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.
Above the Fold
Above the Fold – (ATF) a term derived from newspaper print advertising, this means that an ad is placed on a website above the scroll line as the page is viewed before any scrolling occurs; in view before scrolling.
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.
The number of unique users exposed to an ad within a specified time period.
Software on a user’s browser which prevents advertisements from being displayed.
The user activity of pressing a navigation button or hitting the enter key on the keyboard on an advertisement unit on a Web site (banner, button or text link). (See Click-through)
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 creative pixel
A 1×1 “pixel” sized request which calls a web server for the purpose of tracking that a user has viewed a particular ad.
Two methods are used to deliver ad content to the user – server-initiated and client-initiated, which are explained in the diagrams below.
When an ad is downloaded by a server to a user’s browser. Ads can be requested, but aborted or abandoned before actually being downloaded to the browser, and hence there would be no opportunity to see the ad by the user.
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.
When an ad is inserted in a document and recorded by the ad server.
The creative artwork, copy, active URLs and active target sites which are due to the seller prior to the initiation of the ad campaign.
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.
The team/function that is responsible for trafficking and/or optimizing digital ad campaigns.
A measure of advertising effectiveness in which a sample of respondents is exposed to an ad and then at a later point in time is asked if they remember the ad. Ad recall can be on an aided or unaided basis. Aided ad recall is when the respondent is told the name of the brand or category being advertised.
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.
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.
The location on a page of a site in which an advertisement can be placed. Each space on a site is uniquely identified. Multiple ad spaces can exist on a single page.
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.
Delivering an ad to the appropriate audience. This may be done through:
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.
Add to cart
The user activity of storing merchandise in a virtual shopping cart that the user intends to later purchase from an online e-commerce website. This enables users to continue browsing and “check-out” later or alternately delete these items from the cart.
A commercial message targeted to an advertiser’s customer or prospect.
The company paying for the advertisement.
Computer software provided to the user free of charge or at a discounted price that downloads and displays advertising to support its continued development and maintenance. This software often tracks what Internet sites the user visits.
An agreement between two parties in which one party (the affiliate) agrees to publish content or an ad designed to drive traffic to another site. In return, the affiliate receives a percentage of sales or some other form of compensation generated by that traffic.
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.
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.
A word or phrase that is displayed when a user has image loading disabled in their browser or when a user abandons a page by hitting “stop” in their browser prior to the transfer of all images.Also appears as “balloon text” when a user lets their mouse rest over an image.
An animation created by combining multiple GIF images in one file. The result is multiple images,displayed sequentially, giving the appearance of movement.
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.
Short for “applications”, these are programs on a digital device (most commonly smartphones and tablets) that provide a specific service or function; usually will connect to the internet and can be ad-supported/free or paid.
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.
The width-to-height ratio of a picture or video frame.
Logos, artwork, fonts, etc. that a brand uses in their advertising creative.
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.
The process of connecting an ad event to a consumer action; or, more broadly, the process of connecting any consumer touchpoint a brand provides to a desired response.
An audience is the group of people who visit a specific web site or who are reached by a specific ad network.
The counting of unique users (i.e. audience) and their interaction with online content. At a campaign level, this service is conducted by a third party to validate that a publisher delivered what an advertiser had requested. At the industry level, this service enables media buyers to understand which brokers of online content to negotiate with to reach a specific audience.
A method that enables advertisers to show an ad specifically to visitors based on their shared behavioral, demographic, geographic and/or technographic attributes. Audience targeting uses anonymous, non-PII data.
The audible file that may accompany ads. Advertising audio should not play without user-initiation in general.
Average view time
Refers to the average amount of time the video ad was played by users.
Also known as “display ads”, banner advertisements are a form of graphical ads embedded into a webpage, 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.
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.
Below the Fold
Below the Fold – (BTF) a term derived from newspaper print advertising, this means that an ad is placed on a website below the scroll line as the page is viewed before any scrolling occurs; out of view before scrolling.
An IAB Universal Brand Package ad unit template designed with options for rich interactivity to display prominently inline with Publishers’ webpage content. A usual 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.
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.
Additional ad impressions above the commitments outlined in the approved insertion order. Sometimes called “added value”.
Software that runs automatically without human intervention. Typically, a bot is endowed with the capability to react to different situations it may encounter. Two common types of bots are agents and spiders. Bots are used by companies like search engines to discover Web sites for indexing. Short for “robot.”
Figured as a percentage, this compares the number of visitors to a website who arrive and immediately leave vs. those who stay and spend time on the site; can be used to measure the effectiveness of a website, a search campaign or an ad campaign.
Research studies can associate ad effectiveness to measure the impact of online advertising on key branding metrics.
Measurable KPIs associated with branding objectives, such as brand lift, affinity, or favorability.
