Social Advertising Terminology 101

Social Advertising Terminology 101

Getting word out about your business on social media can be a little daunting. If you are starting off, you may not know where to begin; or if you have been around for a while you may have noticed the growth has plateaued. Social advertising is a great shot in the arm for a business actively using social media as a part of their overall marketing plan. Three of the four major platforms offer some sort of advertising (Google+ currently does not) your business can take advantage of.

Before diving in deep with all the different opportunities to advertise, you need to know the basics, aka the terminology. Without knowing what the different terms and abbreviations amidst the many types of advertising, you might get lost.

Social Advertising 101 Definition List

*Don’t worry – there is no test at the end and for all intents and purposes, when I refer to “ad”, it can mean any type of paid advertising.

Types of Social Advertising:

Facebook Ad – These are the ads that show up on the right-hand side of your news feed. These ads are highly targeted to a specific group of people.

Facebook Promoted Post – This is a status update from a Facebook page that is being paid to post frequently. Could be for an event or an opt-in.

Promoted Twitter Account – This is when your account shows up at the top of the “Who to Follow” box.

Promoted Tweet– This is a tweet that you have paid Twitter to tweet out frequently.

LinkedIn Ad – These are the ads that show up on the right-hand side on your LinkedIn page.

LinkedIn Sponsored Status Update – Similar to a Facebook sponsored post, this is a status update a person or business has paid to have show up more frequently.


CPM (cost per thousand) – This is the cost you pay per 1,000 people that see your ad/tweet/status update.

CPC (cost per click) – This is the cost you pay every time someone clicks on an ad.

Viral – The number of people who saw your ad because a friend of theirs took some sort of action, i.e. Facebook like or comment, Twitter retweet.

Organic – The number of people who saw your ad.

Paid – The number of people who saw your sponsored post/status update as a result of you paying to promote it.

Impressions – This is the number of people who saw your ad. Example: If 100 people saw your ad, you had 100 impressions. If 400 people saw your ad two times each, you had 800 impressions.

Click Thru Rate (CTR) –  This is the percentage of people who clicked on your ad out of the number of people you targeted. Example: If your ad targeted 100 people and only 5 clicked on it, your CTR would be 5%.

Engagement– On Twitter, this is measured when a user retweets, replies, favorites, follows, or clicks anywhere on your promoted tweet. On Facebook or LinkedIn, it means the interaction, or the overall activity of your fans, including comments & likes on an ad or sponsored post/status.

When undertaking social advertising for yourself or your clients, knowing if it’s working (or has already worked) is very important. Hard-earned money is spent in hope of promoting an event or sale or growing a community. Each platform that offers advertising has a reporting mechanism that allows you to see how your ad is performing. Of course, with those reports come a lot of terminology with which you may not be familiar. Consider this your basic social advertising reporting terminology lesson 😉

General Social Advertising Reporting Terminology

(in addition to the basic terms above)


Social Reach: Number of people who saw your ad with social information. For example, if three people see an ad two times each that says a friend likes your page, your social reach is three.

Actions: Actions are something that someone does as a result of seeing your ad. Actions include page likes, comments, conversions, event responses, etc. For example, if you get two page likes and two comments, they will be counted as four actions.

Frequency: Average number of times each person saw your ad.

For the full glossary of Facebook Advertising terms, click HERE.


Engagements: The total number of times someone has interacted with a promoted tweet. This includes all clicks anywhere on the tweet, including any hashtags, links, avatar, username, or tweet expansion; retweets; replies; follows; or favorites.

Engagement Rate: The number of clicks, retweets, replies, follows and favorites divided by the total number of impressions. This is very similar to the Facebook click-thru rate.

For the full list of Twitter Advertising Definitions, click HERE.


Leads: The number of people who requested that you contact them through the lead collection tool.

For more questions about LinkedIn Advertising, including terms, click HERE.

I hope this helped you to gain some understanding of the advertising terms used in many reports. Did I leave one out that you’re not sure about? Comment below & we will help sort out its meaning!

Wanna know a secret? This is a part of the new Social Advertising 101 white paper I’m working on!

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