Digital Glossary
May 17, 2023
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Digital Glossary

Mastery of programmatic advertising requires a strong understanding of the industry’s terminology.

Here's a quick guide to get you started.

001 / Above The Fold (ATF)

This term comes from newspaper advertising, where it means the top half of the page. Nowadays it refers to the portion of a website that is visible in a web browser when the page first loads, before any scrolling occurs. As a larger number of viewers see ATF content, ads featured in this space are considered premium and higher prices are charged. Content reached after scrolling is referred to as “below the fold”.

002 / Acquisition

Acquisition refers to the gain or addition of new visitors to a website. There are numerous strategies that can be used to improve acquisition, from content marketing to paid channel advertising. Acquisition reports are used to gauge where exactly website traffic is coming from, and can be helpful in targeting campaigns.

003 / Ad Exchange

An ad exchange is an online, auction-based platform that acts as a marketplace for buying and selling advertising inventory across a range of ad networks. They connect publishers, advertisers and demand-side platforms (DSP). Prices in an ad exchange are set by bidding, rather than the more traditional approach of negotiation, and so the platform is considered a more technology-driven approach to selling ad inventory.

004 / Ad Inventory

This refers to the number and type of advertisements or ad spaces that a publisher has available to sell. Ad inventory is expressed in number of impressions (opportunities for a viewer to see an ad) per month. Inventory is sold in a number of ways including static bidding and, increasingly, real-time bidding, which sells inventory nearly instantly on a targeted, per-impression basis.

005 / Ad Network

Ad networks are companies that connect advertisers with publishers by matching a supply of advertising inventory with the demand for ad placement. These help advertisers efficiently connect to a wider audience while continuing to reach their targeted demographic. Campaigns run by ad networks vary in size, but usually span a certain category of websites, rather than being specific to a site.

006 / Ad Tech

Short for advertising technology, ad tech is a broad term that refers to any digital tool, software or service used in the delivery and control of digital advertising. It is commonly used to refer to tools that are used to direct digital advertisements towards a specific demographic. Good use of ad tech can help an advertiser become more efficient, thereby minimizing cost.

007 / Ad Verification

Ad verification is a service or system that verifies whether a campaign has been carried out as the advertisers intended by ensuring that ads are appearing on the correct websites and are reaching the intended audience. Ad verification technology is useful for ensuring that maximum impact is gained from each ad impression.

008 / API

Building an application programming interface (API) into an application allows it to access useful data or features from the code of another application, website, or operating system. This exchange of information allows software and applications to automatically adapt to any updates in external sites and applications. Applications with API are generally considered to be more reliable than those without it.

009 / Attribution

In advertising, attribution refers to the process of quantifying each ad impression by measuring its outcome in terms of consumer action such as a purchase decision or conversion. Attribution data is highly useful for advertisers as it allows them to compare the impact of different marketing channels and plan future campaigns to be increasingly cost effective.

010 / Behavioural Targeting

Behavioural targeting is the practice of using an individual’s browsing history to determine which ads they will be presented with on a particular website. Web cookies and device IDs collect detailed information about each visitor such as previous websites visited or search terms recently entered, which is used to select relevant ads for display. This technique is popular as it is believed to boost the effectiveness of campaigns.

011 / Bid Factor

Bid factor is a bid multiplier used to adjust impression pricing and achieve a more expressive bid when entering an auction. Bid factor techniques ensure bidders reach their desired segment of customers efficiently. Bid factors include insights such as a user’s device type or location, or the time of day, channel, demographic, or website category. By applying different weighting or importance to various bid factors, advertisers can boost ad performance and reach their KPIs.

012 / Brand Safety

Brand safety techniques and practices work to avoid the placement of ads in contexts that do not align with a brand’s standards. Sites that may be blacklisted include those with generally disagreeable content such as those containing hate speech or encouraging illegal activity, as well as sites that are unsuitable for reasons specific to a particular brand.

