The ultimate list of growth marketing terms and acronyms

November 12, 2019
Sarah Stockdale

This is your ultimate list of need-to-know growth marketing key terms and marketing acronyms.

AARRR: and no, we’re not talking pirate speak. It stands for Acquisition, Activation, Referral, Retention, Revenue, and it’s one of the hundreds of growth marketing acronyms and terms gracing the industry—lucky us.

If you’re not up to speed on the current growth hacking jargon, it can sometimes feel like people are speaking a foreign language in meetings, an interview, or on a call.

Whether you’re just getting started in marketing, entering a new industry like technology, or you simply want to brush up on your vocab, this cheat sheet will help you talk the (growth marketing) talk.

We’ve broken the list of acronyms and terms into key categories, so it’s easy to find what you’re looking for.

  1. User Journey
  2. Growth Metrics
  3. Planning & Forecasting
  4. Email Marketing
  5. Content Marketing
  6. Paid Ads

User Journey

TOFU: Top of Funnel: Marketing efforts focused on gaining awareness in a new market or of a new product.

MOFU: Middle of Funnel: Marketing content and assets used to reach leads who are already in your database or CRM and engaging with your brand. The goal is to educate on your solution, convert and create desire.

BOFU: Bottom of Funnel:  Marketing content and assets used to help demonstrate value, and persuade a prospect to purchase.

LTV: Lifetime value: The net profit for the entire future user relationship. (this should not be 0)

NPS: Net Promoter Score: A customer satisfaction metric measured on a scale from 1-10 and typically refers to how likely the customer or audience would be to refer your company to others.

MQL: Marketing Qualified Lead: A potential user who has opted in to learn more about your company through marketing channels

SQL: Sales Qualified Lead: A potential B2B company who has opted-in to learn more about your company through sales channels

UI: User interface: Software interface that the user interacts with

UX: User experience: The overall user experience with the product in terms of how easy or enjoyable it is to use.

UA: User Acquisition: The act of gaining new users for a product or service.

WOM: Word of Mouth: The passing of information from person to person about a product or service.

A/B Split Testing: A/B testing is when you generate two versions of a campaign, for example, an email or an ad set, to test them against one another to see which performs better.

CTA: Call to action: A statement designed to get a response or cause an action such as clicking a button or filling out a form.

Above the fold: All content that appears on a webpage before a user scrolls. You would typically put any dominant CTA’s above the fold to generate further interest.

Buyer Persona: A semi-fictional character who represents your ideal customer based on research and data surrounding your existing customers. It helps marketers define their target audience and help sales reps qualify leads.

Growth Metrics

Churn Rate: A metric that measures how many customers you retain over a reporting period.

Conversion rate: The percentage of people who completed the desired action on a single web page, such as filling out a form or purchasing an item.

AARRR: Acquisition, Activation, Referral, Retention, Revenue

ROI: Return on Investment: ROI is a performance measure used to measure the amount of return on a particular investment, relative to the investment’s cost.

ARPU: Average Revenue Per User: A metric defined as the total revenue divided by the number of subscribers.

Planning and Forecasting

OKRs: Objectives and Key Results: Objectives are where you want to go, and key results are deliverables you define for each objective in order to get you there.

KPIs: Key performance indicators: type of performance measurement to evaluate the success of the project, employee or business. (app traffic sources, blog views, etc.)

MRR: Monthly Recurring revenue: MRR is income that a business can count on receiving every single month.

GTM: Go to market (plan, it’s usually a plan… Who dropped the P?). An action plan used to specify how a company will reach target customers and achieve a competitive advantage.

North star metrics: The one metric that matters (you should only have 1 of these per company). The “North Star” helps guide business decisions based on a specific metric that captures the core value a product delivers to customers.

Health metrics: A metric that checks against the health of your north star metric (ex. If north star metrics is monthly acquired users, you would want a retention health metric because you don’t want to acquire a bunch of crappy users who aren’t retained)

Customer Retention: A strategic process to retain existing customers.

Customer Engagement:  The way a customer reacts or interacts with the product or marketing activities, as well as the overall customer experience, which takes place online and offline.

Lagging indicators: Typically “output” oriented, easy to measure but hard to improve or influence. For example, retention.

Leading indicators: Typically “input” oriented, hard to measure and easy to influence. For example, social media engagement.

Email Marketing

List segmentation: Breaking up your email lists by, for example, age, location, buyer type, etc.
An email marketing technique where you segment or split your subscriber list based on different conditions such as age, location, buyer type, etc. It’s used to create very targeted campaigns.

Bounce rate: The percentage of emails not delivered in a campaign.