Businesses whose primary customers are other businesses.
Businesses whose primary customers are consumers.
Usually refers to a linear video ad with clickable call-to-action; format is usually shorter than full linear ads (i.e. 3-10 seconds) and call-to-action usually can load another video or can bring up a new site while pausing the content.
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.
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.
Cached ad impressions
The delivery of an advertisement to a browser from local cache or a proxy server’s cache. When a user requests a page that contains a cached ad, the ad is obtained from the cache and displayed.
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.
Click through rate
Click through rate – (CTR) the percentage of ad impressions that were clicked on as compared to the entire number of clicks [CTR% = (Clicks ÷ Imps) x 100]
Similar to click down or click. But more commonly, click-withins are ads that allow the user to “drill down” and click, while remaining in the advertisement, not leaving the site on which they are residing.
Client side serving
Client side refers to activities taking place on the client as opposed to on the server. Examples are client side counting and client side redirects.
Client-initiated ad impression
One of the two methods used for ad counting. Ad content is delivered to the user via two methods – server-initiated and client-initiated. Client-initiated ad counting relies on the user’s browser for making requests, formatting and re-directing content. 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. See server-initiated ad impression.
A term used by web-based companies offering users the ability to access files or services from devices that are connected to the internet (the opposite of storing files or programs on a hard or external drive).
The practice of packaging a digital file so that it uses less storage space.
“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.
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).
An advertising unit created by an ad designer, in accordance with publisher specifications and guidelines, for the purpose of communicating a marketing message to that publisher’s audience. One creative may consist of multiple files in various formats, such as standard images, animation, video, execution files (.html, .js, etc.) and other files that work together for an interactive experience.
Measured in pixels, the width and height of an ad unit (WxH). The width is always the first dimension listed, followed by the height dimension (i.e. an ad that is 300×250 is 300 pixels wide by 250 pixels high).
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.
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.
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].
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.
Rich media ads that can be enlarged to dimensions beyond the initial dimensions of the placement they fill on the webpage. The user initiates expanding events, sometimes after the ad initially expands briefly on its own to catch the user’s attention.
The secondary dimensions of an expanding ad unit (after the ad is expanded). Initial dimensions are fit to the dimensions of the placement. Then, either by auto-play or by user interaction, the ad unit expands to its secondary dimension.
In the context of displaying digital content, the browser loads code that contains instructions about where to retrieve files such as text, images, videos, and any other components that contribute to the display experience. Each time the browser must retrieve content from another server, a file request is made. Too many file request may reduce page load performance.
Is the percentage of ad requests filled with actual ads / impressions on a publisher’s site.
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.
Software and tools developed by Adobe used to build, generate, and play animated files. Also used to define the creative files generated by the program. In order for Flash files to execute in a browser, the Flash player plug-in must be installed. However, Flash development tools can also generate files in HTML5 format so that no plug-in is required for execution. No longer widely used.
To restrict (to cap) the frequency a specific visitor is shown an advertisement.
A video coding format that uses a block-oriented, motion-compensation-based video compression standard. H.264/MPEG-4 AVC is one of the most common formats used for recording, compressing, and distributing video content.
Any activity that is auto-initiated.
The additional file limit allowed that is auto-initiated after the load event is fired by the window object of the publisher page (intial web page content has been loaded) on the host computer or device. In absence of access to publisher page window object, the window object of the ad iframe can be used.
A “hot spot” is an area of an ad unit, which when rolled-over/rolled-on by the user’s cursor, such rollover triggers an event (i.e. expand ad). The hotspot should never be larger than 1/4th the size of the original (collapsed) ad unit. The trigger event should not occur unless the user’s cursor rests in the hotspot zone for at least 1-second. Hotspots should never initiate audio (audio should only be initiated by a click). When hotspots are used, the trigger event should stop immediately upon the user’s cursor leaving the hotspot zone (i.e. ad collapses), and the ad unit should return to its original state.
An acronym for Hypertext Markup Language, version 5. HTML5 extends earlier versions to include tags for processing video, audio, canvas, an other embedded audio and video items without requiring proprietary plug-ins and APIs. HTML5 has been used as an alternative to developing and executing interactions similar to those using Adobe Flash but with very different technology.
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.
Mobile ads that appear within a mobile app. This can include standard banners, video, and rich media ad formats.
A video delivered as part of (inside of) the display ad creative for a given placement rather than initiating the use of a video player.
The original width and height (in pixels) of an expanding ad. Expanding ads are designed to expand to dimensions larger than the initial dimensions.
Initial File Load
Includes all assets and files necessary (.html, .js, .css, .woff, images, ets.) for completing first visual display of the Ad. The initial file load size of an ad is limited in order to preserve the page load performance and thus the user’s web browsing experience. For non-rich media ads, the initial file load size limit is all that’s allowed for the 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.
