When I first started working in the internet industry, back in 1874, a colleague said to me that I shouldn’t be daunted by the ridiculous number of acronyms that are seemingly used on a daily basis. I’d learn them in good time, he said. There was no need for panic stations.

Sure enough, I was bombarded with seemingly random three- and four-letter acronyms, from all directions. I hunkered down and gradually learned the most important ones. I’m somewhat allergic to jargon, but sometimes there is no getting around the fact that we need to speak the right language in digital marketing circles. There is only one way to describe ‘real-time bidding’ (RTB), and no amount of Plain English is going to improve that kind of phrase.

We used to have a glossary on a much older version of Econsultancy.com, but that’s long since vanished, so I thought I’d compile a handy cut-out-and-keep guide to help newbies to get up to speed with the lingo. 

So here is a list of the most common acronyms that every digital marketer should know about. I think they cover most bases, though no doubt I have missed out a few obvious ones (by all means add them in the comments area below). Some of these are very much filed under ‘marketing’, whereas others lean more towards ‘tech’ (but are included as you are likely to cross their paths at some point). For the purposes of brevity I shan’t define each one: that’s what Google / Wikipedia is for.

Ok, here goes…

AIDA – Attention, Interest, Desire, Action

AJAX – Asynchronous Javascript and XML

API – Application program interface

AOV – Average order value

AR – Augmented reality

ASP – Application service provider

ATD – Agency trading desk

B2B – Business to business

B2C – Business to consumer

CLV – Customer lifetime value

CMS – Content management system

CPA – Cost per acquisition / action

CPC – Cost per click

CPL – Cost per lead

CPM – Cost per thousand

CPV – Cost per view (see also PPV)

CR – Conversion rate

CRM – Customer relationship management

CRO – Conversion rate optimisation

CSS – Cascading style sheets

CTA – Call to action

CTR – Click-through rate

CX – Customer experience

DM – Direct mail (or ‘Direct message’, in Twitter circles)

DMP – Data management platform

DNS – Domain name system

DR – Direct response

DSP – Demand-side platform

ECPM – Effective CPM

EPC – Earnings per click

EPM – Earnings per thousand

ESP – Email service provider

FB – Facebook

FBML – Facebook Markup Language

FTP – File transfer protocol

GA – Google Analytics

HIPPO – Highest paid person’s opinion

HTML – HyperText Markup Language

HTTP – Hyper Text Transfer Protocol

HTTPS – Hyper Text Transfer Protocol Secure

IM – Instant Messaging

IMAP – Internet Message Access Protocol

IP – Intellectual property (or ‘Internet Protocol’)

IPTV – Internet protocol television

ISP – Internet service provider

KPI – Key performance indicator

LTV – Lifetime value

MoM – Month on month

MLM – Multi-level marketing

MVT – Multivariate testing

OEM – Original equipment manufacturer

OS – Operating system (sometimes this is used for ‘open source’)

PHP – PHP Hypertext Preprocessor

POS – Point of sale

PPC – Pay per click

PPL – Pay per lead

PPV – Pay per view

PR – PageRank

PV – Pageviews

QA – Quality assurance

QR Code – Quick response code

QS – Quality score

RFI – Request for information

RFP – Request for proposal

ROI – Return on investment

RON – Run of network

ROR – Ruby on Rails

ROS – Run of site

RSS – Really Simple Syndication

RT – Retweet

RTB – Real time bidding

RTD – Real time data

S2S – Server to server

SaaS – Software as a service

SEM – Search engine marketing

SEO – Search engine optimisation

SERP – Search engine results page

SLA – Service level agreement

SM – Social media

SME – Small / medium enterprise. (aka SMB = ‘business’)

SMM – Social media marketing

SMO – Social media optimisation

SMP – Social media platform

SMS – Short message service

SOV – Share of voice

SOW – Statement of work

SSL – Secure Sockets Layer

SSP – Supply-side platform

SWOT – Strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats

TLD – Top level domain

TOS – Terms of service

UCD – User-centric design

UI – User interface

UGC – User-generated content

URL – Uniform resource locator

USP – Unique selling proposition

UV – Unique visitor

UX – User experience

VOD – Video on demand

VM – Viral marketing

WOMM – Word of mouth marketing

WYSIWYG – What you see is what you get

YOY – Year on year

YTD – Year to date

XML – Extensible Markup Language

What others are there that are worth knowing / used often?

SMDH, P&G: Why brands need to stop trying to be ‘young’ and ‘internet’