Explaining all the marketing acronyms you were too afraid to ask about.

Listen, we’ve all been there. Sitting in a strategy meeting, a new business pitch, or just around the office, when the conversation turns to three simple letters. You know a lot of business acronyms, but this one, you’ve never heard it in your life.

“Are we hitting our KPIs with our current DSP? What is the CPM?”

So now you’re faced with the age-old dilemma: ask what it means at risk being seen as uninformed, or tread water through the conversation the best you can and try to pick up context clues.

Acronyms are a useful tool in a modern industry. They make written communication easier and provide a common language for people to communicate with colleagues and clients—provided you can actually walk the walk. So here’s a glossary of commonly-used marketing acronyms. Our hope is that you can avoid those dreaded meeting moments, and maybe impress a colleague or two with your newfound knowledge.

API: Application Program Interface
The building blocks of software applications. Not to be confused with apps.

ATD: Agency Trading Desk
A media buying and reselling function that gives buyers greater control over ad placement. Often layered with a demand-side platform (DSP).

B2B: Business to Business
When a business sells goods and services to other businesses.

B2C: Business to Consumer
When a business sells goods and services directly to consumers.

BR: Bounce Rate
The percentage of visitors who leave a website after visiting only one page.

CAC: Customer Acquisition Cost
Pretty self-explanatory. This refers to the combined costs of convincing a consumer to buy a product or service.

CMP: Creative Management Platform
A tool used by creatives to easily make ad versions for testing.

CPC: Cost Per Click
The price an advertiser pays a publisher each time their ad gets clicked. Also referred to as Pay Per Click (PPC).

CPM: Cost Per Thousand
The cost of 1000 impressions on a specific publisher. But what’s that “M” for, you ask? It stands for “Mille,” which is Latin for thousand.

CRM: Customer Relationship Management
A company’s strategy that leverages past customer data to better interact and build relationships with their current and future customers.

CR: Conversion Rate
Not just a football term, it refers to the percentage of customers who take a desired action.

CRO: Conversion Rate Optimization
Unsurprisingly, a system or strategy for improving your conversion rate.

CSS: Cascading Stylesheet
A programming language that dictates visual style and the presentation of documents written in markup language.

CTA: Call to Action
An instruction to an audience or reader to provoke a response or action. Now, continue reading.

CTR: Click Through Rate
The rate at which consumers use a specific link to visit a landing page, advert, or other communication.

CX: Customer Experience
A customers experiences and interactions with a company.

DCO: Dynamic Creative Optimization
Display ad technology that automates multivariate or A/B testing.

DMP: Data Management Platform
A tool that collects and analyzes user data to improve targeting and messaging.

DSP: Demand Side Platform
One half of a programmatic ad buying platform. Used by advertisers to buy impressions from publishers.

DNS: Domain Name Server
A program that controls domain names, websites, and email servers.

FTP: File transfer protocol
The standard system for transferring files over the internet.

GA: Google analytics

GDD: Growth driven design
A web design system that iterates on smaller pieces in phases, resulting in a faster turnaround.

HTML: Hypertext markup language
The standard web programming language.

KPI: Key performance indicator
One or more metrics identified to track the success of a company or a communication.

LTV: Lifetime Value
The estimated company profit attributed to the entire relationship of a single, particular customer.

PMP: Private Marketplace
A private, invitation-only, media auction held by a publisher.

RFP: Request for proposal
A document created by a company that outlines a specific project and asks for bids. These are sometimes public and other times, distributed only to a limited number of firms.

ROI: Return on Investment
The expected value of each dollar spent on a specific project.

RSS: Rich Site Summary
An organizational tool that searches websites and creates an informational feed in real time.

RSS: Really Simple Syndication
The. Exact. Same. Thing. As rich site summary. I’m sorry, I don’t make the rules.

RTB: Real-time bidding
The automated media-buying process used for most programmatic impression purchases.

SAAS: Software as a service
A licensing and distribution structure where software is centrally hosted and made available over the internet.

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