A tiny dictionary for eCommerce, marketing and DevOps

A tiny dictionary for eCommerce, marketing and DevOps

Same goal different tools and language – so what?


What the heck does she/he mean?

If you are professional in online-business – independent if for an online publisher, online-retailer or an online service delivery  – it is clear that you are doing your best to drive and grow revenue. This often enough require to work with other contributing devisions or experts within your company (marketing, ecommerce, Ops, Dev.). These meetings are often challanged by language used which got a complete different meaning for each participating group.

Therefore a common language is required to make the various teams contributing to the delivery online have a common understanding of some basic success related terminology. But that often enough is not given.

So here are just 5 very important terms that are used very often but translate to a complete different meaning depending on whom you are talking to.

Let me get you just a bit of a background here. Most common goals in ecommerce are set role based and very specific to the roles measures. Marketers get bonus for a good NPR or % of conversion and bounce rate while Dev/Ops are paid bonus percentage of up time or number of tickets. Usually there is no bonus set connected to online revenue – to which all of them contribute. That be at least something everyone would understand in the same way. Money – there is no misinterpretion possible.

To reach the defined goals tools are used to best measure these role based goals. And with the tools there comes a terminology that is used by the roles quite commonly as measure. BUT those terms got the power to cause irritation if not worries when it comes to cross division meetings.

I write this blog because of my own experience as Sales Manager when I talked to marketer or IT. I had to spend at least 30 minutes to explain what the terms I am going to use in my presentation and what they mean for the specific role.

So here is a tiny dictionary explaining what others understand when a certain term is used.

With not having a common understanding of the “others” use of terms companies risk to have a blind spot in their ecommerce success monitoring because it might be  believed to already have a solution for an important measure in place, but in reality is missing because of mixing up the meaning of the term.

1. Performance [Monitoring]:

Marketing: Performance means success of a campaign or a channel with regards to their measures. (Traffic from target audience, Conversion, Bounce Rate, Cost per click etc.). Usually the term Performance is used to describe the reach of existing or new customers. Connected i.e. to “performance marketing” or the “ad performance”. Performance Monitoring for marketers translates to Analytics to IT related roles.

IT/Dev: Performance is translated into speed. It is about milliseconds a data base query gets a response or an application function requires to execute. Usually measured with an application performance monitoring solution.

Web-Dev: Performance describes the time required to shoot a specific event in the browser/application in the client of the user. Events can be things like onload, dom-interactive, first paint or java script execution timings. The performance monitoring is usually done by synthetic monitoring or real user monitoring.

2. Web-Optimization:

Marketing: Web-Optimization translates into content optimization for specific user groups. The goal is to play out bespoken content to a user in a specific target group or channel. Web-Optimization translates to optimized personalization and optimized presentation in different device types.

Web-Dev: When this group of experts talk about web-optimization they talk about how to shorten the time taken to have a certain event fired in the browser. There is roughly 80% of the time to deliver a web-page used for the front end. Steve Souders published tree „bibles“ for web-optimization. And Tammy Everts produced a great book with regards of web-performance correlation to business success.

3. User or Web-Experience (#UX):

Definition by those who brought it up: https://www.nngroup.com/articles/definition-user-experience/

This one is a bit tough because User-Experience Management and Web-Experience Management are completely different things – but there is a high risk mix up topics. I have no idea why content management has been renamed to web-experience management.

Marketing: Such as web-optimization the user experience management focusses on the content that is delivered to a specific user. Therefore marketers produce and deliver content in a web content management system (or web-experience management system) with the ability to define the output channel and weight the types of users this content should be delivered to. It usually has no connection to what Web-Devs or App-Devs understanding of User-Experience. In short “what does a user see?” is the core of what drives web-experience management.

Web-Dev: functionality, usability and time are the factors describing the UX for front end developers. User Experience testing, Crowd Testing and Real User Monitoring are the tools they use to constantly measure the User Experience.  The questions User-Experience Management answers to the Web-Developers is: Does it work? Is it usable? How long does it take until a user can work?

4. Media Optimization:

Marketing: Media Optimization describes the optimization of delivering ads for the different channels and end user devices. This means the right ad format for the right device and if targeted: to the right user. IT roles have a completely different thing in mind when they get in touch with media optimization.

Web-Dev: Contribute to web-optimization. Media – mainly graphics or other binaries can be optimized for delivery or perceived performance (!) or can be delivered using an optimizing delivery service. Optimization services are often provided by Content Delivery Networks. Goal is to optimize the user experience.

5. Business Transaction:

eCommerce: A business transaction is a completion of a business process of which the core of a business is connected to – meaning this includes own costs (HR), warehouse management, ERP and CRM plus many more systems contributing to the various business processes within a business transaction. Often described in context with customer interaction – independent if done online or offline. Example description here: http://smallbusiness.chron.com/business-transaction-definition-examples-25244.html

DevOps: for developers or operation a business transaction is an end-to-end processing path to deliver a response for a certain request. That does not necessarily mean a real user is involved – it could be a simple machine to machine conversation initiating a business-transaction. A business transaction for DevOps has nothing in common with a business transaction in commerce.
Example 1: https://docs.appdynamics.com/display/PRO41/Business+Transactions
Example 2: https://community.dynatrace.com/community/display/DOCDT61/Usage+of+Business+Transactions

Web-Ops: Path or user journey. Synthetic Monitoring tools allow you monitor a complete „transaction“ – which is again completely different from what marketer or APM understands.


It appears to be crystal clear that these very common terms can cause somewhat of confusion. Imagine a Web-Developer askes the marketing to do some action to optimize the “Performance”. Marketing would maybe think: “This is something he shouldn’t not care about.” While the web-developer thought about maybe just compression the images better. But OH – he probably would clarify this with the words: “optimize the Media” – which would lead to total confusion.

Do I have to mention, that all these correlate somehow?