Jargon Buster

Jargon buster was created to help you navigate through the confusing and technical language associated with email marketing. 

There are a lot of jargon terms that are quite specific to email marketing, and you’ll hear them being bandied around a lot. You’re probably reading through them when you’re deciding on an email marketing platform and that’s before you’ve got started with  any email campaigns!

Jargon can be irritating anyway, but when you’re pressed for time and trying to get your head around a new function it becomes quite overwhelming. Our jargon list here should blow those clouds away and help you get to grips with some of the most common (and some of the more technical and usual) terms you’re likely to encounter.  

AB test / testing
Above the fold
Alt tags
Animated gifs
Bayesian filter
Behavioural email
Bounce rate
Bulk filter
Bulk mail
Call to action / CTA
CAN spam
Click Through Rate / CTR
Click to open rate
Complaint rate

Conversion rate
Cascading Style Sheet / CSS
Dedicated IP
Domain keys
Double opt in
DrIp marketing
Dynamic content
Email address
Email analytics
Email campaign
Email client
Email deliverability
Email domain
Email filter
Email friendly name
Email Heatmaps
Email newsletter
Email prefix
Email sponsorship
From name
Google analytics

HTML email
Landing page
List growth
List hygiene
IP address
List rental
List segmentation
Multipart MIME
MX record
Nth record
Open rate
Opt in
Opt in box
OPt in rate
Opt out
Physical address
Plain text email
Preference centre
Pre header
Preview pane
Privacy policy

Promotional email
Promotions tab
Re-engagement email
Sender score
Shared IP
Soft Bounce
Single opt in
Spam trap
Statistical relevance
Subject line
Suppression list / file
Thank you page
Triggered emails
Unique clicks
Unique opens
Welcome email / welcome series
Unsubscribe rate

Abandonment – when a customer puts something into the shopping cart and then leaves without buying 

AB test / testing – also known as split testing where different versions of the same message are trialled to see which version gets a better response

Above the fold – the top part of the page visible without having to scroll down

Acquisition – what it’s called when a new customer signs up with you

Affiliate – a person / business who earns commission through promoting a third party’s business

Alt tags – a type of code (HTML) to describe the appearance and function of an image on a page

Animated gifs – an image encoded in graphics interchange format (GIF), containing a number of images or frames in a single file

API – is an Application Programming Interface that allows different platforms to talk to each other and share data (e.g. Hootsuite and Twitter)

Authentication – the process of verifying the identity of a computer system user

Automation – the programming of a system to send time or action triggered emails to subscribers 

Bayesian filtering – comparing the probability of words/phrases occurring in normal mail versus spam mail so as to identify (and block) spam email 

B2B – meaning ‘business to business’, this identifies your target audience as business / commercial rather than the general public

B2C – business to consumer, selling to the general public rather than to other business entities

Behavioural email – automated targeted emails to contacts based on their interactions with your company across multiple channels: social media, email, your website, etc.

Blacklist – a list that identifies IP addresses as spam – in real-time

Bounce – when your email is rejected by the recipient’s mail server either because the email isn’t valid, the email is no longer valid, or the email box is full

Bounce rate – the percentage of  emails rejected by the target’s email server

Broadcast – a single message sent to multiple addresses concurrently

Bulk filter – a system that recognises emails that have been broadcasted

Bulk mail – a broadcast message 

Call to action / CTA – a button hyperlinked to drive the user to perform an action such as ‘buy now’, ‘sign up’

CAN spam – a generic email sent to multiple users, such as a welcome email

Cinemagraph – a hybrid of photography and videography 

CPA – Cost Per Action is a paid advertising model in which payment is made on the performance of a user’s action, such as ‘sign up’ or ‘register’

CPC – Cost Per Click – paid advertising model on which you are charged when someone clicks (responds) to your advert

CPL – Cost Per Lead measures how much it costs to generate new leads for your business

CPM – advertising model in which you are charged for each new conversation started with a customer

Creative – a person whose work requires them to have original thoughts, strategies or ideas

CRM – Customer Relationship Management system that allows you to track communications to facilitate the monitoring of buying history

Click Through Rate / CTR – How often a user clicks on the CTA (Call To Action) to view it

Click to open rate – compares the number of unique clicks to unique opens – this indicates the efficacy of the email message, design, and content, and whether it generated sufficient interest for the user to take action

Complaint rate – how often your subscribers object to mailbox providers about receiving an email from a specific sender

Content – text, video, images within an email, on a website, on social media

Conversion rate – the percentage of recipients / website visitors who complete a predetermined desired goal out of the total number of visitors

Cascading Style Sheet / CSS – is code that determines how elements appear on a web page, in an email, on social media, and control the layout of several web pages simultaneously 

Dedicated IP (Internet Protocol) – it means your domain has an address that isn’t shared or used by any other domains. It’s your domain’s home on the web

Deliverability – the likelihood of emails reaching the target inbox against the likelihood of being bounced, sent to spam, etc. 

