Mobile Marketing Glossary: 50 Essential Terms

Mobile Marketing Glossary: 50 Essential Terms


It never stops. With each new digital technology comes a new set of words and acronyms for marketers to learn. Search engines were responsible for “CPC,” display ads taught us to think about “cookies” as something other than dessert, and email brought about the good old “bounce rate.”

Now mobile has ushered in a new set of terms. Some of these, such as “double opt-in,” are familiar phrases whose meanings have just changed a bit. Others, like “smishing”, are entirely new (and sometimes bewildering).

Luckily, there are a number of useful resources out there to help sort through this wild world of words. In particular, this in-depth resource from the Mobile Marketing Association covers every imaginable term.

While marketers do not need to know the entire lexicon, it is necessary to have a grasp of the fundamentals. Increasingly, mobile is transforming everything from SEM to content marketing, and terms from these disciplines are quickly taking on new mobile-related meanings.

To help sort through it all, we’ve culled a few of the lengthy glossaries out there down to a more manageable list of 50 essential words and acronyms. Here is the mobile marketing glossary of terms:

Acquisition Rate – The ratio of respondents who opt in to participate in a mobile initiative/campaign.

App – A piece of software that is downloaded to run on a mobile device, usually from an app store.

CSS – (Cascading Style Sheets) A document that defines a website’s appearance across all platforms (web, mobile, etc.)

Click to Call – A service that allows a mobile user to initiate a voice call by clicking on a link.

Combination Ad – A potentially clickable mobile ad consisting of an image and text.

CSC – (Common Short Codes) Short numeric numbers (usually four to six digits) to which text messages can be sent from mobile devices in order to access mobile content.

Confirmed Opt-In – A method used for gaining a mobile consumer’s explicit agreement to participate in a program/initiative.

Content Preview – An ad in which a sample of mobile content—such as a ringtone or wallpaper—is included.

Deck – A set content pre-configured by the mobile network operator.

D2C – (Direct to Consumer) Mobile content and services that do not depend upon the mobile operator.

Double Opt-in – Confirming a mobile subscriber’s wish to participate in a program by requesting them to agree twice prior to engaging.

Dynamic Ad Delivery – The system by which a mobile advertisement is delivered to publishers’ content based on predetermined criteria.

FTEU – (Free to End User) An SMS/MMS messages for which a mobile subscriber does not incur any charges.

Graphic Banners – A mobile banner ad featuring an image. Similar to a web banner, but smaller.

H tags – (Heading tags) Code that denotes a specific page or section heading. As with web content, it is important for mobile search engine optimization since it provides insight into what a page section is about.

HTML 5 – The latest version of HTML (Hyper Text Markup Language), which eliminates the need for some plugins and makes delivering a universal content experience across devices easier.

IOD – (Information on Demand) Content—such as weather, news, jokes, etc.—delivered in the form of SMS/MMS alerts.

Interstitial Ad – An image, piece of text, or video that is displayed in the middle of the MMS message.

LBS – (Location Based Services) Offerings provided to mobile subscribers based on the geographical location of their devices.

Meta Description – The meta tag that describes the page’s content—especially relevant to search spiders.

MMS Banner – A transparent advertising screen image that is inserted with text onto an MMS message.

MMS – (Multimedia Messaging Service) A message that includes multimedia objects (images, audio, video, rich text) and may or may not include normal text.

Mobile Messaging Program –     Multiple mobile advertising messages, usually delivered as part of a coordinated campaign.

Mobile Site – A website built solely for mobile users, usually with smaller page sizes and restricted use of images/video/etc.

Mobile-Friendly Site – A website that can be accessed via both desktops and mobile, but which adapts and conforms to the restrictions of smaller devices.

Mobisode – A trademarked term by Fox Corporation used to describe original, made-for-mobile video programming.

Non-PII – (Non-Personally Identifiable Information) Information about a mobile user that is not detailed enough to identify them.

Off Portal – A point of sale outside of a mobile carrier’s “walled garden” where consumers can access information and purchase mobile products/content.

On Portal – A point of sale inside of a mobile carrier’s “walled garden.”

Opt-in – The process where a mobile subscriber provides explicit consent after receiving a notice from the mobile marketer.

Partial MMS Ad – An advertisement inserted into an existing MMS message that is being viewed by the consumer.

Permission Level – The level of permission a mobile subscriber has granted to a specific carrier, app, service, or content site to receive messaging from them.

Premium Content – Content for which the provider levies an additional charge.

PSMS – (Premium Short Message Service) System by which a mobile subscriber is charged above standard text messaging rates for mobile content and/or subscriptions.

Private Content – Mobile user data (such as text, photos, videos, and multimedia files) not accessible to others.

Pull Messaging – Any content sent to the wireless subscriber upon a one-time request.

Push Messaging – Any content sent to a wireless mobile device at a time other than when the subscriber requests it.

Redirect – When a user is sent to a URL different from the one they clicked on. In the context of mobile, this tactic is often used for the purpose of sending users to content formatted appropriately for their device.

RWD – (Responsive Web Design) – A web design practice by which content automatically adapts to a user’s device and environment. This is in contrast to WAP/mobile-specific sites, which are created as separate entities.
Screen Real Estate – Pertaining to the quality and size of the mobile handset screen.

Shared Short Code – A short code that is utilized to run multiple marketing campaigns simultaneously.

SMS – (Short Message Service) Short messages containing only text content.

Site Tagging – Tags on a mobile site that allow for the delivery of advertisements to certain areas.

Smishing – (SMS Phishing) A security attack in which the mobile subscriber is tricked into downloading malware onto his/her handset.

Theme – The general look and feel of a mobile phone’s user interface (UI).

Unique User – A specific mobile subscriber.

Vanity Short Code – Specifically requested short code number, usually spelling something out.

Walled Garden – A restricted list of services provided to a mobile user by the network carrier.

WAP Site – (Wireless Application Protocol) A website that is specifically designed and formatted for display on a mobile device, as opposed to one that is responsive.

WML – A markup language developed specifically for wireless applications to enable optimum usage of the limited display capabilities of a handset.

Zero Rated Message – When a marketer assumes payment for the standard rate message fee on behalf of the mobile subscriber.

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