If you are new to the mobile advertising scene, or do some dabbling here and there, it’s tough wrapping your head around all the technical terminology like “attribution”, “programmatic, “interstitial” and endless abbreviations like CPA, CPC, DSP, SSP, API – it’s enough to make your head spin!

We feel it, we know it, we were all once beginners and dabblers learning the ropes on our own. Which is the reason we were inspired to come up with the 50 mobile advertising words you need to know – to make it easy on you. Well, at least in learning the terminology.





A/B Testing
Also known as “split testing”; tests two variants of an ad or landing page, email campaign, CTA, etc. to see which version performs better.

Acquisition Campaign
An advertising campaign with the aim of acquiring new customers for a business. For online and mobile this means acquiring new users or subscribers for an App or website.

Ad Creative
A file that houses the digitally formatted design and artwork for an ad and can be delivered in different formats: PNG, JPEG, SWF, Flash, HTML, etc.

Ad exchange
These are technology platforms that allow multiple ad networks to bid on advertising inventory. The pricing for available ad units therefore more flexible, changes frequently and is based on bidding by other networks rather than negotiated pricing.

Ad Network
An online advertising network or ad network is a company that connects advertisers to website/App publishers that want to host advertisements. Their key function is aggregation of ad space from publishers and matching it with advertiser demand.

Ad server
An ad server is the back end technology which places mobile advertisements onto mobile web pages or into mobile apps. Ad servers track interactions between users and the advertisements (such as clicks, video views or ad impressions) and report them back to the advertiser. Many ad servers are powered by databases to track users with unique identifiers, attributing characteristics and demographics to users which can be used for campaign targeting.

Ad Unit
Is the ad itself, more specifically it’s the advertising container that includes the brand’s message and creative assets inside a mobile/web ad space.

Agency Trading Desk
Is a major media buyer and reseller functioning as an independent unit within an advertising or media agency for managing digital advertising buying on behalf of their clients.

Stands for “Application Programming Interface” and is code that allows two different software programs to communicate with each other. API’s are commonly included in sdks.

Stands for “Average Revenue Per User” and is used to measure income generated per user/unit and is calculated by dividing total revenue by total active users.

Pieces of anonymous (generally non-PII) information or “attributes” about a user that are stored in a behavioral profile. Attributes can include demographic (e.g. Location, age, gender), retargeting (e.g. Last purchase was <30 days ago), lifestyle segments (e.g.camping/outdoor enthusiasts), etc.

A set of user IDs that have been specifically excluded from a campaign, typically because the user does not meet the targeting condition. A blacklist is commonly used to exclude existing users from user acquisition campaigns.

Click Fraud
Click fraud is a type of internet crime that occurs in pay per click online advertising when a person, automated script, or computer program imitates a legitimate user of a web browser clicking on an ad, for the purpose of generating a charge per click without having actual interest in the target of the ad’s link.

“Cost per acquisition” is a metric or advertising model measured as the cost that an advertiser pays for an action associated to the ad campaign (fills out a form, makes a purchase, etc).

“Cost per click” is a metric or advertising model measured as the cost that an advertiser pays for each click associated to an ad campaign.

“Cost per download” is a metric or advertising model measured as the cost that an advertiser pays for each download associated to the ad campaign.

“Cost per install” is a metric or advertising model measured as the cost that an advertiser pays for each each install associated to the ad campaign – typically a mobile app.

CPM Campaign
Stands for “cost per thousand impressions” is the price of 1,000 ad impressions on a web/mobile/app page. If a publisher charges $2 cpm, that means an advertiser must pay $2 for every 1,000 impressions of its ad. (see impression).

Stands for “Click-Through Rate” measures how many users clicked on an ad. Frequently used to measure the effectiveness of an ad creative.

Data Management Platform (DMP) 
Is a system that allows the collection of audience intelligence by advertisers and ad agencies, thereby allowing better ad targeting in subsequent campaigns.

Daily Active User: The number of active users of an app on a given day. Often reported as an average.

Deep link
A way for marketers to link to a specific page within their app. These are typically used in re-engagement campaigns, as marketers can advertise a specific feature of the app and send the user directly to that feature.

Demand Side Platform (DSP)
A demand side platform (DSP), also called buy side optimizer and buy side platform is 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.

Dynamic Native
Native advertising is a form of paid media designed to blend in seamlessly with the content around it and mimic the design of the publisher’s app or mobile site, allowing the advertiser to serve relevant ad content to their target audience on every single impression. A Dynamic Native advertising is a Native ad whose content (image, caption, text, call to action) can vary depending on the profile of the target market.

Effective CPM – the average CPM of a campaign [ecpm = Total Cost ÷ Total Imps x 1000].

Engagement Campaign
Also known as “In-App Campaign,” is the type of advertising campaign that is triggered by an App Developer to its users in the form of a Push notification, In-App notification, interstitials, etc.

Fill Rate
Is the percentage of ad requests filled with actual ads / impressions on a publisher’s site.

Finger Printing
Is a cookieless tracking method that captures different parameters about a mobile user’s device (brand, model, carrier, language, timestamp, etc.) In order to track such user’s activity or interaction with an advertisement.

