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Programmatic Glossary


Learn to speak programmatic. The Marketing glossary of terms for automated advertising.



Ad server

An ad server delivers ad creative to a user’s browser or mobile app as they load content. Ad servers are typically distinct from the servers that deliver the publisher’s content to the user so that ad content can be selected, delivered and reported independently from publisher content.

Agency trading desk

An agency trading desk is a trading desk operated as a subsidiary of an agency or holding company. Agency trading desks typically handle programmatic buying on behalf of all media agencies within an agency family.

See also

Analytics
  1. A set of software tools that report on the performance of a website, mobile app or ad campaign in real-time. Analytics track large quantities of real-time user data and deliver an overview of performance, using meaningful aggregate metrics like page rankings, average viewing time, click-through rate and conversion rate.
  2. Analytics may also be shorthand for deep data analysis, which is a method of deriving useful insights from data (especially big data). In programmatic media buying, analytics may be used to review and optimize campaign performance, or to parse audience segments used for audience targeting.

See also

Attribution

Attribution measurement or attribution modeling is a method of determining the relative contribution of different ads to a desired customer outcome. By analyzing campaign data across various digital and mobile touchpoints, attribution modeling software attempts to identify ads that a customer saw on the path to purchase, and illustrate the customer journey. The two primary forms of attribution are last-touch attribution and multi-touch attribution.

See also

Audience data

Audience data refers to data about online users (such as age, gender and location) that is tied to user identifiers such as cookies or logins. Using audience data, buyers are able to identify and target consumers that belong to their desired audience.

See also

Audience extension

Audience extension is a tactic used by publishers to increase the scale they can offer advertisers. Networks, SSPs and DSPs may offer audience extension tools to publishers, which allow them to follow visitors to other sites or apps and bundle any impressions their audience generates there into a package for the advertiser. This way, advertisers have more opportunities to reach the publisher’s audience, both on and off the publisher’s sites.

See also

Audience targeting

Audience targeting is the practice of seeking out a desired audience online using audience data and programmatic algorithms. When a user visits a site/app and generates an impression, targeting tools may be able to identify them using cookie tracking or another identifier, and then attach data about that user’s demographic, geography, browsing history, et cetera to the impression. Based on this information, buyers can selectively advertise to users that are part of their target audience.

Synonyms

  • targeting
  • data targeting
  • audience segmentation

See also

Did You Know?

89% of Canadian marketers indicated their overall understanding of programmatic is ‘very poor’ or ‘needs improving’*

*Sponsored Post
Behavioural targeting

Behavioural targeting is a form of audience targeting that provides relevant messaging to customers based on their previous online activities. Algorithms analyze data about webpages or apps that a user has used recently, and attempt to determine whether they will be interested in a brand, product or specific offer. Buyers can then selectively advertise to users who will find their ads relevant. Behavioural targeting is commonly used to identify and target users that are considering buying a product, in which case it may be referred to as behavioural retargeting.

Synonyms

  • behavioural retargeting

See also

Big data

Big data refers to collections of data so large and complex that traditional data management tools can no longer be used to store or process them. Among other things, marketers and retailers use specialized management tools to store large quantities of customer data and derive deep insights about customer behaviour.

See also

Brand safety

Brand safety refers to a campaign’s level of exposure to undesired and inappropriate publisher content. Given the machine-driven nature of programmatic advertising, buyers cannot always know what sites or apps their ads will be shown on. For example, some ads may be shown around pirated content or adult websites. Technology providers sometimes offer brand safety protection, which detects and filters unsafe impressions during the buying process.

See also

Completion rate

Completion rate is the fraction of video ad impressions delivered that are played through to completion by users. A completion rate of 50% means half of video impressions delivered started and played to the end without a user actively skipping them or navigating away. Completion rates may also be reported for different video durations, such as the first 5 seconds or the first 25% of the video, to give a better indication of when users stopped watching a video.

See also

Conversion

A conversion occurs when a customer performs a desired action, such as making a purchase, visiting an advertiser’s site or signing up for an e-newsletter. Media buyers, particularly direct response advertisers, use gross conversions and conversion rate as indicators of campaign performance.

Synonyms

  • acquisition

See also

Did You Know?

Overall Canadian Marketers understand programmatic brings the benefits of better targeting (86% agree), saves them money (76%) and offers workload efficiency while removing human error (69%).*

*Sponsored Post
Conversion rate

Conversion rate is the fraction of delivered ad impressions that result in desired actions such as purchases or signups (collectively called conversions). A conversion rate of 10% means 1 out of every 10 impressions delivered eventually led a user to perform a desired action specified by the media buyer.

