An Online Marketer’s Guide to Acronyms

On an overcast day, you might check the radar app on your phone to see if rain is on the way; but did you know that the word “radar” has only been in use since the 1940’s? Originally a military acronym for Radio Detection And Ranging, radar has evolved into common usage to describe a method for location of objects through the return of radio waves bouncing off of them.

Acronyms have been a part of language and culture since the earliest of times.  Chances are, you’ve LOL’ed your way through a text conversation or signed a birthday card to a loved one with “XOXO” – both examples of acronyms commonly in use today. But in the online world, acronyms are a large part of the digital shorthand used to relay information, much like a keyboard shortcut. As a natural consequence of our fast-moving digital culture, acronyms have proliferated in recent years, allowing us to say more with fewer characters (thank you Twitter).

Still, speaking the language of the digital world can be a little overwhelming at times, particularly if you’re not a regular inhabitant of the digital landscape. To help you out, we’ve compiled a list of some of the most common acronyms used in online business communication.

Online Marketing Acronyms

API Application Programming Interface
AJAX Asynchronous JavaScript and XML
B2B Business To Business
B2C Business To Consumer
BR Bounce Rate
CAN-SPAM Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography And Marketing Act of 2003
CMS Content Management System
CSS Cascading Style Sheets
CTA Call To Action
CTR Click Through Rate
CPC Cost Per Click
CPM Cost Per Thousand
CRM Customer Relationship Management
CRO Conversion Rate Optimization
DA Domain Authority
DM Direct Message
DNS Domain Name System
DoS Denial of Service Attack
FAQ Frequently Asked Questions
FB Facebook
FTP File Transfer Protocol
GA Google Analytics
HTML HyperText Markup Language
HTTP HyperText Transfer Protocol
HTTPS HyperText Transfer Protocol Secure
IM Instant Messaging
IMAP Internet Message Access Protocol
IP Address Internet Protocol Address
ISP Internet Service Provider
JSON JavaScript Object Notation
KPI Key Performance Indicator
MMS Multimedia Messaging Service
MT Modified Tweet
NSFW Not Safe for Work
POP Post Office Protocol
PPC Pay Per Click
QR Code Quick Response Barcode
RFI Request for Information
RFP Request for Proposal
ROI Return On Investment
RSS Rich Site Summary (aka Really Simple Syndication)
RT ReTweet
SaaS Software as a Service
SE Search Engines
SEO Search Engine Optimization
SEM Search Engine Marketing
SERP Search Engine Results Page
SLA Service Level Agreement
SMB Small Business
SMM Social Media Marketing
SMS Short Message Service
SSL Secure Sockets Layer
SWOT Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats
TLD Top Level Domain
TLS Transport Layer Security
TOS Terms of Service
UGC User Generated Content
URI Uniform Resource Identifier
URL Uniform Resource Locator
UI  User Interface
UX User Experience
WP WordPress
WYSIWYG What You See Is What You Get
XML Extensible Markup Language

As more and more of the business world moves to the online arena, there will be an ever-increasing need to know and understand digital acronyms like the ones listed above. Being able to converse fluently using these terms will be an asset in communicating your goals for your business and its digital properties.

I hear you, “This is great, but man, I want that list.”

Here you go.

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online marketing acronyms

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Got an acronym you’re curious about or that you think should be added to our list? Please share it in the comments!