The Startup Marketing Glossary

The Startup Marketing Glossary

There’s no getting away from it: the internet is a confusing place, full of jargon, acronyms, and noise. The Hubbub Labs team has come to the rescue – this is the ultimate startup marketing glossary to help you when you get stuck.

Use the Alphabetical index to navigate between sections or press CTRL F  on your keyboard (Command F, for macs) to look for a specific phrase. If we’re missing something you want to know, add a comment and we will include it at a later date.

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A/B testing

An A/B test, also known as a split test, bucket test or conversion rate optimisation, is a controlled experiment used in online analytics, where two variables (e.g. headline, icons, buttons, colours, text, image) differ. By measuring which of the two variables is more successful for a given outcome, analysts can continually optimise a website and maximise results (clicks, sign ups, purchases, etc.).

In the example below, the variable is button colour and the outcome is a click through rate. The green button has a higher conversion rate.

a/b test split test image

CC BY-SA 4.0 Maxime Lorant

Ad campaign

An advertising campaign is a type of communication designed to build awareness of a certain product or service, often ultimately leading to purchase consideration. Online ad campaigns are often carried out over a number of channels – including on social media and search engines – with a series of adverts designed to target and engage with consumers at different stages of the buyer’s journey.

See Funnel.

Ad set

An Ad set is a specific group of ads within a Facebook advertising campaign. On Facebook, these ads share the same budget, schedule, bid type, bid info, and targeting data.

See more: Facebook for Developers

Adwords (Google)

Google AdWords is a popular ad service that allows digital marketers to display highly targeted and relevant text, product listing and video content in search listings and on the Google Display Network.

adwords examples

Adsense (Google)

Google AdSense is a advertising service allowing digital marketers to promote their products and services via highly targeted text, image, video, or interactive content on the Google Network.

Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing is a way for a marketer to generate income by referring web traffic to a third-party e-commerce websites for a small percentage of profits generated.  

Agile methodology

Agile methodology is a software development methodology that values collaboration between teams and iterative development of solutions. It is based on a set of principles, outlined in the Agile Manifesto.


AI (Artificial Intelligence)

Artificial intelligence (AI) is non-natural intelligence displayed by machines. AI is found in many areas of marketing, including database segmentation and analytics, profile building, content curation and distribution, speech and language recognition, predictive analytics and customer service, chatbots, sales forecasting, and more.

Why not read on and find out more about the best AI startups in Europe?

Or check out Facebook’s AI research.


Alexa is a popular website SEO resource from Amazon that ranks your page for a variety of variables and provides a number of useful analytics tools for a fee, including; competitor analysis, keyword research, and website and content audits.



An Algorithm is a set of rules used to calculate and solve a group of related problems. Platforms like Google, Facebook, and Instagram use algorithms to determine which ads to serve or which posts or images to display.

Although algorithms are closely guarded by the companies that employ them, webmasters and marketers need to be aware of updates as broad scale algorithm changes can affect marketing performance, SEO strategy, Google ranking, and much more.

Why would search engines and social platforms change their algorithms? To level the playing field and force companies to continually produce relevant content, but most importantly – so they pay to use advertising services and reach more users.

Here’s a list of Google Algorithm updates on Moz

AR (Augmented Reality)

Augmented reality (AR) is a layer of information superimposed onto a real environment or object, often via a smartphone camera. This augmented information can include GPS, text, sound, video, graphics, or haptic feedback. Think Pokémon Go! Yeah, now you hate it.

AR is being used for a number of marketing purposes; check out this Forbes article 11 Creative Uses Of Augmented Reality In Marketing And Advertising for a slightly deeper dive.


An avatar is a complete profile of a typical client. Marketing agencies use avatars to understand audiences, target advertising and market research.

Avatars can be created using data harvested from surveys, social media insights, Google Analytics, and current client information.

Head to Typeform and create a market research survey and check out our post on how to create effective customer avatars.


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Backlink – AKA Inbound Link

A backlink – or inbound link – is simply a hyperlink from an external website to your website or resource.

