Online advertising industry terms
301 Redirect – A 301 redirect automatically causes one url to redirect to another and tells the Web (and search engines) that this redirect is permanent, as opposed to a temporary (302) redirect. 301 redirects are generally preferable for Search Engine Optimization purposes and are therefore often referred to as search engine friendly redirects.
Above the fold: Any area of a web page that can be viewed without visitors having to scroll. Ad space in this area tends to have a higher value than that located elsewhere on the page.
Acquisition Cost – The cost of gaining a new customer. Advertisers consider the amount of revenue potential from a potential customer over a life time to determine maximum acquisition cost.
Ad flight: The total length of an advertising campaign.
Ad network: An advertising company that brokers deals between online publishers and advertisers. Bigger ad networks aggregate sites into general categories so that they can offer advertisers targeted markets. Ad networks are responsible for selling and serving the majority of Internet advertising.
Ad server: Normally operated by a third party, an ad server delivers and tracks ads on websites. Ad servers perform a useful role in building trust between advertisers and publishers since the statistics they supply are likely to be free of spin.
Ad space: The area on a web page set aside for the display of ads.
Ad units: These refer to the different types of ads which appear online, including banners, interstitials, pop-ups, skyscrapers and text links.
Advertorial: An advertisement designed to blend in with the appearance and tone of the editorial content it runs alongside.
Affiliate marketing: An advertising system based on the CPA (Cost Per Action) payment method, where websites display advertisers’ banners for free but receive payment when registrations or sales result from click throughs. In its purest form, affiliate marketing simply describes the use of one website to drive traffic to another.
Affinity marketing: This is an umbrella term for any marketing approach that extrapolates possible future purchases from past ones, e.g. Amazon’s customers who bought items like this also bought…’ recommendations.
Agency: A company that provides advertising-related services to their clients.
AIDA: A simple marketing acronym that describes the supposed path to successful selling. The following responses should be provoked in this order:
A = attention
I = interest
D = desire
A = action
Algorithm: The term search engines use for the formulae they use to determine the rankings of your Natural Listings. Search engines will periodically send a Spider through your Web site to view all its information. Their programs analyze then analyze this and other data to value your site and fix whether or not, and how high or low pages on your site will appears on various searches. These algorithms can be very complicated (Google alone currently uses 106 different variables) and search engines closely guard their algorithms as trade secrets.
Alt text: Alt (short for ‘alternative’) text is HTML code that allows text to be added to a graphic image. This text will be readable by users who have images disabled in settings, or who hover their pointer above a banner. Alt text is frequently used to add emphasis or prompt click-throughs.
Applet: A software component that runs within or in tandem with an independent program, i.e. a web browser. Flash movies and Windows Media Player are both common examples of applets.
Astroturfing – The process of creating fake grassroots campaigns. Astroturfing is often used specifically regarding review sites like Google Places, Yelp, Judy’s Book and more. These fake reviews can be positive reviews for your own company or slander against your competitors. Not a good idea.
ATL: Above the line ads include any which focus on general media such as TV, cinema, radio, print and the Internet.
Baidu– Serving primarily China, Baidu is the largest non-US based search engine in the world (although it was started in the United States). Sites can be optimized for Baidu and they offer their own paid search service.
B2B: Business-to-business trade and advertising involves companies whose main revenue stream derives from their trade with other companies. Examples of a B2B website includes an online marketplace where raw materials are available to buy.
B2C: Business-to-consumer refers to the traditional consumerist model of a company’s chief customers being the general public. B2C websites include book and music stores.
Backbone: The Internet’s backbone consists of many different networks (sometimes called the ‘junk in the trunk’) that carry the majority of online traffic to smaller regional ISPs. Problems with the backbone can result in slower or failed delivery of websites and ads.
Bandwidth: The rate of data that can be processed by an Internet connection. The typical unit of measurement is bps (bits per second) or multiples of bits (i.e. kbps/mbps).
Banned – When pages are removed from a search engine’s index specifically because the search engine has deemed them to be violating their guidelines. Although procedures are starting to loosen up somewhat, typically a search engine will not confirm to you that your site has been banned or why it has been banned. If you knowingly did something against the rules (written or unwritten) that got your site banned, you can probably clean up your act and get back in the game. We hear stories, though, from time to time of companies hiring Search Engine Optimization companies that deliver great, fast results, leave town, and then their Web site mysteriously disappears from the rankings. Google won’t tell them why their site got banned, so the company ends up left out in the cold unless another company can come in and backwards engineer the issues, unravel the work, and get the search engine to reinclude the site.