A collection of pre-written code used to simplify development of web-based applications.
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.
The practice of removing unnecessary characters from code to reduce its size, removing unnecessary spacing, and optimizing the CSS code; thus improving load times.
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.
The act of a user moving the cursor away (off) from the hot spot of an ad. Mouse-off by a user may trigger an event, such as collapsing an expanding panel or stopping any animation in progress.
The act of a user moving the cursor and resting it on the hot spot of an ad for at least one second. Mouse-over may trigger an event such as expanding the ad or initiating an animated sequence within the ad. Mouse-over may NOT initiate audio play.
A digital multimedia format used to store video and audio, but may also include features such as subtitles, chapter details, and other data related to the video or audio file. The filename extension for MPEG-4 files is .mp4.
A set of standards for audio and video compression and transmission established by the Moving Picture Experts Group.
An acronym for MPEG Dynamic Adaptive Streaming over HTTP. This adaptive streaming technique allows for a streaming experience using progressive download of several small chunks of video at different bitrates. An HTTP-connected video player (the client) detects the bandwidth at each chunk of time (about 3-5 seconds) and determines which quality level to download and play for the small duration allotted.
An acronym for Mobile Rich Media Ad Interface Definition. MRAID is a protocol that enables communication between an ad and a mobile application in order to execute interactions such as geolocation, ad resizing, and accelerometer functions among others.
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.
An ad unit that displays over the webpage content briefly when initiated.
Pixel (as a unit of measure)
The smallest unit of measure for graphical elements in digital imagery, used as the standard unit of measure for ad creative (i.e. 300×250 pixels). Pixels may also represent x/y coordinates relevant to a given space, such as the browser window, an application workspace or the user’s computer screen. (See also “Tracking Pixel”)
Polite file load
Withholding a portion of the total ad creative file size (besides any initial file load size) from loading on a page until publisher content has loaded. With the release of the Display Creative Guidelines in 2015, polite file load has been replaced “Host-initiated subload.” See Host-Initiated Subload for definition.
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.
Real Time Bidding (RTB) is the programmatic buying and selling of advertising placements that involves auction pricing mechanisms in real time.
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.
An IAB Rising Star ad unit template designed for rich interaction in a space similar to, but larger than, an expanding leaderboard, with initial dimensions of 970×90 pixels and expanded dimensions of 970×415 pixels. When the ad is expanded, it “pushes” page content down rather than displaying over the top of page content as most expandable ads do.
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.
Interactive ad formats like video, audio, expandable banners that encourage viewers to engage and interact with the content.
Rising Stars Display Ad Units
IAB invited companies and individuals to submit ad templates designed to drive brand equity. Six templates were chosen to be validated by the market. Universal Brand Package Display Ad Units are designed to be the only ad on a page. Their file load limits are larger than for other ads, so not only would a Universal Brand Package Ad Unit overshadow any other ads on the page but they would also compromise the performance of the page should other rich media ads be allowed to load simultaneously.
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.
The willful pause of the user’s cursor on the target portion of the creative (the “hot spot”), such pause lasting at least one second in duration, before an action may be initiated by the ad (i.e. trigger an expand event, etc.). This one-second pause/delay requirement prevents unwanted, user-initiated actions and false reporting of user engagement. Rollover may NOT initiate audio.
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.
A standard ad unit with dimensions of 160×600 pixels.
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.
Standard Ad Units
A set of ad specifications for standard image or animated in-page ad units that establish a framework for advertising inventory and webpage design.
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.
Acronym for Shockwave Flash™. “.swf” is the file naming extension used for animated files complied using Adobe Flash™ software. HTML cannot execute .swf files without the browser-installed Flash player plug-in. For this reason, many content and ad providers are moving to the HTML5 format for more efficient execution of interactive media files. No longer widely used
A group of customers an advertiser wants to reach; usually with specific criteria like age, gender, device type, language, country, etc.
A 1×1 pixel-sized transparent image that provides information about an ad’s placement. In many cases, a tracking pixel is used to notify an ad tracking system that either an ad has been served (or not served, in some cases) or that a specific webpage has been accessed. Also known as: beacon, web beacon, action tag, redirect, 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).
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.
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.
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.
The willful act of a user to engage with an ad. Users may interact by a discrete device action like clicking on the ad, and/or tapping over an ad (or a portion of an ad). Rollover is not a valid user initiation action.
Video (aka “Digital Video”)
In online advertising, the digital recording of a physical event or animated files that have been transcribed into a digital video format.
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.
The process of a server sending a browser the location of a requested ad, rather than sending the ad itself. Ad servers use 302 redirects to allow them to track activities such as ad requests or ad clicks.