Vocabulary & Glossary

Ad placement:

RON a.k.a. run of network = ad can potentially run to any site within the publisher's network (particularly relevant for publishers with more than one targetable website)

ROS a.k.a. run of site = ad can potentially serve to any section or subsection within the entire website

“Run of Section” = serves throughout a single section of a site, like the “style” section and any pages affiliated with it

Ad priority:

House = lowest priority (will serve below ROS and exclusive level)

ROS = rotates throughout the site with all other ROS level ads

Exclusive = highest priority (above ROS level - can be shared sponsorship with one or more advertisers)

Ad types:

728x90 Leader a.k.a. banner

300x250 Rectangle a.k.a. square or medium rectangle

160x600 Skyscraper Ad

300x600 Filmstrip Ad a.k.a. wide sky




An API (Application Programming Interface) is a set of commands, the language that programmers or developers use to communicate with a specific piece of software or hardware. (source:


Abandonment is when a user leaves a shopping cart with something in it prior to completing the transaction.


When a Web server does not successfully transfer a unit of content or ad to a browser. This is usually caused by a user hitting the stop button or clicking on another link prior to the completion of a download.

Ad Request a.k.a. ad “call”

The request for an advertisement as a direct result of a user's action as recorded by the ad server. Ad requests can come directly from the user’s browser or from an intermediate Internet resource, such as a Web content server.

Ad Server

An ad server is a web server dedicated to the delivery of advertisement. This specialization enables the tracking and management of advertising related metrics.

Ad Serving

The delivery of ads by a server to an end user's computer on which the ads are then displayed by a browser and/or cached. Ad serving is normally performed either by a Web publisher or by a third-party ad server. Ads can be embedded in the page or served separately.

Ad Tag

Software code that an advertiser provides to a publisher or ad network that calls the advertisers ad server for the purposes of displaying an advertisement.

Ad Unit

An ad or set of ads displayed as a result of a piece of ad code executing.


An organization that, on behalf of clients, plans marketing and advertising campaigns, drafts and produces advertisements, places advertisements in the media. In interactive advertising, agencies often use third party technology (ad servers) and may place advertisements with publishers, ad networks and other industry participants.

Animated GIF

An animation created by combining multiple GIF images in one file. The result is multiple images,displayed sequentially, giving the appearance of movement.


An audience is the group of people who visit a specific web site or who are reached by a specific ad network.



A graphic advertising image displayed on a Web page. See for voluntary guidelines defining specifications of banner ads.

Behavioral Targeting

Using previous online user activity (e.g., pages visited, content viewed, searches, clicks and purchases) to generate a segment which is used to match advertising creative to users (sometimes also called Behavioral Profiling, Interest-based Advertising, or online behavioral advertising). Behavioral targeting uses anonymous, non-PII data.


A test version of a product, such as a Web site or software, prior to final release.


1) clickable graphic that contains certain functionality, such as taking one someplace or executing a program; 2) buttons can also be ads. See the IAB's Ad Unit Guidelines for voluntary guidelines defining specifications of button ads.



CPC is the abbreviated term for both Cost-per-Click and Cost-per-Customer. Please click on the term you are looking for.

CPC (Cost-per-Click)

CPC or cost-per-click is the cost of advertising based on the number of clicks received.



Media term describing the cost of 1,000 impressions. For example, a Web site that charges $1,500 per ad and reports 100,000 impressions has a CPM of $15 ($1,500 divided by 100).


(Cascading Style Sheet)

A stylesheet language used to describe the presentation of a document written in a markup language. CSS provides a more elegant alternative to straight HTML to quickly specify the look and feel of a single Web page or a group of multiple Web pages.


Memory used to temporarily store the most frequently requested content/files/pages in order to speed its delivery to the user. Caches can be local (i.e. on a browser) or on a network. In the case of local cache, most computers have both memory (RAM), and disk (hard drive) cache.

Cache Busting

The process by which sites or servers serve content or HTML in such a manner as to minimize or prevent browsers or proxies from serving content from their cache. This forces the user or proxy to fetch a fresh copy for each request. Among other reasons, cache busting is used to provide a more accurate count of the number of requests from users.

Campaign or Order

In traditional marketing, an campaign''' is a series of advertisement messages that share a single idea and theme. In digital advertising, a '''campaign will refer to a set of ad buys from a specific ad network or publisher.