Banner burnout: A slang term referring to a visitor having seen the same banner so many times that they become discouraged from clicking through. Rotating banners is a common method of avoiding banner burnout.
Banner exchange: A banner exchange (also known as a ‘link exchange’) involves a confederation of websites registering with a central service that provides them with HTML code that displays banner advertisements for other members’ sites. The typical ratio, or exchange rate, is 2:1, i.e. every time a member shows another member’s banner twice, that member displays the first member’s banner once.
The advantage of a banner exchange is that sites with similar niche audiences can exponentially increase their audience. A disadvantage is that readers can be tempted away from the site they’re visiting by other members’ banners.
bing – Bing is Microsoft’s search engine, which replaced live.com in June 2009. Bing results now power Yahoo!’s search for paid (except display; through Microsoft adCenter) and organic (except local listings) through an alliance entered into between the two Web giants in December 2009. The deal cleared regulatory concerns in early 2010 and was fully completed in November of the same year.
Black Hat SEO – The opposite of White Hat SEO, these Search Engine Optimization, or SEO, tactics are (attempted) ways of tricking the Search Engines to get better rankings for a Web site. If not immediately, using black hat methods will eventually get your site drastically lower rankings or banned from the search engines altogether. While there are completely legal and ethical techniques you can use to improve rankings, if you design and market a Web site mostly for humans and not for the search engines’ Spiders, you should be okay.
Blind link: A hyperlink which does not clearly indicate – or in some cases actively disguises – where it leads to.
Blind traffic: Traffic generated by blind links and/or Exit Consoles.
Blog – Short for Web log, blogs are part journal, part Web site. Blogs are becoming increasingly popular as forums for people to express their views to a potentially unlimited audience. Personal recommendations from bloggers with large or dedicated followings can greatly help a business. Likewise, complaints can drive away many potential clients. While there are many good blogging softwares out there, our preferred choice for building blogs and Web sites (in many non-ecommerce cases) is WordPress.
BPS – Bits Per Second is a measurement of how much data, called bits, can be transferred through a network access point in one second. If the amount goes over 100,000 bps it will often be shorted to 1 mega bit per second (mbps).
Brand Stacking – Multiple page one listings from a single domain. Prior to 2010, a site would be fortunate if it had three first page results for branded searches. Since Google tweaked its algorithm to include Brand Stacking, that number has risen to as many as eight of the top search rankings.
BTL: Below the line (BTL) advertising focuses on contacting targeted lists directly by way of direct postal or email.
Button: This can sometimes refer to a form of advertising unit smaller than a banner. When present, buttons are usually situated in narrow columns on the extreme left or right-hand side of a page.
Cache: This is a temporary storage area that houses frequently accessed data and keeps it ready for speedy access. This saves the computer from having to retrieve the information from main memory every time it’s required. In online terms, a cache can store much of a web page’s content instead of requesting all the data from the server again.
Cache busting: The process whereby a random number is added to a banner’s HTML each time the page is reloaded. This results in the server being sent a separate banner request every time and guarantees that the banner is not cached, and therefore that ad impressions remain accurate. Cache bursting is also known as ‘defeating cache’.
CASIE – The Coalition for Advertising Supported Information and Entertainment is an advertising industry trade group started in 1994 by the Association of National Advertisers (ANA) and the American Association of Advertising Agencies (AAAA) to benefit those involved in the interactive advertising industry.
Campaign: Refers to an advertising project in its entirety, from conception through creation and buying to tracking and final analysis.
ccTLD – ccTLD’s are “Country-code” TLD‘s showing what country a site is focused on or based in. Using Google and the United Kingdom as an example, Google UK is google.co.uk. Sometimes these ccTLD’s are two sets of letters separated by a period (e.g. “co.uk” for the UK or “com.au” for Australia) and sometimes they are just one set of letters (e.g. “.fr” for France).
CGI – The common gateway interface is a common script language that lets programmers create dynamic web pages. An example of a CGI powered web site feature might be a web site’s feedback form or banner rotation system.
Clicks: The number of click throughs having occurred as a result of a user clicking on a banner and being redirected to an advertiser’s page.
