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The A-Z of the Ad-Tech World


The World (and Buzzwords) of Ad Tech, Defined and Discussed

In today’s interconnected world, where digital technology is constantly evolving, so too are industries, for survival’s sake. This is especially true for the media market, where the field of ad tech is changing the face of digital advertising and the way it is being purchased and sold.

So, what exactly is ad tech? Below, we’ll explore this industry buzzword – along with many more. As the following marketing terms are becoming increasingly prevalent in the ad tech industry, it’s important to discuss what they mean and why they matter to your business.

Ad blocker: A term that describes software or hardware that removes ads from a web page.

Ad exchanges: Auction-based, automated digital marketplaces that allow multiple parties, including advertisers and publishers, to buy and sell ad inventory. This usually includes display, video and mobile ads. Via ad exchanges, advertisers can simultaneously buy ads across a range of sites compared to negotiating separate ad buys directly with specific publishers.

Ad Formats: The size and format of the ads that are displayed on publishers’ websites.  There are different formats and they each support different types of ads, including text, images, or videos – as well as the number of individual ads displayed.

Ad Fraud: Intentionally serving ads that will not be viewed human users. Instead, Internet bots (or robots) cause computers to click on ads, thereby requiring advertisers to pay for a click-through or ad impression, even though it was never seen by humans.

Ad Impressions: Each time a digital ad appears from its source, it is counted as one impression. It does not matter whether the ad is clicked or not.

Ad Inventory: The ad space that a publisher makes available for advertising. There are three categories of ad inventory: premium (or preferred), remnant (or left-over), and long-tail (space that originates from less popular content sources).

Ad Networks: Aggregating platforms that package ad inventory together to sell at a higher price.

Ad Quality Tools/technology: Technology and tools used to scan and block or alert about invalid or inappropriate ads. This allows publishers to know that ads that appear on their platforms programmatically will not harm their users’ experience on the site.  MRC (Media Rating Council) accredits such tools that are up to par with industry standards.

Ad Serving: The technology and services that place advertisements on publishers’ web sites. Ad serving companies provide software to both publishers and advertisers to place ads, monitor them, choose the most profitable ads for the website or advertiser, and monitor different advertising campaigns.

Ad Tech: A niche that helps publishers efficiently maximize the value of their content, or ad inventory. It provides tools for both publishers of content and advertisers to efficiently navigate the appropriate price points and trading techniques to connect inventory with digital ad buyers.

Amplification: The sharing of online content, either organically or by paid engagement, on social media to increase word-of-mouth brand awareness. Successful amplification occurs by promoting (amplifying) your message through acquaintances’, friends’ and followers’ social channels. Then, each individual further shares your message onward throughout their personal network, where it subsequently gets shared even further. The resulting reach can mean significant brand exposure.

Arbitrage: In general, arbitrage is buying in one market and selling simultaneously in another to profit from the temporary price difference. Ad networks do arbitrage by negotiating with publishers for low prices on ad inventory, then reselling it at a higher price. Sometimes, ad networks add value before selling it.

Audience Targeting / Planning: The practice of analyzing and planning who will be the most effective audience to see your ad and then targeting them accordingly as part of your brand positioning.

Brand Safety: The technology used to prevent ads from appearing in any inappropriate context on a publisher’s site, which might unwittingly cause harm to the brand’s reputation or image.

Content Discovery: A data-driven automated platform used to discover, recommend and deliver a wide range of relevant, personalized content to mobile devices, websites and set-top boxes.

Cost Per Action (CPA): The average cost of a single conversion (meaning any desired action by a user) during a marketing campaign.

Cost Per Thousand (CPM): The price an advertiser pays for 1,000 ad impressions.

Creative: An ad creative contains all the data to make it visually possible to make the ad itself

Cross-Channel Marketing: A type of marketing strategy that offers seamless, consistent and interchangeable brand experiences over multiple devices or platforms to market, sell, and interact with customers. With Cross-Channel Marketing, a consumer may search for a product on mobile, then see an ad for the same product on desktop or social media. Clicking on the product banner will take the user to the original product page that was first visited.

Cross-Screen Advertising: Campaigns that efficiently tie together digital advertisements that appear across consumers’ many devices, such as smartphones, tablets, and desktop, into one campaign.

Demand-Side Platform (DSP): A type of automated software used to assess and then purchase accordingly specific ad impressions across a range of publisher sites. It enables advertisers and agencies to automate the purchase of display, video, mobile and search ads according to information about users’ location and previous browsing behavior. The real-time bidding process, through ad exchanges, takes place in milliseconds, as a user’s computer loads a web page.

Display Advertising: A form of advertising specifically for websites to deliver general adverts and brand messages to site visitors. It includes many different formats containing features such as text, images, Flash, video, and audio.

Distribution: The online distribution or delivery of content, be it audio, software, video, video games, etc. Content can be downloaded or streamed. This term is also referred to as content delivery and online distribution.

Last Click Attribution: An analytics model that measures the origins of a website user whose “last click” is credited with a conversion or sale. Basically, it is a system of analytics that shows what drives a user to click on your site.

Long-Tail Ad Inventory: Ad inventory that is accumulated from less popular or less well-known publisher sources.

Mobile Advertising: A form of advertising via mobile phones or other wireless devices.

