Glossary of Terms

The following are terms used in the advertising industry. Click through the list to learn more about online advertising terminology. Please contact us if you have a specific questions.

  • Above the Fold

    Above the Fold refers to any area of a web page that is viewable without the viewer having to use the vertical scroll bar. Ad space in this area is usually more expensive since it is more likely to be viewed by the visitor.

  • Ad Exchange

    An ad exchange is an open and transparent marketplace that facilitates the buying and selling of online ads. The ideal online ad exchange provides every buyer and seller with the tools and controls needed to reduce risk and maximize return for every media buy. Exchanges allow buyers and sellers to value inventory on an impression by impression basis in a real-time bidding (RTB) environment, providing a Yield Management opportunities for publishers and immediate access to inventory to meets agencies’ goals.

  • Ad Network

    Ad Networks are companies that represent multiple websites and have relationships with advertisers and publishers to sell media on websites. They are constantly looking for more relationships on both sides.

  • Ad Exchange vs. Ad Network?

    An Ad Network works with publisher’s sites to help package and monetize unsold inventory. An Ad Exchange, on the other hand, collects inventory from several publisher sites and exchanges simultaneously and auctions it off at the impression-level in a RTB environment.

  • Ad Impression

    An ad impression is an ad which is served to a user’s browser. Ads can be requested by the user’s browser (referred to as pulled ads) or they can be pushed, such as e-mailed ads. An ad impression is a measurement of responses from an ad delivery system to an ad request from the user’s browser, which is filtered from robotic activity and is recorded at a point as late as possible in the process of delivery of the creative material to the user’s browser—therefore closest to the actual opportunity to see by the user. Two methods are used to deliver ad content to the user.

    • Server-initiated – Server-initiated ad counting uses the publisher’s web content server for making requests, formatting and re-directing content.
    • Client-initiated – Client-initiated ad counting relies on the user’s browser to perform these activities. For organizations that use a server-initiated ad counting method, counting should occur subsequent to the ad response at either the publisher’s ad server or the Web content server. For organizations using a client-initiated ad counting method, counting should occur at the publisher’s ad server or third-party ad server, subsequent to the ad request, or later, in the process.
  • Ad Server

    An Ad Server is a computer, typically operated by a third party, that delivers and tracks advertisements independent of the web site where the ad is being displayed. Use of an ad server helps establish trust between an advertiser and publisher since the statistics are maintained by an objective third party.

  • Advertising Optimization

    Advertising Optimization is the process of finding page impressions that are most likely to lead to consumer engagement with an advertiser. Companies develop sophisticated optimization algorithms and reporting systems, which take into account Big Data in an attempt to figure out which impressions are most likely to lead to conversions, and at the cheapest price.

  • Agency Trading Desk

    Agency Trading Desks are centralized, service-based organizations that serve as a managed service layer, typically on top of a licensed Demand-Side Platform (DSP) and other audience buying technologies; an Agency Trading Desk manages programmatic, bid-based media and audience buying. It works as an agency’s internal center of excellence, supporting agency teams wishing to tap into this new buying model on behalf of agency clients.

  • Auto Play

    A video ad or a video ad that initiates play without user interaction or without a user actively starting the video.

  • Behavioral Targeting

    Behavioral targeting is a technique used by online publishers and advertisers to increase the effectiveness of their campaigns. Behavioral targeting uses information collected on an individual’s web-browsing behavior and preferences, to select which advertisements to display to that individual.

  • Big Data

    Big Data refers to massive volumes of either structured or unstructured data that is so large that it’s difficult to process using traditional database techniques. Big Data allows companies to improve operations and make faster, more intelligent decisions.

  • Bot

    Short for “robot,” bots are software that runs automatically without human intervention. Bots are commonly used by companies like search engines to discover Web sites for indexing. Malicious bots, however, are used to mimic human behavior and trigger false page loads or ad impressions. Altitude Digital works closely with industry-leading brand safety partners to help minimize bot traffic on our publishers’ sites.

  • Clicks

    Clicks are a metric which measures the reaction of a user to a digital ad. There are three types of clicks:

    • Click-through – the action of following a link within an advertisement or editorial content to another Web site or another page or frame within the Web site. Ad click-throughs should be tracked and reported as a 302 redirect at the ad server and should filter out robotic activity.
    • In-unit click – a measurement of a user-initiated action of responding to an ad element which generally causes an intra-site redirect or content change. In-unit clicks are usually tracked via a 302 redirect. Also known as click-downs, click-ups and click-withins. See ad click; 302 redirect.
    • Mouseover – the process by which a user places his/her mouse over a media object, without clicking. The mouse may need to remain still for a specified amount of time to initiate some actions.
  • Click to Play (CTP)

    A Click to Play (CTP) video ad has an initial static image file which is displayed encouraging users to click the view the full video. The percentage of viewers who click is known as the Play Rate.

