All the marketing acronyms you (n)ever wanted to know

TLAs. Aren’t they great? They save us time and energy. They allow us to communicate quickly with concepts that are sometimes quite complex. Oh, BTW, TLAs are three letter acronyms.

In marketing, like most professions, we’ve got our shorthand that brings meaning to our world. Whether it’s for technologies, platforms, ideas, metrics, or other business stuff – it can be a lot to keep track of. So here’s a list of acronyms that you should know. This list will change over time, as marketing evolves, so we’ll keep it updated. 

If something’s missing, let us know!

Marketing and advertising technologies
Shorthand Longhand What is it?
DMP Data management platform Platform to unify data sources (1st/3rd party) and develop audiences. Audience identifiers are anonymous, like cookies.
DSP Demand side platform Buy-side platform to aggregate demand from advertisers for specific audiences
SSP Supply side platform Sell-side platform to aggregate supply from publishers for specific audiences
CDP Customer data platform Platform to unify data sources (1st/3rd party) and develop audiences. Audience identifiers can be anonymous or PII
CRM Customer relationship management A central repository for all the revenue-related relationships a business might have. Primarily used by sales and marketing.
MAP Marketing automation platform Platform to orchestrate communications like emails to clients and prospects. Primarily used in B2B marketing. Handles the connections between people and businesses/accounts.
ESP Email service provider Platform to orchestrate communications like emails to clients and prospects. Primarily used in B2C marketing.
CMS Content management system Interface to update a website without the need for development resources.
Web analytics
Shorthand Longhand What is it?
UV Unique visitor A unique computer or device accessing a web property.
PV Page view The load of a page on a website.
GA Google Analytics Google’s web analytics platform.
AA Adobe Analytics Adobe’s web analytics platform.
Shorthand Longhand What is it?
ROI Return on investment A measure of how much revenue was driven against all the investments required to deliver that revenue.
ROAS Return on ad spend A measure of how much revenue was driven against the dollars allocated specifically to digital marketing activities
KPI Key performance indicator A critical measure of business that reliably predicts an outcome, like revenue generation
Shorthand Longhand What is it?
CPA Cost per acquisition The amount of investment required to acquire something (email address, unique visitor, new user, etc.)
CTA Call to action The “next step” you want a user to take (ex. click here, buy now, or call today).
CTR Click through rate The measure of clicks over the opportunity for clicks. In email, clicks/opens. In paid search, clicks/impressions.
CPC Cost per click The investment required to drive one click.
CPM Cost per thousand The investment required to deliver 1,000 impressions. Typically used for display advertising.
WOM Word of mouth One person recommending your product or service to another person or people.
CPL Cost per lead The investment required to acquire one new lead.
PPC Pay per click A term to describe the type of payment required for specific media. If you pay a vendor based on the number of clicks, its PPC.
SEM Search engine marketing The act of bidding on keywords on Google and Bing to promote your product or service.
SEO Search engine optimization The act of developing the right set of technical elements to rank highly in the organic results for Google and Bing.
SERP Search engine results page A page on Google or Bing with the links to various websites based on your search.
UGC User generated content Content produced by individuals using a service. Nearly all YouTube videos could be considered UGC.
SOV Share of voice A representation of your brand’s visibility among the total visibility available.
Technology & Business
Shorthand Longhand What is it?
API Application programming interface A set of protocols to allow the services from a business to be accessed and return requested information.
LTV Lifetime value A theoretical metric representing the total value of a customer over their entire “spending” life
CSS Cascading stylesheet Set of instructions used by webpages that give them designs (colors, borders, etc.)
HTML Hyper text markup language The code read by browsers to render webpages.
NPS Net promoter score A measure of how likely your customers are to recommend a business to their friend or family.
SWOT Strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats An analysis of a product or business in a given market.
UI User interface The means by which a human interacts with a machine to produce a set of intended responses.
UX User experience The overall experience of interacting with a digital product or service.
PII Personally identifiable information Any piece of information that can reveal the identity of an individual like social security number, email, or phone.


Social Media
Shorthand Longhand What is it?
DM Direct message A private message sent over a social media site – directly from one user to another, and only viewable by those two users.
FB Facebook The largest social network on the planet.
IG Instagram A social network designed to share images.


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