Monetization: The method of using an asset to generate profit. Website publishers aim to monetize their sites by converting existing site traffic into revenue. This is done by authorizing the presence of advertisements, either pay per click (PPC) and/or cost per impression (CPI) advertisements on their sites via ad networks. The publisher is then paid for showing these ads.
Multi-Channel Marketing: Reaching customers through the use of marketing on more than one channel or medium, such as the web, TV, radio and in print.

Native advertising: A form of paid or brand-sponsored advertising that matches the natural form and function of the platform on which it appears. Of the user experience in which it appears. Either as a video or article, produced by an advertiser to promote a product.

Out Of Home Advertising (OOH): Advertising that focuses on reaching consumers while they are out and about in the public sphere. OOH advertising falls into four main categories: street furniture, such as benches, billboards, transit, and alternative locations.

OTT: OTT stands for “Over-The-Top” audio or video content that is delivered over the Internet without users needing to subscribe to a traditional satellite pay-TV or cable service. Currently, there are three OTT revenue models: subscription-based services, like Hulu and Netflix; free and ad-supported services; and transactional services, like iTunes, which let users pay per piece of content

Post-Bid: Post-bid allows a publisher’s demand sources to compete in one auction based on price after the ad server has declined to choose a direct-sold or exchange-based line item.

Premium: The classification assigned to a digital ad that has successfully engaged the intended target audience at the right time and place. A premium ad is one that is well-placed (i.e., where viewers can see it and not next to inappropriate content) and has content that engages the viewer.

Price Floor: The lowest price a seller will accept for ad impressions.
Private Marketplace (PMP): A private marketplace is where high-quality, reputable publishers offer their ad inventory to a hand-picked group of advertisers. PMPs tend to give publishers more control over the types of buyers, advertisers and creatives that will be shown on their sites.

Programmatic Ad Buying: The use of automated software to buy and sell digital advertising. In essence, programmatic advertising means that technological platforms replace human negotiations to purchase ads. There are different models used in the industry today.

Programmatic TV: An automated method to buy and sell ads on TV that is driven by audience-based data. This method allows marketers to rely on audience data instead of the usual show ratings to determine where to place their ads to reach more specific target audiences. This includes digital TV ads appearing across mobile devices, the web, as well as connected TVs and even linear, or traditional, TV ads.

Real-Time Bidding (RTB): The buying and selling of online ad impressions / digital advertising through what’s referred to as “real-time auctions” take place in milliseconds, or the time it takes a web page to load. These auctions usually take place via ad exchanges, and the price paid for impressions is based on immediate demand.

Remnant Inventory: A publisher’s non-premium inventory that is typically sold at a discounted rate by a third party.

Sellers.json: Much like ads.txt, Sellers.json is a file that is hosted at the root of a corporate domain. It indicates the authorized sellers’ name/ID, seller domain and seller type: “Publisher”/“Intermediary”/“Both.” It also allows the buyer to identify the intermediaries that participated in the selling of a bid request and can whitelist or blacklist some of them.

Smart TV: A television that has integrated Internet and Web 2.0 features, integrating the technology of computers and television sets. These sets can provide Internet TV, online interactive media and on-demand streaming media.

Streaming: A way of steadily transferring or receiving data, typically video and audio, over a computer network, enabling continuous playback while subsequent data is being received.

SupplyChain (Schain): This enables buyers to see all parties who are selling or reselling a given bid request. It enables buyers to see all the intermediary entities by displaying their identities to the buyer in real time (making sure that the traffic purchased is as direct as possible). It will identify the seller who was the final reseller in the chain. Buyers can match them to seller IDs given by the supplier in their ads.txt files and decide whether they are trustworthy.

Supply-Side Platform (SSP): A type of automated software that enables publishers to sell display, video, and mobile ad impressions, in the most cost-effective and convenient manner. An SSP allows publishers to access a large group of interested buyers, which may include ad networks, ad exchanges, and DSPs. With this real-time platform, publishers can set a price floor.
Trading Desk: Trading desks conduct digital media trading as a managed service, and are seen as experts in the use of data and technology. They can be independent or part of large agencies.

Traffic quality technology: Technology used to scan and block or alert about invalid traffic, bots and other forms of fraudulent traffic. This allows demand partners to know that the eyeballs they have paid for are coming from real users and not bots. MRC (Media Rating Council) accredits such tools that are up to par with industry standards.

Video Advertising: A form of online display advertisements, such as Mid-Page Units (MPUs), which include video within them. There are three formats of video advertising:

  • Linear video ads, where the ads are presented before, in the middle, or after the video content is seen by the user.
  • Non-linear video ads, where the ads run simultaneously with the video content, allowing the users to see ad while viewing the content.
  • Companion ads, where there is text, graphics or Flash banners are overlayed or displayed adjacently to the video player for the duration of the main video content. It can also wrap around the video experience.

Viewability: The degree by which a digital advertisement has been viewed on screen by consumers. (The Media Ratings Council (MRC) defines a video ad as viewable only if half of it is visible onscreen for two consecutive seconds at least).

Yield Management: An approach used in digital advertising aimed at maximizing website publishers’ overall revenue by finding the best possible supply allocation (inventory) to sell to demand-side sources.