  • Click Rate

    The Click Rate is the ratio of ad clicks to ad impressions.

  • CPA (Cost-per-Action)

    Cost Per Action advertising is based on a visitor taking some specifically defined action in response to an ad. “Actions” include such things as a sales transaction, a customer acquisition, or a click. Specific examples include:


    • CPC (Cost-per-Customer) – The cost an advertiser pays to acquire a customer.
    • CPC (Cost-per-Click) – cost of advertising based on the number of clicks received.
    • CPL (Cost-per-Lead) – cost of advertising based on the number of database files (leads) received.
    • CPO (Cost-per-Order) – cost of advertising based on the number of orders received. Also called Cost-per Transaction.
    • CPV (Cost-per-View) – cost of advertising based on the number of completed views (see Viewability)
    • CPS (Cost-per-Sale) – the advertiser’s cost to generate one sales transaction. If this is being used in conjunction with a media buy, a cookie can be offered on the content site and read on the advertiser’s site after the successful completion of an online sale.
  • CPM (Cost-per-thousand)

    CPM stands for “cost per mille” (in Latin mille means thousand) and is used to describe the cost of 1,000 advertising impressions. For example, a Web site that charges $1,500 per ad and reports 100,000 visits has a CPM of $15 ($1,500 divided by 100).

  • Content Classification

    This refers to the category that a targeting technology has placed a piece of content.

  • Contextual Targeting

    Contextual Targeting aligns advertisements with relevant context on a webpage. Semantic Advertising is one approach within this strategy, classifying at the page level. Also included within the contextual bucket are keyword-based targeting and domain level targeting.

  • Conversion Rate

    Conversion Rate is a popular metric for measuring campaign performance, based on the percentage of users who see an ad and complete a certain task or “conversion”  as determined by the advertiser. A conversion can mean many things: a user has signed up for a mailing list, purchased a product, or maybe filled out a survey. Many ad campaigns are launched with a CPA (Cost Per Acquisition) goal.

  • Cookie

    A cookie is a small piece of code that is stored on a browser for the purpose of identifying that browser during audience activity and between visits or sessions.

  • Demand

    Demand is a term used when referencing the advertising needs of brands or agencies.  In direct contrast, Supply refers to the publisher side of the ecosystem. Simply put, Publishers use their Supply (available ad space) to help fill the Demand (advertising requests) coming from brands or agencies.

  • Demand Side Platform (DSP)

    A Demand-Side Platform (DSP) is a computer-based technological platform which allows brands and agencies to engage in transparent automated media buying across multiple sources using unified targeting, data, optimization and reporting. DSPs help ad buyers navigate the varying array of inventory sources to find the most ideal impressions for a campaign.

  • Display Advertising

    Display advertising is a form of online advertising where an advertiser’s message is shown on a destination web page, generally set off in a box or banner at the top or bottom or to one side of the content of the page.

  • Dynamic Ad Rotation

    Dynamic Ad Rotations delivers ads on a rotating, random basis so that users are exposed to different ads and ads are served in different pages of the site.

  • Frequency Capping

    Frequency Capping limits the number of times an ad is delivered to a certain browser or user within a defined time period. Cookies are used in order to manage this process.

  • Geotargeting

    Geotargeting is the practice of delivering ad content based upon a user’s geographical location, which can be utilized in both desktop on mobile advertising.

  • Hybrid pricing

    A pricing model which is based on a combination of a CPM pricing model and a performance-based pricing model. See CPM pricing model and Performance-Based Pricing models for more information.

  • Impression

    An Impression is a measure of the number of times an ad is seen. Clicks are not taken into account. Each time an ad displays it is counted as one impression.

  • Insertion Order

    An Insertion Order is an online or printed document that specifies the details of an advertising campaign. The terms of the agreement may also be specified on the insertion order or they may be placed in a separate document.

  • Interstitial Ads

    Interstitial Ads appear between two content pages. They are also known as transition ads, intermercial ads and splash pages.