See also

Cookie tracking

Cookie tracking is a way of identifying online users and maintaining detailed information about them. Because web and mobile browsers do not have unique identities, telling users apart can be difficult for a publisher or advertiser. Tracking cookies enable publishers and advertisers to identify users when they visit webpages and generate ad impressions. By tying any audience data they have about the user to the impressions they generate, programmatic media buyers are able to target users that fall into their desired audience. Cookies may also be used to collect data about users’ online activities for behavioural targeting and retargeting.

See also

CPA (cost-per-action)

CPA is a campaign performance metric that describes the average cost of each successful user conversion over the course of a campaign. It is calculated by dividing the total number of conversions by the total cost of the campaign. It is used to evaluate and optimize acquisition-based campaigns.

Synonyms

  • cost-per-acquisition
  • cost-per-conversion

See also

CPC (cost-per-click)

CPC is a campaign performance metric that describes the average cost of each user click-through over the course of a campaign. It is calculated by dividing the total number of clicks by the the total cost of the campaign. It is used to evaluate and optimize acquisition-based campaigns.

See also

CPM (cost-per-thousand)
  1. CPM is the price of 1,000 impressions on a site, app or specific ad placement. It is a standard unit of pricing for online media.
  2. CPM is also a campaign performance metric that describes the average price an advertiser paid per 1,000 impressions over the course of a campaign. It is calculated by averaging the price paid on each impression. In programmatic buying, the actual cost of individual impressions is not predetermined, and is decided at auction; average CPM is used to convey whether the advertiser achieved cost savings in this process.
  3. Traditionally, CPM was used to track the performance of print and broadcast campaigns by dividing the total cost of a campaign by the total number of estimated customer views it generated (in units of 1,000). In digital media, this abstraction is sometimes called effective CPM. CPM comes from “cost-per-mille”; mille is Latin for thousand.

Synonyms

  • cost-per-impression

See also

Cross-platform
  1. Cross-platform describes an advertising or measurement method that is integrated across multiple digital and traditional media channels, such as digital, mobile, TV and out-of-home.
  2. In some contexts, cross-platform describes an advertising or measurement method that is integrated across multiple digital and mobile platforms, such as desktop, tablet, smartphone and connected TV.

Synonyms

  • cross-channel
  • multichannel
  • omnichannel
  • cross-screen
  • multiscreen
  • multiplatform

See also

CTR (click-through rate)

CTR is the fraction of delivered ad impressions that are clicked on by users. For example, a 1% CTR means 1 out of every 100 impressions delivered were clicked on by a user.

Synonyms

  • click-throughs

See also

Display

Display is an ad format that consists of text and images. A display ad, often called a banner, may be static or have simple animations, and usually has standard dimensions. Display is the simplest and most common format available in traditional and programmatic media buying.

Synonyms

  • banner advertising

See also

  • rich media
  • video
Did You Know?

The top obstacle that Canadian Marketers identified to increase programmatic spending within their organizations was education*

*Sponsored Post
DMP (data management platform)

A DMP is a software tool that collects, stores and analyzes data from a variety of input sources in order to generate insights about customers and identify audiences for audience targeting. Depending on the client, a DMP may collect first-party data from advertisers’ own websites, data from programmatic advertising campaigns, data from third-party providers like credit card companies or retail data wholesalers, social or geolocation data, and offline data from retail purchases or loyalty programs. The DMP uses data analytics to uncover insights about an advertiser’s customers, in order to inform personalized marketing and audience targeting.

See also

Domain name

A domain name defines a zone of control on the internet, which may include several related site addresses, and is usually registered to a unique owner. In programmatic advertising, where impressions are often passed through one or more re-sellers or representatives, domain names are important for identifying the the eventual destination of an impression up for auction.

DSP (demand-side platform)

A DSP is a software tool used by advertisers and agencies to buy ad impressions from online exchanges, networks and programmatic direct platforms. DSPs apply audience targeting algorithms to search through a large supply of available impressions and find those that meet the buyer’s audience and placement criteria. They also manage media delivery and report on campaign performance.

See also

eCPM (effective cost-per-thousand)

eCPM is a campaign performance metric that describes the average price paid for each 1,000 impressions over the course of a campaign. It is calculated by dividing the total cost of the campaign by the total number of impressions purchased (rather than averaging the price of each individual impression).

See also

Engagement
  1. Engagement is an abstract term that broadly describes positive interaction with a brand.
  2. Engagement also refers to a cluster of campaign performance metrics that describe the positive interactions that consumers have had with a brand over the course of a campaign. Engagement may be measured through concrete ad interactions like click-throughs, conversions and social shares, or through cognitive and emotional responses like recall, brand lift, and favorability.

