Digital PR expert breaks down buzzwords and their meanings

by Kenny Murray

Friday, September 23rd, 2016

Don’t be swayed by the buzzwords – use our no nonsense jargon buster to understand just what the experts mean

Holyrood PR Agency in Edinburgh shows why talk isn't cheapTHE term ‘digital’ is everywhere and seems to come up in everyday life, especially for businesses. For a seven letter word, it can be horribly difficult to get your head around just what it means. To some it’s social media, to others it’s technology such as smart phones; it’s even described as websites and mobile apps. So what is digital and why should you care about it?

The Oxford Dictionary describes it as five different things, so it’s not even simple to the boffins who choose what a real word is and what isn’t.  The closest to what I’d interpret digital to be and what the majority of people believe they mean when they say it is, “Involving or relating to the use of computer technology”. This quite frankly, doesn’t cut it.

Digital is pretty much everything you’d believe it to be, it’s websites, mobile apps, laptops, tablets, social networking platforms, games and other methods of communication that necessitate using modern technology – even advertising screens.

Complicated world of digital PRSometimes the explosion of digital, online and smartphone content can seem overwhelming. Check out our simple guide to becoming a DIGITAL GURU in business.



If you’re sitting thinking, that’s it – I’m sorted I know what digital is – then you’d be mistaken. Even when you understand what digital is – there’s a whole array of baffling jargon terms used and specifically in one key area, “Digital Communications”. This is where marketing, PR and other forms of promotion combine as a means of communicating through digital channels such as social networks, websites and apps.

These buzzwords are often used to baffle business owners into agreeing to something they don’t quite fully understand or in explaining in just what a good job your “digital marketer” has done for you – the trouble is you more than likely don’t quite understand what all the terms mean and you may not want to ask for fear of mockery.

Fear not, I have taken it upon myself to explain some of the most common buzzwords used in “Digital PR & Marketing” so you can be tooled up to understand what your business is doing online.

Buzzwords & Their Explanations


This beauty is a real pain in the backside. It appears absolutely everywhere. What they actually mean by ‘disruption’ is something different. If you suddenly begin to deliver chocolate bars within the hour by drone, that’s something different. Unless you want to make it sound cooler than it already is and describe it as ‘disrupting the confectionary market’.


In my time working within digital – this tends to be a real catch all term used by my peers – some honestly and others less so. People would lead you to believe that engagement is always meaningful – that if your “engagement levels are up” then what you’ve done is successful. However, in reality engagement is usually reserved to discussing social network success and can mean anything from clicking on an image posted on Facebook, hovering over a video for anything more than a fraction of a second and even unsubscribing from your social media feeds. If someone tells you that your engagement levels have gone up – ask them to be more specific.


This is one you should know before dealing with anyone in social media. Reach is the number of users who had the potential to see your content. That doesn’t necessarily mean they DID see it, it means that Facebook, Twitter or another service placed content that you published, in their newsfeeds.


Equally as important as reach – these two are often used exclusively, with the sharks of the industry opting for the number that is higher – passing it off as the same thing. It isn’t. Where reach is the number of potential users – impressions is the number of times the content you published was placed in front of potential audiences. So, if the same person receives the same post within their feed 5 times in an hour – this is 5 impressions. It doesn’t sound too bad, but take 5,000 impressions with that rule and only a fifth of your perceived audience actually had the opportunity to see your content – with this even being an estimate.


This is a term that again is wildly overused. It’s pretty simple though. An influencer is essentially anyone who could influence opinion. In the internet age this could simply mean someone with important people such as journalists following them. It could also refer to people with large numbers of YouTube subscribers or followers across social networks.

Video View YouTube/Facebook

This seems self explanatory – but it really isn’t. A view on YouTube is now no longer counted until it reaches 30 seconds or 50% of the length of the video. However, on Facebook – as soon as a video plays – it counts as a view, even if someone happens to have “Auto-Play” turned on. In fact, Facebook recently had to apologise for over estimating views (views of more than 3 seconds) by 60-80%.

Unique Users

This term is often found when dealing with website analytics. It is a measure of devices used to access your website, not individual people. So, for every phone, laptop or tablet that accesses your website – it creates a unique user signature – it could be one person using three devices over the course of a day rather than three views.

Page Views/Page Hits

This is self explanatory – essentially how many views your page either on a social media site or on your website receives. However, if someone accesses the page multiple times, this can count as multiple views.

Watch Time

This is the time spent watching your video – or rather having your video on screen. If someone scrolls down to your video, it auto plays and they go make a cup of tea – that will measure that the user has watched the video for the length of time it takes to brew a cuppa and close their browser.


This is a “hip” term used to describe finding a new way of doing something or unlocking the full potential of a product. So, if someone works out that they can open a tube of smarties both ways –they’re likely to claim it as a hack. It’s not all scary internet villains.


This is the type of content you see with headlines that attempt to lure you in i.e “You won’t believe what Brad Pitt done last night.”


Cost Per *insert word* is a term used in online advertising. The most common is CPC which is Cost Per Click, as a way of looking at how much you are going to pay for every click on a link or advert. Alternatively there is impressions, engagement and reach. There’s probably a whole host of others – those are the most common.

Earned Media

As mentioned in our Guide to PESO – this is where a story appears in a media publication without payment – purely on the merit of the story or connections to the publication, an earned story placement as such.

Big Data

This is used quite a lot to describe any data. What it actually refers to is large data sets with thousands of cells of data, often breaking down into rich data that can prove useful.

Native Advertising

If you think you haven’t seen a native advert you’d be wrong. A native advertisement is an advertisement on a media publication site that is made to look like the content that the site hosts. Buzzfeed is practically funded through this method of advertising.

Digital PR is an avenue where your business could make real inroads. Have you considered it?

We’d love to discuss ways that our varied communications and PR services – including cost effective Digital PR – could help boost the bottom line for your business. We’re a chatty bunch and would love the chance to speak with you.

We can be contacted on 0131 561 2244, or take just a few seconds to fill out the simple form, below and we’ll get straight back to you:

Your Name (required)

Your Email (required)


Your Message

Related Posts

So how can we help?

Meet the team

Meet the team

Our people

Meet the people who make Holyrood PR what it is, and get an insight into what makes them tick

Benefit from business video

Benefit from business video


Find out how affordable video can bring a host of benefits to your business.

Make an impact with PR photography

Make an impact with PR photography

Find out more

Every story can be told better with pictures. Discover our affordable, high-impact photo packages.

If you have any comments or questions, please contact us.


Keep ahead of your opposition by getting the free tips, insights and secrets we share for businesses. Straight to your inbox, every month.
Email address
First Name
Last Name