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14 Digital Marketing Terms to Know for 2021

Ever felt somewhat baffled by the latest terms used in digital marketing? Changes in technology mean new marketing trends seem to pop up all the time, which can be hard to keep up with sometimes. – especially when you are busy with running a business! To help you keep up, and breathe new life into…

Ever felt somewhat baffled by the latest terms used in digital marketing? Changes in technology mean new marketing trends seem to pop up all the time, which can be hard to keep up with sometimes. – especially when you are busy with running a business! To help you keep up, and breathe new life into your marketing strategy, here are 14 digital marketing terms explained in plain English.

AI (Artificial Intelligence)

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is when a computer or machine can do tasks that typically require human intelligence. AI can quickly sift through lots of data and use it to make quick and accurate decisions. Digital marketing tasks that can benefit from AI include:

  • customer service (e.g. chatbots)
  • email marketing (e.g. to personalise emails based on user behaviour)
  • digital advertising (e.g. to display the most relevant ads to a user)


You’ve probably come across chatbots on various websites already (i.e. those little chat windows that pop up when you visit a site). A chatbot is AI software that uses natural language to have a conversation (or chat) with a customer, whether on a website or mobile or messaging app. Chatbots offer customers a quick way to get the information they need without having to wait in long phone queues. They can also be used to gather information. To learn more about using chatbots, read our article on How to Bring Your Chatbots to Life.

Content Marketing

Content marketing provides your customers with useful content that helps them to solve a problem or answer a question. Providing customers with valuable content helps to draw attention to your brand, promoting an increased chance in sales. There are many different types of content you can create for your marketing, including blog posts, podcasts, video, infographics and eBooks.

Display Advertising

Display advertising is online advertising that can appear in places like websites, apps or social media. They typically appear as banners and aim to advertise products or services to the visitors of the page or platform they are on. Display advertisements can include various elements such as text, images, video and sound.

Interactive Content

Interactive content is content which involves the participation of the audience. Examples can include quizzes, questionnaires, contests, calculators and tools, sliders, and interactive visuals such as a map. Interactive content is a great way to engage people with your content or collect data which can help you to learn more about your customers and personalise marketing campaigns.

Lead Magnet

A lead magnet is a resource used to generate leads. Examples of lead magnets can include a white paper, ebook, template, checklist, or free webinar. Companies offer these resources in exchange for contact details, which is a popular strategy for lead generation.

Machine Learning

Machine learning is when AI is applied to a computer system, allowing it to learn on its own, which it does by using data. Lots of different marketing activities can benefit from machine learning, including ad targeting and optimisation, chatbots, personalisation, content curation, and search optimisation.

Mobile Optimisation

Mobile optimisation is making sure that your website works well on mobile devices. A mobile optimised website provides users with a better experience on both desktop and mobile. With 8 out of 10 adults accessing the internet on the go (ONS, 2019), mobile optimisation is essential.


Personalisation provides customers with tailored content which speaks directly to their needs. Examples of personalisation include targeted emails, personalised rewards or recommendations. Machine learning and automation processes can help make personalisation more effective.


PPC, short for Pay Per Click, is advertising that appears on a platform, such as a search engine or website, for which the business pays the host each time someone clicks on the ad. When a person clicks on a PPC ad, it takes them to the advertiser’s website, which encourages them to take action, such as ordering a product. To learn more about PPC, see our article How to Make Killer PPC Ads for Your Small Business.


SEO, short for Search Engine Optimisation, is about taking steps to make your website more visible in unpaid search engine results (often referred to as organic search results). Search engines use a set of algorithms to determine how relevant a web page is to a search query and rank pages in order accordingly. Search providers, such as Google or Bing, are continually updating their algorithms, so it is always good to make sure you are staying up to date.

Social Messaging Apps

Social messaging apps are becoming an increasingly popular way for people to interact with businesses. Examples of social messaging apps include Facebook Messenger, WeChat, iMessage and WhatsApp. As a business, you could use messaging apps to answer customer questions, help with purchasing decisions, or provide support – all while building a relationship with your customers. Additionally, messenger apps can be a human or an AI chatbot. Here at Yell, we recently launched Hartley, our messaging bot available free to Yell customers with a business listing.

Video Marketing

Video marketing is using video to market your brand, products or services. As a visual medium, video is a very engaging form of content and according to Insivia “viewers retain 95% of a message when they watch it in a video compared to 10% when reading it as text.” You can read more video facts like these in our article 35 Video Marketing Statistics Worth Knowing. Additionally, live streaming video offers businesses an opportunity to engage directly with customer comments in real-time.

Voice Assistants

A voice assistant is software that responds to voice commands using voice recognition and natural language processing (NLP). Examples of voice assistants (also referred to as digital assistants) are Amazon Alexa, Apple’s Siri and Microsoft-owned Cortana. People are increasingly using their devices for voice search, which is worth considering when creating content. Writing in a conversational tone and using keywords that people speak rather than write, will help you to target voice search users.

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