Synonyms

  • interaction

See also

Exchange

An exchange is a virtual marketplace where publishers and their representatives auction ad impressions individually in real-time. Whenever a user loads an ad on a webpage or mobile app, it generates an impression. Publishers can sell these impressions at the time they are generated by auctioning them to programmatic buyers on an exchange. Buyers use algorithms to seek out and bid on auctions that match their criteria, in terms of the quality of the placement and whether the user viewing the ad is part of a target audience. When an auction is completed, the winning bidder’s ad is delivered to the user via an ad server.

Synonyms

  • programmatic marketplace

See also

First-party data
  1. First-party data is data that is collected and owned by an advertiser. It may include data from advertising campaigns, CRM and retail data, loyalty or subscription data, and behavioural data collected while the user was visiting the advertiser’s site. Advertisers may use analytics tools to derive insights from this data, or use it to inform audience targeting.
  2. First-party data may also refer to data that is collected and owned by a publisher. Publishers can collect data extensive data on their audience, including which content is most relevant to which audiences, how they are likely to engage with content, and how ads from a variety of campaigns have performed on the site. In some cases publishers share this data with advertisers through direct relationships and DSPs, to better facilitate audience targeting and make their properties more attractive to advertisers.

Synonyms

  • advertiser data
  • publisher data

See also

Fraud

In a digital media context, fraud refers to the creation and sale of large quantities of non-human, hidden, or extremely poor-quality ad impressions. Bad actors have developed a variety of means to generate fraudulent impressions and sell them on programmatic exchanges and networks as though they were legitimate ad views. Fraudulent impressions often appear to perform well on superficial performance metrics such as CTR, in order to attract buying algorithms and optimization tools. Using these tactics fraudulent publishers and networks are able to draw in large amounts of advertiser spend without any real users visiting their properties or being exposed to ads. There are currently no legal regulations on digital media fraud in any market.

Synonyms

  • click-fraud
  • bot fraud

See also

Frequency cap

Frequency capping is a method of controlling the number of times a single user is exposed to an ad. As a result of audience targeting, some individuals may prove highly attractive to programmatic buying algorithms, and they may experience very high messaging frequency. Over-messaging can be frustrating for the user and wasteful for the advertiser, so some technology providers have developed technology that attempts to cap the number of ads an individual will see in a given time period.

See also

Did You Know?

Only 18% of Canadian Marketers believe they are better than average in making use of digital media — quite the humble group of marketers, hopefully with further education and understanding this will move forward in the future.*

*Sponsored Post
Geotargeting

Geotargeting is a form of audience targeting in that provides relevant messaging to consumers based on their current physical location. Advertisers and technology providers collect users’ physical location data from social media, loyalty programs, retail history, postal codes, Wifi networks and mobile device GPS. Depending on the granularity of the data and whether it is real-time, geotargeting may mean broad targeting at a regional level, or it may mean targeting consumers within proximity to a store or area within a store.

See also

Impression

An impression is an individual view of an ad or a piece of content on a user’s device. Whenever a user loads an ad on a webpage or mobile app, their device generates an impression, which may be purchased from the site or app publisher by a media buyer. Ad impressions are the basic unit of online media buying: advertisers pay based on how many impressions they buy, and how those impressions are priced (usually denoted with CPM). Using programmatic technology, buyers can selectively purchase individual impressions that reach consumers in their target audience.

Synonyms

  • pageview
  • view

See also

Independent trading desk

An independent trading desk is a trading desk that is not part of an agency or agency family, but may be part of a third-party technology provider. ITDs are contracted by brands or subcontracted by agencies to manage programmatic buys. In some cases, ITDs own proprietary technology for connecting with exchanges, audience targeting, and reporting on campaigns.

Synonyms

  • third-party trading desk

See also

Interstitial

The interstitial is an ad format that consists of an ad shown in the interlude between two pieces of content. For example, an interstitial ad may be shown when a user clicks on a hyperlink to navigate to a publisher’s website, or when the user navigates between two pages on the site. Interstitials are particularly important in mobile, where screen space is limited and banners are less effective. Apps or mobile websites may display interstitials as users navigate through various content screens.

Synonyms

  • transitional

See also

Long-tail

Long-tail refers to web or mobile publishers that do not attract a significant audience individually, but may attract a significant audience in aggregate. In theory, the large majority of aggregate traffic comes from a vanishingly small number of publishers and sites, like the New York Times or CNN.com, while the majority of websites see little or no traffic. When plotting a distribution of traffic across the web, it obeys a rough power-law, or L-shaped curve: the thin and tall part of the distribution represents the small number of high-traffic publishers, while the wide and short part of the distribution, or long-tail, represents the large number of low-traffic publishers. Publishers of personal weblogs, small-community forums, dedicated interest sites and limited-run mobile games are said to be long-tail publishers. Typically when advertisers work with long-tail publishers, it is through a [network] or [exchange] that groups them together to provide significant audience reach.