Search Engines like Google value backlinks from reputable websites (those with a good PageRank) and so, for each backlink you receive, you slightly improve your SEO.

However, not all links are created equal. Some backlinks can hurt your SEO, and some backlinks are designated “NoFollow” – which means search engines do not register them.

NoFollow links might be used for a number of reasons – to avoid spammers targeting your comment box, to avoid search engines miscategorising your website.

In HTML, a NoFollow link looks like this:

<a href=”” rel=”nofollow”>TEXT</a>

A Follow link, by contrast, does pass on the SEO benefits to the linked website.


A beacon is a machine that uses bluetooth networks to connect with nearby mobile devices. Often installed in supermarkets and other large shops, they serve ads, sale information or user-targeted offers. They also track customer movements in store to provide metadata on a very literal buyer’s journey.

See Proximity Marketing.

Big Data analysis

Big data analysis is the science of dealing with and segmenting vast data sets that would normally be considered unmanageable. This data comes in two forms – structured data and unstructured data.

  • Structured data refers to data organised and stored in a database – it could include sensor data, client numbers, invoice information, etc.
  • Unstructured data refers to unorganised data, often including text, images, emails, social media content, etc.

Big data analysis is used to: understand market and consumer trends;  build highly accurate customer segments for ad targeting; serve personalised newsletter offers; improve logistics and supply chain management; identify pain points in the customer journey; and other applications.

Blacklist (email marketing)

A blacklist is a collection of servers (IP addresses) or domain names marked by blacklist service as spam. If your domain is listed on a blacklist and and the server you mail to is subscribed to that black list, then your email will (probably) be marked as spam.

An IP address can end up on a blacklist if you’re sending a huge number of emails from a particular server or the mails that you send have spam-like qualities. If you have used an email scraping services you may also have fallen into a gooey spam trap.

Check out this Rackaid article to see a list of influential blacklist operations.

See also Spam Trap


Blogging is an effective way of communicating with an online audience via articles hosted on a website or dedicated blogging platform. It evolved from simple online diary keeping and is now an excellent way to improve SEO, encourage return visitors, develop rapport with customers, and to generate ad and affiliate revenues.

Popular blogging platforms include Medium, WordPress, and Blogger.

See our guide on how to write a viral blog post for more.


A bounce refers to a website visitor who immediately clicks the back button or otherwise exits your website. Bounces usually indicate that your content or website was not relevant to the user in question.

Bounce rate

The Bounce Rate is the percentage of people immediately leaving your website or landing page. Bounces rates vary per industry – head over to Google Analytics and compare your website bounce rate with your industry benchmarks.

Search engines use bounce rate (and other factors) to determine your search position. Bounce rates also affect the Quality score of your Google ads.

Buyer persona

See Avatar


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Champion (see A/B test)

The Champion is the control page in your A/B test. It is the highest performing page, but must be demoted once it is outperformed by your test pages.

Customer Journey

The customer journey is the process through which a client passes from awareness to purchase. Companies often track customer journeys online and note pain points in order to improve processes and customer experience.


Clickbait is a form of content marketing designed to generate clicks through highly engaging, but often misleading headlines. Offenders often generate revenue through online ad revenues.

clickbait example

See more outrageous clickbait headlines on Ranker.

See also engagement bait

Content Marketing

Content marketing is the discipline of developing and publishing valuable content for online audiences in order to build awareness and generate leads. Companies use content marketing to encourage brand loyalty, improve customer relationships, and build trust.


A cookie is a data packet that a website sends to a browser. They are mostly used for tracking behaviour, personalising browsing experiences and managing login information, data, or other key information about the user required for the browsing session.

Cookie Policy

A Cookie Policy is a legal document that outlines which cookies are on a website and offers users the chance to opt out. By EU law, companies must seek permission to store or retrieve any information on a computer or mobile device.


