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Glossary of Advertising Terms




A/B Testing: A method used to compare different versions of digital ads or website landing pages in order to determine which one performs better. A typical A/B test for ads involves running the two ads simultaneously and then measuring which version gets a better response from the audience.

Ad Banner: The most common form of digital advertising. These ad units, which include static graphics, videos and/or interactive rich media, are displayed on a web page or in a mobile application.

Ad Exchange: A technology-facilitated marketplace that allows Internet publishers and advertisers to buy and sell advertising inventory in real-time auctions. Ad exchanges are a departure from the historical method of buying ad inventory, where advertisers and publishers would enter price negotiations in order to show ads on a particular website. With an ad exchange, an auction is conducted in real-time, providing instantaneous bidding for ad space that’s available across the Internet.

Acquisition rate: The total participants who were offered to opt in on a mobile marketing campaign divided by the total audience. The percent gives you the number of respondents who opt in.

Ad network: An account type, which represents a business that manages other businesses and typically contains and manages both publisher accounts and advertiser accounts.

Ad server: A complete digital advertising platform where publishers sell, manage, and deliver their advertising inventory across all digital formats.

Ad tag: A small piece of code that defines the ad space where ads display on a website. It includes parameters that describe the inventory advertising campaigns can target, which may in turn display ads in the ad space.

Ad unit: The smallest inventory component that represents the space on a site where ads display.

Ad zone: A representation of a location on a website where creatives should be displayed.

Affiliate Marketing: Publishers have websites that get traffic and advertisers want to promote their products to the people who visit those websites. Affiliate marketing is an agreement between a publisher and an advertiser where the publisher receives compensation for every click delivered and/or every sale made of the advertiser’s product or service.

ATF: Above the fold.  ATF ads are visible on the screen without needing to scroll.  See screen location.

Audience Duplication: The extent to which the audience of one station is exposed to that of another.


Banner: This is an ad that appears on a web page which is typically hyperlinked to an advertiser’s website. Banners can be images (GIF, JPEG, PNG), JavaScript programs or multimedia objects (Flash, Java, Shockwave etc.).

Bounce Rate: A “bounce” is a website visit in which the visitor looked only at the single page they landed on, did not interact with it, and then left the site. The “bounce rate” expresses such visits as a percentage of the total visitor sessions, within a specific time frame.

Brand Awareness: The extent or level to which a potential consumer can recall and identify a particular product or service. Increased brand awareness is one of the two customary important goals for a digital advertising campaign (the other being a conversion of some kind).

Browser: A software program with a graphical interface that people use to navigate all the information available on the World Wide Web. Examples include Firefox, Chrome, and Internet Explorer.

BTF: Below the fold.  Below the fold ads are not visible until the user scrolls down to them.  See screen location.

Broadcast Calendar: This standard broadcast calendar, created in the 1960s, is designed to conform to the uniform billing period adopted by broadcasters, agencies and advertisers for billing and planning functions. Under this system, the standard week starts on Monday and ends on Sunday. The standard broadcast billing month always ends on the last Sunday of the calendar month.


Call-to-Action (CTA): This is an instruction to the reader to act on the message that was received.   The action could be to click a link, send a mobile text, call a phone number, or other types of actions.

Click-through Rate (CTR): This is a common measurement used to determine the number of users who clicked to access more information or take action resulting from a B2B mobile marketing campaign message.


  • An advertising project in its entirety, from conception through creation and buying to tracking and final analysis.
  •  A collection of related creatives with common advertising purpose and booking requirements.
  •  A set of criteria for purchasing inventory to achieve advertising goals.

Click: A user action, such as clicking an ad with their mouse or touching the screen of a mobile device, which sends them to a click-through URL while OpenX records the event.

Click through: The action of clicking an ad and being taken to another web page via a hyperlink.

 Click-through URL: A destination website address that a viewer goes to when they click on an ad.

 Clicks: The number of click throughs having occurred as a result of a user clicking on an ad and being redirected to an advertiser’s page.

Companion ad units: In an ad unit group, the ad units to serve ads for when the master ad unit wins an impression.

 Conversion: The measure of the number of times that a tracker has been displayed that has been successfully linked to a previous creative impression or click, according to the tracker’s rules.

 Conversion rate: The percentage of visitors to a website who sign up for advertised offers or buy advertised products. Proven high conversion ratios (via web analytics) add value to a website’s inventory.

 Conversion tag: A small piece of code that tracks how users respond to the ads that serve for the orders they are associated with.

