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The A-Z of Programmatic Advertising: Key Terms & Acronyms

Last updated on Jul 21, 2020

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The A-Z of Programmatic Advertising: Key Terms & Acronyms

When it comes to increasing ad revenue for your site or media property, advertisers you’re targeting, how much they’re spending, and how their ads are being perceived, are a few things that matter to publishers.

With the advertising ecosystem rapidly changing, one concept that has revolutionized and is benefiting publishers/website owners is programmatic advertising.

Need programmatic advertising explained in layman terms? Don’t worry, we have you covered.

What is Programmatic Advertising?

Programmatic advertising can be defined as a technology-enabled process of buying and selling ad space in real-time. 

Thanks to programmatic advertising, publishers can access advertisers much more easily, and start making money without any hassle.

However, Programmatic Advertising can be a notoriously jargon-filled landscape. According to IAB’s programmatic guidelines, confusion regarding how the programmatic advertising ecosystem actually works and terms being interchangeably used by digital publishers and marketers is still a potential concern and implication for further adoption.

The best way to start learning programmatic advertising is to begin with the jargon. 

Programmatic Advertising Key Terms and Acronyms Explained:

  • Ad Refresh – A technique that allows publishers to increase the number of impressions served from predefined behavior triggers such as clicking, scrolling or time.
  • Ad Unit – Ad specifications i.e. formatting and dimension and the spaces on a website or app where you want to show ads.
  • Ad Network – a technology platform that serves as an ad inventory broker between publishers and advertisers. They aggregate ad supplies and offer them to advertisers.  
  • Ad Server – a technology that makes it possible to manage, display, and track ads across digital properties such as mobile devices, games, emails, and desktop computers. In addition to this, it monitors whether or not there’s a need to optimize performance.
  • Ad Tag – a code that advertisers need to insert within a webpage where they intend to display ads. They’re used to determine parameters of individual ads while also providing creatives, collecting metrics, and generating reports.
  • Banner Ads – Ad networks or ad servers deliver banner ads to web pages and media properties. They are rectangular graphic displays linked to the publisher's landing page or site and are used to promote an advertisers message and direct users to the target site. Banner ads today are much more sophisticated and versatile, being available in many sizes.

    Types of Banner Ads

    Source: BannerSnack

    According to BannerSnack, the top performing banner ad sizes are as follows:

