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Glossary of Terms

Updated: Apr 2, 2018

The glossary of terms provides a summary of the definition and meaning of commonly used terms in the digital marketing and advertising. Some of the terms include examples for illustration purposes.

In Design

PSD Files – A .PSD file is a layered image file used in Adobe Photoshop. It stands for Photoshop Document and is the default format that Photoshop uses for saving data. The file type is proprietary and allows user to edit the images and layers even after the file has been saved.

Mock-up – A model or replica for a creative, banner, advertisement, video or website. A mock-up can be used for instructional or experimental purposes before the final product is delivered.

Royalty-Free (RF) – The right to use copyright material or intellectual property without the need to pay license fees for each use, per copy or volume sold or over a period of time. Royalty-free images can be some stock photo websites and ideal for the budget-conscious startup.

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In Video Production

Music Replacement – Video designers may use video templates with existing background music, music replacement is a service offered to remove background music and replace it with another.

Commercial Use – Often videos and other medias have intellectual property rights owned by the person who created them. For commercial use, designers and producers often charge an additional fee for marketers and advertisers to use it for commercial purposes.

Logo Transparency – Logos can be included in brand or promotional videos to increase brand awareness. Often logos have a white (or other coloured) background and when overlaid in videos it can look unprofessional. Removing the logo background will enhance the professional look of the video.

Voice Over – The narration in a video without being accompanied by an image of the speaker. Voice overs can be added to a promotional and brand video to explain the brand, product or services.

Script Writing – A script is a written for a brand or promotional video to explain the brand, product or services. A script is needed for the talent, characters or voice overs to narrate for the video.

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In Electronic Direct Mailer (Email)

Electronic Direct Mail (EDM) – A marketing strategy that utilizes multiple forms of communication to relay and reinforce the campaign message through PPC, remarketing, social media, offline advertisements. Marketers use EDM to target a large group of prospects or existing customers with the purpose of building relationships and generating leads. Note: EDM is different from email marketing.

Email Marketing – A email marketing campaign focuses on email sent out. It involves building an email database of customers and/or potential customers and sending email communications and special offers directly.

Responsive Design – Responsive design for EDMs is an approach that makes use of flexible layouts and images and CSS media queries. The goal of responsive design is to build emails that detect customers’ screen size and orientation and change the layout accordingly. Mobile responsive design is especially important for customers using smartphones to view the EDMs.

Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) – CSS is a style sheet language used for describing the presentation of a document written in a mark-up language.

RSS Feed – RSS (Rich Site Summary or Really Simple Syndication) is a type of web feed which allows users to access updates to online content in a standardized, computer-readable format. RSS feeds are usually used for news-related websites and blogs.

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In Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Search Engine Optimization – Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of increasing visibility or search engine ranking of a website or webpage through unpaid or organic search results. SEO methodologies consist of various strategies, techniques and tactics used to increase the amount of visitors to a website by ranking higher on search results.

Keyword Search (KWS) – A practice that SEO professionals use to research and find alternative search terms that people enter into search engines while looking for a similar subject. The purpose of KWS is to achieve better rankings in search engines and drive traffic to the website. It usually starts with a niche keyword which is later expanded to find similar keywords. There are keyword suggestion tools (e.g. Google Adwords Keyword Planner) to assist with the KWS process.

Long Tail Keywords – Keywords that are three to four-word long phrases which people use to search for specific information, product or services. For example, a long tail keyword for furniture can be “dark oak bed frame”. Long Tail Keywords are cheaper to bid for SEM, less competition, more targeted and target customers that have an intention to buy.

Blog Network or Private Blog Networks (PBN) – A blog network (or link farm) is a group of blogs that are loosely connected or a group of blogs owned by the same entity. The purpose blog networks is usually to promote the other blogs in the same network to collectively increase search engine rankings and generate revenue through online advertisements on the blogs. Since 2014, Google has imposed manual action ranking penalties on PBNs. This serves to dissuade SEO and online marketers from using PBNs to increase their page rankings.

Domain Authority (DA) – A search engine ranking score that predicts how well a website will rank on search engine results. The DA score ranges from 1 to 100 with higher scores corresponding to a greater ability to rank on search engines. DA is calculated by evaluating many factors such as age, popularity, size and quality inbound links of the website.