013 / Contextual Targeting

Contextual targeting is the practice of targeting ads to directly relate to the content displayed on the webpage or media channel on which the ad appears. Contextual ads are selected automatically depending on the browsing behaviour of the user and displayed alongside the content that is currently visible on the page. For example, a user who has searched for merchandise relating to a rock band may see contextual ads for the same band’s tour dates when they visit the webpage of a local ticketing website.

015 / Conversion Rate

Tracking conversion rates is a way of measuring how successful an ad is in engaging website visitors. The conversion rate of an ad is typically calculated by dividing the total number of conversions by the number of visitors to the website.

016 / Cookie

Cookies are small pieces of data generated by a web browser while a user is surfing the internet. Cookies are used by websites to recall useful information such as saved addresses, preferences, and personal settings. Cookies can’t be used to reveal a user’s personal identity, but do allow advertisers to build a reliable and often highly valuable profile of an individual’s media consumption habits.

017 / CPC

Cost per click (CPC), otherwise known as pay per click (PPC), is a pricing model where an advertiser pays the publisher every time an ad is clicked. The price per click can either be fixed (the model generally used by content websites) or set through a bidding system (the model generally used for keyword phrases generated on search engines).

018 / CPCV

Cost per completed view (CPCV) is a pricing model where the advertiser pays the publisher after a video has been viewed all the way through. As the CPCV is fixed, this model encourages immediate engagement and is therefore suited to creative and engaging video advertising content.

019 / CPE

Cost per engagement (CPE) is a payment model where the advertiser pays each time a visi tor engages directly with an ad. The definition of engagement can vary between publishers, but generally refers to actions such as clicking on, rolling over, or viewing ad content.

020 / CPI

A cost per ins tall (CPI) pricing model means advertisers are charged every time a mobile application is installed. This model is specific to mobile apps, and is usually applied to a campaign involving a range of ads placed across various media.

021 / CPL

Cost per landing (CPL) is the metric used to refer to the cos t of each individual visit (landing) to the website of the advertiser. A CPL buying model allows advertisers to ensure they are paying only for the impressions that lead to a website landing.

022 / CPM

Cost per mille (CP M) refers to the cost per thousand impressions — mille is the Latin word for 1,000. In this model, advertisers are charged for every 1,000 impressions that are served. CPM is among the most common methods of charging for online ads and is particularly suited to generating brand exposure on websites with high traffic.

023 / CPV

Cost per view (CPV) is a payment model where advertisers pay a certain amount each time a video advertisement is played or interacted with. The definition of a view varies by publisher, with some charging af er only a few seconds and some charging after a customer has viewed for 30 seconds or longer.

024 / Cross-Device Targeting

This is the technique of efficiently offering targeted ads to the same consumer across various devices including desktop, mobile and tablets. A wide variety of techniques can be employed in cross- device targeting, from providing users with a unique website login, to monitoring web cookies and other browsing habits to make a statistical assumption as to who is using the device.

025 / CTA

A call to action (CTA) is any technique used by advertisers to encourage consumers to make an instant response. This can take the form of eye-catching design and images or phrases such as “buy now” or “instant download”. Using a CTA in ads is designed to maximize the impact of each impression by encouraging the consumer to take prompt action before leaving the website.

026 / CTR

Click-through rate (CTR) is a measure of how effectively an online advertising campaign is working. CTR is calculated by dividing the number of clicks on an ad or a specific link within a campaign by the number of impressions that ad or page has. A high CTR indicates higher clicks, and therefore, a more successful campaign.

027 / Dayparting

Dayparting is the practice of dividing the day into segments and distributing ads across specific time slots that you predict will be most effective for your campaign. For example, running an ad for a restaurant delivery service just before mealtimes would be a form of dayparting. This method can significantly boost the impact of a pay-per-click campaign. Dayparting can also refer to distributing ads to appear on certain days of the week.

028 / Deal ID

A deal identifier, or deal ID, is a unique number assigned to a programmatic ad buy within a private marketplace (PMP). It is used to match buyers and sellers individually based on a series of pre- negotiated criteria such as the area of the site on which the ad will be published or the minimum bid price and/ or type of ad. By programming this information into a deal ID, publishers can offer ad placements and inventory information exclusively to a certain buyer. This allows flexibility between buyers and sellers while retaining the versatility of real-time bidding.

