|eMarketing Glossary of Terms
W e b s i t e | R e s o u r c e
|A/B split: Marketing test involving two promotions, where every other name on the email list is sent the first promotion and the remaining names are sent the second promotion. This is used to test the response rate of two promotions.
Above-the-fold: A term originally applied to the visible part of a printed promotion, the portion easily read "above the fold", it is now applied to websites. It is the part of the web page that is visible upon loading the page. This is the prime area to place a link to a promotion, offer or registration for email list.
Acquisition cost: The cost to generate a new lead. In emarketing it may refer to the cost to acquire a subscriber or new website customer, and is calculated by dividing the total campaign cost by the number of leads, subscribers or customers it produced.
Affiliate marketing: Online marketing using an associated partner to promote or sell services and products. Affiliate partners are rewarded for each visitor, subscriber, customer or sale acquired through their endeavors. Affiliate networks and affiliate program directories are used to find marketing partners
Affirmative consent: An active request by a recipient to receive emails, subscriptions or to share their email address with third parties. Passive consent, such as pre-checked boxes, do not meet these standards.
Alert: An email informing subscribers of an event, news update or sale.
Autoresponder: An email message automatically sent upon an action, such as a welcome email sent to a new enewsletter subscriber.
Banner ad: A graphic image used on the web or in email to market a product, service or event. Banners come in many sizes, but are often a rectangular shape.
Best Practices: Emarketing standards established as guidelines for emailers to maintain quality relationships with their subscribers. An example is the ESPC Best Practices Guide offered by the Email Sender & Provider Coalition (ESPC).
Blacklist: A list of email addresses, domains or IP addresses that are blocked by the recipient, company or a third party in an effort to avoid spam or viruses.
Block: The refusal of an ISP or mail server to forward an email to the intended recipient. IP addresses and domains may be blocked by ISPs when they have been reported for spamming, sending viruses or including content that violates email laws.
Bounce: An email that is returned to sender because it cannot reach its intended destination. A "hard bounce" is a permanent condition often due to an expired email address or the receiver blocking emails from the sender's address (also known as blacklisting). A "soft bounce" is a temporary condition that may be caused by a full email box or the host server being down.
Bounce rate: The bounce rate, also known as return rate, is calculated by dividing the number of bounces by the total number of emails sent.
Broadcast: Also known as "one to many", it is the act of sending one email message, ad or newsletter to many recipients.
Call to action: It is the specific written copy, tagline or link within an email that solicits action of the reader. It is often used in advertising to encourage users to take the next step.
CAN-SPAM: Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography and Marketing Act of 2003, referred to as CAN-SPAM, is the U.S. law regulating commercial email.
Cell: Refers to a selected portion of the email mailing list, or test cell, that receives different treatment to test how it responds in contrast to the control which receives the standard treatment.
Click-through rate (CTR): The percentage of online users clicking a link out of the total number viewing the link. Calculate the click-through rate by dividing the number of click-throughs by the total number receiving the campaign or viewing the ad.
Click-to-open rate (CTOR): Measuring the number of unique click-throughs out of the total number of emails opened rather than the total number sent. Divide the number of click-throughs by the total number who opened the email to determine the click-to-open rate. Multiply the result by 100 to read it as a percentage.
Commercial email: Any email message where the primary purpose is a commercial advertisement or product promotion. Legally defined by the CAN-SPAM Act of 2003.
Confirmation: An message posted on the website or through email that confirms a subscription or request for information.
Confirmed opt-in: Also referred to as a double opt-in, it is a two step process where a person makes a request to join a subscription, and then confirms the request when receiving a follow up email (prior to receiving the subscription).
Co-registration: A marketing arrangement where a company collecting email registrants offers an additional opt-in for the user to register for additional third-party mailing lists. These lists are usually in some way related to the initial offer.
Conversion: A conversion is when a user completes a predetermined goal initiated by the email or marketing offer. This may refer to clicking on a link, registering for a subscription, downloading a white paper or purchasing a product.
CPA: Cost per action. This is calculated by multiplying the total number of completed actions or predetermined goals by a dollar amount.
CPC: Cost per click. The total cost is determined by multiplying an agreed upon cost by total number of clicks. The price is not affected by what the user does once they have clicked on the link.
CPM: Cost per thousand, this is often used to determine the rate of return.
Cross-campaign profiling: A comparison of multiple campaigns to determine how emarketing recipients respond to each of the offers.
CTR: Clickthrough rate. It is the number of total clicks on a link. When paying for CTR it is important to request "unique CTRs" as some users may click multiple times on a link, or a click may "get lost" in transit, not making its intended destination. Slightly inexact because some clicks "get lost" between the click and your server. Also be sure to ask if the CTR is unique, meaning that each individual user is only counted once no matter how many times they click on a link.
Delivered email: Total number of emails sent minus the bounced and filtered messages that did not make their intended destination. This number may not be accurate as some ISPs do not report undelivered mail.
