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The Best CRO Glossary All Marketers Need For More Success [2022]

Johnathan Dane
Johnathan Dane
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Even the best CRO’ers (yep, we’re making that a word) need to brush up on their vocab. 

With new trends and terms constantly emerging, we thought we’d round up the ultimate glossary of the most prominent CRO terms for every marketer.

If you’ve been in the conversion rate optimization world for a while, most of these terms and acronyms will be familiar. But that doesn’t mean you can’t benefit from a refresher.

If you’re new here, settle in. We’ll be covering all the terms you need to back up your CRO chops.

Without further ado…

A

A/B Testing: A marketing strategy that compares two versions of the same web page, app, or specific web element to measure which version performs better during campaigns. You can A/B test just about anything (e.g., subject line length, button color, or landing page copy) to make strategic marketing decisions that increase conversions, open rates, and clicks.

Above-the-fold: The section of a web page that's only visible before the visitor scrolls to view information further down the page. Above-the-fold comes from the days of newspapers when the most important or prominent stories were placed “above the fold,” which occurs when you fold a broadsheet newspaper. 

Account-based Marketing (ABM): A B2B strategy where sales and marketing teams work together to target a pre-determined set of high-value accounts. ABM allows companies to engage best-fit customers, drive revenue growth, and generate more conversions and qualified leads.

Ad Viewability: We all want our ads to be viewed by our target audience. Ad viewability measures how visible ads are to users. For example, for a Google ad to count as viewed, 50% of the ad needs to make an impression on the user for more than one second.

Agile Content Management System: A system that allows marketing and engineering teams to create digital experiences quickly and bring them to market. The speed is due to a combination of publishing and collaboration tools built on the CMS that are designed to be flexible (hence the agile part).

App Personalization: The practice of creating a mobile application or website that meets the needs of a specific audience. 

Average Order Value (AOV): An eCommerce metric that measures the average total of every order placed with a brand over a specific time. AOV is calculated by dividing revenue by total orders placed. AOV gives businesses insights into consumer behavior and is used to evaluate pricing strategy and the effectiveness of marketing campaigns. 

B

B2B (business to business) eCommerce: The sale of goods or services between two businesses. 

B2C (business to consumer) eCommerce: The sale of goods and services between a business and a customer. 

Below-the-fold: Refers to content on a web page or app that appears once a visitor has scrolled down the page to see more information. 

Blue/Green Deployment: A software deployment strategy that creates two separate but identical environments and is used to reduce downtime and outages. 

Bounce Rate: Not to be confused with pogo-ing (why isn't that in the Olympics yet?), bounce rate is when a visitor lands on a web page and returns to the SERP before interacting with any other web pages. In other words, it’s the percentage of site visits that are single-page sessions.

Brand Engagement: Have you ever felt an emotional attachment to a brand? That's brand engagement, and this type of affinity helps brands increase sales through word-of-mouth and loyalty from their customer base.

Branded House: A common form of brand architecture in which there are smaller sub-brands that operate under one big umbrella of the parent brand. 

Bucket Testing: A synonym for A/B testing, bucket testing tests two versions of a website or elements against one another.

C

Call-to-action: Clickable action points throughout campaigns that inspire audiences to take action. Usually, an effective CTA provides the audience with an ideal next step in their journey and is designed to provoke a quick response. CTAs can take the form of buttons or links and are typically written as a command (e.g., "Buy Now" or "Download").

Canary Testing: Miners used to test whether or not a mine was safe by sending a canary into the pit. If the bird came out alive, the pit was safe, and if the bird didn't... well, you get the picture. Canary testing takes this idea and applies it to software releases. In canary testing, a small group of unaware users receives a push change of code to test its functionality before rolling out the code to the entire userbase.

Click-through rate (CTR): A ratio expressing how often people who see your ad actually end up clicking it. CTR is measured by dividing the number of people who clicked on your ad by the number of people who saw it. For example, if you had five clicks and 100 impressions, your CTR would be 5%.

Commerce: Commerce covers everything related to buying and selling goods and services at wholesale and retail prices.

Content Delivery: Sometimes known as content distribution, this is the practice of creating a strategic plan to publish and distribute content assets to the right audience at the right time, using the most appropriate channel (e.g., email or social media).

Content Hub: A central location for branded content on a specific topic. A content hub is typically bigger than a regular blog and hosts a variety of formats (e.g., video, UGC, and podcasts) alongside long-form and short-form assets. 

Content Hub Software: This is like a CMS on steroids. Top-tier content hub software allows businesses to curate and publish a wide range of content formats and synchronize content across various channels and teams. Some of the most popular content hub software include Contentful and Sitecore.

Content Intelligence: A technique that uses machine learning and artificial intelligence to conduct market research about content marketing's effectiveness to help marketers craft even better content strategies.

