to our channel to learn more…


AMA: Ask Me Anything

AMAs are popular on Twitter Chats in particular, essentially a scheduled question and answer session.


BRB: Be Right Back

#TBT might have been the last time you’ve seen this acronym. Too soon?


BTS: Behind the Scenes

Give your customers & prospective customers a BTS look inside your busienss with an intro video you can post to your YT channel.


BTW: By The Way

An abbreviated way to add extra info, go on a tangent or some other type of social media interjection.


DFY: Done For You


A local business could have the best marketing plan in place, but if you don’t have the time or the manpower to implement it you will not achieve optimal results.

Not enough time and too many distractions are a couple of the most common reasons why even the best-laid marketing plans fail.


DYK: Did You Know


DYK that Facebook reports that 1 in 3 people on Facebook use the platform to look for Recommendations and reviews? Now you do.


FBF: Flashback Friday

Like #TBT, but on Friday. A popular social media posting theme that involves sharing past images, facts, funny quips…etc.


FOMO: Fear Of Missing Out

You have FOMO is you have fear of missing out on something. Like how you feel when you see your competitor’s website regularly outranking yours.


FYI: For Your Information

Surely even the most unsocial of local businesses would know this one.


ICYMI: In Case You Missed It

Social media moves at a pretty good clip, chances are you’ve seen an ICYMI post after you previously missed it.

“ICYMI…local businesses use social media to acquire & retain more customers!”


IMO/IMHO: In My Opinion / In My Humble Opinion

Used interchangeably, a disclaimer of sorts that what follows is the user’s opinion. Whether it’s humble or not is probably up for debate.

Opinions & debate, social media has lots.


LMK: Let Me Know

If you see this, someone is waiting for an answer.


NBD: No Big Deal

Most often used as a sarcastic humble brag for something that is usually a pretty big deal.

Ex: “It’s only the 4th but we’ve already hit our target new customer goal for the month! #NBD”


NSFW: Not Safe For Work

You know what’s safe for work and what’s not. If not, you’ll know it when you see or hear it…


SMH: Shaking My Head

Used to show that one does not approve of something or cannot believe it. In the social media world that is.


TBH: To Be Honest

Related to IMO/IMHO, be on the lookout for a humble brag or negative opinion to soon follow.


TBT: Throwback Thursday


One of the most popular social media posting trends.


TL;DR: Too Long; Didn’t Read

ICYMI social media moves fast, if someone TL;DRs your post considering editing to a shorter version.

Maybe you even TL;DRd this blog post before knowing what it means.

WBW: Wayback Wednesday

See TBT & FBF.

Did we miss anything?

Leave a comment below & let us know!


DFY Social Media Marketing for Local Businesses

Social Media Marketing & Management for Local Businesses