Demographic: Statistical data used to define a target audience. Examples may include geographic location, sex, age, income or number of children.
Deploy: The broadcast of an email campaign. The offer is usually sent to all email addresses after testing the email on a few.
Digest: A shortened enewsletter that has story leads linked to complete articles on the website.
ECOA: Email Change of Address (ECOA) is a service that tracks email address changes.
Effective rate: The effective rate is usually measured by dividing the total number of unique responders by the unique opens. This metric reveals the number of respondents who clicked on a link, out of the total number who opened the email.
Email friendly name: Also known as a nickname, display name or from name, this is included in email fields along with, in place of, or in addition to the email address.
Enewsletter: An electronic newsletter, also known as an email newsletter, delivered on a regular schedule by email. The content is valued for its information rather than its advertising elements.
Event triggered email: The automated sending of an email message based on an event such as a birthday, anniversary or holiday
Ezine: Derived from the words "electronic" and "magazine", ezine is delivered via a website or emailed newsletter.
False positive: An email message that is mistakenly identified as spam and then filtered by an ISP or anti-spam program. The email may meet standards outlined by CAN-SPAM laws but be filtered due to a filter profile created to eliminate spam.
Footer: Content placed at the bottom of the email that is consistently used in all messages. Examples of this include the company name, address and contact information. The footer may also included links such as those used to opt-in and opt-out.
Forward to a friend: This is a type of viral marketing where a users forwards an email message to another person because they think it would be of value to them. They may do this with their email program or with a link included in the initial email offer. The link may go to a form that includes the name of the referer, the recipient's name and email address and a brief description of why they are receiving the email.
From: An email data field that shows the name of the sender (chosen by the sender). It appears in the recipient's inbox as the "from" name but is not the "from" field contained in the header of the email. It may be a personal name, company name, email address, brand name or even a blank space. This field is often false in spams.
Goodbye message: An automated message sent to users who unsubscribe. It confirms that their request has been received, and may allow them to resubscribe if this action was a mistake. A link to resubscribe on the goodbye message makes it convenient for users to correct an error.
Header information: The source, destination and routing information attached to an email message. It includes the sender's name, email address and server IP address, all routing addresses and the IP address of the final destination. Deliberately falsifying email header information and distributing this false information is against the law. See CAN-SPAM laws.
House list: The email list collected by a company, organization or website owner.
Impression: The single view of a page by an individual, or unique, user.
IP address: Identifying numeric address assigned to each device connected to the Internet. This number may be static and unchanging, or assigned dynamically to the device. Because dynamic addresses change each time they are assigned, they may trigger spam filters.
Landing page: Also known as a "click page", this is the page users arrives at when clicking on a link. The content of this page is very important as it may determine if a user completes an action or continues to explore the website.
List: A list of email addresses to which email campaigns are sent. These may be either a house or third-party list.
List hygiene: The "cleaning up" of an email list to help prevent bounces. This includes the removal of expired emails and unsubscribes, and updating email addresses that have changed.
List management: Administration and maintenance of an email list, including the act of setting up, organizing, updating and implementing the list. This includes processing subscribes and unsubscribes, bounce management and list hygiene.
List owner: Company, organization or person who has complied the list of email addresses. Ownership does not guarantee that the email addresses have been given with consent.
List rental: The act of paying a list owner to use their mailing list for another company's or individual's email campaign. Care should be taken to introduce the new list user to each recipient so they realize why they are getting the email and to prevent it from being reported as spam.
List sale: The purchasing of a mailing list with the rights to send emails to the subscribers. This is not as straightforward as it may seem as the recipients subscribed to a specific "publication" and the brand name, content and "from" field must continue to match the past owner's mailings.
Mailing list: Group of email addresses to which promotions, newsletters, ads or other email offers are sent.
mailto: HTML link coding that enables a user to easily send an email. Upon clicking the link, the user's mail client opens a blank email with a preconfigured sending, or mailto, address.
MTA: Mail Transfer Agent: a computer used to forward emails in route, and store incoming emails.
MSP: Mail Service Provider
MUA: Mail User Agent.
MIME: Multipurpose Internet Mail Exchange: a specification for formatting non-ASCII messages, allowing them to be sent over the Internet.
Multi-part MIME: A MIME message containing multiple coding formats in one message, including an HTML and a text-only version of the message. As the email client receives the message it displays the version set in the email preferences, or if the client cannot read HTML messages, it will display the text only version.
Multiple: As defined by CAN-SPAM, the term "multiple" means more than 100 emails sent during a 24-hour period, more than 1,000 emails sent during a 30-day period, or more than 10,000 emails sent during a one-year period. This definition is important as it helps to describe bulk email or commercial electronic mail.
MX: Mail Exchange Record.
Nth name: Segmenting an email list to create test cells by grouping names selected by number. For example, every fourth name on the main list is used to create the new test cell.
