Alphabet Soup! What Do All These Marketing Acronyms Mean Anyway?

GTM, PPC, SEO, SEM, GDPR….It’s a jungle out there in the world of digital marketing and it seems like there’s a new marketing acronym that pops up every week. Is that acronym a “must have” digital marketing tool, or just “fluff”? Sure, a quick Google search will tell you what the acronym stands for, but what does it really mean?

In today’s post-COVID-19 world, digital marketing is even more critical than ever. Clients are turning to their marketing partners with a need for immediate leads and revenue generation.

Here’s a quick overview on six of the more important acronyms, in common sense terms, and what you really need to know.

  1. GTM: Google Tag Manager

Think of GTM as a box sitting on your website that you toss every piece of tracking code into, from Google and other third parties, in order to measure and monitor activity on your website.

GTM allows marketers to quickly add tracking to a website without the need to hand off the code to a developer, or go into the source code of a website. For example, if you’re spinning up a marketing campaign through LinkedIn, GTM allows you to deploy site tracking code, quickly and effectively. This efficiency really start to pay off as you add more tracking and campaigns that run through a website.

  1. PPC: Pay Per Click

PPC is a relatively simple one. The advertiser simply “pays per click” on a given ad. Post-COVID-19 note – Our agency has seen multiple instances where bid rates have dropped significantly and our clients’ competitors appear to be pulling back on ad spend. If your business has the cash flow, now is a great time to consider increasing PPC spend and take market share while the competition retreats.

But don’t associate PPC with only Google. Yes, PPC is at the core of Google’s search ad platform, but think of PPC more broadly as a generic form of advertising. Bing, Yahoo and many other websites use PPC as a way to sell and serve ads on the web. This is advertising based on clicks of a given ad on a search engine or website. We’ve all seen and clicked on these ads for years now. Part of what makes them so successful is that search engines (mainly Google) have become excellent at matching searches (consumer intent), with the ads that companies want to serve up. This marketplace exchange is incredibly effective at matching service providers and product manufacturers with consumers.

PPC is effective for two reasons. First, as the name suggests, you only pay when a user clicks on the ad and goes to your website. Imagine only paying for a magazine ad or billboard when someone took action and called or visited your site. Second, it’s based on the idea of intent. For example, instead of trying to go out and search for people who are looking for garage door repair, PPC lets you be found by people actively looking for garage door repair in your area.

  1. SEO: Search Engine Optimization

SEO is another massive topic (and sub-segment of digital marketing) that we’ll only cover at a high level within this post. If your website were a book, how easy would it be for a robot to read? At its core, SEO is all about making your website as friendly as possible to search engines (again, Google) from a technical standpoint, so that it’s found and ranked as high as possible for desired searches.

Post-COVID-19 tip – Make sure your business listing in Google My Business (GMB) is up to date and reflects your current operating status (hours, open/closed facilities, etc.). Google has added special questions specifically related to COVID-19 to most GMB profiles. Keeping your profile updated is a good way to signal to Google that your business is relevant, which can help with organic search rankings.

But does SEO really matter for every business? Yes! If you own or market a business in the year 2020, you need a website. And if you need a website, you need to be found by Google, since over 90% of purchase consideration starts with a Google search.

In the early years of SEO it was all about stuffing as many keywords and links on a website. Search engine algorithms were simple and really only looked for those two elements (keywords and links). Led by Google, search optimization is now far more complex. At the core, it’s critical to make sure your website is fast and user friendly, with useful content. In other words, Google has evolved, and now looks for relevant content that real humans actually want to read. This is good news for professional marketers because the bottom line is that it’s all about building a quality user experience that delivers value – marketing 101! Dive deeper into SEO with this beginners guide from MOZ, and industry authority when it comes to search optimization.

  1. SEM: Search Engine Management

This term is related to SEO and just as the name suggests, it takes a broader view of how to oversee the relationship between your digital marketing and search engines. Think of SEM as the boss of SEO, because it encompasses SEO, PPC, display ads, retargeting, and more. If it falls under the oversight of search engines, SEM is the relevant term.

This term usually best applies when evaluating vendors and potential digital marketing partners. If a possible partner is using the term SEM, that could be a clue that they are thinking more broadly about how to manage the overall approach to Google and Bing, not just one aspect such as PPC.

  1. GDPR: General Data Protection Regulation

GDPR was a new EU legislation in 2018 which picked up steam in 2019 as marketers began implementing compliance measures. In simple terms it’s a privacy policy that applies to companies who do business in the EU. This is also a primary reason why you may have noticed that more websites serve up cookie policies to “read and accept” in the last year. GDPR is a new EU privacy regulation that significantly strengthens personal data privacy laws related to how businesses collect and use the personal data of EU citizens. In practical terms, this has significant implications for marketers who own or manage websites or digital platforms that sell to the EU.

There are harsh penalties for companies who violate these privacy regulations and so it’s important to make sure your website is GDPR compliant if you do business in the EU.

Think it doesn’t have any impact on you because you don’t sell to the EU? Think again! GDPR is affecting how U.S. legislators view internet/website privacy rights and many USA based businesses are wisely thinking ahead, and proactively becoming GDPR compliant.

Why use it? It’s only a matter of time before the USA adopts some form of GDPR legislation. Having a privacy/data policy for your website is also just a smart business practice in today’s litigious society. Learn more about GDPR here.

Post-COVID-19 tip – When creating or updating your website data/privacy policy, this is also a good time to check and update your COVID-19 policies. As we all know, the pandemic is a rapidly evolving situation, and marketers must remember to keep their communications updated as well. This is an easy, but effective way to signal to clients that your business is aware and taking the proper precautions. It could be the difference between gaining a new client and missing out.

  1. TDL: Top Level Domain

A top level domain refers to one of several domains at the highest level in the hierarchical Domain Name System of the internet. Say what? In simple terms, a TDL is the suffix on your website address. For example, “.com” , “.edu”, “.gov” , “.net” , “.org”, etc. are all TDL’s. There are also country codes such as “.uk”, “.ca” and so on.

The big question…”Where will you hear this in marketing and why does it matter?” The conventional wisdom from most marketers is that you must have a “.com” in order to rank on Google for search. But does this really matter? With the addition of new TDL’s over the past few years, it’s a valid question. Will a “.co” or “.marketing” or “.shop” make any difference when it comes to search rankings? These new TDL’s are enticing because they open up additional opportunities for businesses to claim relevant domain names. Your favorite “.com” might have been claimed years ago, but a fresh approach with a “.new” or “.inc” offers a second chance for new and existing businesses looking for ways to build their digital presence.

Good news! According to this article straight from Google, the specific TDL you choose has no impact on your website’s SEO. Google’s approach to devaluing TDL’s along with new TDL availability, has opened up a wide range of opportunities for start-ups and disrupters to consider new domain names that were previously unavailable, and most importantly, have a fresh chance at ranking for related keywords. Interested in a TDL for your business? Browse options here.

Still have questions? Have an acronym you want decoded? Reach out, we’re glad to help! After all, it’s a marketing jungle out there.

Matt Devlin founded MG Marketing in 2011 on three principles – strategy, creative and technology. With this in mind, Matt leads the team and thrives on creating solutions to help clients be bold and tell a great story. When not wearing his marketing hat, Matt loves playing sports with his family and tasting new salsas – spicier the better! @mgmarketingagency

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