Frequency Capping
To restrict (to cap) the frequency a specific visitor is shown an advertisement.

IDFA (Identifier For Advertisers), also IFA
A tracking method used by Apple to gather user data for improved targeting. IDFA replaced UDID (Unique Device Identifier) which was used before IOS 6.

The number of times an ad is displayed.

In-App Ads
Mobile ads that appear within a mobile app. This can include standard banners, video, and rich media ad formats.

Interstitial Ad
Is a full screen mobile ad unit that appears before the destined mobile website, mobile app or at natural transition point; for instance in between videos, levels in games or confirming a user’s age for age restricted material, etc.

The total amount of mobile ad space a publisher has available to sell to advertisers.

Stands for “Key Performance Indicators” are specific business metrics used to determine the effectiveness of campaigns (unique, return visits, conversion, revenue per customer, ROI, CPL, CPC, etc.)

Monthly Active User: A user who has engaged with your app at least once in the last month.

Is a platform that sends ad requests to different ad networks to ensure publishers find the best network to fill their ad slots.

Mobile Ad Exchange
A digital marketplace that facilitates the buying and selling of mobile ad inventory through real time bidding (RTB).

Mobile 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.

Mobile Attribution Tracking
Uses data to track the source of a new user back to the advertising campaigns from which they were obtained. Mobile attribution tracking shows app marketers which advertisements and ad networks drove app installs and how those users are interacting with the app. This data can be used to optimize campaigns towards better performing ads and creative.

Offers are the products or services like mobile apps or websites that advertisers promote (mostly performance advertisers). Offers can mean different things depending on user case: to a Performance Marketer an Offer is a Client’s product or app. To an Agency an Offer is a Brand. To a Developer and Offer is their own app.

Postbacks are URL requests that notify advertising tracking systems that an install or other tracked conversion has taken place. Postbacks give networks and ad exchanges vital data that allows them to optimize advertising in real time.

Programmatic Buying
Real Time Bidding (RTB) is the programmatic buying and selling of advertising placements that involves auction pricing mechanisms in real time.

Programmatic Expert
Expert in performance and trending analyses, uses best practices for the programmatic platform, consults with clients including onboarding, training, workflow, monitoring campaign performance, KPI reviews, analytics and adjusts tactics based on performance trends and client’s marketing goals.

The total number of individuals shown an ad at least once during an advertising campaign. This is different from the number of views as an individual may view an ad more than once. Reach should not be confused with the number of people who will actually consume or interact with the advertising.

A system that allows you to continue to show relevant ads to people who have visited your mobile website.

Rich Media
Interactive ad formats like video, audio, expandable banners that encourage viewers to engage and interact with the content.

Return on Investment: The benefit to the marketer from an investment in an advertising campaign or the development of a new feature to attract users to the app

Role Based Access Level
A method of controlling access to a platform based on the roles (operations, accounting, legal) of individual users within a company and/or its stakeholders (clients, suppliers). Access is given to individual users to perform specific tasks, like view, create, or modify a file.

RTB (Real time bidding)
Real Time Bidding: A means by which advertising inventory is bought and sold on a per-impression basis, via programmatic real-time auctions, similar to financial markets. Inventory is sold to the highest bidder on a per impression basis.

Stands for ‘Software Development Kit’. In mobile advertising it means the programming code provided by ad networks to developers so that ads can be served on such developers’ mobile apps and websites.

Spending Caps
Budget limit for any given offer or campaign. Usually represented in terms of dollars per campaign or offer but also can be implemented using other kpis such as CPM, CPI, CPC, etc.

Supply Side Platform (SSP)
Is a technology platform that allows publishers to ‘plug into’ an ad exchange to make their online impression inventory available to advertisers.

Target Segment
A group of customers an advertiser wants to reach; usually with specific criteria like age, gender, device type, language, country, etc.

UDID (Unique Device Identifier)
Is a unique character string made up of 40 letters and numbers assigned permanently to each IOS Apple device. Initially used by advertisers and developers to identify and track engagement, it was replaced for such identification purposes by IDFA starting on ios 6 (See definition above).

URL Rotator
A unique link that allows an advertiser to route visitors to different ads or landing pages. When a visitor clicks an Ad link, they may be redirected to one of multiple urls an advertiser has set up to target different segments.

User Acquisition
To acquire new users through unpaid (organic) or paid media like mobile ad networks, social advertising (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.) Or incentivized mobile ad networks.

User Engagement
A measurement of a user’s level of activity in response to an offering for a product like a mobile app or website. Kpi’s to measure mobile engagement include, app installs, app opens, in-app purchases, etc.

Is a mobile advertising metric that tracks only impressions that are seen by users. For example, iab’s definition of a viewable display ad is; “viewable if 50% or more of its pixels appear on-screen for at least one continuous second. A video ad is deemed viewable if 50% of its pixels appear on-screen for at least 2 consecutive seconds”.

In mobile advertising, a whitelist is a database of mobile device IDs that are the target of a mobile advertising campaign. Whitelists are commonly used in re-engagement campaigns. Whitelists are also used by advertising exchange platforms – whitelisted sources include publishers and networks that a marketer has chosen to run their advertisements on.