CPC (Cost Per Click)

CPC refers to the cost of each click for each digital ad that you run. For Google adwords, the CPC will always be lower than or equal to the maximum bid you set for your target keywords. In Adwords your final CPC is determined by your maximum bid, competitor ad rankings and your ad Quality Score.

Facebook CPC refers to the cost per click for any website visit, CTA, app installs, Facebook Canvas apps, external site video views.

CPM (Cost per Mille) / CPT (Cost per Thousand)

Cost per mille (CPM)  is a way to pay for adverts by number of views, or a way to work out the average cost for advertising on a particular channel. It is determined by dividing the cost of theadvert by the number of impressions it makes – and multiplying by 1000.

CVR (Conversion rate)

The CVR – or conversion rate –  is the percentage of clicks on any particular ad that result in a purchase or other desired action. You can calculate this by dividing the number of conversions by the number of clicks.

Conversions vary by industry, price and product.

CTA – Call to Action

A call to action is a invitation used to encourage your reader or user to convert – usually that means to click on a link or button, buy a product, sign up to a mailing list, and so on. Can you Spot Gary Vee’s CTA?

CPA (Cost Per Acquisition)

Cost per Acquisition (CPA) – or Cost per Action, and Pay per Acquisition – is an outcome-focused advertising payment method where advertisers pay for sales, clicks or signups, for example.

CTR  (Click-Through Rate)

A CTR is the percentage of clicks your advert receives. If you have a Facebook advert that appears 100,000 times, for example, and you have a CTR of 0.3% you will have had 300 website visits. Average CTRs vary by industry and depending on the platform you use (Google Adwords, Facebook, Twitter, Programmatic, etc.).

See the Google CPA tutorial.


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Data Protection Act (Now superseded by GDPR)

 Marketers are obliged to understand and follow data protection laws, which vary country to country. In the UK, the Data Protection Act is an 1998 Act of Parliament which intends to safeguard electronically stored personal data.

Read more about the EU Data Protection Directive here:

Digital marketing

Digital marketing is discipline of marketing and selling products and services on any form of digital medium, including the internet, mobile phones, via email, SMS, and others.

Drop shipping

Drop shipping is an e-commerce business model whereby the retailer does not stock the goods, but passes each order directly to the manufacturer or wholesaler, which then delivers the good to the customer. Profits are derived from commissions or from the margin between the wholesale and retail price.

Sites like Shopify are popularising the drop shipping business model.


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An Ebook is an electronic book, usually readable on Kindles, tablets and other mobile devices. Marketers often use ebooks as lead generation assets, provide free and valuable content in exchange for email addresses and other personal data.

Engagement bait

Engagement baiting is the practice of soliciting likes, shares or comments on a post to boost engagement levels and increase visibility – this usually takes place on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.

A 2017 change in the Facebook algorithm now punishes brands who attempt engagement bait.


  • Vote baiting: attracting engagement by asking for likes and other reactions to vote for something. “Click like to vote for our page!”
  • React baiting: Asking people to react to a post to indicate their opinion, e.g. “Yes = like; No = Heart”
  • Share baiting: Asking people to share with the friends in exchange for something, or to indicate something, e.g. “Share with your friends if you want to get rich!”
  • Tag baiting: Asking the user to tag a friend – e.g. “Tag a friend who’d do this!”
  • Comment baiting: Asking users to comment a set phrase or two to show support, e.g. “Comment YES if you agree!”
  • Excerpt from 5 Social Media Trends to Watch For in 2018  

Engagement pod

An engagement pod is a closed group for marketers who want to share comment and like content of non-competing businesses in order to improve reach, engagement and overall visibility of the posts. Engagement Pods exisit on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and other major platforms.

If social media algorithms detect a pod, organic reach of engagement pod members can decrease dramatically. Members may also be temporarily Shadowbanned.

Email marketing

Email marketing is any form of commercial communication through email – this includes bulk newsletter campaigns or individual pitches.

Marketers now often employ drip marketing campaigns – also known as automated email campaign, lifecycle emails – to automatically schedule and send out emails to new subscribers; these could be people who have signed up to a mailing list, or who have bought something, or downloaded a resource, for example.

