RP Photonics

Buyer's Guide … the one with the Encyclopedia!

Glossary of Photonics and Laser Marketing

Here we explain frequently used terms in the marketing of products in the area of photonics, optics and laser technology.

A/B testing

The effectiveness e.g. of navigation elements on a website for inducing the desired traffic flow can be measured by comparing statistical data e.g. for two different versions of that element (A and B). The results of such A/B tests can be used for optimizing the page performance, e.g. in terms of conversions.


Activities for making a company and/or its product better known in a positive way, usually with the primary goal of increasing the sales revenue. Advertising can directly aim at sales or at least lead generation, but it can also work indirectly by creating a good and well recognizable image of a company and its products (branding), which may support later sales.

application note

A document describing in some detail how a certain product can be applied for a certain purpose. It may increase the confidence of the reader that the product is suitable for the intended application. Carefully offered application notes can thus be important tools for the product marketing, apart from giving useful support to existing customers.


Advertising should always be directed to a well defined audience – sometimes a relatively broad audience, such as all professional working in optics, photonics and laser technology, and sometimes a very specific audience like professionals reading encyclopedia articles on certain topics.


A graphical element, usually in rectangular form, used for display advertising on websites. The effectiveness of a banner advertisement depends on many factors, including the qualities of the banner itself (convincing message, appealing visuals etc.), the number of impressions (displays) per month, on its visibility on the pages on which it is placed, on the presence of other advertising banners at that place, on the quality and reputation of those pages, and not least on the characteristics of the reached audience. The cost model is typically either pay per impression or pay per click.

See our article on photonics marketing, which has a section on banners, and our offers for banners.

bounce rate

The bounce rate corresponding to some Internet traffic (e.g., referrals from an advertising website to a supplier website) indicates the fraction of visitors who do not request any web pages beyond the first visited page. That may be an indicator for upgrade traffic which is not useful, unless the visitors already can obtain all required information on the first page.


Presenting products to a suitable audience in a way which contributes to the creation of a well recognizable brand. The brand recognition can be strongly enhanced with a consistent graphical appearance, including a characteristic company logo and possibly other graphical elements, at suitable places. It can support future sales, even if it does not directly induce sales.

buyer's guide

A resource for reliably finding suppliers for certain products. Typically, suppliers can be registered for free, but paid entries with much improved visibility are available, which can have a substantial effect not only in terms of branding, but also for lead generation.

See the RP Photonics Buyer's Guide – the only one linked with a famous encyclopedia!


A circulation number indicates the typical number of copies of some printed item which are distributed. Circulation data are relevant for advertisers. For increased trust, the data can be independently certified by certain agencies.


The action of a website user to click on a certain element in the browser display. In most cases, a click on an HTML link is meant. Such a click may cause a visit on another website, e.g. that of a supplier.

content marketing

A kind of online marketing which involves the creation of certain content, for example an article, white paper, application note or video on a topic related to the advertised product. Sometimes, such content is marked as sponsored. Sponsored webinars can also be considered as content marketing.

Placing advertisements in our encyclopedia (e.g. with special promotions) is not considered as content marketing, because that content is not specifically produced for advertising purposes.


The completion of a desired activity of a user on a website, e.g. an online purchase, a visit on another webpage, or a document download.

The fraction of visitors to a certain page whole do a certain conversion can be called a conversion rate. This is often taken as a measure for the effectiveness of a page in producing certain desired results. One should not overlooked, however, that website visits can have multiple beneficial effects, some of which are not measurable; looking at conversion rates only may therefore be misleading.

cost per click

The cost of an advertising campaign divided by the number of referrals which it generates. This value can give an indication on how expensive an advertising tool is for generating website visits. Note, however, that a website visit is not necessarily a lead; the quality of the obtained traffic needs to be taken into account.

cost per lead

The cost of an advertising campaign divided by the number of leads which it generates. This value can give an indication on how expensive an advertising tool is. However, lead generation is usually not the only function of an advertising tool; one should not overlook other functions such as branding.

e-mail campaign mailing

An event where certain items – for example products of a certain industry – can be showcased. Large exhibitions are organized in the form of trade shows, but there are also smaller exhibitions associated with technical and scientific conferences.

See our article on marketing with exhibitions.


The presentation of online advertisements to people only at specific locations, for example in certain countries. This can be useful particularly for suppliers who are selling only in certain countries.

For example, RP Photonics offers advertising banners which can be displayed only in certain countries.

HTML link

A hyperlink in a web document, realized with HTML code. (Most hyperlinks are realized with HTML, but one might also use JavaScript code, for example, to obtain the same functionality.)