Two types:

  • Hard bounce: Emails that were not delivered: incorrect email address or blocked.
  • Soft bounce: The campaign email was delivered but bounced back because the user’s inbox was full.

Open rate: How many unique users opened your email

  • Total open rate: the total amount of times users opened your email, including when one user opened it multiple times.

Attachment open rate: The % of people who click to open the attachment you sent with an email.

Auto Follow-up: When an email is automatically sent in response to an action taken by a customer such as filling out a form or clicking a CTA in a previous email.

Automation: The technology in which a process or procedure is performed with minimal human assistance.

Content Marketing

CMS: Content Management System: Software that hosts content websites, such as blogs.

CRM: Customer Relationship Management: A tool used to manage and host conversations with new, existing and potential clients and organizes, automates and integrates sales calls.

Content Syndication: Re-posting content on a third-party site to garner a wider audience and receive a credible link back.

Gated content: Content such as white papers, or articles that require the user to perform an action before gaining access, such as filling out a form to capture email.

Landing Page: A one-page website, containing a form with the purpose of generating new leads. Typically contains a marketing offer such as an eBook, webinar or waiting list.

UVM: Unique Visitor Per Month: A person who visits a site at least once in a reporting period. Each visitor to the site is only counted once, meaning if the same IP address accesses the site numerous times, it still only counts as one visitor.

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

Backlink: An incoming hyperlink from one web page to another website.

Buyer Journey: The process a buyer goes through as they research a product or service and educate themselves during the decision-making process.

Content Metrics: The measurement system companies and people use to determine their content’s success such as traffic, engagement or number of leads generated.

Distribution Plan: A strategy and process for sharing out a particular piece of content through various marketing channels.

Earned Media: PR exposure organically earned by a company.

Editorial Calendar: The schedule an organization uses to plan content creation, manage content production, and ensure consistent publication each month.

Infographics: A visual image that typically includes charts or diagrams, used to communicate information or data.

Organic Distribution: Content that is shared naturally among an audience through channels like social media, referrals and search engine results.

Paid Distribution: A method where content is distributed through paid promotion to the audience such as social; media, referrals and search engine results.

Sales Enablement: The process, tech, and content used by marketing and sales to empower sales teams to sell more effectively.

Webinar: An online seminar that’s hosted by a company or in partnership with the purpose of education or providing valuable content to an audience and to generate leads.

Whitepaper: Typically long-form content that is usually gated that’s purpose is to educate the audience on a product or service’s solution to a particular problem.

SEM: A form of marketing to optimize and increase a website’s visibility in search engine results pages.

SEO: Influencing a website’s visibility in a search engine’s organic, unpaid search results using tactics like backlinks, keywords or publishing content.

Paid Ads

CTR: Click-through rate: how often they click through the email, often to your website.

CPC: Cost per click: The cost you pay for a single ad click

CPA: Cost per acquisition: How much it costs you to acquire a new customer through paid marketing channels.

CPM: Cost-per-thousand: The cost per 1,000 ad impressions

Ad Set: Typically for each audience segment, you can create different ad sets for within one campaign.

ROAS: Return on Advertising Spend: A marketing metric that measures the efficiency of a digital advertising campaign.

Ad: Within an ad set, this is one ad that is distinguishable from others through its creative and copy.

Lookalike audience: Tailored audiences that are likely individuals who are interested in your services. You can create lookalike audiences off of audience segments you know to be successful based off previous campaigns.

Seed size: The size of the audience that your ad is targeting. If the size is below1000, the ad will typically not be very successful.

Ad Impressions: Number of times an ad has been served, doesn’t not matter if the user has seen or interacted with the ad.

Retargeting/Remarketing: When ads are served to people who have visited your website or viewed a page on a website. The goal is to get them to return to the website and convert.

Ad Targeting: Serving ads to an audience, selected in advance which is based on attributes, like geography, demographics, psychographics, web browsing behavior and past purchases.

Conversion Pixel: A 1×1 image pixel placed on a web page such as a landing page, which is triggered whenever a conversion occurs.

Affiliate Marketing: Affiliate marketing is an agreement between a publisher and an advertiser, in which the publisher receives a percentage or money based on clicks or purchases of a product or service.  

Copy: The text in an ad, landing page or other asset with the goal of converting the audience.

Display Advertising: A digital advertising format where graphic ads are shown on a web page. The term originated in newspapers, and the principles still apply. Display ads can be graphics, videos, interactive images (a quiz or a game), and expandable (Also see: Expandable Banner).

Frequency: The number of times an ad is served to the same user during a specific time period based on a particular browser.

Reach: The total number of people who see your ad or message. For example: a single person who is served an ad then times and clicks on it once yields a reach of 1, 10 impressions, and a click-through rate of 10%.

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