Clickstream: This is the record – logged on a client or on the web server – of what a user clicks on while browsing. Clickstreams are highly important to publishers who want to see the paths people follow through their sites.
Click-through rate: The click-through rate or CTR refers to the percentage of impressions that results in a click through. E.g. if a banner was clicked on 87 times after being shown 1000 times, it would have a CTR or click-through rate of .087 or 8.7% (87/1000 = 0.087×100 = 8.7).
Cloaking– Showing a search engine spider or bot one version of a Web page and a different version to the end user. Several search engines have explicit rules against unapproved cloaking. Those violating these guidelines may find their pages penalized or banned from a search engine’s index. As for approved cloaking, this generally only happens with search engines that offer a paid inclusion program. Anyone offering cloaking services should be able to demonstrate explicit approval from a search engine for what it is they intend to do.
Content Management System – Content Management Systems (CMS) allow Web site owners to make text and picture changes to their Web sites without specialized programming knowledge of software like Adobe Dreamweaver or Microsoft FrontPage. Content Management Systems can be edited by anyone with basic word knowledge via an internet connection. No need for length or costly web development contracts or need to wait on someone outside your company to make changes. CMS examples includeWordPress, Drupal, and Joomla.
Content Network – Each major search engine offers a form of content network within its paid search interface, typically referred to as content networks, although Google just renamed their content network the Google Display Network. Within Google AdWords, advertisers have two options for content network advertising:
- Pick sites. With this option, you can choose the actual sites, or in some cases, sections and pages of sites, on which you want to display your ads.
- Contextual advertising. Contextual advertising allows you to use keywords like you would in traditional paid search advertising and the search engines will display your ads next to articles, blog posts, and other Web pages that are related to those keywords.
Contextual advertising: Also known as content-targeted advertising, contextual advertising is tailored to suit the specific content or theme of a website, e.g. movie ads on a film review website.
Conversion rate: The percentage of visitors to a website who sign up for advertised offers or buy advertised products. Proven high conversion ratios (via web analytics) add value to a website’s inventory.
Cost Per Action: Sometimes also known as Pay Per Action or PPA, CPA is an online advertising payment pricing model whereby advertisers pay for each specific action connected with the ad (i.e. purchases, registration, etc.). Some advertisers consider this the optimal model for online advertising, as a fee is only paid when the ad has proved successful. As a rough guide, CPA charges can range between $1-$25 per action.
Costs Per Action include:
Cost Per Day: This payment model entails advertisers paying on a daily basis for their ads to be displayed on a particular website.
Cost Per Lead: Sometimes also known as Pay Per Lead (PPL) or Cost Per Inquiry (CPI), CPL is a payment model determined by the number of website visitors who clicked on a particular ad. Prices range, on average, from $1-$10.
Cost Per Sale: CPS, also known as revenue sharing, permits advertisers to pay only when a visitor who has clicked through on one of their ads then goes on to generate a sale. Prices for CPS deals tend to range from $1-$25.
Cost Per Targeted Thousand Impressions: CPTM (‘M’ standing for ‘Mille’) is identical to CPM, but refers exclusively to campaigns which have been specifically targeted.
Cost Per Thousand: CPM denotes the figure advertisers will pay publishers per thousand impressions (the ‘M’ in this case deriving from ‘Mille’, the Latin word for ‘thousand’) of an ad. The average range of prices is between $1 to $50.
Crawler – Component of a search engine that gathers listings by automatically “crawling” the Web. A search engine’s crawler (also known as a Spider or robot) follows links to Web Pages. It makes copies of those pages and stores them in a search engine’s index.
Creative: The technology which creates any kind of online advertising material (i.e. GIF, JPEG, HTML, Flash, Java etc.).
Customer Relationship Management (CRM) – Software solutions that help enterprise businesses manage customer relationships in an organized way. An example of a CRM would be a database containing detailed customer information that management and salespeople can reference in order to match customer needs with products, inform customers of service requirements, etc.
CSS – CSS – short for Cascading Style Sheet – is a way to move style elements off individual Web pages and sites to allow for faster loading pages, smaller file sizes, and other benefits for visitors, search engines, and designers.
Day Parting – Day parting refers to serving ads at different times of the day and days of the week, or even changing bids or copy / creative at different times. For example, you may not want your ads to show from 11AM-2PM on Tuesdays. This can be done manually in most online platforms, or automatically in some such as Google AdWords. Automated day parting is not currently available directly through many social media advertising platforms such as facebook ads and LinkedIn direct ads.
