Social Media Glossary


Various terms and acronyms are thrown around social media like confetti at a birthday party. But that doesn’t really make them universally known. As you dive into growing your company’s social media presence and running advertisements online it’s easy to get lost without the knowledge of these terms. Here’s our quick and easy guide to acronyms and terms used in social media marketing. 


The number of people that are quite frankly impressed by your ad or post and how many times they are impressed by it. Okay maybe they weren’t impressed but it did pop up on their feed for them to view. Facebook, Google, Instagram, etc are able to track how many people had your ad show up and how many times it popped up while they scrolled or searched in your number of impressions.


Now this is just the number of people you reached. Impressions and reach often get confused between each other. Your ad or post could be shown multiple times to the same person, and that is why the two metrics are necessary. If your post has 500 impressions and a reach of 350, your post was shown on average 1.4 times to each person.


A view is an impression. A click is just that, a click. There’s nothing complicated or confusing about this one. If someone clicks on your ad to go to your website, lead form or other landing page, it is counted as a click.


Okay so they viewed your ad, they clicked on your ad and now they have purchased your product or service. This is what we like to see. This purchase is counted as a conversion in social media terms. Conversions don’t have to just be purchases though. A conversion can be a purchase, new lead, registration for an event, etc. Your ads are set up for a specific action, and when you someone takes that action a conversion happens.

CTR (Click Through Rate)

Simply put this is click through rate. But what? This is the number of impressions divided by the number of clicks on your ad. This is the rate of people that were actually impressed with your ad and then clicked through on it. It varies slightly based on which platform you are running ads on, but an average click through rate is 2%. 

CVR (Conversion Rate)

Your CVR is your conversion rate. You’ve impressed the viewers, so they clicked and now they have become a conversion. It’s important to know what percentage of people that click on your ads are then converting. This clues you in to how well your landing page and content actually is. Good content and visually appealing landing page? More likely to convert. The average CVR is around 2%.

CPC (Cost per click)

How much did it cost for someone to click on your ad? We calculate CPC by dividing the amount spent by the number of clicks. A great cost per click is often under $1.00. A low CPC does not guarantee a high number of sales of a great CPA (don’t worry, we explain this one next), but it is a great indicator that your ad is performing well. 

CPA (Cost per acquisition)

More often than not ads are meant to sell something, although they can be used to generate leads or get event signups like we established in conversions. CPA is the cost per acquisition for an ad. How much you spent on the ad divided by the number of sales you obtained, that is your CPA. When beginning to run ads you should develop your target CPA. How much are you willing to spend to gain a sale? If you are selling a $50 bouquet of flowers your CPA may be $25. If you are selling a $20,000 car, your CPA is probably at least a little bit higher than $25. Your target CPA will also help you determine how much to spend on your ads.  

Affiliate Marketing

You can’t always do it on your own. Running ads and hanging billboards isn’t all there is to it. Affiliate marketing is when you bring in others to help get the job done. There’s all sorts of affiliate marketing. The largest being influencers. Excuse me what? 


Yes, they are in fact people that are paid to make a post on social media for businesses. Is it crazy? Maybe (or definitely). But does it work? Absolutely. Influencers have created a following and community of people that enjoy sharing in their life and trust them. They have some type of ‘specialization’, maybe it’s motherhood or drinking coffee or cars. It’s a hobby or interest that they love and have curated their feed around. Their followers trust what they say about this specific topic, so if they are posting about a brand that they say roasts the best coffee beans, their followers will then trust the brand.

Engagement Rate

Now one doesn’t just wake up and become an influencer. Just because you have some followers on Instagram does not mean that a brand wants to pay you $100 and give you a free product to post about them. Sorry to burst your bubble. You need to have a good engagement rate as well. This is based on how many of your followers actually engage with your content. It’s calculated by dividing likes and comments by the number of followers. On Instagram a good engagement rate is between 1 & 3%. 