PageRank (PR) – An algorithm used by Google Search to measure the authority (importance) of a webpage and rank websites in their search engine results. The number and quality of links to a page are used to estimate the authority of a website.

On-Page SEO – A practice of optimizing webpage in order to rank higher in search engines and drive organic or natural traffic. These factors can be controlled by the host website by changing the HTML code, meta tags, keyword placement and keyword density.

Off-Page SEO – A practice of optimizing webpage in order to rank higher in search engines and drive organic or natural traffic. These factors cannot be directly controlled by the host website and depend on links from other websites and external signals to increase page ranking.

Meta Tags – Meta tags are short sections of text in the webpage’s HTML code that describe the page's content. The description in meta tags will allow search engines to extract information about the webpages and index the webpages. There are two important types of meta tags, keywords meta tag and description meta tag.

Social Signal – Social Signals are likes, shares, votes, pins, posts, bookmarks, views and comments made by people on social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Tumblr, WordPress, Instagram. These social signals are used by search engines to rank webpages. A stronger social media presence can be interpreted as an endorsement for the website.

Backlinks – An inbound hyperlink from one webpage to another. The more backlinks from other (reputable) websites, the higher the website will rank on search engines. Not all backlinks will increase the ranking of a webpage and some nofollow links can even harm a webpage’s reputation.

DoFollow or Follow Links – All links are dofollow links unless they are modified to nofollow links manually or automatically by a website. Search engines only crawl dofollow links and use these links to rank websites.

NoFollow Links – Some links are modified from dofollow to nofollow links manually (spam) or automatically by a website (e.g. Facebook). The nofollow tag appears in the HTML code in the following format, <a href=”http://www.website.com/” rel=”nofollow”>Link Text</a>. Common links that are nofollow links are paid links, comments, forums or from untrusted content. The purpose of having a nofollow link tagging is to prevent spam, otherwise, marketers can use spam links to unethically boost the ranking of their sites. Nofollow links are still important as they provide valuable referral traffic to other websites (e.g. a well-placed, relevant blog comment or forum post).

Anchor Text – Anchors text is the text associated with a link displayed on a website. When visitors click on the anchor text (with hyperlink), they are directed to the associated website. Links like “here” or “next” are not suitable as they do not provide information about their destination and it is unlikely for visitors to click on these links.

Link Pyramid or Backlink Pyramid – A link pyramid is a structured form of link scheme using several tiers of links. At the base of the pyramid are many sites created just to provide backlinks to other sites in higher tiers of the pyramid. Often these lower tier sites have no quality content. The purpose of the link pyramid is to derive link juice for intermediary and first tier links. Some consider link pyramids as black hat SEO strategy and search engines can identify and penalize websites for using link pyramids.

Link Juice – The value passed from one webpage or website to another via hyperlinks. Search engines see links as vote of confidence by other websites that webpage has quality content and ranks it higher.

Black Hat - A person who hacks into a website or does something unethical with malicious or criminal intent.

White Hat – A person who hacks into a website in order to test or evaluate the effectiveness and security of the website.

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In Search Engine Marketing (SEM)

Search Engine – A program that searches for and identifies items in a database that correspond to keywords or characters specified by the user, used for finding particular or relevant sites on the World Wide Web. Some examples of search engines includes Google, Yahoo, Bing, Baidu and more.

Search Engine Results Page (SERP) – A SERP is the page displayed by a search engine in response to a search query by a person. The components of the search result page is a listing of websites and advertisements.

Search Engine Marketing (SEM) – A type of internet marketing associated with the researching, submitting and ranking of a website by search engines to increase visibility, paid or organic traffic referrals from search engines.

Search Engine Index – A database that correlates keywords and websites so that search engine can display websites that match user’s search query. Indexing is the organising of information after search engines crawl the world wide web, this allows web pages to be viewed on search engines. Webpages must be able to be crawled before indexing can occur.