Defaults: Ad networks use this term to describe the ads served to fill unsold inventory space. These usually include lower-paying, non-paying or community service ads. Members of larger ad networks are usually offered a choice of defaults should they fail to sell all of their inventory.
Defeating cache: see cache bursting.
Delisting – When pages or whole Web sites are removed from a search engine’s index. This may happen because, but not necessarily, they have been Banned.
Description Tags – HTML tags which provide a brief description of your site that search engines can understand. Description tags should contain the main keywords of the page it is describing in a short summary – don’t go crazy here with Keyword Stuffing.
Directories – A type of search engine where listings are gathered through human efforts rather than Web crawling. In directories, Web sites are often reviewed, summarized to a brief description and placed in a relevant category.
Doorway Page – A Web page created to rank well in a search engine’s organic listings (non-paid) and delivers very little information to those viewing it. Instead, visitors will often only see a brief call to action (i.e., “Click Here to Enter”), or they may be automatically propelled past the doorway page. With cloaking, they may never see the doorway page at all. Several search engines have guidelines against doorway pages, though they are more commonly allowed through paid inclusion programs. Also referred to as bridge pages, gateway pages and jump pages and not to be confused with Landing Pages.
Domain Name Monitoring – Watching Domains across various extensions. Some companies offer to do this for, say a .com site by checking the same domain name in .net, .org, .eu, etc.
eCommerce – The ability to purchase online. eCommerce also goes by other names like etail. Web site features that allow ecommerce are commonly called shopping carts.
eCPM: Effective Cost Per Mille tells a publisher what he or she would have received if they sold advertising inventory on a CPM basis.
Earnings Per Click: EPC is calculated by dividing total click-through earnings by number of clicks.
Earnings Per Visitor: EPV is calculated by dividing total visitor earnings by number of visitors.
Ego Keyword – A keyword an individual or organization feels it must rank for in either or both natural listings or paid search results regardless of cost and Return on Investment.
Email Campaign System – Email is perhaps the most overlooked and underutilized (based on cost and effectiveness) form of internet marketing today. Email campaign systems allow organizations to send out emails to their email lists with a standard look and feel. Features often include the ability to segment lists.
Enhanced Bidding – A feature specific to Google AdWords. When you select to utilize enhanced bidding, you’re giving AdWords the power to adjust your bidding in order to increase conversions. With this feature, you can pay up to 30% over the keyword bid that you set. Think of it like a hybrid between CPC and CPA bidding, albeit still more heavily weighted toward cost per click. Be careful with enhanced bidding – many search engine marketers will tell you that they have had poor experiences with cost per acquisition bidding within AdWords.
Eyetracking – A process that allows testing of Web sites for usability or any other purpose. Eyetracking is performed by a small number of companies utilizing high speed cameras to monitor and record where the eyes of test subjects actually move on screen.
Exclusivity: This refers to an advertiser requesting that their ad not be shown in rotation. This normally results in a higher fee for the publisher, as it reduces the number of ads they could otherwise show.
Exit exchange: Two or more sites which display exit consoles (see consoles) showing other sites.
Exit traffic: Traffic generated by a surfer clicking on a popup or popunder exit console.
Extramercial: This term refers to banner ads positioned in the far-right column of web pages.
Feed – Coming in an XML language that uses either RSS or Atom formatting are an extremely popular way for organizations to get their messages through the clutter and into the hands of interested parties. With the simple click of an orange button (right), users can stay connected to a site’s content (Blogs, news, podcasts, etc.) automatically anytime their computers are connected to the internet. That button will connect you to the feed for the Found Blog.
Flash: This software plugin provides browsers with the capability to play multimedia files. Rich media ads often require Flash to be installed.
Forced click: A click through that is activated without a visitor giving their consent.
Forum – A place on the internet where people with common interests or backgrounds come together to find information and discuss topics.
Frequency capping: This describes the process of using cookies to track the impression count of ads served, and stop any given ad being shown to a single visitor more than the set number of times.
Geo-Targeting – The ability to reach potential clients by their physical location. The major search engines now all offer the ability to geo-target searches in their Pay-Per-Clickcampaigns by viewing their ip addresses. Geo-targeting allows advertisers to specify which markets they do and don’t want to reach.