  • Keyword Based Targeting

    Keyword Based Targeting is a technique used by publishers and advertisers to increase the effectiveness and relevancy of ad placement. A Contextual Advertising system scans the text of a website for keywords and returns advertisements to the webpage based on ad messages that match with the sentiment of those keywords.

  • Lead Generation

    Lead generation is the use of a advertising or other means to receive certain information for the purpose of expanding a business, increasing sales revenues, looking for a job or for new clients, conducting specialized research etc.. Leads can consist of the names, addresses, corporations, institutions, or agencies.

  • Local Online Ads

    Local Online Ads refer to ads that are purchased based on a “local”, geographic location. Local online ads can be purchased by agencies or brands on a national, regional, or local level (i.e. by zip code or neighborhood).

  • Machine Learning

    A scientific discipline that is concerned with the design and development of algorithms that allow computers to evolve behaviors based on data. A major focus of our machine learning research is to automatically learn to recognize complex patterns in text and make intelligent decisions to categorize it. Our machinery analyzes similarities in content and learns what words, phrases and associations to connect to a certain category.

  • Mid-Roll Video Ads

    A Mid-Roll Video Ad is an online video commercial that appears in the middle of an online video. It is typically :10 – :15 seconds in length. This is in contrast to video ads that play before on online video (known as a Pre-Roll) or after the video content (known as a Post-Roll).

  • Natural Language Processing

    Natural Language Processing (NLP) is a field of computer science and linguistics concerned with the interactions between computers and natural human languages. This science lays the groundwork for how our machinery processes contextual data, as we strive to teach our computers to understand language the same way humans do.

  • Performance pricing model

    An advertising model in which advertisers pay based on a set of agreed upon performance criteria, such as a percentage of online revenues or delivery of new sales leads. See Cost Per Action.

  • Pixel

    A pixel is a measurement representing a single point in a graphic. Ad units are typically measured in pixels (width x height) and come in several standard sizes (e.g. Medium Rectangle = 300 x 600 pixels; Leaderboard = 728 x 90 pixels).

  • Pop Under

    A pop-under is a window that is created but temporarily “hidden” behind the window of a website that the user has chosen to visit. Pop-under ads are concealed until the top window is closed, moved, resized or minimized. Although some users find pop-unders to be intrusive, advertisers generally report good results.

  • Post-Roll Video Ads

    ,An online video commercial that appears at the end of an online video, it is typically :10 – :15 seconds in length. This is in contrast to video ads that play before on online video (known as a Pre-Roll) or in the middle of  the video content (known as a Mid-Roll).

  • Pre-Roll Video Ads

    Pre-roll video ads are online video commercials that appears prior to an online video. They are typically :10 – :15 seconds in length. Pre-roll makes up a small percentage of the available interactive video inventory, but it is growing more popular due to the fact that online publishers can better guarantee that users will see and hear the pre-roll commercial before the audio stream starts.

  • Programmatic Advertising

    Programmatic Advertising is the practice of using technology to automate and streamline the buying and selling of online advertising. While it includes Real-Time Bidding (RTB), there are several other Programmatic Advertising methods and buy types that are being used today.

  • Privacy Standards – Clear Ad Notice

    CLEAR is an acronym for Control Links for Education and Advertising Responsibly. The CLEAR Ad Notice is a document that suggests technical standards to empower each member of the online advertising community to communicate their presence and behavioral advertising targeting practices (if any) to consumers in a simple and direct manner. The 7 regulatory principle buckets: Education Transparency Consumer Control Data Security Material Changes to Existing Online Behavioral Advertising Policies and Practices Sensitive Data Accountability.

  • Publisher

    A web Publisher is an individual or organization that prepares, issues, and disseminates content for public distribution via one or multiple websites. In the digital advertising ecosystem, Publishers sell digital advertising space, called Supply, either directly to media buyers or programmatically through Supply-Side Platforms (SSPs).

  • Reach

    Reach refers to the number of unique users that visited a site or saw content over the course of the reporting period.

  • Real-Time Bidding

    Real-Time Bidding (RTB) is the dynamic process of buying and selling impressions in real-time where the highest bidder “wins” the right to place a display ad on a publisher’s website. Real-time bidding helps advertisers more effectively uncover, understand, and unleash opportunity within each campaign effort, and gives publishers an automated method to monetize more of their ad inventory.

  • Remnant Inventory

    Remnant Inventory is advertising space that remains unsold up until it is about to be used and thus often sold at a discount at the last minute in a Real-Time Bidding (RTB) environment. These auctions are often facilitated by Ad Exchanges, Supply-Side Platforms (SSPs) and Demand-Side Platforms (DSPs).