029 / DMP

A data management platform (DMP) is a computer system that collects, processes, and stores large amounts of data from multiple sources such as cookie IDs, first- party data, and third-party data. A DMP will typically handle vast quantities of information in real time, making it useful for targeting online ads at a specific audience on a given webpage.

030 / DSP

A demand-side platform (DSP) is a system or piece of software that helps companies to purchase online ads through real-time bidding exchanges. By using a DSP, advertisers can manage multiple ad exchange accounts and automatically optimize the bidding process through a single interface. DSPs offer a consolidated interface for advertisers to control and track the impact of a large amount of ad inventory.

031 / eCPM

Effective cost per mille (eCPM) is a measure of how much revenue an advertiser is generating for every 1,000 impressions that are served, and is calculated by dividing the revenue generated by a campaign by the number of impressions, which is expressed in units of 1,000.

032 / First-Party Data

First-party data is user information collected directly on a website by the site’s owners, advertisers, or brand. This is considered the most valuable consumer data type because it is accurate and is owned by the company that collects it — it cannot be used by other advertisers unless intentionally shared (see “Second- Party Data”). First- party data can include online behavior (often measured by browser cookies) and offline data such as customer emails, subscriptions, and customer relationship management (CRM) data.

033 / Forward Market

A forward market is an over-the-counter marketplace that sets the price for an asset in anticipation of delivery at a certain point in the future. In advertising, this purchasing system allows buyers and publishers to lock down prices for ad inventory that they anticipate will become more valuable over time.

034 / Geo-targeting

This involves detecting a user’s location in order to serve them with specific, location-based content. Geo-targeting uses information such as the IP address or location of an individual user to target them with more relevant ads.

035 / Household Extension™

Household Extension™ expands the reach of an ad campaign to every device covered by a user’s household IP address, which includes all tablets, smartphones, and other devices connected to a particular household’s WiFi network. This method is generally used by advertisers who wish to deliver a targeted impression to all users in a specific household. This does not include commercial locations such as hotels or cafés where many users are temporarily connected to the same WiFi network.

036 / Impression

An impression refers to an ad displayed once on a webpage, and does not take into account user interactions with the ad such as clicking on or rolling over the content. Measuring the number of impressions helps companies track the effectiveness of a campaign.

037 / In-App Ad

This is the display of an ad within a mobile application, rather than on a webpage or mobile browser. The increasing prevalence of apps and the high amount of time that mobile users spend within apps have made in-app a rapidly growing channel. In-app ads can be targeted at customers in a number of ways such as through user location data or by selecting a particular category of apps for ads to appear within.

038 / In-Banner Video Ad

In-banner video ads are video ads displayed within the banner space on a webpage, will generally auto play while the user is browsing a site, and are usually charged on a per-impression or CPM basis. While in-banner ads do not guarantee views in the same way that in-stream ads do, they can offer value, flexibility, and a wide range of targeting opportunities.

039 / Insertion Order

An insertion order (10) is a written agreement made between an advertiser or an ad agency and a publisher, and marks the final stage in the ad-proposal process. Once an 10 is signed, the advertiser officially commits to running the campaign in question with the publisher. The 10 usually contains specific instructions such as the number and location of ad insertions to be made by a certain date.

040 / In-Stream Video Ad

In-stream video ads are played directly before, during, or after the video content that a user has requested. As they are displayed to a captive audience, in- stream video ads ensure more overall ad views than in-page video ads. Consequently, this is one of the most expensive forms of online advertising.

041 / Interstitial Ad

An interstitial ad, also known as a transition ad or splash page, appears while a user is navigating between two different pages or websites. Interstitial ads generally take the form of a full-screen overlay, and often appear during a natural pause in the use of a website or application such as while a page is downloading or in between the levels of a game.

