AdTech Glossary

General OpenRTB terms:

    • Adtag – Typically served as javascript through a website’s ad server, an ad tag allows a website to communicate with an ad partner and serve an appropriate ad
    • Ad domain (adomain) – a “home page” of landing page. Eg.: if landing page is, ad domain should be 
    • Ad exchange – an ad partner that serves as a broker between a publisher and an advertiser. Ad exchanges use RTB technology to sell a publisher’s inventory in an auction-like manner. Typically, you can set a price floor within an ad exchange and you’ll receive a higher rate due to the auctioning process.
    • Ad network – an ad partner that serves as a middle man between a publisher and an advertiser. Typically, ad networks provide you with a static rate for your inventory that rarely fluctuates.
    • Ad Server – Technology that delivers advertisements to website visitors in a way that would maximize the Advertiser’s (or Publisher’s) revenue, monitor campaigns and create reports.
    • Auction Price Floor / Bid Floor – This is the same idea as a standard price floor but in an auction or programmatic environment the floor serves as a minimum but can be exceeded by higher bidding. For example advertiser sets his price floor at $1 you can still receives bids at $1.25 but not $0.75.
    • Auction Service –  Service through which Buyers buy Inventory through an auction or real-time buying process (RTB).
    • Blacklist – A list of websites that an Advertiser will not permit their ads to be placed on. These sites often contain content that is not aligned with the brand image of the Advertiser.
    • Brand Safety – Contextual technology aimed at ensuring advertisement does not display on web pages where its appearance might negatively impact the Advertiser’s brand. (eg. The Media Trust, GeoEdge)
    • Bid Request – This request includes a significant amount of information about the impression. The Bid Request is sent with header information, such as the IP address and debug information. The JSON for the request itself includes details about the members for which the auction should be evaluated by the bidder; the tag(s) for the auction, including details about each tag; and information about the auction, including the user ID, the region from which the impression originated, and other information.
    • Bid Response – The information, specifications and rules submitted to Seller by Buyer in response to a Bid Request.
    • Bot traffic is the part of online traffic and activities artificially generated by automated bots and spiders. Bot traffic is evidently hard to evaluate, but according to several sources it can be estimated to range from 10 to 20 % of traffic. Each site automatically gets a set level of bot traffic.
    • Cookie-Sync Mechanism – The matching process of the SSP cookie ID to the DSP cookie ID. 
    • Creative – You will often hear this word used to refer to the actual images the advertising display.
    • Conversion – In marketing, including mobile, conversion occurs when a user does something in response to a call-to-action placed in an ad, an offer, or a notification. What the action is that qualifies as a “conversion” can vary – it could be a download or install, a sign-up, or a purchase.
    • CTR/Click-Through Rate? – A click-through rate (CTR) is defined as the ratio of clicks to impressions on a mobile advertising campaign. CTRs are calculated by taking the number of clicks on a mobile advertising campaign, dividing it by the overall impressions and then expressing the resultant figure in percentage terms. For example, a company runs a mobile advertising campaign that generates 10,000 impressions and 500 clicks through to the App Store. The CTR of that campaign would be 5 percent.
    • Dashboard– A dashboard is a visual display of all of partner’s data. While it can be used in all kinds of different ways, its primary intention is to provide information at-a-glance, such as KPIs. A dashboard usually sits on its own page and receives information from a linked database. In many cases it’s configurable, allowing you the ability to choose which data you want to see and whether you want to include charts or graphs to visualize the numbers.
    • Data Management Platform (DMP) – A system that allows the collection of audience intelligence to Buyers, thereby allowing better ad targeting in subsequent  
    • Demand Side Platform (DSP) – A technology platform that provides centralized and aggregated media buying from multiple sources including ad exchanges, ad networks and sell side platforms, often leveraging real time bidding capabilities of these sources. 
    • Daisy chain (Ad chain) – Placing ad partners ad tags in order (usually by CPM rate, highest to lowest) so they have the option of serving an ad or ‘defaulting’ to the next partner in line.
    • Discrepancy – In digital advertising this refers to the difference between client number (typically taken from an ad server) and ad partner numbers. These differences are caused by a variety of factors including the number of partners you’re working with, the individual user you’re serving ads to, and page load time. Standard discrepancy metrics are impressions sold, served, revenue.