AB Testing (Split or Split-Run or Bucket Testing) – A testing methodology that compares two versions of a webpage to evaluate which version performs better (e.g. more conversions). The test is done by showing two variants of the webpage to similar visitors at the same time to evaluate the user experiences designs of the two versions.

Pay Per Click (PPC) – A business model whereby a company that has placed an advertisement on a website or mobile app (via Google Adwords) pays a fee to the host website when a user clicks on to the advertisement.

Click Fraud (for PPC– A business model whereby a company that has placed an advertisement on a website or mobile app (via Google AdWords) pays a fee to the host website when a user clicks on to the advertisement.

Remarketing – When customers visit your website and remarketing code is added to your website to track the visitor and add them into a list. With the data from the list, marketers can show banner ads to previous visitors. It is effective to bring back abandoned visitors and for brand awareness. It does not require any keywords but potential customers can be segmented based on interest, age, gender and more.

Ad Group – An ad group contains one or more ads which target common keywords. Each marketing campaign can be made up of one or more ad groups. Marketers can use ad groups to separate product or services types. For example, the Ad group can be desserts and keywords can include cupcakes, apple pie, ice cream, cookies.

Ad Extension – Additional information about your company (e.g. phone number or website link to a specific page) that can be added to search engine advertisements. Ad extensions can improve visibility and result in incremental clicks and ROI.

Google AdWords – An advertising platform on the Google search engine. Types of advertisements includes display ads, video ads, search ads, app ads for online and mobile channels.

Google AdSense – A platform for websites and mobile app owners to make money by placing Google managed advertisements on their website or mobile apps.

Google Display Network (GDN) – A tool for creating image and video advertisements to reach potential customers while they are browsing websites, watching a YouTube video, checking their Gmail account or using mobile devices and apps. The online banners and videos are used to promote brand awareness or market a product.

Display Ads – Advertisement banner with text and/or images across email inbox (e.g. Gmail) and a network of websites and apps associated with the search engine.

Video Ads – A short video advertisement placed before or between videos on video streaming websites (e.g. YouTube).

Search Ads – Advertisements that appear at the top of the search results.

App Ads – Advertisements that appear in mobile applications (apps).

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In Social Media Marketing

Social Tagging – The practice of using user generated electronic tags or keywords to classify and describe online content. Commonly used electronic tagging includes hashtags and tagging.

Hashtag (#) – A word or phrase preceded by a hash sign “#” is used on social media websites and apps (e.g. Twitter, Instagram) to separate messages, images, videos into specific topics. The purpose of hash-tagging is to enable keyword search on social media platforms. For example, searching for “#icecream” will result in messages and media on ice cream.

Tagging (@) – The practice of linking a post, message, media to a particular social media user or company. For example, @PeterJohn will link a post to social media user Peter John.

Follow or Unfollow – A follow represents a user who chooses to see all of another user's posts in their content feed. One strategy in social media marketing for companies with a social media presence to get users to follow their accounts and subsequently engage with the company through likes, comments and click-throughs. Unfollowing has the opposite meaning.

Pixel – A tracking pixel (or 1x1 pixel or pixel tag or conversion pixel) is a transparent 1x1 pixel image loaded when a user visits a website or opens an email. The pixel is used to track a visit or event (click-through) on a webpage, track ad impressions or track opening of an email. Advertisers can use the tracking pixel to acquire data for online marketing, web analysis and email marketing.

Influencer Marketing - A form of marketing that leverages on influential people rather than the target market as a whole. It identifies individuals that have influence over potential buyers and creates marketing activities around these influencers.

Social Influencer - Individuals that can affect the purchasing behavior of potential buyers on social media networks.

Micro Influencer - Similar to social influencers. Micro influencers are individuals that can reach out to a smaller (between 1,000 to 50,000), more engaged audience and can affect the purchasing behavior of potential buyers on social media networks.

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In Content Marketing

Web Feed or News Feed – A data format used for providing constantly updated online content. Content distributors syndicate a web feed, allowing users to assign feeds to a channel. An aggregation is a collection of web feeds accessible in one location (e.g. BuzzFeed, a news aggregator).

