There is a TON of jargon in the programmatic advertising world. We’ve compiled this advertising glossary because sometimes you just need to know what a word (or acronym) means without digging around the internet.

Ad Exchange: Technology that conducts auctions between publishers selling ads and advertisers looking to buy ads. These auctions are usually real-time.

Ad Impressions: The number of times an ad has been served, regardless of whether the user has actually seen or interacted with the ad in any way.

Ad Inventory: Website publishers serve ads to visitors when they visit a web page. The number of potential ads that can be served is considered their ad inventory.

Ad Targeting: Delivering ads to a pre-selected audience based on various attributes, such as geography, demographics, psychographics, web browsing behavior and past purchases.

Ad Unit: A size-and-format specification for an ad. The Interactive Advertising Bureau, a trade association promoting digital ad standard and practices, has a set of guidelines for sizes.

Advertiser: A person or entity looking to buy ad inventory from publishers. Also known as: “buy side” or “demand side.”

Banner: Also known as “display ads”, banner advertisements are a form of graphical ads embedded into a web page, typically including a combination of static/animated images, text and/or video designed to convey a marketing message and/or cause the user to take an action. Banner dimensions are typically defined by width and height, represented in pixels.

Bidder: Technology that buys inventory on ad exchanges.

Billboard: An ad unit designed with options for rich interactivity to display prominently inline with Publishers’ webpage content. A distinct feature of the Billboard is a close button that a user may click to collapse the ad completely if the user doesn’t want to see the ad.

Click Through Rate (CTR): Expressed as a percentage of total impressions, this statistic shows how often people who are served an ad end up clicking on it.

Cost per Click (CPC): What you’ll have to pay anytime someone clicks on an ad on your site.

CPM (Cost per Thousand): Metric that shows how much it costs to serve 1,000 ad impressions. Also used as a standard measure for buying display ads, as inventory is generally sold on a CPM basis.

Conversion: When launching a campaign, advertisers select a specific action or set of actions they want audiences to take. Each time a member of the audience takes this action, it is counted as a conversion. Conversions include actions such as signing up for a newsletter, or making a purchase on a website.

Conversion Tracking: Monitoring how many conversions have occurred during any specific time period, and analyzing which ads led to the conversions.

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

eCPM: eCPM stands for effective cost per thousand. Though similar to CPM, eCPM measures revenue generated across multiple marketing channels by dividing the total campaign cost by the number of impressions.

Fill Rate: The number of ads that were delivered to a user (an impression) compared to the number of times an ad was requested from an ad source.

Floor price: The minimum amount a publisher is willing to accept to serve an ad.

Frequency: The number of times an ad is served to the same consumer during a specific time period.

Geographic Targeting: Selecting an audience for a campaign based on zip codes, designated marketing area (DMA), cities, states and countries.

Header Bidding: Enables advertisers to compete for publishers’ reserved and unreserved inventory via an auction that takes place outside of the ad server.

Impression: The number of times an ad has been served, regardless of whether the user has actually seen or interacted with the ad in any way.

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 wide variety of available software.

Pop-under: Identical to a pop-up except it loads under your current webpage. It is generally assumed to be less intrusive than a pop-up because visitors often do not see it until after they have 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 predefined by the company placing the ads. Programmatic advertising uses data to make decisions about which ads to buy in real time, which improves efficiency and increases the effectiveness of the ads.

Publisher:  No, not the kind that prints books. A site or an application with ad space for sale. AKA “sell side” or “supply side.”

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 clickthrough rate of 20%.

Real-time Bidding (RTB): the process of buying and selling online ad impressions via an auction.

Retargeting/Remarketing: Serving ads to people who have previously visited your website.

Return on Investment (ROI): a way to measure how much profit you’ve made compared to how much you’ve spent.

Revenue per Mille (RPM): How much you’ve made for every 1,000 impressions.

Rich Media: Interactive media such as quizzes, games, and ads with video and special effects. This category is growing quickly. Check out the IAB Rising Stars examples of new types of ad units such as the Pushdown and the Sidekick.

View Through: Used to measure consumer behavior after they have been served an ad. If the view through window is set to 90 days, relevant actions made by the consumer within that time period can be attributed to the ad.

Yield: The revenue a publisher receives through money spent by an advertiser or ad exchange for ad space and how many clicks they receive on a served ad.

Have entries you want to see in our advertising glossary? Leave a comment on this post and we’ll add it in!

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