    • Fixed CPM – A CPM rate that remains constant and is guaranteed by an ad partner for every 1,000 impressions that are sent.
    • Frequency Capping – The ability to set a limit on the number of times an Advertiser exposes a user to their advertising within a fixed time period. 
    • Fraud Traffic (also referred to as Invalid Traffic) is concerned with theory and practice of fraudulently representing online advertising impressions, clicks, conversion or data events in order to generate revenue. While ad fraud is more generally associated with banner ads, video ads and in-app ads, click fraud has been associated with search marketing and conversion fraud with affiliate marketing. Ad fraud is the categorical term inclusive of all forms of online advertising fraud. 
    • IAB (The Interactive Advertising Bureau) – Made up of over 500 leading media and technology companies, IAB works to educate about the value of interactive advertising as well as evaluate and recommend standards and practices (such as standard unit size).
    • Iframes – an HTML document embedded within another HTML document that allows content from another source to appear on a web page.
    • Impression (also known as a view-through) is the name for when a user sees an advertisement. In practice, an impression occurs any time a user opens an app or website and an advert is displayed in a visible position.
    • Inventory – the opportunity to display digital advertising content in a particular medium, including, without limitation, web, mobile, in-stream audio and video, application and/or widget-based advertising inventory. Available advertising placements on the website / application. 
    • Landing Page – landing page, sometimes known as a “lead capture page” or a “lander”, or a “destination page”, is a single web page that appears in response to clicking on a search engine optimized search result or an online advertisement. 
    • Passback tag (Default tag) – When an ad partner chooses to pass on the opportunity to capture or serve an ad impression they ‘default’ the opportunity to serve an ad. The tag that’s called during that default process is referred to as a passback tag.
    • Pixels (Tags, Beacons) –  1×1 pixel tags on websites that can track web users location and activities, such as a registration or conversion. 
    • Price Floor – A fixed CPM rate that prevents an ad partner from serving campaigns that pay below a certain price threshold. For example, if you set your price floor to $1 your ad partner shouldn’t serve any campaigns with net CPM rates below that amount.
    • Programmatic Buying – A method that enables Buyers to show a highly targeted piece of Advertiser Content to a consumer based on their online behavior through RTB.
    • QPS – are a indicator of media capacity for ad networks and ad exchanges. Some networks can buy ad spaces in excess of 100 000 QPS. Each publisher’s page view within an ad exchange connected to an ad network (through DSP) provokes one or several queries (in fact a bid request). Queries per second indicates power of ad networks and can give an hint about reach (% of population covered).
    • Remnant Inventory – Inventory that a Publisher is unable to sell directly which is turned over to a third-party.
    • Revenue share model – A partnership between a publisher and ad provider where profits from ad serving are split as per the terms of the agreement. Before the rise of programmatic and RTB these agreements were closer to 50/50, but with the rise of programmatic buying that split has increased in the publishers favor. For example, Google’s Ad Exchange offers a 80/20 revenue share. These rates are often negotiable depending on how much volume a publisher can provide.
    • RTB (Real Time Bidding) – Impression based, real time ad inventory sales method. This is a technology that allows thousands of buyers to bid on a single website impression based on bidding algorithms.
    • SSP (Supply Side Platform) – A sell side platform that allows publishers to better package and manage their websites inventory to sell. This technology platform provides outsourced media selling services for Sellers. It aggregates ad impression inventory purchased through DSPs or Ad Exchanges. 
    • Targeting – is the process through which an advertiser identifies users that they would like to reach and then advertises to them through various channels. By constructing the right user persona, understanding user habits and finding the platforms to reach them, an advertiser uses targeting to improve the performance of their campaigns.
    • Viewability – A new metric for measuring performance created by the 3MS initiative (Making Measurement Make Sense), and authorized by the MRC (Media Rating Council). Viewability was created to ensure an advertiser that a brand will be viewed by a user. The MRC declared a viewable impression as “at least 50% of the ad creative is displayed for at least 1 second.”
    • Volume – Refers to how much traffic (impressions/pageviews) a website has over a given period of time. Ad partners will often ask how much volume a publisher is willing to send at a discussed rate.
    • Whitelist –  A list of web sites that an Advertiser will permit their ads to be placed on. Websites not on this list will not be used to display ads for the Advertiser.