GIF: A Graphical Interchange Format is a bitmap image format the usage of which is widespread throughout the World Wide Web. The majority of banner ads are created in a GIF format. GIFs can be used to create animated banner images, which tend to achieve higher click-through rates than static banners.
Golden Triangle– Eye-tracking studies show an “F” shaped pattern that most people tend to look at most often when looking at Search Engine Results Pages. These patterns vary slightly among the different Search Engines, but show the importance of placement among Natural Listings and Pay-per-Click ads.
Google AdWords Certified Partner – Google AdWords offers the most extensive certification process of any of the paid search marketing providers. The Google AdWords Certified Partner program replaces the earlier Qualified Google Advertising Company/Individual program.
Graphical Search Inventory – Banners and other types of advertising units which can be synchronized to search keywords. Includes pop-ups browser toolbars and rich media.
Header (or Heading) Tags () – HTML heading and subheading tags are critical components of search engine marketing, as often times both are graphical, thereby unreadable to search engine spiders. Optimally, page titles should also be included to clearly define the page’s purpose and theme. All of the header tags should be used according to their relevance, with more prominent titles utilizing <h1>, subheaders using <h2>, and so on.
Hit: A hit refers to any request a web server receives for pages and/or files (audio, visual etc.). A web page featuring 7 graphical elements will create 8 hits in total (one for the page, plus one for each of the graphical elements). Hits are used chiefly to monitor the load of traffic on a particular server. They are of little use to advertisers.
House ads: These are ads that promote the host website’s features and services. They are a way publishers can fill up unsold inventory.
HTML: HyperText Markup Language is the dominant programming language for web pages. It allows text-based information to denote not only content, but also the structure of that content (i.e. paragraphs, links, headings, etc.).
Hyperlink: A hyperlink is HTML code that directs – via a click – a browser to another web page. The vast majority of ads contain embedded hyperlinks that take visitors to the advertiser’s web page.
Image Maps – Clickable regions on images that make links more visually appealing and Web sites more interesting. Image maps enable spiders to “read” this material.
Impressions: This refers to the number of times a banner ad has been shown to users. It should be noted that caching and page load errors can lead to inaccurate impression counts.
Index – The collection of information a search engine has that searchers can query against. With crawler-based search engines, the index is typically copies of all the Web pages they have found from crawling the Web. With human-powered directories, the index contains the summaries of all the Web sites that have been categorized.
Incentivized click: A click through inspired by an ad offering a reward. It’s worth noting that incentivized clicks can spike click-through rates without leading to an increase in actual sales.
Internal Linking – Placing hyperlinks on a page to other pages within the same site. This helps users find more information, improve site interaction, and enhances your SEO efforts.
Internet Marketing – Any of a number of ways to reach internet users, including Search Engine Marketing, Search Engine Optimization, and Banner advertising.
Interstitial: These are ads that load between web pages without being activated by a request (see also superstitials).
Inventory: This term refers to the amount of ad space available on a website. To calculate an accurate inventory figure the number of possible page impressions in a certain timeframe should be taken into account, as well as the number of zones available for ads to be shown per page.
Island position: An ad embedded within editorial content, with no ads bordering it.
Java: A programming language enabling developers to build software on one platform that will be able to run on any Java virtual machine.
JPEG: Standing for Joint Photographic Experts Group, a JPEG is a compression method for the displaying of photographic images on web pages.
Keyword: Highly important in terms of search engine positioning, keywords refer to words or phrases that will result in a site being returned within the results for a particular search. Many sites’ advertising strategies are based on keyword targeting, which means that a specific banner will only be displayed when certain words are entered.
Keyword density: This is the measurement of how frequently certain words appear on selected web pages. It is important to get the balance right: too high an occurrence of a certain word can result in pages being classified as spam. Too low, and the page will not be indexed as being relevant to that keyword search.
Keyword Tags – HTML tags which define the keywords used on Web pages. Meta keyword tags used to carry great weight with some older search engines until they caught up with the spammers using this practice and modified their algorithms. Today Google is officially on record for not giving these tags any weight.
Landing page: The web page displayed by a browser when an ad has been clicked on.
Link Building – The process of obtaining hyperlinks (links) from Web sites back to yours. Link building is a crucial part of Search Engine Optimization.