Deploy – sending an email campaign through an email delivery system or platform

DKIM (Domain Keys Identified Mail) – an email authentication technique that allows the receiver to check that an email was sent by the authorised owner of that domain. It’s designed to detect forged sender addresses in emails, a technique often used in phishing and email spam.

Domain keys – see above (DKIM)

Double opt in – a user signs up for an email marketing list (opt in 1), and then an email is sent to the user which includes a link to click and confirm the subscription. An effective method of reducing the chances of spam emails entering your data

Drip marketing – the practice of sending a series of pre-written communications to customers / prospects over a period of time. 

Dynamic content – adaptive content on a web page that changes dependent on the visitors actions i.e. (which pages they visit, what they add to shopping basket, etc.)

Email address – the domain a user has to receive their digital mail

Email analytics – a method of tracking and assessing how users interact with your email campaign

Email campaign – a coordinated set of messages delivered via electronic mail designed to encourage a (potential) customer to interact with your brand, products and services

Email client – a programme installed on your computer that allows you to send and receive email

Email deliverability – see Deliverability 

Email domain – the address where your electronic mail is sent to and sent from

Email filter – a protocol designed to weed out spam email and phishing attempts

Email friendly name – a user-defined name displayed rather than an email address, designed to give the recipient a better idea who the sender is

Email Heatmaps

Creating heatmaps of clicks from your email campaigns. You can do that here!

Email newsletter – a regular email sent to an audience to keep in touch and inform and/or educate them 

Email prefix – the bit that comes before the @ in an email address

Email sponsorship – renting an email address from someone who has many contacts

Emoji – a digital figure or icon used to express an action, idea, feeling or object

Engagement – a measure of how your audience interacts with your content

ESP – Email Service Provider is a company that offers a tool or platform that allows you to easily send email campaigns and monitor their success

Firewall – either software or hardware installed in a network to determine whether incoming traffic is suspicious and should be blocked or not

Footer – the bottom part of an email where you sign off and state other relevant information such as contact details

From name – the name displayed to state who the email is from. Also known as the display name or sender name

GIF – Graphics Interchange Format is an image file

Google Analytics – sometimes known as GA, it is a web analytics service offered by Google that tracks and reports website traffic

Header – this identifies particular routing information of the message, including the sender, recipient, date and subject line

Honeypot – a sacrificial computer security system designed to attract cyberattack

HTML email – HyperText Markup Language is code used to format text and add images on web pages and email templates

Landing page – also known as a “lead capture page”, “static page”, or a “destination page”, it is a single web page created specifically for a marketing or advertising campaign

List growth – attracting new people to sign up to your email list and thereby increasing your audience

List hygiene – keeping your email list clean by removing old / dead email addresses which could affect the deliverability of future emails

Impression – when someone sees your message but doesn’t necessarily interact with it

IP address – Internet Protocol – the digital electronic address of your computer or the identity of the host or network interface

ISP – Internet Service Provider  provides the access for a computer to join the internet

JPG / JPEG – a file format for graphics and images. Created by the Joint Photographic Expert Group, it’s a way of compressing files and is widely used on the internet

List rental – when you buy a one- time right to contact the name, but the email list owner conducts the mailing 

List segmentation – dividing your audience into groups dependent on a set of criteria such as buying behaviour, interests or location with the purpose of sending more targeting messaging with relevant content

Mailto – is a Uniform Resource Identifier scheme for email addresses used to produce hyperlinks on websites or in emails. It activates the default email client so users can send an email to a specific address directly from that page without having to copy it and paste it into an email client

MTA – Message/Mail Transfer Agent is used to transfer email from one computer to another using Simple Mail Transfer Protocol

Multipart MIME – Multipurpose Internet Mail Extensions) bundle together a plain text version of your email along with the HTML version of your email (which contains graphics, specific fonts, etc)

