Terms Every Paid Traffic Master Must Know

In our Paid Traffic Mastery course, we bring together four of the world’s top paid advertising leaders to share the foundational knowledge you need to know to win with paid traffic. One of the first lessons they share is common terms and acronyms every paid advertising professional should know.

These Are The Term To Know Before Running Paid Ads

Search Engine Marketing or SEM

Search engine marketing is a broad marketing strategy term that includes search engine optimization, content marketing, as well as paid ads. 

Social Media Marketing or SMM

Social media marketing is limited to social media channels and includes organic and paid traffic.


A conversion is the desired action you want someone to take on your website or funnel. A conversion event typically includes a time or money commitment on behalf of the customer. 

Conversion Rate

This is the percentage of prospects landing on your page or taking you up on your offer.

Cost Per Click or CPC

Cost per click means that your ad campaign is billed each time someone clicks a button, link, or directly on your ad. 

Cost Per Thousand or CPM 

Cost per thousand is charged for every 1,000 impressions. An impression happens anytime someone lands on the page where your ad is placed. (Don’t ask us why it’s CPM…it’s just weird.) 

Click Through Rate or CTR

Click through rate is the percentage of potential customers who saw an ad and clicked on it. This metric is a good indicator of the quality of your ad copy and media. 

Cost Per Acquisition or CPA

Cost per acquisition is the expense incurred to acquire a new customer.  

Return On Ad Spend or ROAS

Return on ad spend is the amount of revenue earned per dollar of ad spend.

Return On Investment or ROI

Return on investment describes how much you get back after calculating the entire cost of the ad campaign. When calculating the ROI, costs can include agency fees, copywriting, graphic design, video production, call tracking, etc. 

Lifetime Value or LTV

Lifetime value is the long-term value of a customer. 

Urchin Tracking Module or UTM

The Google Analytics we know and love started out as Urchin Software Corporation. The term just stuck around after Google bought Urchin in 2005. The term Urchin tracking module (not universal tracking mechanism or Uncle Tom’s marmalade) is a piece of code that is tacked onto the end of the URL. The code is pushed to the search engine whenever someone clicks through the ad. 

Use this list of common terms to impress your friends at a dinner party, or to share with your paid advertising clients. It’ll get everyone on the same page and avoid confusion down the road.

NOTE: This content came directory from DigitalMarketer’s Paid Traffic Mastery Certification.

Kasim Aslam

Kasim Aslam

Kasim Aslam is the founder and CEO of Solutions 8, one of the world’s top ranked Google Ads agencies. Recipient of the Arizona Interactive Marketing Association’s 2017 TIM Award for Person of the Year, Kasim was also named one of the Top 50 Digital Marketing Thought Leaders in the United States by The University of Missouri in 2020. Kasim was hand-selected as the Traffic Coach for DigitalMarketer.com’s ELITE coaching program by their executive team. He is also the co-host of the long-running podcast, Perpetual Traffic. His book, The 7 Critical Principles of Effective Digital Marketing, was featured as one of the Top 100 Digital Marketing Books of All Time by Book Authority. Kasim helped launch the National Association of Child Helplines (NAACH) and worked with the United States Army, Intel, as well as a Gates Foundation-funded nonprofit, a 54,000 member PPO, the largest privately owned bank in the United States, and an Academy Award-contending documentary. He lives in Scottsdale, Arizona with his wife and two sons.

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