 Cookie: Information stored on a website visitor’s browser. A cookie tracks the visitor’s movement on the website and is used to remember the visitor’s behavior and preferences. These do not transfer across browsers.

CPC: Cost per click, a pricing method which calculates cost based on the number of times a user clicks on an ad.

CTR: Click-through rate, the percentage of impressions that results in a click through. For example if a banner was clicked on 87 times after being shown 1000 times, it would have a CTR or click-through rate of .087 or 8.7% (87/1000 = 0.087×100 = 8.7).

 CPP: Cost Per Rating Point, used by most media planners in developing and allocating market budgets and setting rating point goals. It is defined as the cost of reaching one percent of the target audience within a specified geographic area.

      Average Cost per Spot Cost of Schedule




Average Rating Point per Spot Gross Rating Points

CPM: Cost per Thousand, this metric is used in order to apply costs to advertising banners for web sites and other internet-based advertisements. The fee is calculated based on the number of impressions that would occur when users view the ads.

Cumulative Audience (CUME): It is the total non-duplicated audience for one or a series of telecasts, programs, messages, or time periods. It is expressed as a percentage of a given universe. A household or person is counted once no matter how many times the telecast has been viewed. This also is known as reach, net unduplicated audience, or net reach.


Demand-Side Platform (DSP): A system that allows advertisers to bid for and purchase inventory from multiple ad exchanges, through one single interface.

Demographics: Audience composition based on various socioeconomic characteristics such as age, sex, income, education, household size, occupation, etc.

Designated Market Area (DMA): Represents an exclusive geographic area of counties in which the home market stations are estimated to have the largest quarter-hour audience share (as defined by Nielsen).

Direct Response: Advertising that seeks direct and prompt response from the viewer by means of exhibiting telephone numbers, box numbers, or other means of getting the viewer to order or inquire about objects shown.

Direct sold: Inventory sold directly by the publisher to an advertiser.

 Display Advertising: A digital advertising format where graphic ads are shown on a web page. The term originated in newspapers, and the principles still apply. Display ads can be graphics, videos, interactive images (a quiz or a game).  The most common sizes for display ads are:

  • Banner: 728 x 90
  • Medium Rectangle: 300 x 250
  • Skyscraper: 160 x 600

eCPM: Effective cost per mille tells a publisher what he or she would have received if they sold advertising inventory on a CPM basis.

End-User: this is the person who actually uses the product or service that is provided.  The end-user is sometimes referred to as the consumer as well.



Flight dates: An interval that specifies the maximum life span of a line item.  If its impression goal is met before the end of the flight, the line item becomes unavailable.  Flight dates must fall within order dates

Floor: The minimum price a publisher is willing to accept for a given impression

Frequency: The average number of times an accumulated audience has the opportunity to be exposed to advertisements, a particular program, or program schedule, within a measured period of time.

Reach x Frequency = Gross Rating Points.


Geographic Targeting or Geo Targeting: The process of identifying a brand’s geographic areas of opportunity, or the markets (DMAs) in which advertising is most likely to produce sales. Geographic targeting combines demographic and sales data to reach high potential customers.

Gross Rating Points (GRP): The sum of individual telecast ratings on a total program basis or advertiser commercial schedule, without regard to duplication. For example, 10 announcements each with a 10 rating would produce a total of 100 GRPs.


House ads: Ads that promote the host website’s features and services. They are a way to fill unsold inventory.


Impressions: This measurement is used to count the number of times a person is viewing an ad or message.  Sometimes called a view or an ad view, is a term that refers to the point in which an ad is viewed once by a visitor, or displayed once on a web page.  Impressions have become a very important metric with B2B mobile marketing.

Interstitial Ads: These are embedded in a variety of formats including image, text, and video, (interactive).  The message provides an opportunity for the viewer to read the ad while listening or viewing the message.


Keyword: A specific word or phrase chosen by advertisers to trigger and include their ad within search engine results.  The advertiser doing contextual advertising also chooses keywords, so that their ad will show up withing pages that are returned for that keyboard.

In search advertising, the position of the ad within the results is determined by bidding.  The hightest bidder on a keyword usually gets the top position.


Landing Page: The web page users are directed to after they click on a display or paid search ad.

Line item: The primary unit of execution for an order, which represents a specific inventory purchase and the required conditions for ad delivery.

Linear video: An ad unit type that consists of video ads that plays in sequence with video content in a video player. For example, this could be pre-, mid-, or post-roll.