Links to a supplier website may not only lead traffic to that website, but also be interpreted by search engines as an endorsement, which may lead to an increased search engine ranking if it is not a nofollow link.

lead generation

Generating an interest of potential buyers such that they contact the supplier – not necessarily with direct orders, but also with inquiries expressing a concrete interest.

landing page

A web page to which visitors from a certain advertising campaign are sent. Frequently, this is a custom landing page, i.e., a page used only for that campaign.

link HTML link
list rental

The use of a large database of contacts e.g. from a publisher for mailings. Typically, an advertiser gives the message to the publisher, who will send it to selected contacts from a database, but without giving the used e-mail addresses to the advertising customer. It is also possible that the publisher later sends additional messages to the same people, where the content and subject line may depend on whether the addressed people have opened the mail or clicked on any links therein.

List rental is a method for generating contacts outside the own database, thus reaching out to a larger audience.


The distribution of some message either in printed form by regular mail or in electronic form, usually by e-mail. Mailings can be effective marketing tools, but only when they are optimized in various respects. They can be done based on an own address pool or through certain services providing many addresses of a hopefully suitable audience.

See our article on marketing with mailings.

media data

Data which characterize some tools used for advertising. Beyond solid data such as circulation number and web statistics, they can contain descriptions of the medium and its audience, as are relevant for advertisers.

mobile-friendly web design responsive design
native advertising

The attempt to improve the effectiveness of advertisements (print or online) by embedding them into related editorial content in a form which is matched to that content. For example, online advertisements may be placed close to editorial content without graphically distinguishing them much from that content.

This method may reduce detrimental effects like “banner blindness”, but it can have inappropriate manipulative effects with ethical implications, particularly when the line between advertisements and editorial content is blurred such that advertising messages can be wrongly perceived as an endorsement by the author of the actual article.

Our article on print advertising contains some further thoughts on that method.


A regularly appearing publication, which is sent to people who have subscribed to its distribution list. Companies may build up their own distribution list, but it is also possible to add paid advertisements to newsletters of certain publishers.

See our article on mailings.

nofollow link

A HTML link with the attribute rel=“nofollow”, which indicates to search engines that the link is not to be interpreted as an endorsement. The link will then have no influence on the search engine ranking of the target page.

In buyer's guides, links to supplier pages are often realized as nofollow links (or not even as HTML links), since search engines may “punish” websites for paid links.

organic search results

Traffic from search engines can be obtained through paid advertising, but it can also be obtained based on the natural search engine ranking of the own website. In the latter case, one obtains organic search results in contrast to paid results.

Obviously, it is desirable to obtain a lot of organic search engine traffic, since that is likely to last without further expenses.

page impression page view
page view

Each time when a web page is requested by a browser program, this is counted as a page view. For obtaining meaningful data, page requests from search engine robots and the like need to be filtered out.

print advertising

The use of printed materials for advertising – either for direct use e.g. as handouts in exhibitions or for mailings.

privacy regulations

Online marketing can easily collide with regulations concerning the privacy of users, particularly when trying to implement very targeted advertising. For example, privacy regulations are often violated on social media platforms, when using user tracking on website, and when collecting e-mail addresses for mailings.

RP Photonics can offer very targeted advertising, for example in the form of special promotions placed in encyclopedia articles, but never touching the privacy of users.


A measure which is intended to make a product better known and to subsequently increase the number of its sales. Product promotions can be realized in many forms, including banner advertisements, targeted communications through special websites or social media, and mailings.

quality of traffic

The value of Internet traffic, for example coming from a buyer's guide to a supplier website, depends not only on the number of visits per month, but also on the quality of traffic. For example, it would not serve the purpose to obtain visits from many users for whom the website is of no interest. Metrics for the quality of traffic can include the bounce rate and the average number of page views within a certain time interval.


Generally, a referral on a website means that a reader is motivated to visit a page on another website by clicking on a hyperlink. In case of advertising, the number of referrals in a month is an indicator for the effectiveness. However, the quality of the obtained traffic is also very relevant.

responsive design

A website design which automatically adapts to the size of the display window of the browser such that it works well with a wide range of window sizes. Responsive web design is normally also mobile-friendly, i.e., usable with mobile devices like tablets and smartphones.

search advertising

A method of improving the chances of a website or particular web pages to be found in searches with Internet search engines. The most widely used service of that type is Google Ads.

See our article on search marketing.

search engine

An Internet search engine contains (a) so-called search engine robots, which collect huge amounts of information from web pages, (b) a large database (search index) storing such information, and (c) an interface for accepting search inquiries from users and delivering the search results. They use sophisticated algorithms for deciding which of the many web pages containing certain keywords are listed with what priority in the search results.

search engine optimization (SEO)

The application of various methods with the goal to improve the search engine ranking of a website for certain keywords.