Ways to buy/sell advertising inventory:

  • CPA (cost-per-action) or CPL (cost-per-lead) – “Action” or “Lead” mean exactly that; some type of action or lead resulted from the display of the ad such as a sale or registration obtained.
  • CPC (cost-per-click) – Yes, you guessed it; this would be the amount paid every time someone clicks on an advertisement.
  • CPM (cost-per-milli) – From the Latin meaning one thousand. Literally, the amount paid for every 1,000 qualifying impressions served.
  • eCPM (effective cost per milli) – This term gets more specific and shows the cost of ad inventory based on the amount of impressions that were actually shown/paid. Here is the formula to determine this amount: eCPM = Revenue/(Paid Imps/1000)
  • rCPM (real cost per milli) – The most accurate view of ad space of the three, this provides the “real” worth because it takes into account the total imps that occurred, not just the ones that paid, which is important when determining the value of a space. The formula to determine this amount is: rCPM = Revenue/(Total Imps/1000)

Ad units types/sizes:

  • Above the fold (ATF) – Typically the upper half of a website, or any part a user can view without having to scroll down. Automatically viewable.
  • Ad Units – The space in an application where ads are displayed. The format used is width*height in pixels (e.g. 728X90).
  • Banner/Leaderboard, Rectangle, Tower/Skyscraper – These terms refer to standard ad units. Banner (728X90), Rectangle (300X250) and Tower (160X600).
  • Below the fold (BTF) – Lower half of a website or the portion where users have to scroll down to view. Not automatically viewable.
  • Native ads – advertising that aims to blend into the user’s experience with the website. Native ad mimic a site’s content and format.
  • Rich Media – Advertising appearing in a ‘richer’ form. These units are outside of the standard ad sizes and usually include special placements and movement. Examples of rich media units include skins, sponsor bars, pushdowns, rising stars.
  • Rising Stars – Rising Stars are premium ad units that run from or instead of a standard IAB unit. The specs of the unit are defined by the IAB in an attempt to scale out rich media advertising and normalize the units so they can be sold and served more often. Standard Rising Star units include billboard, filmstrip, sidekick, slider, portrait , and pushdown. For visual examples of each of the rising stars visit the IAB’s site here:
  • Site Skin – Creative that appears behind the content of the webpage. Typically this takes over the borders of the website and produces very high engagement. It may also take over the 728×90 if that unit runs outside of the sites frame.

User Behavior:

  • Ad Impression – A single ad placement on a page that’s available for purchase by demand partners. There is one ad impressions per ad unit per pageview.
  • Bounce rate – Percentage of users that visit a page and then leave the site in a short time frame without visiting any other pages at that site.
  • Pageview – Anytime a webpage loads, a pageview is created. The more pageviews a website has the more impressions it will have an opportunity to sell.
  • Re-targeting pixel – An identifier (cookie) that gets dropped on a user when they are browsing a participating web page. These cookies track online behavior and allow for more targeted ads that are specific to the user.
  • Unique user – A visitor on a web page for the first time over the course of audience measurement (Typically day, week, month, year).
  • Visitor – A user who revisits a webpage, regardless of frequency E.G. if you visit Facebook four times in a day you would count as one unique user for that day but 4 visitors or visits.

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