Evergreen Content

Evergreen content is timeless content that will remain relevant to your audience long-term – in other words it stays useful, shareable and valuable.

Eye Flow

Eye flow is the principle that a viewer’s gaze with follow the eyeline of people or animals on your website. Images of people looking at a call to action will encourage a visitor on your landing page to do the same.

Click me!

eye flow


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A sales funnel – AKA marketing funnel or conversion funnel – is a process by which you lead your prospects from awareness to action through a progression of ads, content, landing pages and newsletters (for example).

purchase funnel

CC BY-SA 4.0  BronHiggs


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Gamification is the practise of turning a process in marketing, work life or even education into a game in order to encourage engagement, harvest data or produce better performance. Players might earn points, level up, or even compete with friends – this has an addictive, viral quality. In the field of digital marketing, games are often used to collect data which can later be sold or used for sales purposes.


The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is a regulation from the European Parliament and other bodies designed to protect individual privacy and freedom by unifying the data protection laws in the region.

Read more:


GIF stands for Graphics Interchange Format – the animated GIF has seen a revival in popularity recently and is being used in marketing and social media posts to increase reach and engagement.


And why not?


Giphy is a popular GIF repository with integrations with platforms like Facebook Messenger and Slack




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A hashtag (symbol: #) is a organisational tag that lets social media users to mark content and follow topics easily. By adding a hashtag in front of a word (e.g. #trending), the word becomes a category, sharing the tagged content with anyone who searches for the term.

Launched and popularised by Twitter, hashtags are now used on Facebook, Instagram, Linkedin among others.

Heat map

Heat maps show you where people are looking, scrolling and taking action on your website. You can use them to decide where to place calls to action and key information.

Check out a free Heat Map trial on Hot Jar.

heat map example

CC-BY-SA-4.0 Tschneidr


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Inbound link

See Backlink.

Inbound marketing

Popularised by services like Hubspot, Inbound marketing is a way of bringing return visitors to your website content by offering useful resources like valuable blog posts, ebooks, inforgraphics, podcasts, vlogs etc. This content is usually promoted on social media channels.

Influencer marketing

Influencer marketing is a method of targeting people with large audiences and a big impact  – these could be celebrities, YouTubers, bloggers, etc. Marketers often pay influencers to support and review their products. Alternatively, influencers (like Beyoncé for example), or companies might be mentioned in articles or content so that they reshare with their audiences.

We know you’re reading B. You know what to do.


An Infographic  is a popular way of representing facts and information in an easily digestible and visual way.

Websites like Canva are popular with social media marketers who want to create infographics on a budget.

IOT (Internet of Things)

The IOT is a growing network of internet-enabled devices that can exchange data, provide additional information, and sometimes be controlled over a network. With its origins in industry, the IOT includes machine sensors, wearables, even furniture and white goods.

IP address

An IP (Internet protocol) address identifies the network location of any device connected to the internet, allowing it to be tracked and show where data coming from and going to.

Google “IP address” to find your own.


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KEI (Keyword Effectiveness Index) analysis

The Keyword Effectiveness Index analysis is metric that shows the value of a particular keyword, taking into account the number of searches that include it and how many pages are connected to it.


A keyword is a word that people search for on sites like Google, Yahoo and Bing. Relevant Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs) are returned depending on the combination of keywords used. Websites are search engine optimised for certain keywords and keyword chains (commonly searched phrases relevant to the website content)

You can research and optimise your web copy and blog content using the Google Keyword planner:

Keyword Stuffing

Keyword stuffing is the attempt to improve a website’s ranking in the search results by including an inflated number of keywords, phone numbers or other irrelevant content. Thanks to updated algorithms this methodology no longer works and this hurts website SEO.  


KPI – Key Performance Indicator – is a management metric to benchmark and test organisational and individual targets.