    • 300×250 – Medium rectangle; 0.13% CTR, 40% Frequency
    • 336×280 – Large rectangle;  0.33% CTR, 1% Frequency
    • 728×90 – Leaderboard; 0.08% CTR, 25% Frequency 
    • 300×600 – Half page or large skyscraper; 0.25% CTR, 5% Frequency  
    • 320×50 – Mobile leaderboard; 1.2% CTR, 12% Frequency 
  • Conversion – Happens whenever the intended audience performs a specific, predetermined task such as a member sign up.
  • Cost Per Mile (CPM) – A measure of the cost of serving 1000 ad impressions, providing the advertiser with the value of an individual ad impression.This is also a standard measure for purchasing display ads inventory.
  • Deal Check – A tool used to check for issues that cause the number of matched ad requests to decrease for a publisher’s Private Auctions or Preferred deals.
  • Demand Side Platform (DSP) – a software that lets advertisers purchase ad space automatically. It's the job of the DSP to send bids to the SSP for the purchase of impressions. Just like SSP, it helps automate the process.
  • eCPM – eCPM or effective cost per mille, takes into account how many impressions were actually paid for. eCPM will be specific to each of your ad sources and is used to show what the value of your ad inventory is, based on the number of impressions your ad partners purchased.
  • First Party Data – The data that you have directly collected from your audience, triggered from behaviors across multiple platforms and gathered from website analytics platforms, CRM systems and business analysis tools.
  • Frequency Capping – It's a way to restrict how many times a specific visitor sees a particular advertisement. This technique makes ads more affordable as showing the same ad to the same person again and again may result in ad fatigue.
  • Header Bidding – Designed to allow publishers to bypass the traditional waterfall method, where SSPs/demand partners are called in a predetermined order. This method allows publishers to host auctions where all demand partners get to compete in real-time. 
  • Impression – It’s the number of times an ad has been served. Impression does not take into consideration other factors such as clicks and leads.
  • Inventory – It's the ad space available on applications or web pages to advertise. A publisher may not present all web pages for advertising. Also, a seller may offer several ads on the same page, i.e.: banner ads and in-video ads can be placed on a single page.
  • Mobile Advertising – Mobile advertising is growing by leaps and bounds since over 50 percent of all internet traffic is mobile. It’s a form of paid advertising that occurs on mobile devices such as tablets and smartphones. Mobile ads can be of a variety of types including banner ads, in-app ads, and text ads. Mobile ads are smaller than traditional ads and are also placed differently. The most popular size is 300x250, which is also used for mobile video ads.
  • Native Advertising – A form of a digital ad that looks and feels like editorial content. It’s ‘native’ to the web page and appears just like other content found on the page. Native ad space typically costs more than typical ad space. They usually appear with a note such as ‘Suggested Content’ or ‘Paid Content’. Clicking on the ad redirects users to the advertiser’s webpage. Native ads are 53 percent more likely to generate leads as they’re not ‘hard selling’ in nature. They use relevant and entertaining content to engage users and push them to take a specific action. 
  • Overlay Ads – These ads appear in the video player without stopping the video. They cover a portion of the screen.
  • Pay Per Click – More commonly known as PPC, it's a form of online advertising that's used to drive traffic to a landing page or website. There are several types of PPC ads including search ads, social media ads, banner ads, and native ads. In PPC advertising, the advertiser pays only when a viewer clicks on their ad. The cost per click is determined by the number of clicks occurring in a specific time period within a pre-decided budget. The higher the number of clicks, the lower the cost. For example, let's say you set up a campaign to run for 5 days and you assign it a budget of $100. At the end of the campaign, you receive 15 clicks only. Based on these numbers, each click cost you $6.6. If the same campaign results in 100 clicks then the cost is only $1 per click.
  • Programmatic Direct – The automation of ad buys directly between an advertiser and a publisher for fixed budget campaigns.
  • Price Floor – The minimum CPM price a publisher will accept for their inventory. Publishers can set different floor prices for different sections of content and ad formats.
  • Private Marketplace Deals (PMP) – PMP advertising allows publishers to invite advertisers of their choice and organize a real-time private auction of their ad inventory.
  • Real Time Bidding  – It consists of a bid response and a bid request. The request is triggered when a user lands on a page. The request data (device, website, browser history, user location) is offered for sale with a supply side platform on an exchange. A demand side platform connects to this exchange responds to this offer with data on creatives and price (bid response). The highest bid wins and the ad gets distributed.
  • Second Party Data – First-party data that's purchased directly or through a DMP.
  • Skippable in-stream Ads – These ads appear in a video and can be skipped by clicking the given button. Users may, however, have to watch a portion of the ad before they get the option to skip it.
  • Standard in-stream Ads – A non-skippable form of advertising that's used in videos. These ads can appear at the beginning or mid of a video.
  • Supply Side Platform (SSP) – A software used to sell advertising space in an automated manner. It allows publishers to manage their inventory and fill it with ads so they can earn money. The system automates processes that would otherwise be very difficult and lengthy. 
  • Third Party Data – Refers to the information collected by a publisher or company that doesn't have a direct relationship with the user the data is being collected on. There are several laws and regulations covering how data can be collected and used by companies.
  • Ad Viewability – An impression is considered viewable if at least half of the ad's pixels are in the user's view for more than 1 second. 
  • Video Ad-Serving Template – A uniform template used to structure metadata and tags sent to a video player from an ad server. This allows ad servers to seamlessly deliver a video ad into a compatible player.

Publishers looking to increase their ad revenue should seriously consider programmatic advertising, as a way of selling their ad inventory in real time.

One thing is for sure, the future of ad buying and selling with programmatic is guaranteed!

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Ben Morrisroe
Ben Morrisroe
Ben Morrisroe is the Head of Publisher Development at Publift, leading the global expansion and growth by helping publishers and website owners to maximise their ad revenue.

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