Three Letter Acronyms (TLA)

There are 17,576 possible variations on the 3 letter acronym. A good percentage of those are found in digital marketing. For those that are still wet round the ears in this industry or have successfully shut themselves off to the white noise of other services we would recommend either having a read through this article in full or simply hit Ctrl+F if there's a particular acronym you want to jump to.



The name pay-per-click essentially explains itself. It's advertising where you only get charged when a customer clicks on your ad. The idea is you select searches that you want to advertise for, you create an ad for that search, you set a bid of how much you're willing to pay if someone clicks (this determines how many clicks you get) and you get someone to come to your website. Once there you hope they do what you want them to do to ensure you haven't wasted your money.

There are plenty of acronyms along that journey. The % of people that see your ad and click is called CTR (click-through rate). The average it costs you to get a click is called CPC (cost per click). The % of people that come to your site and do what you want them to do is CVR (conversion rate). The average amount you spend to get a customer to take an action on your site is called CPA (cost per acquisition). If the action you want them to take is to purchase a product then that of course generates you revenue. The profit you made when calculating revenue against media spend is ROI (return on investment).



PPC is commonly associated with Google or Bing search ads. However, and that's a big, however, there are 2 broader levels above PPC that people are usually referring to. SEM or even Paid Media (nobody says PM). SEM stands for Search Engine Marketing and this shifts the focus back from just search campaigns that are charged per click. It instead covers the additional campaigns available for search engines. This includes shopping, display, video and app campaigns.

It also addresses the fact that not everything has to be charged per click. You can charge based on other results you may value. CPM for example. This stands for cost per mille. What this means is you set a bid you're willing to pay every time your ad has been seen a thousand times. This works really well for brand awareness display campaigns. Another bidding option is CPV (cost per view). For this, you're getting a bid for when someone watches 30 seconds of your video or the entire video if it's under 30 seconds. And of course, for an app campaign, you'll be wanting to drive installs. No prize for guessing what the metric is here. CPI. At this point we'll leave you to figure out what this stands for. It's worth noting that the same metrics and bidding options can be found across other paid media platforms such as Facebook ads and LinkedIn ads.



Search Engine Optimisation is the process of doing what Google wants. While it may (but probably won't) change in future, Google is the primary source of traffic for all businesses online. Simply searching "SEO" on Google provides you with over 693 billion results. And of course, for the best user experience, Google has designed countless algorithms to ensure the most relevant results show first.

So SEO involves having an understanding of what Google deems to be a good user experience and implementing that to your site. The reward is you start to climb up that ladder of 693 billion. There are metrics here that you'll also see in paid media such as CTR and CVR. Most of the jargon you'll find in SEO however is delivered differently. DA and SERPS for example. As this is strictly a 3 letter acronym run-through we'll pay these absolutely no regard.



Conversion Rate Optimisation. Often causing a great disturbance in the workplace if someone decides to pronounce it "crow". This is the process of optimising various elements of your website to increase the likelihood of a conversion. There are countless ways this can be done.

If, for example, you're looking to increase the number of people purchasing one of your products you may want to take a closer look at how you're doing that. What is the call-to-action (CTA)? Does it say "Buy Now" or "Add To Basket"? Maybe even "Add to cart". Or do you capitalise every word with "Add To Cart"? How about the colour of that button? Is it gloomy or garish? Where are you putting that button? Right or left? What font size are you going with? We could go on and if we're in a boardroom sometimes we will. But you get the idea.

The way to determine what works best is to split test your ideas to see which experience delivers the higher CVR in a given period.



In all honestly, you'll probably not hear this one too often. It's unwieldy and if misheard your day could take a significant turn. However, SMM will now and then be used to identify Social Media Marketing, which addresses another key area of digital marketing.

As with SEO, this is another organic path to acquiring customers and business. It's done by keeping an open and direct dialogue with your customers over social media channels. Engage with them in a more personal way and establish the identity of your business. Again you'll find previously mentioned metrics here that are universal such as CTR and CVR. And of course, there's a paid advertising option with social media platforms.


Honourable Mentions

Here, in no particular order, are the other 3 letter acronyms that may or may not have produced a moment of angst:

  • SOV: Share Of Voice - What share of the market do you own
  • LTV: Lifetime Value - The value an average customer brings through repeat business
  • GTM: Google Tag Manager - A tool to easily install tags without editing code
  • DSA: Dynamic Search Ads - Dynamically generated ad copy based on unique user searches
  • CRM: Customer Relationship Manager - A tool to help manage customer data such as sales and emails
  • DKI: Dynamic Keyword Insertion - Dynamically match the headline to the keyword triggered
  • MCC: My Client Centre - Agency level Google ads account which holds multiple ad accounts in one place


And of course, the more commonly found expressions:

  • B2B: Business To Business
  • B2C: Business To Consumer
  • ROI: Return On Investment
  • KPI: Key Performance Indicator
  • EOP: End Of Play
  • COP: Close Of Play
  • COB: Close Of Business
  • YOY: Year On Year
  • MOM: Month On Month



Fortunately, there's a good few decades of experience floating around at Digital Discovery so feel free to wipe your mind of everything you've just read and get in touch today. We'll be happy to help with all things digital marketing.