Media Mix: The distribution of time and money allocated among TV, radio, print and Internet advertising that makes up the total advertising budget of an advertiser, agency or media buyer.

MMS Messaging: Multimedia Messaging Service, or MMS , has become more prevalent with the increase in bandwidth and evolution of mobile technology.  Multimedia messages can be a picture, a video clip, or an audio clip.   Ads can be imbedded into the MMS , or the ad could be the MMS itself depending on what is being viewed by the subscriber.


Native ad: An advertisement designed to blend in with the appearance and tone of the editorial content it runs alongside.

Non-linear video: An ad unit type that consists of video ads that play during video content in a video player.


Overlay: Advertising that floats over webpage content, graphics or videos. Overlays cannot be blocked by ad-blocking software. One kind of overlay is called a “light-box.” These ads begin as a standard, salable ad unit. If a user engages by hovering over the ad for some set amount of time (often two seconds), the ad expands (to as much as near full-page), while the page behind it dims, increasing emphasis on the ad. Advertisers pay for the number of times the ad is expanded.



Package: A combination of commercial units offered as a group to an advertiser. A package is generally priced more attractively than the collective costs for each commercial unit. A package may also be called a rotation or scatter plan.

Page View: What is displayed each time a browser requests a web page. One pageview might register as multiple hits on the server because pages can contain more than one element, such as several banners. Since pageviews do not account for browsers that are set to disable images, they are an unreliable way of gauging the success of a campaign.

Pixel: A contraction of picture element, a pixel refers to a single point in a graphic. Ad units are typically measured in pixels.

Pop-up: Opens in a new browser window that loads on top of the current webpage.  Pop-ups are operated by script (e.g., Javascript); thus, can be blocked – and commonly are – by a wider variety of available software.

Pop-under: Identical to a pop-up except it loads under your current webpage.  It’s generally assumed to be less intrusive than a pop-up because visitors often don’t see it until after they’ve clicked to close their current browser session.

Programmatic Media Buying: An automated method of buying media which ensures that advertisers are reaching the right person, at the right time, in the right place.  The ads are bought based on a set of parameters pre-defined by the company placing the ads.  Programmatic advertising uses data to make decisions about which ads to buy in real time, which improves inefficiencies and increases the effectiveness of the ads.


QR Code: QR code (abbreviated from Quick Response Code) is a specific matrix bar code (or two-dimensional code) that is readable by dedicated QR bar code readers and camera telephones. The code consists of black modules arranged in a square pattern on a white background. The information encoded may be text, URL, or other data.


Rating: A percentage of total households or population owning TVs who are tuned to a particular program or station at a specific time (e.g., a six rating for women 1849 means 6 percent of all women 1849 in the defined geographic area were viewing that station or program).

Rating Point: A value equal to one percent of a population or universe.

Reach: The total number of people who see your message. One person who is served your ad five times and clicks on it once yields a reach of 1, 5 impressions, and a click-through rate of 20%.

Rich media: Ad technology that features more refined images as well as audio and video in the ad. Rich media ads frequently allow visitors to interact with a banner without leaving the page on which it appears (e.g., movie ads that expand and play a trailer on the host page).

Rotation: Scheduling of advertising in the same program or time period on different days each week (horizontal rotation) or throughout a particular day (vertical rotation) in order to increase advertising exposure to different prospects.

ROS: Run of site, ads that will appear anywhere on a website.

RTB: Real-time bidding, auctioning online inventory within an ad exchange. Buyers bid for the impression based on the value of the user, whereas the seller sets pricing floors and awards the impression to the highest bidder. The auction process takes place in milliseconds, which is why the process is referred to as “real-time.”



Search Engine Optimization (SEO): This process constructs data that is presented on websites to be ranking and found using major search engine providers.   Varieties of complex algorithms are involved, and vary depending on the search engine.

Share: The percent of households (or persons) using television who are tuned to a specific program, network, or station at a specific time.

SMS Message: The Short Message Service (SMS) is a very common method of sending text messages through mobile devices.

Social Advertising: Running paid ads on online social networking platforms, such as Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter.

SSP: Supply-side platform, a platform or provider that allows publishers to manage and optimize revenue for their inventory from multiple sources, often in real time.

Sticky: A descriptive term for websites where users typically stay longer than normal. For example, gambling sites are often considered sticky.


Target Audience: The audience most desired by advertisers in terms of potential product/service usage and revenue potential.


Unique visitors: A site’s total number of users or visitors over a certain length of time. Accuracy depends on each user logging in with a unique username to access the site.