042 / Lookalike Modeling

Lookalike modeling identifies potential new customers based on the known online characteristics and behaviors of existing customers. Advertisers can use lookalike modeling to define the demographic they wish to target on ad exchanges. For example, a TV company could analyze the behavior of users who have previously bought TVs online and target ads at other users with similar behavior.

043 / Mid-Roll

A mid-roll video ad plays in-stream, partway through the user’s requested content. This placement generally offers a higher completion rate compared to pre- and post-roll ads.

044 / Native Ad

A native ad promotes a product or service while fitting in closely with the design, function and tone of the page on which the ad is placed. Native ads are generally disclosed as sponsored content, but the disguised nature of this kind of advertising means consumers may not easily be able to distinguish a native ad from the publisher’s own content.

045 / Omnichannel

An omnichannel approach to marketing involves ensuring that ads are delivered seamlessly and consistently to consumers across a wide range of devices and platforms. Omnichannel real- time bidding allows advertisers to run display campaigns on multiple devices with different types of targeting all in one platform to reach precisely the right audience in the right context.

046 / Open Exchange

An open exchange is a real-time programmatic ad buying and selling marketplace (exchange) that allows buyers to access publishers’ inventory. This doesn’t infer a direct relationship between advertisers and publishers, however, and sales made on an open exchange can take the form of a blind transaction, or can be handled automatically by a DSP.

047 / Optimization

Optimization is the process of changing the settings or features of an ad in order to produce the most desirable outcome for a campaign. There are many ways to optimize an ad. For example, optimizing an ad for CTR means specifically targeting an ad at the users who are most likely to click on it.

048 / Outstream Video Ad

Outstream video ads are video ads that are shown independently from other video content. Outstream video ads load and play once a user has scrolled through a visible portion of the website’s content. For example, they may appear between the paragraphs of a written article.

049 / Pixel

A pixel is a piece of code that loads an anonymous cookie every time a new user lands on a website. When the user leaves the site, the cookie will continue to monitor their browsing patterns. This enables retargeting, meaning ads for the original website will display on other websites that the user visits.

050 / PMP

A private marketplace (PMP), also known as a private exchange or private auction, is an invite-only auction through which reputable publishers invite particular groups of advertisers to bid on and purchase their ad inventory. This differs from an open marketplace, where inventory is openly available to any bidder. A PMP gives publishers greater control over the kind of adverts that will appear on their sites than an open marketplace does.

051 / Post-Roll

Post-roll ads play in-stream, directly after the video content that the user has requested is completed. This form of ad placement is particularly suitable for ads offering a call to action, or that follow branded video content.

052 / Pre-bid Targeting

Pre-bid targeting allows bidders to control the efficiency and safety of their digital ad buys by offering unique intelligence for informed ad buying such as the ability to target specific viewability thresholds. It can also help boost brand safety tracking and reduce suspicious activity by increasing transparency.

053 / Preferred Deals

A preferred deal or private deal, is a feature within ad exchanges that allows publishers to offer inventory to a selection of preferred buyers at a fixed price prior to the inventory being offered at open auction. The preferred buyers have the opportunity to either accept the fixed price or decline it and let the inventory go to an open auction.

054 / Pre-Roll

Pre-roll ads are video ads that play in- stream directly before the video content that the user has requested begins. Pre-roll content varies in format, but is typically under 30 seconds in length. Some publishers offer users the chance to skip pre-roll content after a few seconds, while others require them to watch the entire video ad before they can view the requested content.

055 / Private Auction

[See PMP (050)]

056 / Programmatic Advertising

Programmatic Advertising is the general term used to refer to the purchase of digital ads using software, rather than traditional processes involving negotiation between people. The term encompasses all forms of technology used to collect, analyze, and optimize the audience data used in realtime bidding, as well as in ad exchanges and DSPs used by advertisers to manage inventory.

057 / Programmatic Audio

Programmatic audio is digital audio inventory that is available for programmatic purchase. Programmatic audio is commonly found on free music streaming services. While many streaming services offer their audio inventory through private marketplaces, an increasing number of open audio ad exchanges are emerging.