A ''click'' can denote several different things. *It can be a metric that measures the reaction of a user to an Internet ad. In this context, there are 3 types of click: *#click-throughs *#in-unit clicks *#mouseovers *It can be the opportunity for a user to download another file by clicking on an advertisement, as recorded by the server. *It can be the result of a measurable interaction with an advertisement or key word that links to the advertiser's intended Web site or another page or frame within the Web site. *It can be a metric that measures the reaction of a user to linked editorial content. More information is available at the IAB Ad Campaign Measurement Guidelines. See also, clickthrough, in-unit click and mouseover.


The measurement of a user clicking on a link that re-directs the user’s web-enabled device to another Web destination.

Click-through Rate or CTR

Ratio of ad clicks to ad impressions.

Companion Ad

Both Linear and Non-linear Video ad products have the option of pairing their core video ad product with what is commonly referred to as companion ads. Commonly text, display ads, rich media, or skins that wrap around the video experience, can run alongside either or both the video or ad content. The primary purpose of the Companion Ad product is to offer sustained visibility of the sponsor throughout the video content experience. Companion Ads may offer click-through interactivity and rich media experiences such as expansion of the ad for further engagement opportunities.


For Web advertising, an ad is almost always a banner, a graphic image or set of animated images (in a file called an animated GIF) of a designated pixel size and byte size limit.  An ad or set of ads for a campaign is often referred to as "the creative." Banners and other special advertising that include an interactive or visual element beyond the usual are known as rich media.  


Expandable Banners

Expandable banners are rolls over or clicks on them. They reveal more advertising information and are designed to grab the attention of the user. The IAB provides guidelines for expandable banners in the Rich Media Ads section of the Display Advertising Creative Format Guidelines Quick Reference Guide.



Adobe’s vector-based rich media file format which is used to display interactive animations on a Web page.

Floating Ads

An ad or ads that appear within the main browser window on top of the Web page's normal content, thereby appearing to "float" over the top of the page.


The line below which a user has to scroll to see content not immediately visible when a Web page loads in a browser. Ads or content displayed “above the fold” are visible without any end-user interaction. Monitor size and resolution determine where on a Web page the fold lies.

Frequency Capping

The limit of how many times a given ad will be shown to a unique cookie during a session or within a specified time period.



(Graphic Interchange Format)

A standard web graphic format which uses compression to store and display images.

Geographic Targeting a.k.a. geotargeting

A method that enables advertisers to show an ad specifically to visitors based on zip code, area code, city, DMA, state, and/or country derived from user-declared registration information or inference-based mechanism.



(Hypertext Markup Language)

A set of codes called markup tags in a plain text file that determine what information is retrieved and how it is rendered by a browser. There are two kinds of markup tags: anchor and format. Anchor tags determine what is retrieved, and format tags determine how it is rendered. Browsers receive HTML pages from the Internet and use the information to display text, graphics, links and other elements as they were intended by a Website’s creator.

House Ads

Ads for a product or service from the same company. “Revenues” from house ads should not be included in reported revenues.



See Interactive Advertising Bureau. Interactive Advertising Bureau

Please see Interactive Advertising Bureau.

Image Map

In HTML and XHTML, an image map''' is a list of coordinates relating to a specific image, created in order to hyperlink areas of the image to various destinations. This differs from a normal image link, where the entire area of the image links to a single destination. For example, a map of the world may have each country hyperlinked to further information about that country. The intention of an '''image map is to provide an easy way of linking various parts of an image without dividing the image into separate image files. For instance, a normal image that happens to contain brand name products, could be turned into an image map which would redirect the user who clicked on a branded item to the landing page of that advertiser. Additional Information

For additional information please refer to this article on


(Also called a View) A single display of online content to a user’s web-enabled device. Many websites sell advertising space by the number of impressions displayed to users. An online advertisement impression is a single appearance of an advertisement on a web page. Each time an advertisement loads onto a users screen, the ad server may count that loading as one impression. However, the ad server may be programmed to exclude from the count certain non-qualifying activity such as a reload, internal user actions, and other events that the advertiser and ad serving company agreed to not count.


Ads that appear between two content pages. Also known as transition ads, intermercial ads and splash pages.