Link Popularity – How many Web sites link to yours, how popular those linking sites are, and how much their content relates to yours. Link popularity is an important part of Search Engine Optimization, which also values the sites that you link out to.
Log file: A web server’s record of its activity, including page requests and load errors.
Local Search – A huge and growing portion of the search engine marketing industry. Local search allows users to find businesses and Web sites within a specific (local) geographic range. This includes local search features on search engines and online yellow page sites. Optimizing for local search requires different practices than for traditional Search Engine Optimization.
Local Business Listings – Each of the major search engines offer local business listings that appear next to maps at the top of the page on many locally targeted searches. Business may either submit new requests or claim existing local business listings if the search engines have already added the company to the results. Having a Web site is not required for having a local business listing.
Long Tail Keywords – Rather than targeting the most common keywords in your industry, you can focus on more niche terms that are usually longer phrases but are also easier and quicker to rank for in the search engines. Long tail keywords can amount for up to 60% or so of a site’s search traffic.
Make goods: Payments made by a publisher to an advertiser as recompense for not hitting pre-arranged targets for impressions, or for high numbers of load errors.
Max loop size: The number of times a single animated graphic is permitted to repeat its loop.
Max time length: The length of time an animated graphic takes to perform one complete loop.
Meta Search Engine – A search engine that gets listings from two or more other search engines rather than crawling the Web itself.
Meta Tags (see also keyword tags, description tags etc.) – Meta tags allow you to highlight important Keywords related to your site in a way that matters to Search Engines, but that your Web site visitors typically do not see. Meta tags have risen and fallen in terms of valuation by internet marketers and search engines alike (see Keyword Stuffing), but they still play an important role in Search Engine Optimization. Examples of meta tags include Header Tags and Alt Tags.
MI: Stands for monthly impressions.
Mobile Marketing– As cell phone technology advances, advertisers can not reach their target audience virtually anywhere. While mobile marketing is really just an extension of online marketing, it provides businesses many new opportunities and challenges. How does your Web site look on your Blackberry or Treo?
Monetization: The methods by which a service or resource generate income.
Monthly rental rate: MRR is the rate at which an agreed-upon number of impressions in a month are sold at.
Natural Listings – Also referred to as “organic results”, the non-advertised listings in Search Engines. Some search engines may charge a fee to be included in their natural listings, although most are free. How high or low your Web site is ranked depends on many factors, two of the most important being content relevance and Link Popularity.
Naver – Naver is Korea’s largest search engine and Web property. They offer paid search programs, although their pay per click program for non-Korean marketers has primarily been offered through Yahoo/Overture – Korea. Naver’s closest Korean competitor is Daum.
Non remnant: This term refers to inventory sold directly by the publisher to an advertiser. Remnant inventory is sold by a third party (e.g. Google AdSense).
Opt in: The process by which a user agrees to receiving messages from a company. Opt in messages, therefore, cannot be considered as spam.
Opt out: The process by which a user elects to stop receiving messages from a company. If a user continues to receive messages after opting out these messages can be considered to be spam.
Outbound Links – Links on any Web page leading to another Web page, whether they are within the same site or another Web site.
Paid Inclusion – Advertising program where pages are guaranteed to be included in a search engine’s index in exchange for payment, though no guarantee of ranking well is typically given. For example, Looksmart is a directory that lists pages and sites, not based on position but based on relevance. Marketers pay to be included in the directory, on a CPC basis or a per-URL fee basis, with no guarantee of specific placement.
Paid Listings – Listings that search engines sell to advertisers, usually through paid placement or paid inclusion programs. In contrast, organic (natural) listings are not sold.
Paid Search –Also referred to as Paid Placement, Pay Per Click, and sometimes Search Engine Marketing, paid search marketing allows advertisers to pay to be listed within theSearch Engine Results Pages for specific keywords or phrases. Paid placement listings can be purchased from a portal or a search network. Search networks are often set up in an auction environment where keywords and phrases are often associated with a cost-per-click (CPC) fee. Google AdWords and Yahoo! Search Marketing are the largest networks, but Microsoft adCenter (live.com) and other sites also sell paid placement listings directly as well.
Pay-for-Performance – Term popularized by search engines as a synonym for pay-per-click, stressing to advertisers that they are only paying for ads that ‘perform’ in terms of delivering traffic, as opposed to CPM-based ads, which cost money, even if they don’t generate a click.