  • Retargeting

    Retargeting is an online advertising technique that targets users which have already visited a website. Retargeting works by placing a small amount of code on a website which will place Cookies on a user’s web browser.

  • Rich Media Ads

    Users can interact with Rich Media Ads in a web page format. These advertisements can use sound, video, or Flash along with programming languages such as Java, Javascript, and DHTML. Guidelines cover standard web applications including e-mail, static (e.g. html) and dynamic (e.g. asp) web pages, and may appear in ad formats such as banners and buttons as well as transitionals and various over-the-page units such as floating ads, page takeovers, and tear-backs.

  • Run of Network (RON)

    Run of Network (RON) means an ad will appear on any page of any site that is part of an ad network. Since this type of buy is not targeted, it tends to be the least expensive type of advertisement that can be purchased.

  • Run-of-Site (ROS)

    Ron of Site (ROS) means and ad will appear across an entire site, often at a lower cost to the advertiser than the purchase of specific site sub-sections.

  • Semantic Advertising

    Semantic Advertising applies semantic technologies to online advertising solutions. The function of semantic advertising technology is to analyze every web page according to its true meaning and sentiment in order to ensure that the web page contains the most appropriate advertising. Semantic advertising increases the chance that the viewer will engage with an ad because only advertising relevant to what they are viewing.

  • Supply

    Supply is a term used when referencing the advertising impressions available on a publisher’s website.  In contrast, Demand refers to the advertiser’s side of the ecosystem. Simply put, Publishers use their Supply (available ad space) to help fill the Demand (advertising requests) coming from brands or agencies.

  • Supply Side Platform

    A Supply Side Platform (SSP) is an advertising technology platform which helps web publishers manage on monetize their digital advertising inventory, and guarantees inventory availability. SSPs allow many of the larger web Publishers of the world to automate and optimize the selling of their online media space.

  • Unique Visitor

    Unique Visitors is a metric that measures the number of distinct individuals requesting pages from the website during a given period, regardless of how often they visit. Visits, on the other hand, refers to the number of times a site is visited during a specific time period, regardless of how many unique visitors make up those visits.

  • User Interface (UI)

    A User Interface (UI) is the means by which a person controls a software application or hardware device. A good user interface provides a “user-friendly” experience, allowing the user to interact with the software or hardware in a natural and intuitive way. Nearly all software programs have a graphical user interface (GUI). This means the program includes graphical controls, which the user can select using a mouse or keyboard. A typical GUI of a software program includes a menu bar, toolbar, windows, buttons, and other controls.

  • User Session

    A User Session (sometime referred to as a visit) is the presence of a user with a specific IP address who has not visited the site recently (typically, anytime within the past 30 minutes). The number of user sessions per day is one measure of how much traffic a website has. A user who visits a site at noon and then again at 3:30 pm would count as two user visits.

  • Video Ad Serving Template (VAST)

    Video Ad Serving Template (VAST) provides a common ad response format for video players enabling video ads to be served across all compliant video players. These simple ad formats do not provide an interactive user experience, and do not allow the advertiser to collect rich interaction details.

  • Video Player Ad-Serving Interface Definition (VPAID)

    VPAID establishes a common interface between video players and ad units, enabling a rich interactive in-stream ad experience. Advertisers using VPAID ads can provide rich ad experiences for viewers and collect ad playback and interaction details that are just as rich as the ad experience. With the adoption of VPAID, advertisers have more control over the display experience in their video campaigns. Also, as VPAID compliant video players enable a more diverse and interactive set of video advertising, VPAID compliant publishers should expect to sell more instream video inventory.

  • View Through Rate

    View Through Rate (VTR) is an estimation of the number of impressions viewed during the advertising campaign, (as well as estimation of realized advertising contacts).

  • Viewability

    Viewability is an online advertising metric used to measure to the rate of viewable impressions as defined by the Interactive Advertising (IAB) Bureau and the Media Ratings Council (MRC). Currently, for an ad to be considered viewable, at least 50% of its pixels must be in view for either 1 second (standard display) or 2 seconds (video).

  • Yield Optimization (Revenue Optimization)

    Yield and Revenue Optimization is the process of understanding, anticipating and influencing advertiser and consumer behavior in order to maximize profits through better selling, pricing, packaging and inventory management, while delivering value to advertisers and site users.

  • Sick

    To be “sick” is to be awesome, rad or cool, just like an Altitude Digital Rockstar, or one of our partners.