June 23, 2021

Please Stop Using These 4 Internet Marketing Terms Wrong

Please Stop Using These 4 Internet Marketing Terms Wrong

The internet and the marketing industry have something in common: They are full of terms and acronyms that can feel like an entirely different language. It can be super easy to misunderstand and/or misuse those terms. Here’s 4 “marketing/internet jargon” terms you are probably using wrong!

  1. Viral ≠ more views than you normally get
  2. Meme ≠ a picture with words on it. Please stop doing this
  3. Clickbait ≠ a catchy title
  4. Landing page ≠ a web page you’ve landed on

What do these words actually mean and how can you use them to communicate more effectively what you actually mean?

#1 Viral

What does it mean when you go viral? What makes something viral can be hard to quantify. There’s no magic number that means something is quote-on-quote viral. (Although MANY people try to make one.) Instead of defining viral by the numbers, it’s easier to quantify it by 2 things: reach and speed. The Wikipedia article on viral internet content makes the analogy that viral content is very similar to a virus. Viral internet content self-replicates and quickly spreads far from its original source. And often when content goes viral, it takes on its own life separate from what it was originally intended to be.

Let’s say one of your posts gets double or trip the amount of reach it normally gets. Is that viral? That’s very exciting, but no. Sorry! Although it’s possible to have something go viral with a specific community, viral implies exposure far outside it’s intended audience’s reach. With the number of platforms, and the cross-contaminating reach of those platforms, the general rule of thumb is over 2 million views in less than a few days to call something “viral.” This doesn’t mean that the content has to be a week old, it has to do with rate of expansion.

#2 Meme

"for the better, right?"
Original Movie Quote

This is one of my biggest pet peeves. It can be easy to look at a meme and think that any picture with words on it can be called a meme. It can be, but that doesn’t mean that it is. Meme was coined in 1976 by Richard Dawkins in his book on Darwinian evolution as an attempt to explain memetics; or, how ideas replicate, mutate, and evolve. What makes something a meme is not what it is, but instead the way that it replicates.

For example, the Star Wars “For the better, right?” meme has been a common format to use this month. What has made it a meme isn’t the original movie quote, or the format itself. It is a meme because many people are using or repurposing the format to convey information. Memes are only effective if the format conveys emotion or a message without it being explicitly stated and in a variety of different situations.

"For the better, right?" png meme

Although the types of memes we think of are usually in a concise image-based format, things like folk tales, urban legends, and chain letters are all versions’ memes. They are structured format in which information is shared and evolves.

#3 Clickbait

Are all catchy titles or hooks clickbait? No. The technical definition of clickbait is any text that is designed to entice a user to click or read on. However, the expression has a more specific connotation than that. It implies that the title isn’t accurate and is somehow disconnected from what you will see if you click. It’s similar to old school bait-and-switch marketing. Using bait or a hook isn’t wrong if you are looking to attract people, HOWEVER, the switch is wrong.

Clickbait is sensationalized content. An article titled “5 money making secrets you need to hear,” isn’t click bait if the article is actually about 5 money making tips. Which is part of what makes cracking down on malicious clickbait tricky. A lot of platforms like Facebook and YouTube measures in place to mark clickbait as spam. But how can AI decide if those 5 money making secrets are tips and tricks you actually need to hear? How does the platform know if those “secrets” can actually make you money? Clickbait is connected to consumer perception.

#4 Landing Page

Here’s 4 “marketing/internet jargon” terms you are probably using wrong!

If you land on a webpage does that make it a landing page? No, because a landing page is a webpage you land on that is designed with a specific purpose in mind. One person illustrated it this way: You could use a baseball glove to retrieve a hot dish from the oven, but that doesn’t make your baseball glove an oven mitt. So just because someone lands somewhere doesn’t mean that it is a post-click landing page. The landing page could be designed get the user to make a purchase or fill out a form or watch a video. It doesn’t matter what the purpose is, it matters that it has one.

What is the advantage of separating your landing pages out to specify a single action? Research has shown that companies using 40 or more single action post-click landing pages generate 120% more leads than those using less than 5!

Do you have any marketing/internet terms misuse pet peeves?  

About Skyler Schreck

Skyler is a Marketing Assistant at First Direct. Prior to First Direct, she worked as a freelance graphic designer. Content creator by day and content consumer by night, Skyler's hobbies include reading, snacking, and binge-watching all available shows.