MX record – also known as a mail exchanger record specifies the mail server responsible for accepting email messages on behalf of a domain name

Open rate – the percentage of subscribers who open a specific email out of your total number of subscribers

Opt in – the action whereby people sign up to receive your communications

Opt in box – the place where people sign up to receive your communications

Opt in rate – the percentage of site visitors who subscribe to receive your communications

Opt out – the percentage of site visitors who unsubscribe from your communications

Permission – means that the recipient has given you explicit and informed consent to send communications to them

Personalisation – when subscriber data is used within their email content to make the content feel tailor-made for the individua

Phishing – a cybercrime whereby criminals send emails posing as a creditable entity in an attempt to defraud the recipient of money or sensitive data such as credit card details

Physical address – your property 

Plain text email – just text without additional fonts, colours, graphics, etc., rather than containing code such as HTML

PNG – Portable Network Graphics that supports lossless graphics compression, a popular format for use on the internet

Preference centre – where a subscriber or account holder of a brand manages their communication preferences, as well as their personal information (such as name, email, etc)

Pre header – the short summary text following a subject line when the email is viewed in an inbox

Preview pane – allows users to quickly view the content of a message without actually opening it

Privacy policy – a legal requirement, a statement or legal document that discloses some or all of the ways a party gathers, uses, discloses, and manages a customer or client’s data

Promotional email –  an email sent to inform your audience of events, products, limited time offers, etc., 

Promotions tab – a specific tab within Gmail designed to hold marketing emails and promotional offers

Re-engagement email – an email you send to a group of customers who have stopped or never interacted with your content in an effort to get them to start engaging with it

Recipient – person who receives your email

Rendering – the way an email is displayed – this can be affected by different email clients ‘reading’ your email code differently and affecting the formatting

Segmentation – dividing your market into areas of different potential based on characteristics of the group

Sender score – a numerical representation between 0-100 of your sending reputation designed to allow mailbox providers to determine whether the content is likely to be spam

Shared IP – an IP address used for multiple sites hosted by one server

Soft Bounce – is when an email you send gets as far as your recipient’s mail server but bounces back undelivered before it gets into the inbox. This is for temporary issues such as when their inbox is full or the email file size is too large

Single opt in – when a subscriber only has to fill out their email address once to receive your communications, rather than confirm their interest with a second prompt

SMTP – Simple Mail Transfer Protocol – a communication protocol for electronic mail

Spammer – a person or organisation that sends irrelevant or unsolicited emails in bulk for advertising purposes or for cyberattack purposes 

Spam trap – a fraud management tool used by major Internet Service Providers (ISPs) and blacklist providers to identify spammers so they can block their traffic

SPF – Sender Policy Framework is an email authentication method designed to detect forging sender addresses during the delivery of the email

Statistical relevance – is the likelihood that the difference in conversion rates between a given variation and the baseline is not due to random chance

Subject line – the opening line that states the email’s intent and gives the recipient a reason to open it

Subscriber(s) – people who have given permission for you to send them communications

Suppression list / file – email addresses you don’t want to send to either because they’ve hard bounced or because people have opted out of receiving your communications. The list helps protect your sending reputation

Targeting – also known as multisegment marketing, is a strategy that involves identifying specific audiences or markets for specific content based on preset criteria 

Thank you page – the final page a customer sees when completing a transaction or action with you, such as signing up to your newsletter or buying a product

Throttling – using your email sending platform to send the same email to different people at different times, rather than sending all the emails to all your contact list all at once

Triggered emails – emails sent automatically based on pre-defined events, actions or conditions met by an email recipient through certain behaviours, actions, etc.

UCE – Unsolicited Commercial E-mail) is a legal term used to describe an electronic promotional message sent to a consumer without their prior request or permission

URL – Uniform Resource Locator, the place on the internet where a specific website can be found

Unique clicks – how many individual subscribers clicked on your links. So, if a Subscriber clicked on your links more than once, it will count those actions as one click instead of two

Unique opens – represents how many individuals opened your email rather than the number of times it was opened (because one person could open the same email several times)

Unsubscribe – when someone removes their permission for you to send them communications

Welcome email / welcome series – the first email a company makes with a new customer, blog subscriber, or newsletter subscriber to start the customer journey and establish a relationship with them

Unsubscriber rate – the percentage of people on a communications / email list who remove permission to be contacted