The aggregate number of opportunities near publisher content to display advertisement to visitors.



Standard web graphic file format that uses a compression technique to reduce graphic file sizes.


A programming language designed for building applications on the Internet. It allows for advanced features, increased animation detail and real-time updates. Small applications called Java applets can be downloaded from a server and executed by Java-compatible browsers like Microsoft Internet Explorer and Netscape Navigator.


Line Item

A specific set of instructions within the order which tells the creative where and how to run on a site.



Additional ad impressions which are negotiated in order to make up for the shortfall of ads delivered versus the commitments outlined in the approved insertion order.


Operating System

An operating system (OS) is a set of programs that manage computer hardware resources and provide common services for application software. The operating system is a vital component of the system software in a computer system. Application programs require an operating system which are usually separate programs, but can be combined in simple systems. Example operating systems include Microsoft Windows, Apple iOS and MacOS, and Linux.


Page Views

When the page is actually seen by the user. Some platforms, like Facebook cache preview images for applications, which can mean that page views are not counted until a user clicks through to an application canvas page.  

Pass Back

an impression offered to a media buyer with the right of first refusal, such that when this right is exercised the impression is offered to another media buyer.


An advertising pricing model in which advertisers pay agencies and/or media companies based on how many users clicked on an online ad or e-mail message. See CPC.

Pop-under Ad

Ad that appears in a separate window beneath an open window. Pop-under ads are concealed until the top window is closed, moved, resized or minimized.

Pop-up Ad

Any advertising experience where visiting a website in an initial browser window initiates a secondary browser window to deliver an ad impression directly above the initial browser window.


A linear video spot that appears after the video content completes. See Preroll and Midroll.


A preroll video ad is an In-Stream Video Ads that occurs before the video content the user has requested. See also postroll and midroll.


An object embedded in a web page (typically a 1x1 image pixel) that calls a web server for purposes of tracking some kind of user activity.

Push Down Banners

Push Down Banners are banners that Push website content down while expanding the banner to show more advertising space. They are usually triggered by either Rolling over the banner, Clicking the Banner, or sometimes autoload once the website loads. Users then click a custom designed Close button to minimize the banner.



(Return on Investment)

Net profit divided by investment.



The scheduling of Internet advertising whereby an ad network positions ads across the sites it represents at its own discretion, according to available inventory. The advertiser usually forgoes premium positioning in exchange for more advertising weight at a lower CPM.



The scheduling of Internet advertising whereby ads run across an entire site, often at a lower cost to the advertiser than the purchase of specific site sub-sections.


When used in reference to online advertising, one server assigning an ad-serving function to another server, often operated by a third company operating on behalf of an agency. For instance, a Web publisher's ad management server might issue a redirect to the browser or client which points to an Agency Ad Server (AAS) hired by an advertiser to distribute its ads to a target audience across a broad list of sites. There is no limit to the number of redirects that can come into play before the delivery of an actual ad. The agency ad server in turn may redirect the browser to a Rich Media Vendor (RMV) or Digital Video ad server. Re-directs produce latency! This is especially true when they are client side redirects which is the case in most online advertising today. Server side redirects limit latency but also limit the ability to persist the user’s identity when those redirects cross domains. See ad serving and latency.

Rich Media Vendor

A company that specializes in the creation of rich media ads.

Rich Media

Advertisements with which users can interact (as opposed to solely animation) in a web page format. These advertisements can be used either singularly or in combination with various technologies, including but not limited to sound, video, or Flash, and with programming languages such as Java, Javascript, and DHTML. These 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 take-overs, and tear-backs.


A roadblock ad in digital marketing is a full screen ad that is displayed before any page content. This ad type is similar to a pre-roll in digital video advertising. Theroadblock''' ad is very similar to the interstitial ad. However, the '''roadblock occurs before the first page of content, while the interstitial occurs between pages during user interaction with the site.



Search engine optimization

SEO is the process of improving the volume and quality of traffic to a web site from search engines via "natural" ("organic" or "algorithmic") search results.