058 / Programmatic Guaranteed

A programmatic guaranteed deal allows advertisers to bid on ad inventory via real-time bidding while being guaranteed a certain number of impressions from the publisher. In a regular real-time bidding environment, there is no way to establish impressions before bidding on inventory, making the CPM unpredictable. With a guaranteed deal, publishers will negotiate a fixed price for the ad in an exchange for a guaranteed number of impressions.

059 / Publisher

A publisher is a company, website, or entity that provides web or search content for users’ consumption. When an advertiser wishes to place an ad with a publisher, it will generally come to an arrangement either directly or through a third party such as an ad agency.

060 / Recency

The theory of recency stipulates that ads and promotions prove most effective when they are encountered by a user immediately before a moment of decision making. Conversely, the theory assumes that the more time that passes following exposure to an ad, the weaker its impact will be on consumers’ decisions.

061 / Retargeting

Retargeting is the practice of targeting ads at users who have previously visited a website. This form of targeting is designed to recapture the interest of consumers who are already familiar with, and have demonstrated interest in, a brand or website in order to encourage them to return.

062 / RTB

Real-time bidding (RTB) is a form of programmatic ad buying where agencies and advertisers bid to purchase ad impressions in real time, usually through ad exchanges or a DSP. In RTB, ads are sold by publishers on a per-impression basis and transactions occur within milliseconds — an ad is sold to the highest bidder and is ready for display in the time it takes for the user’s page to load.

063 / Second-Party Data

Second-party data is first-party data that is shared or traded by another company with sale terms including shared data points, decided in advance by both parties. By sharing their secondparty data, website owners can gather high-quality information about advertisers and widen their appeal to them.

064 / SSP

A supply-side platform (SSP) is a piece of software that allows publishers to manage their ad inventory effectively so that they can generate the maximum amount of revenue per ad impression. SSPs have the ability to set minimum prices at an auction, focus on selling ads to certain types of advertisers, or offer discounted rates to new clients.

065 / Tag

A tag is a piece of HTML code that is used as a placeholder before an ad is displayed. It will instruct a browser to fetch the appropriate ad from an ad server and display it when a user opens the page. 066 / Temperature Targeting Temperature targeting involves using real- time weather data to dynamically control an ad campaign. Weather is a powerful piece of data in contextual advertising, and temperature targeting can be used to build brand awareness during periods of hot or cold weather to increase the effectiveness of a campaign.

067 / Third-Party Data

Third-party data is anonymous user data collected on various platforms by a single company and can be purchased by other companies that act as data management platforms (DMPs), without a direct relationship with the consumer. This can provide a convenient and rich source to create targeted audience segments, but since it is subject to a wide range of interpretations by the vendor, It is very important to clarify the kind of information your campaign needs before purchasing third-party data.

068 / Trading Academy

This is an eLearning program that has been operated by The Trade Desk since 2013. Through a series of video lessons, online quizzes, and coursework modules, participants are given a thorough grounding in the world of programmatic advertising and a number of best practices for optimizing your campaigns.

069 / Trading Desk

A trading desk is a sub-unit within an advertising agency that optimizes the purchase of programmatic ads to offer clients increased value from each impression. This can be achieved by using DSPs and/or by carefully processing the sale of campaigns across other inventory sources such as ad exchanges and networks. A trading desk will produce regular reports on progress and keep track of consumer habits.

070 / Viewability

Viewability is a metric that measures whether an ad impression has been viewed by a website user rather than simply being displayed. There are several different ways of defining whether an ad has been viewed including the amount of time the user has spent on the portion of the page that the ad appears on, and the percentage of the ad that was displayed on the user’s screen.

071 / Whitelist

A list of publishers or websites through which an advertiser is willing to allow their ads to be displayed. A whitelist can be used to maintain brand safety and efficiently target the right demographic. A whitelist is the opposite of a blacklist, which is a list of websites that an advertiser does not wish their ads to be displayed upon.