Guest Blogging – A method used by bloggers to increase traffic to their website where bloggers write posts published on other blogs. There are two ways to guest blogging, you write a post that appears on another blog or another person writes a post on your blog. Many websites use guest blogging as a way to build backlinks to their website. Search engines have penalized this method of building backlinks by tagging these links as nofollow links. Despite this, guest blogging is a great way to get referrals from other blogs.

Guest Writer – A person who contributes an article to a website, usually a media site. Some popular websites include Entrepreneur.com, HBR.org, The New York Times, Inc.com, Business Insider, Mashable, Forbes, Tech Crunch, Moz and more. The purpose of guest posts is for the writer to gain recognition as a thought leader in the industry, the media site to include diversity in their articles and opinions and referral links for the advertised site.

Press Release Syndication (PRS) – A content distribution network that publishes the press releases in mass for the purpose of increasing media pick up and visibility. Some common PRS websites include, PR Newswire, ReleaseWire, PR Web, BusinessWire, Marketwired, Globe Newswire, eReleases, Cision and more. In recent years, search engines have modified their algorithm such that press release links (nofollow) will not help search rankings. A press release with a well written article is still a good way to increase visibility of your brand or website and get referrals.

Private Label Rights (PLR) – A license where the author sells most or all of the intellectual property rights to their work. A buyer of private label articles are legally allowed to edit and publish the articles as their own.

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In Web Design

Responsive Design – Responsive design is an approach to webpage design that makes use of flexible layouts and images and CSS media queries. The goal of responsive design is to build webpages that detect the visitors’ screen size and orientation and change the layout accordingly. Mobile responsive design is especially important for visitors using the web browser on their smartphones to view websites.

Plugin – A website plugin is a software component that adds a specific feature to an existing website. For example, a chatbot plugin can be added to your website to answer customers’ queries.

Widget – An application or a component of an interface that enables a user to perform a function or access a service. Similar to Plugin.

Hypertext Markup Language (HTML) – A standardized system for tagging text files to achieve font, colour, graphic and hyperlink effects on the internet. HTML is the basic code for any webpage. Over the years, websites have become more advanced and interactive and HTML has been simplified.

Domain – A distinct subset of the Internet with web addresses sharing a common suffix or under the control of a particular organization or individual.

Domain Name – The part of a network address which identified it as belonging to a particular domain.

Domain Name System (DNS) – An Internet System for converting alphabetic names into numeric IP addresses. When a website address or URL is entered into a web browser, DNS servers return the IP address of the web server associated with that domain name.

IP Address (IP) – A unique set of numbers separated by full stops that identifies each computer using the Internet Protocol to communicate over an internet or local network.

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In Branding

Brand – A unique combination of factors such as design, sign, symbols, words, logo, name, target market, values that create an image that identifies a product or company that differentiates it from its competitors.

Branding – A process to create and communication a unique, consistent image of the company or product through advertising, marketing and design to a target audience.

Brand Ambassador – A person, especially a celebrity, who is paid to endorse a company’s product, services or brand. A brand ambassador can also be a sales person, executive or customer service representative.

Brand Awareness – The extent that customers recognize a company’s product or service and associate the qualities and image of a brand to its products and services. Creating a strong brand awareness is important in promoting a product or service.

Collateral or Marketing Collateral – A collection of media used to support the sales of a product or services. Examples of collaterals include brochures, emails, visual aids, web content and sales scripts. The collaterals should have a consistent brand image and message with other media to enhance the brand awareness.

Brand Guidelines – A set of rules that explain how a brand works. These guidelines can include an overview of the brand’s history, vision, personality, values, brand message, logo, colour palette, type style, image style, business card and letterhead design. The more specific the rules, the more consistent the brand will appear to customers. Other similar terms for brand guidelines include brand standards, style guide and brand book.

Brand Identity – The unique attributes that a company defines to help customers recognize its brands. The brand identity should reflect the value the company brings to the market and appeal to its target audience. Consistency in a company’s business name, logo, tone, tagline, typeface, stationary, products and services and dress code will strength brand identity.

Brand Image – The impression of a product or service perceived by its target audience. The way a brand appears to potential customers or clients is essential to the success of a company. Brand image is developed over time through advertising campaigns with a consistent theme and customer experience.