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Landing page

A landing page is the first page a visitor comes to on your website – it’s literally where they land. It can also be a single page, somewhat separate from the main site (but with the same branding and a related URL), where people go when they click on an advert. Also known as a click-through page, it provides extra information and leads the visitor to your sales cart, or desired action – such as an ebook download, mailing list sign up, etc.


Leads are people who might be interested in purchasing your product or service. They can come from via social media follows and interactions, mailing list sign ups, referrals and recommendations, even blog comments. Traditionally, marketing departments generate leads for sales departments to follow up on and convert.

Lean Startup

The Lean Startup is a book by Eric Ries and a startup operations methodology, designed to speed up the process of product delivery for startups, from ideation to delivery. It is based on 5 principles:

  1. Entrepreneurs are everywhere
  2. Entrepreneurship is management
  3. Experimental approach (validated learning)
  4. Benchmarking and measurements (innovation accounting)
  5. Build-measure-learn

See more:


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Mailing list

A mailing list is a list of emails of clients and leads, mostly used by companies to communicate content, offer services and discounts. Segmented mailing lists allow companies to effectively target the right products and offers and get a higher conversion rate and return on investment.


The term Meme was coined by Doctor Richard Dawkins in his book The Selfish Gene (1976). Based on “genes” (a piece of DNA), meme are ideas that replicated, imitated and spread across networks. They often contain images of cats doing funny things.


Designed primarily with mobile use in mind.

MVP (Minimal Viable Product)

A minimal viable product. Startups following lean startup methodology produce MVPs to test concepts on live paying markets and use feedback to improve and develop their offerings.


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Native ads

Native ads, also known as native content, are articles, videos, or other content types designed to fit in with primary editorial content in both style and voice. They often provide valuable information to a specific readership, but still aim to sell a product or service. Effectively, these are advertorials disguised as regular content.


Newsjacking is the skill of piggybacking on a trending news story to highlight your brand or company and generate media coverage.

NPS (Net Promoter Scores)

The Net Promoter Scores (NPS) is an effective metric for startups, SMEs and enterprises measuring customer satisfaction, loyalty, and advocacy.

Ranging from  -100 to 100, higher NPS scores directly correlate with company growth.

Read more: NPS – the one key metric guaranteed to help your startup grow


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Omnichannel Marketing

Omnichannel marketing is a way of providing a seamless experience for a user browsing your product or service or many different channels. A customer may see your ad on social media, visit your store on a desktop, and finally purchase on a table – all without friction or difficulty.

Open Rate

The open rate refers to the percentage of email opens in a email-marketing campaign. Emails providers like Mailchimp allow you to track clicks, conversions, open rates, unsubscribers and a whole range of related data.

Organic reach

Organic reach is a social media marketing term that refers to the number of people a particular post, image, video, link, etc. reached without sponsorship. It increases through shares, likes, comments and other engagement.

See Paid reach.

Outbound Marketing

Outbound Marketing is a form of marketing that targets broad audiences via cold calling, direct mail, trade shows, and seminars.


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PageRank (PR) is a Google Search algorithm that measures the importance of website pages. It affect – pages are ranked from 0 to 10. PR is one of approximately 200 variables used by the Google Search Algorithm.

Paid reach

Paid reach is a social media marketing metric that refers to the number of people who have seen your sponsored content.


A pitch is a short presentation designed to sell a story, product, service or idea. Elevator pitches are even shorter (up to 2 minutes) and are usually designed to pitch investors.

See How NOT to pitch your Startup to a reporter

Pixel (Facebook)

The Facebook pixel effectively a type of cookie that allows you to track, analyse and offer ads to visitors to different landing pages on your website. It lets you see how effective your advertising is and also allows you to re-target ads to people who have visited specific pages on your website.



A podcast is a pre-recorded audio file, akin to a radio show, which can be streamed or downloaded from a website. Find them on platforms like iTunes and Soundcloud.

Press release

A press release is a targeted message to the media that sets out your company news in a clear and concise way. Journalists will use your press release as a basis to research and write a story.