Fees advertisers pay Internet companies to list and/or link their company site or domain name to a specific search word or phrase (includes paid search revenues). Search categories include: * Paid listings—text links appear at the top or side of search results for specific keywords. The more a marketer pays, the higher the position it gets. Marketers only pay when a user clicks on the text link. * Contextual search—text links appear in an article based on the context of the content, instead of a user-submitted keyword. Payment only occurs when the link is clicked. * Paid inclusion—guarantees that a marketer’s URL is indexed by a search engine. The listing is determined by the engine's search algorithms. * Site optimization—modifies a site to make it easier for search engines to automatically index the site and hopefully result in better placement in results.


1) a sequence of Internet activity made by one user at one site. If a user makes no request from a site during a 30 minute period of time, the next content or ad request would then constitute the beginning of a new visit; 2) a series of transactions performed by a user that can be tracked across successive Web sites. For example, in a single session, a user may start on a publisher's Web site, click on an advertisement and then go to an advertiser's Web site and make a purchase. See visit.


A browser plug-in developed by Macromedia (now part of Adobe) which allows multimedia objects to appear on the Web (animation, audio and video).

Site Retargeting

A method that enables advertisers to show an ad specifically to previous site visitors when they are on third-party web sites.


Customized and interchangeable sets of graphics, which allow Internet users to continually change the look of their desktops or browsers, without changing their settings or functionality. Skins are a type of marketing tool.


A tall, thin online ad unit. The IAB guidelines recommend two sizes of skyscrapers: 120 x 600 and 160 x 600.


1) a sponsor is an advertiser who has sponsored an ad and, by doing so, has also helped sponsor or sustain the Web site itself; 2) an advertiser that has a special relationship with the Web site and supports a specific feature of a Web site, such as a writer's column or a collection of articles on a particular subject.


Sponsorship represents custom content and/or experiences created for an advertiser which may or may not include ad unties (i.e., display advertising, brand logos, advertorial and pre-roll video). Sponsorships fall into several categories: *Spotlights are custom built pages incorporating an advertiser’s brand and housing a collection of content usually around a theme; *Advergaming can range from an advertiser buying all the ad units around a game or a “sponsored by” link to creating a custom branded game experience; *Content & Section Sponsorship is when an advertiser exclusively sponsors a particular section of the site or email (usually existing content) reskinned with the advertiser’s branding; *Sweepstakes & Contests can range from branded sweepstakes on the site to a full-fledge branded contest with submissions and judging.

Static Ad Placement/Static Rotation

1) ads that remain on a Web page for a specified period of time; 2) embedded ads. 


Target Audience

The intended audience for an ad, usually defined in terms of specific demographics (age, sex, income, etc.) product purchase behavior, product usage or media usage.


(Noun): The flow of data over a network, or visitors to a Web site


Unique Visitors

Unique individual or browser which has accessed a site or application and has been served unique content and/or ads such as e-mail, newsletters, interstitials or pop-under ads. Unique visitors can be identified by user registration, cookies, or third-party measurement like ComScore or Nielsen. Reported unique visitors should filter out bots. See for the audience reach measurement guidelines.


To send data from a computer to a network. An example of uploading data is sending e-mail.



The Digital Video Ad Serving Template (VAST)

The digital video ad serving template (VAST) provides a standardized method for communicating the status of a player where the ad response is parsed prior to play. VAST is applicable to Linear Video Ads (such as "pre-rolls"), Non-linear Video Ads (such as "overlays") and Companion ads as defined in the IAB Digital Video Ad Format Guidelines. History

Due to both strong industry adoption and an evolving marketplace, VAST has continued to be updated in order to stay relevant. =VAST 1.0=

The initial version of VAST was released in September 2008. =VAST 2.0=

Released in November 2009, this formalized support for multiple creatives, linear and non-linear ads, and companion ads. =VAST 3.0=

The upcoming version of VAST aims to include extensive industry feedback. Compliance Program

The IAB allows members who have self attested to compliance with the VAST guidelines to obtain and post a VAST Compliance seal. References


Video Ad

A video ad is an advertisement that contains video. There are several different types of video ads: * In-Banner Video Ads * In-Page Video Ads * In-Stream Video Ads * Non-linear Video Ads

Video Player

A video player is a computer program that translates data into video for viewing.


Person viewing content or ads on the Web. There is currently no way to measure viewers.



(eXtensible Markup Language) A richer more dynamic successor to HTML utilizing SGML or HTML type tags to structure information. XML is used for transferring data and creating applications on the Web. See SGML and HTML.

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