Rebrand – A process to change the brand identity of the company. The purpose is usually to influence customer’s perception of the product and services and make the brand more relevant and relatable to its target audience.

Brand Recognition – The extent to which a consumer can accurately identify a particular product or service based on the name, logo, tagline, packaging or advertisements. A strong brand recognition can positively influence customer’s buying decision.

Colour Palette – The primary and secondary colours used for all brand collaterals with the intention to elicit certain emotions from customers. For example, blue colour signifies trust, serenity and strength, while red is associated with passion, vitality and excitement.

Type Style or Typeface – A set of one or more fonts that share common design features such as thickness and stroke (e.g. light, bold, italic) giving a consistent visual appearance or style. A consistent type style can improve brand recognition.

Trademark – A symbol, logo, word or words legally registered or established that is used to represent a company or product.

Tagline – A slogan or catchphrase used in advertising to identify a product or brand. An effective tagline is usually short, memorable and summarizes the product or brand.

Target Market or Audience – A particular segment of customers a company designs and markets a product or services. A target market consists of customers that are similar in terms of age, location, income and lifestyle.

Customer Profile – A description of an ideal customer or set of customers that includes demographic, geographic, and psychographic characteristics, buying patterns, creditworthiness, and purchase history. Customer profiles are created to help marketers define target markets.

Value Proposition – A promise of the benefits that customers derives from the product or service after the customer purchases it.

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In Legal

Privacy Policy – A statement or a legal document that discloses the ways a party gathers, uses, discloses and manages customers’ personally identifiable information (PII). Many countries have laws that require companies to disclose their privacy policy to protect customer’s privacy.

Personally Identifiable Information (PII) – Any information such as name, address, email address, identification number, contact number, credit card number, date of birth, genetic information that can be used to identify a specific individual.

Terms and Conditions or Terms of Service (TOS) – A set of provisions, rules, requirements, specifications and standards that customers have to agree and/or abide in order to use a product or service. Terms of service can act as a disclaimer, especially regarding the use of a website.

General Disclaimer – A statement or document declining responsibility or liability for something or an event. The purpose of a general disclaimer is to legally protect the company. For example, a general disclaimer can state that the use of any product or services is at the customer’s own risk.

Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA) – A legal contract between at least two parties that outlines the confidential material, knowledge and/or information that is shared for a certain purpose but want to safeguard proprietary information or trade secrets.

Copyright – A legal right by the law of a country that grants the creator of an original work exclusive rights for its use and distribution for a limited time.

Intellectual Property – Original creations of the mind which includes inventions, music, literature, art, words, phrases, names, symbols, images and designs.

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In Market Research

Market Research – The process of gathering and analyzing information about a target market, competition and customers. It is used to identify target audience and consumers’ needs and preferences and an important component of business or marketing strategy.

Market Size – Market size is a measurement of total number of potential customers or potential sales volume. The measure is used to identify a target audience for products and services. It is crucial for companies to knew the market size before launching new products or services.

SWOT Analysis – A analytical framework used to identify an organization's strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. By incorporating market data, the SWOT analysis is used to evaluate the current position of a company, how to accomplish its objectives, what obstacles to overcome and how it can be positioned in the future.

Porter’s Five Forces Analysis – A framework used to identify and analyze five competitive forces that shape every industry and determine a corporate strategy. The five forces include, 1) Competition in the industry, 2) Potential of new entrants into the industry, 3) Power of suppliers, 4) Power of customers and 5) Threat of substitute products.

PEST Analysis – A framework used to assess the macro-environmental factors of a business. PEST stands for Political, Economic, Social and Technological. The framework helps determine how these external factors will affect the long-term performance and activities of a business. There are other variations to the framework such asPESTEL or PESTLE – Political, Economic, Social and Technological, Legal and Environmental factors

  • SLEPT – Social, Legal, Economic, Political and Technological factors

  • STEPE – Social, Technological, Economic, Political and Ecological factors.

  • STEEPLE and STEEPLED – Social, Technological, Economic, Ethics, Political, Legal, Ecological and Demographic factors.

