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What does this word mean?

Check out the Machine Labs vocabulary. We might use some terms differently to how you expect.


Usually a specific website but can also be used to group customers.


A specific advert or campaign in a marketing Medium. This could be a PPC advert or a particular advert placed in a newspaper. If you use different discount codes (which we recommend) then each code will be a separate campaign.


A category of marketing channel for example PPC or Press.


A group of customers recruited in a particular month or year.


A company who is using Machine Labs. We always refer to our clients as clients rather than customers to avoid confusion.

Conversion Rate

The number of orders a campaign has generated divided by the number of Impressions as a percentage. For example if an advert is seen by 10,000 people and 50 people place order then the conversion rate would be 0.5%.

Cost per Order (CPO)

The marketing cost for generating a particular order. We recommend that this should be the variable cost excluding any fixed costs although you may have a different approach if you have very large fixed costs and can easily attribute them to specific campaigns.


A customer who has purchased a product from a Machine Labs client.

Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC)

The marketing cost for acquiring a customer. This is the term we use but it is also known as Cost Per Acquisition (CPA) or Cost per Customer Acquired (CCA). We recommend this should be the variable cost excluding any fixed costs.

Current Customer

A customer whose last order was less than 3 months ago.

Discount Rate

Money in the future is less than money today due to inflation. We allow you to specify an optional Discount Rate if you want to reduce forecast sales by a particular rate.

Dormant Customer

A customer whose last order was more than 12 months ago.


The European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation. If you have customers in the European Union you need to comply with these regulations.

Fixed Cost

A cost that stays the same no matter how many Impressions an advert has. Design, copy writing or TV production would all be examples of fixed costs.


The number of times an advert or email was shown to someone.

Lapsed Customer

A customer whose last order was 6 to 12 months ago.


Somebody who is not a Customer but may become a Customer in the future. Examples would be a checkout abandonment, somebody who has requested a brochure or someone who has signed up for a mail list.

Lifetime Value (LTV)

The expected or actual sales of a customer over a period of time. This may be discounted to account for inflation.


Specific media in a marketing channel. For example Google would be a media in PPC or the Daily Mail would be a media in Press.

Net Present Value (NPV)

The expected future sales over a period, reduced by a Discount Rate to take account of inflation.

Recent Customer

A customer whose last order was 3-6 months ago.

Regular Buyer

A customer who has placed 4 or more orders with a specific brand.


A payment made by a customer that is later refunded. The date of a refund is the date of the original order that the refund relates to, not the date that the refund was made.

Marginal Cost

Another term for Variable Cost. We prefer Variable Cost as it is more obvious to non-accountants.

Multi Buyer

A customer who has placed 2 or 3 orders with a specific brand.

Redemption Curve

Campaigns on particular channels take different periods of time to complete. The Redemption Curve is used to predict how many order are still to come based on historic performance.

Single Buyer

A customer who has placed just 1 order with a specific brand.


We use Unusbscription to mean an explicit request not to receive future marketing communications from us (for example clicking on an unsubscribe link or asking not to receive any more direct mail) and also implicit requests such as direct mail returned to sender or a hard bounced email.

Value Added Tax (VAT)

A tax that is mainly levied in the European Union. If you are registered for VAT and can reclaim the tax then we would recommend that you exclude VAT from any costs. If you are not registered for VAT and are unable to reclaim the tax then you should include it in your costs.

Variable Cost

A cost that increases with the number of Impressions. This will be the cost per thousand of the media, print costs, postage for direct mail, etc.