Some “black hat” SEO methods aim at manipulating search engines for their purposes, but search engines are employing better and better algorithms for detecting such attempts. Nowadays, the volume and quality of the content of the website – together with external endorsements in the form of inbound links – are the primary factor for search engine ranking. Search engine optimization should thus primarily be work on the content, plus the observation of various issues such as the proper use of important keywords.

search engine ranking

The ranking of a certain website or a particular web page in the search results of search engines in general or some particular search engine. That ranking is often a vital factor for obtaining traffic to a website. It depends on many aspects of the website, in particular of its volume and quality of content. Search engines use many criteria for determining such rankings, including the number and quality of links to a website from other websites.

search engine robot

A computer software which is used by an Internet search engine to collect large amounts of information on web pages. Such reports are also called search engine spiders.


A set of data characterizing a product in some detail. For example, laser specifications may contain details concerning output power, wavelength, beam quality, pulse parameters, intensity noise etc. Technically sound, understandable and helpful specifications can be essential for convincing potential buyers.

social media

Social media are based on complex websites which allow users to interact with each other. Typically, users enter substantial information on themselves and can therefore be found and addressed by others. Social media can also be used for targeted online marketing.

See our article on social media marketing.

targeted advertising

Advertising can be more effective and efficient if the advertising message can be sent dominantly to the right audience, i.e., to those who are more likely to respond to it positively and who ideally also make the purchase decisions. This is possible particularly for some kinds of online advertising, e.g. if ads are presented to a carefully selected audience in social media portals, or if they are displayed only in specific encyclopedia articles.

RP Photonics offers such special promotions on pages of encyclopedia articles.

technical writing

The creation of technical information in written form, e.g. providing descriptions of technical products and their applications. Technical writing can result in different types of documents, including product descriptions, application notes and white papers.

time to market

When a company decides to bring out a new product, it takes some time from the original idea to the point where the product can be sold; this is called the time to market. That time can be substantial when a sophisticated product development process has to be performed. The marketing of a product often needs to be started before the development is finished, since the market may have to be prepared for the new offer.

See also our Spotlight article on time to market.

trade show

A large exhibition which allows companies of a certain industry to showcase their products. Suppliers can register for a booth, giving them some space to install their advertising displays and place their personnel for interacting with visitors. The participation in tradeshows is often expensive, but can be an important element of a marketing strategy, since it can contribute to branding, can generate leads and provides insight into the market.

See our article on marketing with tradeshows.

traffic data website statistics
unique visitor

Within website statistics, not only the number of page views is relevant, but also the number of unique visitors. This quantity, however, is not easy to determine reliably; it requires that one can distinguish different visitors e.g. based on their IP address (which however may be shared by multiple users) and user agent string. There may also be issues with privacy regulations e.g. when IP address data need to be stored for that purpose.

user tracking

Websites often try to track their visitors, but this can happen in rather different forms. In some cases, they tried to track visitors is such that tailored advertisements can be presented to them; such techniques raise issues concerning privacy. In other cases, the purpose is only to track the traffic flow while keeping the data fully anonymous.

visitor unique visitor
web server

A computer which delivers web pages, typically to browser programs used by human readers. Most operators of a website use a web server of an external website hosting provider. A web server should operate very reliably (i.e., with a very short downtime per year) and deliver the requested web pages quickly. (Note that his performance depends not only on the used hardware, but also very much the used software.) Further, a web server can collect statistical information on the traffic flow.


A presentation on a certain topic, typically in the form of a slideshow presentation, which is delivered to some audience through the Internet.

See our article on marketing with webinars.


A set of web pages, which may e.g. describe a certain company and its products. The quality of a website is often of high importance for the success of the company, since it contributes to its image, informs readers on their products and attracts potential buyers (lead generation). A website can have further important functions, such as providing access to a database (e.g. a buyer's guide).

See our article on website optimization.

website statistics

Statistical information on the operation of a website. Such data can be used by a website operator to identify problems and further improve the website. Traffic data are also relevant for advertisers, who need to judge the potential of a third-party website for effective advertising.

As an example, see the website statistics of RP Photonics.

white paper

A white paper is a document which is meant to inform readers about a certain more or less complex issue. In the context of marketing, white papers usually do not simply describe products, but for example explain how certain products can be used for certain applications. That type of white paper would be similar to an application note.

See our offers for targeted special promotions for white papers.

See also our articles on photonics marketing!

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