Page view: A page view is what is displayed each time a browser requests a web page. One page view might register as multiple hits on the server (see hits), as pages can contain more than one element (e.g. several banners). Page views don’t take browsers set to disable images into account, which makes them of little use to advertisers as a way of gauging the success of a campaign.
Pay per impression: See CPM.
Pay per sale: See CPS, CPA, CPT.
Permission Marketing – Along the lines of Opt-in registrations, permission marketing focuses on receiving the consent of users before being contacted or, in some cases, even seeing an advertisement. Permission marketing is centered around the concept that people are increasingly tuning out the barrage of advertisements they see each day. Its focal tenet is that a business will have a better chance of gaining a client when the client first gives permission to be sent an ad or contacted. Search engine marketing by its nature can be thought of as a type of permission marketing – showing advertisements to people already searching for that information – as long as the ad is relevant to what they are searching.
Pixel: A contraction of ‘picture element’, a pixel refers to a single point in a graphic. Ad units are typically measured in pixels, for example the default 468×60-sized banner.
Plugin: A software program installed and used by a web browser.
Pop under: An ad which displays in a smaller browser window behind the page being viewed. These ads usually cost more because they have high visibility but are considered less intrusive than popups. Also known as ‘pop behinds’.
Popup: Ads which automatically display in a second browser window above the page being viewed. They tend to cost more than regular banner ads, but can be counter-productive due to visitors finding them invasive and/or annoying.
Press Optimization – The optimizing of press releases for search engines. This process has many similarities to Search Engine Optimization, although it focuses much more on Keyword use in content creation in regards to how press releases are often picked up by Blogs and other forms of new media.
Preemptable: This kind of ad can be swapped by the publisher for another, higher value ad.
Query – Query is another term for “keyword” or “search term.” Within Google AdWords, search query reports show the actual terms that searchers used to click on your ads, as opposed to the advertised keyword that is in your account. These two sets of words may or may not be the same.
Rank: This refers to a website’s position when it is listed by a search engine. Advertisers study rankings to determine a website’s performance, and thus the value of its inventory.
Rate card: Publishers compile rate cards to list prices for advertising on their site(s). Larger sites usually give rates on a CPM basis. Technical details regarding banner size and positioning may also be included. It is important to understand that the “rate card” is like a sticker price on a new automobile and is negotiable. Professional media buyers never pay rate card prices for their advertising.
Reach: This refers to the number of unique visitors to a site across the length of the reporting period. Sometimes called ‘unduplicated audience’.
Real Simple Syndication (RSS) – An increasingly popular new technology that allows information to be easily shared on Web sites or given directly to users per their request. RSS feeds create new online advertising opportunities, although marketers are still debating how best to use them.
Reciprocal Link – A link exchange between two sites. Both sites will display a link to the other site somewhere on their pages. This type of link is generally much less desirable than a one-way inbound link.
Referring page: The web page a visitor was viewing before clicking on a hyperlink and arriving at the current page.
Registration: The process by which a website’s visitors enter details (name/age/address etc.) to gain full access. Registration can enable ads to be targeted with greater accuracy, as well as allowing the tracking of individuals as they move around the site.
Remnant space: Inventory that remains unsold until a discount or ad-network solution is applied.
Retargeting or Remarketing:More information is available here about retargeting or remarketing as it is sometimes called, but basically it involves being able to show your advertisements again to a prospect even when he leaves your site and visits other sites.
Request: When a browser attempts to retrieve a page, or any of the elements within a page, from an internet server, it is said to be making a request.
Request for proposal: An RFP refers to an advertiser looking to arrange an agreement with a publisher.
Request for quotation: An RFQ refers to an advertiser looking to arrange a price for placing ads on a publisher’s website.
Revenue sharing: See CPS.
Rich media: Ad technology that features more refined images or flash as well as audio and/or video in the ad. Rich media ads frequently allow visitors to interact with a banner without leaving the page on which it appears (e.g. film ads that expand and play a trailer on the host page).
Return on investment: This process determines whether an ad campaign’s profits have been less or greater than its costs. An accurate ROI can be difficult to gauge, depending on the campaign’s specific goals.
Run of category: ROC refers to ads that will appear anywhere within a specific category on a site or ad network.
Run of network: RON refers to ads that will appear anywhere on any page of any site that is part of a specific ad network. Such untargeted advertising is the cheapest to purchase.
