Your digital advertising glossary

July 1, 2022

Understanding the terms – and figuring out what matters to your business  

QCPC, CLV, SEO, CPA – digital advertising is awash with confusing terms and acronyms. That’s why so many marketers choose to leave them to the experts. But, if you want to maximise the value of digital in your business, it’s essential to understand key metrics and digital tools. Even more importantly, you need to know how each fits into your overall digital strategy.  

At Acquire, we put metrics into two broad groupings. Vanity metrics are common, but not necessarily valuable. These are measures like impressions and cost-per-click, which don’t draw a straight line from metric to business benefit. Business-centric metrics are our preferred option. These metrics include quality cost-per-click (qCPC), attribution and viewability, and offer a more nuanced view of your digital performance.  

Here’s our guide to the key terms you need to know – and how they slot into your digital strategy.  


Business-centric metrics  

These reflect a tangible, measurable benefit for the business, such as new leads or increased sales. Unlike vanity metrics, which look impressive on paper but may not deliver any real-life value, business-centric metrics are an essential part of a digital strategy.  

A/B testing  

An analytics technique that examines two versions of a digital ad, email or landing page and compares the results. This form of testing is a valuable way to refine your approach in the early stages of a campaign.   


As an in-depth way to look at acquisition, this involves assessing every touchpoint in a purchase journey, rather than just looking at the final click. As a result, you gain insight into the channels and messages that have the most impact on customer behaviour.  


Analysing results in comparison to past performance or your competition, benchmarking is far more powerful than simply looking at the raw numbers out of context.  

Bounce rate  

The number of browsers who leave your website immediately after clicking through from an ad, without lingering or taking other action, bounce rates are used in tandem with click-through rates to help you understand the real value of each click.    

Conversion rate  

The percentage of customers that complete your desired action – for example, signing up to your email list or making a purchase, a conversion rate is one of the most straightforward business-centric metrics available.  

CPA (cost per acquisition)  

The cost associated with bringing in a new customer is calculated by dividing the total spent on your campaign by the number of unique conversions. Unlike CPC, CPA is a valuable part of campaign analytics.  

qCPC (quality cost per click)  

This combined metric tracks where visitors come from, how they behave on your site, the length of their stay along with bounce rates and conversions. Each factor is weighted differently to deliver an in-depth view of your digital performance. Developed by Acquire, this metric goes beyond the traditional cost-per-click model, offering far more insight. Better still, qCPC is used in our Programmatic model to adjust ad buying and placement in real-time.  


Reflecting the number of people who have the chance to see a digital ad, this measure looks at whether your ad is hidden below the fold or cut off by the layout of the website, giving you a clearer idea of audience numbers.  


Vanity metrics  

These measures look impressive on a report but don’t reflect real value for your business. While they are common in digital advertising, we prefer to focus on business-centric measures such as qCPC.  

CPC (cost-per-click)  

The cost of each ‘click through’ from your online advertising is usually calculated by dividing the overall cost of a campaign by the number of clicks. Because clicks don’t necessarily translate to conversions or other value for a business, we see CPC as a vanity metric.   


The times a user can see a piece of ad content, impressions can show you how often your advertising appears, but they don’t tell you anything about customer reactions, engagement or ROI for your business.  

Likes and shares  

These social media metrics are appealing because they’re super simple to track – but they don’t necessarily represent real value.  


This measures the total number of browsers that see an ad or post while it is active. As with impressions, reach is more of a vanity metric – it doesn’t necessarily represent results. 


The right metrics for the job  

Of course, vanity versus value isn’t all there is to it. The metrics and analytics you need will depend on your business and the specific campaign you’re running. Sometimes, for example, a social-media-centric campaign requires likes and shares – along with other metrics – to gauge audience interest. It all depends on the channels you’re using and the goals of the campaign.   

Developing digital campaigns and measuring performance are complex processes, complete with a whole new vocabulary of terms and definitions. As always, they’re better with advice from the experts. At Acquire, we know all the lingo inside and out, so get in touch and we’ll help you through your campaign development and analysis.