Let’s be honest. Marketers are obsessed with turning every possible phrase into an acronym.  Having said that, sometimes we use these acronyms with only a general idea of what they are about. Let’s take the mystery out of some of the most obscure acronyms in our industry.

Marketing Acronyms

Let’s start with an easy one: CPM. That’s cost-per something, right? We use it without even being sure what the M stands for, and we get away with it because most of the people we are talking to don’t know either. The fact is that CPM means cost per thousand. The M stands for “mille,” the Latin word for thousand.

HTML is another one we understand well enough to use without having any idea what the actual letters stand for.  If you quizzed most marketers, they would get close. L obviously stands for language. So we basically use this as the language web pages are written in, and leave it at that. The rest means hypertext markup. And don’t confuse this with XML, even though the last two letters mean the same thing. We take the X from the second letter in eXtensible for that one. XML is important because that’s the stuff of RSS feeds. Ah, RSS is another good one!

Unfortunately, the acronym RSS has multiple correct meanings. To avoid confusion, we like to stick with Really Simple Syndication. After all, that’s what RSS actually does. However, when the acronym was first coined, it referred to RDF Site Summary – although you’ll probably never need to know that unless it comes up on the Jeopardy game show.

Now, we get into a meatier acronym. Analytics rule the digital marketing world, and that makes KPI a vital acronym. We treat KPIs like they are the objective, whereas they are actually a metric upon which you base your objectives. KPI stands for Key Performance Indicator. This identifies a metric as one that is vital to business growth. For example, an app developer may establish download count as a KPI. The goal they are striving for is number of downloads, not the KPI.

Yes, we use a lot of these acronyms without knowing what they mean. Sometimes we still get the right idea across, but “close enough” doesn’t count if you are dealing with someone who actually knows all the acronyms, so studying up can avoid a big miscommunication.