  • DESTEP – Demographic, Economic, Social, Technological, Ecological and Political factors.

  • SPELIT – Social, Political, Economic, Legal, Intercultural and Technological factors.

  • STEER – Socio-cultural, Technological, Economic, Ecological, and Regulatory factors.

4 Ps of Marketing or Product Mix – The four Ps of Marketing are Product, Price, Place and Promotion. The product mix is a crucial tool in determining a product offering to the customer.

Market Leader – A company with the largest market share in an industry and can use its dominance to affect the competitive landscape and the market. A market leader can use its position to dominate in terms of customer loyalty, distribution, coverage, brand image, perceived value, price, profitability and advertising spend.

First-Mover Advantage (FMA) – The benefits associated with being the first entrant into an industry or target a market segment. It may also be referred to as technological leadership. Not all first-movers capitalize on its advantage, as such new entrants compete more effectively and efficiently and have a second-mover advantage.

Demographics – The statistical data of a population. Commonly includes factors such as age, income, education, address and more. It is commonly used in market research to identify target audience.

Psychographics – The study and analysis of customer lifestyles to create a detailed customer profile. Factors in psychographics studies include customers’ activities, interests, attitudes, aspirations, opinions and other psychological factors. It is usually combined with demographic factors in market research to identify target audience.

Unique Selling Proposition (USP) – A unique selling point of a product that differentiates it from its competitors. Some factors include lowest cost, highest quality or first of its kind products.

Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs – A model with five different kinds of human needs which starts from the basic physiological, safety, belonging, esteem and self-actualization. Maslow’s theory helps marketers to understand its customers and identify the needs their products or services are fulfilling.

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Other Marketing Terms

Lifecycle Marketing – The process that a customer goes through when considering, purchasing, using, and staying loyal to a product or service.

Lifetime Customer Value – An estimation of the net profit attributed to the entire future relationship with a customer. Factors used to calculate lifetime value includes average sales, gross margin and customer lifespan.

Inbound Marketing – A strategy that drives traffic or generate leads via content marketing, podcasts, videos, eBooks, SEO, rather than paid advertising.

Relationship Marketing – A strategy that focuses on establishing and developing long term relationships with potential customers. It is usually less expenses than acquiring new customers.

Viral Marketing – A strategy that leverages on existing customer social networks to increase brand awareness or promote an offering. It relies getting customers to share an idea, product or service via word of mouth.

Key performance indicators (KPIs) – Specific, quantifiable measure that organizations use to track the performance of their activities or marketing campaigns. Common KPIs include sales revenue, leads, cost per leads and return on investment. Tracking the right set of KPIs will allow companies to adapt, maximize their marketing budget and make good decisions.

Cost Per Lead (CPL) – The acquisition costs generating a lead. Cost Per Lead can be split into inbound vs outbound marketing channels or by different marketing campaigns. Some expenses included in the calculation are advertising, marketing distribution, manpower (e.g. sales) and general overheads.

Return on Investment (ROI) – A ratio of the amount of incremental sales generated from market expenses. Used to assess the performance of a company, campaign or product.

Traffic-to-Lead Ratio – The number of leads generated as a proportion of website traffic. Used to evaluate the effectiveness of a website to convert traffic into leads.

Marketing Qualified Lead (MQL) – A lead that is completed specific activities (e.g. completed an online form) and can be transferred to the sales team.

Sales Qualified Lead – A lead that has become a sales opportunity based on their lead score (affinity models) or specific activities or triggers they perform (complete an online form, call into your hotline).

Sales Accepted Lead – A lead that the sales team considers as an opportunity. The sales officer has either contacted the lead directly or a scheduled call.

Sales Funnel – The entire sales and marketing process to convert customers from prospect to paying customer.

Cost-Based Pricing – A pricing method in which a fixed sum or a percentage of the total cost is added to the cost of the product or service to determine the selling price.

Market-Based Pricing – A pricing method in which a company evaluates the prices of similar products in the market to derive a selling price.

Advertising – Promoting a brand, product or service through paid media, broadcasting, print or digital channels.

E-Commerce – A transaction of buying or selling online. An example of an e-commerce transaction is buying a book on Amazon.

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