Content Management Infrastructure (CMI): This is both a process and platform for managing and distributing content.

Content Management System (CMS): Software that allows users to create, edit, publish and store digital content assets without the need for understanding programming languages (e.g., Javascript). Some of the most popular CMSs include WordPress and Squarespace.

Content Recommendation Engine: A process that decides what content to recommend to users to create personalized experiences and maximize user engagement.

Continuous Delivery: A software development practice where teams automate the release of products from source code to production in short cycles.

Continuous Integration: A software development practice where developers merge code changes into a central repository that allows automated builds and tests.

Conversion: When a visitor performs a desired marketing action on a website, ad, or app. An example of a conversion is when a visitor completes a sign-up, orders a product, or subscribes to a newsletter. Conversions happen at all points of the marketing funnel. They don't always have to be tied to a monetary figure (unless that's your goal, of course).

Conversion Rate: The percentage of customers that complete a conversion (what you classify as a conversion). To find your conversion rate, divide the total number of conversions by total visitors in a time period, then multiply by 100. For example, if you had 50 total conversions and 1,000 total visitors or interactions, your conversion rate would be 5% (50 / 1,000 x 100= 5). 

Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO): The marketing practice (and art) of analyzing, implementing, and testing different strategies to increase conversions. CRO is closely tied to A/B testing and multivariant testing. CRO allows businesses to lower customer acquisition costs (CAC) and get more value from visitors. 

Customer Data Platform: Software that collects and organizes customer data across various touchpoints. This data is then used by other software and systems to support marketing decisions and strategies. 

Customer Journey Management: Customer journey management is the process of determining the information customers need to receive in each phase of their buyer's journey to move them to the next stage. Customer journey management aims to create a low volume of touchpoints for the customer and ensure a seamless experience with every brand interaction. 

Customer Journey Mapping: The process of creating a map or other visual representation of your customers' ideal interactions with your brand on their journey to become a customer. Customer journey mapping allows businesses to put themselves in the customer's shoes and uncover potential friction in the buyer's journey. 

D

Decision Fatigue: Ever needed a bite to eat after a long day at work and not been able to decide what to order? That's decision fatigue. Human brains make so many decisions and process so much information in one day (up to 35,000 decisions, in fact), leading to decision fatigue and poor decision making. 

Decoupled CMS: A decoupled CMS is a content management system where the front-end and back-end are separate. One is for creation and storage, and the other is responsible for processing data and presenting it to the user through an interface. 

Digital Content: Digital content is a broad term for content that exists as digital data (e.g., videos on YouTube, blog posts like the one you’re reading now, podcasts on Apple Music, and images shared on social media). 

Digital Content Delivery Platform: Distributes and delivers digital content to users and manages all content within one ecosystem.

Digital Content Management (DCM): The process of collection, delivery, governance, and management of content in a digital format.

Digital Customer Experience: A term to describe a customer's experience with all the various digital touchpoints and interactions a customer has with a brand online.

Digital Ecosystem: A digital ecosystem consists of interwoven and connected technology resources that function as a single unit. Digital ecosystems comprise suppliers, customers, trading partners, applications, third-party data service providers, and other technologies.

Digital Experience Platform (DXP): Integrated set of technologies and software designed to support the management, optimization, ad delivery of digital experiences and customer journeys. 

Digital Marketer: A person whose job (or passion 😉) is to execute marketing strategies and tactics online to help a business acquire leads and customers. Digital marketers can be broad and can specialize in specific niches, such as SEO, CRO, content, social media, PPC, or copywriting

Digital Web Strategy: Strategies to maximize the success of web content across various digital channels.

E

eCommerce Platform: A website or software designed to allow users to sell products and complete transactions online. Shopify, BigCommerce, and WooCommerce are all examples of eCommerce sites.

Enterprise Commerce: Enterprise commerce is selling that happens at an enterprise level and is a type of eCommerce. Enterprise commerce typically involves large companies with high multi-million-dollar revenue. 

Experience Analytics: Experience analytics focuses on gathering data to show the customer journey and experience. Also known as customer experience analytics, this data includes open rates, click-through rates, traffic, heatmaps, etc. 

Experience Management (XM): The analysis of customer data, experiences, and interactions to uncover opportunities for improvement and future performance. 

Experience Optimization (EXO): Looks at the touchpoints a customer has with your business and explores how to make them better by optimizing parts of the buyer's journey and experience. 

Experiential Marketing: A marketing strategy that fully immerses a customer within a product or service, typically through unique experiences with the brand.

F

Feature Branch: A copy of the main codebase where a software developer opens a new branch to start working on a new feature without disrupting the main code until it’s complete. 

Feature Flags: A software development strategy that turns select functionality on and off during runtime allows for greater functionality. Feature flagging also enables DevOps teams to make changes without pushing additional code. 