See: Startup Academy: How to Write a Press Release  

Privacy Policy

A Privacy policy is a legal document that covers and explains how a business/individual collects, uses, discloses, and manages client data. It is a requirement of the GDPR.

Programmatic Marketing

Programmatic marketing is a method of real-time bidding on advertising real estate. It determines whether a specific ad will be shown to a customer in an pre-defined situation.

See What is Programmatic Marketing from Smart Insights for more information

Proximity Marketing

Proximity marketing is a method or targeting nearby consumers with advertising content. Using beacon technology, stores transmit ads, coupons, information, reminders and other content often via store app push notifications.

Recent developments from Google now mean that Android devices running the Kit Kat 4.4 (and above) operating systems can receive ads without having downloaded an app.

PPC (Pay Per Click)

PPC is a digital marketing model that allows marketers to buy visits to their websites. Each time a user clicks on an ad, the company pays an amount. A number of variables determine the cost per click (CPC). 


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Quality Score (QS; Google)

Quality Score is how Google determines how good your ad is. It rates the quality of your PPC ads and keywords. The higher your QS, the lower your Cost per Click is likely to be.


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Remarketing uses cookies—like the Facebook Pixel—to target people who have visited your website with specific adverts – often showing the products or services the user was previously browsing.


A popular band from the 80s.


The robots.txt file gives web crawlers information about which pages on your website to index.

Read more here:


RSS (Really Simple syndication) is an online feed that lets people find updates from blogs, websites, etc. in an easy way – usually on a content aggregator website.


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Scraping involves using tools to hunt for email addresses on websites, Facebook groups, blogs, etc. It is often a bad idea – see spam traps and blacklists.

SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages)

SERPs is an acronym: Search Engine Results Pages. This is what you see when you query Google, Bing, Yahoo, etc.

SEM  (Search Engine Marketing)

SEM refers to search engine marketing – advertising campaigns conducted primarily over Google and Bing.

SEO (Search Engine Optimisation)

SEO is the process of making your website search engine friendly and improving your position in the search listings.

Shadow banning

Shadow banning is a way for online platforms to ban a user and prevent his or her content from appearing in the timelines, news feeds, or public channels without the user being aware of the ban.

Platforms such as Instagram and Twitter use shadow banning to limit the reach of suspected spammers.

Significance Test (see A/B testing)

Significance Test – also known as the Confidence Level – is the degree to which you are sure that the difference between the conversion rate between the champion and test pages is due to the test variables and not chance.  

Check out the Kissmetrics significance test.

Social proof

You’ll hear Public Relations people talking about social proof all the time. It refers to a person’s reputation or personal brand and is often built up online through thought leadership articles or via talks. Strong social proof builds trust among clients and peers.

See George Chilton’s thoughts on Social Proof on UpCity

Spam traps

A spam trap is a booby-trapped email address that catches marketers who add emails to mailing lists without opt-ins. You can find spam traps on public web pages, so if you use an email scraper (a program designed to harvest email addresses from websites), you can pick up spam traps.

Adding a spam trap email to a mailing list will mean you are automatically reported and possibly blacklisted as a result.

See blacklist

Stock image, sound, video

Stock image, sound and video sites are online libraries containing collections of resources for marketers.


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Trolling is online abuse, harassment and bad behaviour. It is an increasing problem for sites that rely on user generated content (UGC) and social media engagement.


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UG (User Generated Content)

UGC is key for many websites, especially in e-commerce marketplaces, social media platforms, and blogs. It includes any type of content (moderated or not) that your users create, upload and share.

UI  (User Interface)

The UI is the frontend of your website, app or product. It is how the user inputs and receives information and interacts.

UX  (User Experience)

UX is how your user experiences your product or service.


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WYSIWYG (What You See is What You Get) Editor

WYSIWYG Editor (What You See is What You Get) is an acronym that refers to visual online editing platforms that allow you to design web pages and blog posts without using code.

Hubbub Labs is a content marketing agency that helps education companies and startups grow. Book a 15-minute chat with us to talk about your marketing needs.

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