Remember when hashtags first came out and you (or your parents) were saying “pound sign selfie”? Just me? Whoops. Hashtags are a way of tagging your images to be searchable by others. You place hashtags at the end of your caption to make your organic posts to make them easier to organically pop up on other feeds (think about the Explore page on Instagram). Hashtags aren’t quite as popular as they used to be, but they are still essential in best practices of organic social media.  

Google Ads

You know when you type in a google search the first three sites that pop up have that easily missed text that says ‘Ad’ next to the company name? Those are Google ads. These ads are shown based on keywords, website content and locations the advertising company told Google to show their ads for. If I am selling purple pants, I will tell Google that one of my keywords is purple pants. Then when you go to search for purple pants, I will pay Google for making my website pop up at the top of the page. They are highly effective when they are targeted correctly.

Facebook Ads

Most people are a bit more familiar with Facebook ads. You can’t scroll through your feed without seeing them. These ads have some more customizable features like being able to add images and videos to them and target based on interest groups instead of just keywords and locations. Facebooks ads allow you to push your product or service in front of someone that might not have been interested in you previously (if you know push, pull marketing, you know what we are talking about here).

Boosted Post

These are the ‘Facebook Ads’ that most businesses know about. They are simple and easy while effective. You simply take one of your organic social posts that is performing well, throw some money at it and Facebook will push this organic post in front of even more people while encouraging them to like your page, message you or visit your site (depending on what you want). 

KPIs (Key Performance Indictor)

A Key Performance Indicator is the most important thing when it comes to beginning performance marketing for your business. What is going to indicate success for you? Is it conversions at a CPA of $12 or is it doubling the traffic to your website? The list of KPIs you could have is endless. When you pick 2-3 KPIs for your business, it allows us to set your ads up in a way that has almost guaranteed success. 

Brand Awareness

Making people aware of your brand.. It’s all in the name. But really, brand awareness is huge, and there are campaigns run just around this metric. If you are a new business, entering a new market or expanding to a new location, a brand awareness campaign may be a great place to start your advertising. 

Learning Phase

Your ads aren’t going to launch and immediately begin bringing in conversions, sorry. Facebook, Google and any other advertising platform has to take time to learn you. They need to learn about what type of people you are targeting, what creative you are utilizing and your goals. The learning phase can vary in time length depending on how many changes you make to your ads. If you start running ads, make it past the learning phase and begin hitting your goals, changing your creative or goal can push you back to the learning phase. This is why it is essential to have your KPIs lined out prior to launching ads and then we make strategic adjustments to your ads to optimize them while not losing all of your learnings. 


You can quite easily think about this as the people that are sitting in the theater watching your commercial. You just get to pick what people are there essentially. Your target audience can be based on age, location, gender, interest groups, language, and hobbies. Who do you want to sell to? That is your audience.


Hopefully when you hear the prefix geo your mind automatically goes to geography and location. Geotargeting is targeting based on location. If you are a plumbing company in Quincy, IL you probably don’t want someone from San Diego seeing your ad and calling you about a job (unless you’re in the mood for a vacation). Geotargeting allows you to make sure that your ads aren’t heading to locations you aren’t able to service. You can target based on country, state, city, and zip code. 


They have been to your website. They saw your ad. They added to cart. But they did not make a purchase. Have no fear, they aren’t a lost customer! Retargeting ads are made for them. You have probably heard someone (or do it yourself) complain about how they visited Walmart’s website and now they are getting all of these ads for Walmart. That is retargeting. By tracking your website, you are able to narrow your audience to people that have visited your site or completed a specific action on your website. 


Traffic is like reach for your website. How many people visited your website? That is traffic. You can then break traffic down even further to direct, search, referral and more. The different types of traffic are dependent on how the traffic came to you (google, a different website, social media). Traffic helps you determine the effectiveness of your website, including your SEO rating. 


The world of social media is still foreign to some and that makes the terms that are tossed around even more confusing. This glossary is just the beginning. 

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