Run of site: ROS refers to ads that will appear anywhere on a website.
Robots.txt – A file used to keep Web pages from being indexed or to tell which pages you want a search engine to index.
Rotation: A banner in rotation on a page will not be the sole banner shown when that page is reloaded. Some advertisers might request that their banner not be rotated (see exclusivity).
Sales funnel: the process of bringing people to your site and taking them from visitor, to free content viewer, on to an introductory or low priced but paying customer, and on to a full customer of your typically higher priced product or service.
SEM: Stands for Search Engine Marketing, and is the process of promoting websites by way of a search engine. It has evolved to mean the paid placement side, as opposed to SEO, which is trying to optimize your site to get “free” traffic in what are called the “organic rankings”
SEO: Search Engine Optimization is a method of promoting a website by way of search engine results. Also known as ‘positioning’.
Session: This refers to a series of page requests being made by a visitor without 30 minutes inactivity between any of them. Despite being completely arbitrary, 30 minutes is the accepted length of time as agreed upon by advertisers and publishers. A session can also be referred to as a ‘visit’.
Shockwave: A multimedia software plugin used in some rich media ads.
Skyscraper: An area of inventory much taller than it is wide.
Social Networking – A type of Social Media, Social networking Web sites allow users to interact and create or change content on the site. These sites, of which businesses are now using for marketing purposes, allow users to create their own Web sites / online spheres (e.g. LinkedIn and facebook), share photographs (e.g. flickr), microblog / text small bits of information to their personal community (e.g. twitter) or recommend information for others to find on the Internet (e.g. del.icio.us and Digg). The sites in this last grouping are also referred to as social bookmarking or social news sites. There are also a growing number of sites that are heavily dependent on mobile and geographic locations, such as foursquare.
Spider: This is a software program that follows links on the World Wide Web. Most spiders are those used by search engines, which index web pages according to relevance. A fault of spiders from an advertising perspective is that they follow banner links, thus leading to an inflated click-through count.
Splash Page: A special entrance page to a website. Splash pages are useful for banners offering competitions and other special offers the advertiser does not want to put on their site’s main page. Also known as a ‘jump page’.
Sponsorship: A method by way of which an advertiser sponsors a section of a website. As a sales technique sponsorship works best when the web page is relevant to the advertiser’s products and/or services.
SSI: A ‘Server Side Include’ allows the inclusion of variable values into a web page. SSIs are useful if a page features lots of files containing a common HTML code fragment (i.e. banner ads), because it enables code to be written or modified once without the need to individually change the common code.
Standards: A set of voluntary standards created by the IAB for online ad sizes, dimensions and names.
Statistics: The records kept by ad serving software when an ad it has served is clicked on. These stats may be recorded as total impressions or click throughs, or in alternative, more detailed forms, e.g. geographical location, o/s etc.
Sticky: This term denotes a website wherein the average length of stay is longer than normal. A gambling site is an example of a sticky site, whereas link sites sit at the opposite end of the stickiness spectrum.
Superstitials: These are rich media ads that download in the background and only launch a browser window when this procedure is complete. Attractive to advertisers as they facilitate larger, more interactive ads, and don’t have the irritation factor associated with popups and interstitials.
Targeted: This term refers to ads that are aimed at a specific section of a website’s audience, or at a niche website that only has a very specific audience.
Text links: Often coloured blue and underlined, these are text objects that double as hyperlinks connected to other web pages. Can be used in newsletters and email as well as on web pages.
Trap door: A banner type that leads to a page which does not let visitors return to the page the banner featured on.
Unique users/visitors: This term refers to a site’s total number of users/visitors over a certain length of time. For an accurate figure to be arrived at, each user must login with a unique username to access the site.
Up sell: A technique by which additional offers are made to a customer in between committing to a sale and completing their transaction.
USP: A unique selling proposition is what differentiates goods and services from their competitors.
Valid hits: This refers to the number of click throughs performed by real users, as opposed to search engine spiders or server errors.
Visit: see session.
Volume discount: A price discount offered to advertisers who commit to a decided-upon number of page impressions at a certain price.
Webmercial: See intermercial.
We want to thank the folks at openx.org that make both an enterprise level ad server and a free open source adserver (formerly phpadsnew)) for this great list of definitions. For more information on any of these terms you can visit that site or just call us at:
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