Feature Rollout: The practice of strategically releasing new code and features to a group of users.

Feature Test: A software development practice of testing new features before rolling them out to users. Feature testing lets you check whether a feature is fully functional and test the user experience before rollout.

Feature Toggle: Feature toggle is a strategy used by DevOps teams to toggle features on/off remotely and is used to test new features. 

G

Growth Hacking: A strategy typically used by early-stage startups that focuses on low-cost customer acquisition methods to scale a business quickly. 

H

Headless CMS: A type of back-end content management system that allows you to manage content. The main feature of a headless CMS is that the head (where the content is posted) and the body (where the content is stored) are separate, which allows you to distribute the content through APIs. 

Headless Commerce: A separated eCommerce store where the front-end (the part customers interact with) is decoupled from the back-end (the code and functions that make sales happen). To function as one, the two separate areas communicate with each other through APIs.

Headline Testing: Testing multiple headlines for online content or media assets to see which one resonates with an audience and performs the best. 

Heatmap: Shows data on how a user engages with a web page. The data is shown as a color spectrum, with cooler colors representing lesser-visited parts of the page and warmer colors representing the sections with more engagement. Heatmaps are often used to see what does or doesn’t work on a singular page or website. 

Hero Image: Sometimes called the hero shot, this is the main image on a website or web page that appears above the fold. 

Hyper-personalization: The strategy of uncovering the wants and needs of users to create customer-centric and data-driven marketing campaigns and customer experiences. The strategy uses data, analytics, automation, artificial intelligence, and machine learning to create next-level personalization.

I

Inbound Marketing: A marketing methodology that focuses on creating resources and assets to help customers find you, rather than outwardly pushing a service onto people. Inbound marketing includes blog posts, videos, social media posts, press releases, infographics, and newsletters (i.e., assets that draw audiences “in” to a business). 

Information Scent: Refers to the strength of messaging throughout the customer journey and is used to signal to a customer what a company or website is about. 

iOS A/B Testing: A split testing strategy used to compare iOS apps with the goal to improve a specific metric such as in-app purchases or taps. 

L

Lead Generation: The process of identifying potential customers and the act of generating customer interest with the goal of eventually becoming a sale.

Landing page: A web page that visitors "land on" after clicking a link from a marketing channel, such as a link in an email or ad.

Landing Page Optimization (LPO): The process of optimizing elements of a landing page to increase conversions and user experience. An example of landing page optimization is A/B testing language on the page, button color, or video embed location.

Lean Hypothesis Testing:  An agile product development strategy used to minimize risk and increase development speed by building and iterating upon a minimum viable product (MVP).

Lifetime Value: AKA customer lifetime value (CLV), this is the average total income a business can expect to earn from a single typical customer throughout their entire relationship with a business. 

M

Marketing Automation: The practice of using software to automate repetitive marketing tasks. Businesses leverage automation to find leads, make sales, nurture customer relationships, and send marketing emails.  

Marketing Technology Stack: Refers to the list of software that marketing teams use to fulfill marketing tasks and activities. 

Mobile App A/B Testing: The process of split testing an app and seeing which version performs better with an audience. One cohort is shown version A (the control) of the app, and the other is shown version B (the variant).

Multi-armed Bandit: A testing approach that uses machine learning algorithms and allows you to allocate more traffic to variations that perform well and less traffic to underperforming variations.

Multivariate Testing: Testing a hypothesis where more than one variable is modified to identify the best-performing combination of variations of a website, web page, or app.

O

Omnichannel Marketing: Focuses on delivering a consistent, personalized experience for shoppers across all channels and devices. Omnichannel marketing can incorporate online and offline activities to increase reach and engagement. 

Online Marketing: Marketing activities that leverage web-based channels and take place online to spread the word about a business or brand.

P

Personalization: The process of making campaigns personalized to individual/unique customers. Marketers use personalization to form deeper bonds and connections with their audience and customers. 

Progressive Delivery: Progressive delivery is a software development practice that gradually rolls out new features to limit potential negative impacts. Progressive delivery also allows you to assess and analyze user engagement and experience bit by bit. 

R

Remote Config: A software development technique that allows you to change your app’s behavior, features, and/or appearance without requiring users to download an app update.

Revenue Per Visitor: Measures the amount of money generated when a visitor comes to your website. You can calculate this by dividing the total revenue by the total number of visitors to your website. For example, if you generated $1,000 in revenue in January and had 20 total visitors, your RPV would be $50. 

S

Sales Funnel: Sometimes called a marketing funnel or conversion funnel, this is a marketing concept that allows you to visualize the customer journey as they move closer toward becoming a customer. The sales funnel has numerous stages: attract, convert, close, and delight. 