Open rate: The number of emails opened divided by the total number of emails sent. Multiple this result by 100 to view it as a percentage.
Opt-in: The action taken by an individual to actively and explicitly requests to receive email communications. Often list renters and buyers want proof of opt-in, including the email or IP address, as well as the date and the request was received.
Opt-out: The request to be removed from an email list or a group of lists managed by a single owner. The request must be honored within ten days.
Pass-along: A recipient who received a forwarded email message from a subscriber. When a message is "passed along" it may have the HTML coding stripped out of it, thus affecting the look of the forwarded email.
Permission: The active request by a user to have their email address added to a mailing list.
Personalization: A method of customizing an email to make it appear as though it was created for the recipient. It often uses information previously collected such as mail merging the person's name into the body copy, or referring to a previous purchase.
Preferences: Options offered by the sender that allow the receiver to make selections such as the type of content they would like to receive from, the format they would like to receive the message in and how they want to be addressed. These choices help in the success of the email campaign because the user is receiving content that is of value to them, in a preferred format.
Preview pane: The email client window that allows a user to view an email message without actually opening the email.
Registration: The act of subscribing to a list in addition to providing additional information such as the receiver's name, address and demographic data.
Relationship email: An email communication based upon a commercial transaction used to improve a business relationship or to assist with customer support. Examples include a purchase receipt, addressing a customer complaint, or a follow-up customer satisfaction survey.
Reply-to: The email address that appears when a user clicks "reply to" in their email program. This email address may be different than the information in the email's "from" field.
Seed emails: Email addresses placed on a list to track how the list is being used, the appearance and content of each email and/or the delivery rate of the emails. These may be placed knowingly be the list manager or in secret to monitor list use and administration. Seeds are also used throughout the Internet to track spammer's activities, including email address harvesting.
Selective Unsubscribe: The ability to unsubscribe from a choice of multiple subscriptions, allowing the user to select which subscriptions they choose to stop while continuing to receive others.
Sender: Person, organization or company responsible for sending the email.
Sender Policy Framework (SPF): A system that helps to prevent email fraud using a line of coding called a "SPF record". This coding is placed in the sender's Domain Name Server information and is later verified when the receiving mail server validates the SPF tag prior to passing on the email to its destination.
Sent emails: The total number of emails sent in a single broadcast.
Signature: Information used as a personal or corporate closing in an email. It may include the name and title of a person, company name, website URL, email address, phone and fax, brand message or a link such as a link to an email subscription form.
Spam: Unsolicited email that is usually sent without the receiver's permission.
Spam Complaint: Unsolicited email that is reported by the receiver as spam.
Spamcop: An IP-address database containing addresses that are blacklisted due to prior complaints of spamming. This once privately owned database is now owned by the email vendor Ironport and is used by ISPs as a safeguard filter of incoming email IP addresses.
Subject line: A text line used to describe what the email is about. The recipient often views this first prior to opening the email. This information is also included in the email's header information inside the message.
Subscribe: The act of joining a mailing list, often through an emailed offer or website form.
Subscriber: The individual who has requested to receive an email subscription. Mailing lists have subscribers as well as pass-alongs.
Suppression file: An email address list comprised of unsubscribers or recipients who have notified other mailers that they do not want emails from your company.
Test: A necessary step before sending an email campaign or newsletter. Many email clients permit you to send a test email before sending a regular email newsletter or solo mailing, in which you would send one copy of the message to an in-house email address and then review it for formatting or copy errors or improperly formatted links. Email marketers should also send a test campaign to a list of email addresses not in the deployment database to determine likely response rates and how well different elements in the message perform.
Thank-you page: A web page that automatically appears when a user submits an order, subscribes or submits an online form. This page is used to thank the user, confirm an order and may also include a receipt.
Throttling: The action taken to regulate the number of email messages received by a sender to an ISP or mail server in one broadcast. If the number exceeds the ISP's guidelines they may "bounce" or return the emails to the original sender.
Transactional email: An email that includes the ability to complete a transaction within the body of the email, such as answering a survey or selecting an item to purchase.
UCE: Unsolicited Commercial Email (UCE) is sent without the users permission. It is also known as junk mail or spam.
Unique click: A single click by a single user rather than the total number of times a link has been clicked.
Unique Reference Number: A number assigned to each list member, used to track user behavior and email delivery.
Unsubscribe: The action taken to remove an email address from a subscription list. This request may be made through an email form or an emailed command to a list server.
Web bug: Also known as a web beacon, this one-by-one pixel image is added to HTML messages to track open rates. When a user opens an email it sends a request to a server to download the image. This request signifies that the email was opened and tracking this action allows the sender to track if the email was opened.
Welcome message: A message automatically sent to new subscribers confirming their addition to the list and thanking them for joining.
Whitelist: A list of approved email addresses and domain names, held by an ISP, for the purpose of delivering wanted emails and subscriptions, allowing them to pass easily through any spam filters.