Search Engine Marketing (SEM): The strategy of marketing a business using paid advertising. Ads are run on search engines, and advertisers bid on specific keywords that they predict users will search for to show their ad. 

Search Engine Optimization (SEO): The science and art of optimizing a website's on-page, off-page, and technical elements so that its contents become easier to discover, more relevant for search queries, and rank higher in the SERP.

Server-side Testing: Method of A/B testing where the variations of a test are rendered directly on the webserver before being delivered to the client and rolled out to users. 

Session Recording: Renderings of actions taken by a visitor as they browse a website to help marketers analyze how users interact with it.

Shopping Cart Abandonment: When shoppers add items to their online shopping cart but don’t complete the checkout process, leaving their shopping cart abandoned

Site Speed: How quickly a website renders and loads in a browser.

Social Proof: Recognized actions or reviews on social media or elsewhere to build customer trust and influence prospects’ decision-making. 

Split Testing: A marketing strategy that compares two versions of a web page or app to measure which version performs better during campaigns. Marketers use split testing to test various elements (e.g., subject line length, button color, or landing page copy to make strategic marketing decisions to increase conversions, open rates, and clicks). 

Squeeze Page: A type of landing page specifically meant to capture emails. It “squeezes” email addresses from website visitors by offering them valuable information or content in return for an email.

Statistical Significance: Statistical significance signals the likelihood that the difference in conversion rates between a variant and the baseline is due to an actual reason and backed with evidence, not just random chance.

Strategic Data Management: A strategy to ensure that your company’s data is managed and used correctly to achieve business goals. 

T

Testing In Production (TIP): A software development practice where new code changes are tested on live sites rather than in a staging environment.

The fold: The point on a web page where the user would need to scroll down to see more information.

Trunk-based Development: A software development strategy that allows engineers to merge smaller changes into the main codebase and work off a trunk copy versus a feature branch.

Type 1 Error: A type 1 error is used in hypothesis testing and refers to the incorrect rejection of a true null hypothesis (think: false positive).

Type 2 error: A type 2 error is used in hypothesis testing and refers to the incorrect acceptance of a false null hypothesis.

U

Unique Selling Point/Proposition (USP): This is what makes your business different from everyone else in the market. A USP is the main thing that separates you from the competition and helps you to stand out in your market and industry. 

Unique Visitors: Used in marketing analytics to describe a user who has visited your website during a given period. (Even if one person visits multiple times and multiple pages in a given period, they would count as one unique visitor.)

Usability Testing: A testing method that tests the functionality of a website or app by observing real users as they navigate and perform actions. The observers are usually researchers looking to find flaws and friction in the website or app. 

User Flow: A digital visual representation of the many paths a user can take on a website or app. Usually, a user flow starts at the home page and ends after a conversion. User flow helps you understand the user experience and see where friction occurs on the path to purchase. 

User Journey Map: A user journey map represents a user’s relationship with a brand or product over time and across different channels. It shows the path a user takes from brand discovery to loyalty and advocacy. 

V

Value Proposition: The main value that your business brings to a customer. A value proposition should tell potential customers why they should choose your business over a competitor and how it could be valuable to them.

Viewable Impression: A standard measure of ad viewability in which a minimum of 50% of the ad was on a viewable space of the browser page for at least one continuous second.

Visitor Segmentation: The process of dividing a marketing audience into cohorts based on specific criteria, such as demographics or user behavior.

Virtual Event: An event in a digital or online setting. 

W

Web Analytics: Measures website traffic and providers marketers and analysts with detailed data and information about website performance. Using web analytics, you can measure things such as conversions, time on page, bounce rate, unique sessions, and traffic sources. One of the most popular web analytics platforms is Google Analytics

Website Optimization: The process of measuring, testing, and changing elements of a website to improve its performance, increase traffic and conversions, and drive more revenue.

Website Personalization: A marketing strategy that creates unique personalized experiences for the user, including tailored recommendations and offers based on where the user is in the buyer’s journey. Website personalization can be configured based on a visitor's on-site behavior, demographics, and interests.

Closing our CRO glossary

There you have it—the ultimate CRO glossary for your marketing toolbelt. 

With this glossary, you can elevate your game and use your expertise to convert even better.

The only thing left to do is… put your newfound terminology and knowledge to the test. 

CRO test, that is. 

Go ahead—read up on how to do just that and more in our next blog all about CRO testing.

Chapter 1:
CRO Fundamentals

What You’ll Learn:  Dive deep into conversion rate optimization (CRO) basics by learning the good and bad things of this science and art.

Chapter 2:
CRO Testing

What You’ll Learn: Now that you’ve learned what to research, it’s time to start running tests to increase your conversion rates.

Chapter 3:
CRO Strategies

What You’ll Learn: You understand CRO, you know how to accurately test, now what tried & true strategies can you put to the test?