Measurement
  1. Measurement refers to reporting of core performance indicators like reach, frequency and [engagement] by an organization that is independent of the buyer and seller. As opposed to [analytics], measurement is not typically delivered in real-time, but is rather a post-facto analysis of performance by a trusted, independent observer. Measurement is often derived from a sample panel of real viewers, which report the media that they access. The concept of measurement stems from TV advertising, where performance is assessed by independent ratings companies.
  2. Depending on usage, measurement may be synonymous with [analytics], though it usually still refers to core metrics like reach and frequency.
Mobile web

Mobile web advertising refers to ads shown to users on mobile browsers. It is contrasted with native app advertising, in which ads are shown to users through apps they’ve downloaded. Typically, mobile web and native app ads have different formats and capabilities, and are sold as separate media.

See also

Native

Native advertising describes a variety of digital ad formats that imitate the visual and/or editorial style of the content around them. As an alternative to display advertising, native advertising attempts to create greater synergy between publisher content and advertiser messaging. It may consist of sponsored content mixed with publisher editorial content, or custom ad units mixed with publisher content feeds (also known as “in-stream” or “in-feed” advertising).

Synonyms

  • sponsored content
  • in-stream advertising
  • in-feed advertising
Native app

Native app advertising refers to ads shown to users through mobile apps on their device. It is contrasted with mobile web advertising, in which ads are shown to users through mobile browsers. Typically, mobile web and native app ads have different formats and capabilities, and are sold as separate media.

Synonyms

  • mobile app
  • in-app

See also

Network
  1. A network is a company or managed service that connects buyers with a large number of online publishers. Networks purchase remnant inventory from publishers at bulk prices and re-sell them to buyers looking to make large-scale buys at low cost. They may apply audience targeting technology in the process.
  2. A network is a full-service media company that connects buyers and publishers, by onboarding publisher inventory and using algorithms to fill insertion orders sent by advertisers. In this sense, a network combines the roles of trading desk, DSP and exchange into a single operation; however this may come at the expense of transparency and buyer control.
  3. A network is an organization that performs media sales for a number of publishers, similar to an ad network in broadcast television or out-of-home. In Canada, networks commonly represent international and U.S. publishers, by selling impressions generated by Canadian viewers visiting international sites.
NHT (non-human traffic)

Non-human traffic refers to webpage and ad views generated by computer algorithms, also known as bots. Fraud perpetrators use non-human traffic to generate large quantities of ad impressions for sale to advertisers. In some cases, non-human traffic may also refer to legitimate bots, such as Google’s web crawler. (These bots are generally identified by the website and do not generate ad impressions.)

Synonyms

  • bot traffic
  • fake traffic

See also

Optimization

Optimization is a process whereby the performance of a programmatic campaign is gradually improved using real-time feedback from data [analytics]. An optimizer, which is usually built into a DSP, tracks the performance of media bought throughout a campaign, using real-time data about things like traffic, clicks and conversions. Media that performs well is rated highly, so that buying algorithms will seek out more like it in the future. Media that performs poorly is avoided. A campaign may use optimization to learn about which sites, audiences or page placements are most likely to drive the desired consumer response.

See also

Pre-roll

Pre-roll is a digital video ad format that plays before video content is shown to the viewer. Pre-roll video tends to be shown in large, [user-initiated] players, and has relatively high average [viewability] and [completion rates] compared to other video ad formats. For this reason it is generally considered a [premium] format.

Synonyms

  • pre-roll video
Premium
  1. Premium is a broad, subjective term that distinguishes high-quality media, audiences and page placements in digital advertising. A large variety of criteria may be considered in order for a publisher or ad unit to qualify as premium, including the publisher’s brand, the perceived quality of the content, whether the content was originally created by the publisher, the placement and prominence of the ad unit around the content, and the availability of data on the audience viewing the content or ad. More specific measures of historical performance may also be considered, such as [engagement], [conversion rate], [CTR], [viewability], and [fraud] exposure. Typically, prominent, better-performing ads next to high-quality content are considered premium.
  2. Premium may also refer to publisher ad inventory that is deliberately sold through programmatic channels, rather than sold through programmatic channels as a contingency after other sales options have failed (i.e. [remnant] inventory). In some cases, premium may be used to differentiate [private exchanges] and [programmatic direct] channels from [RTB].

See also

Private exchange

A private exchange is an exchange where impressions are sold only to buyers that have been approved by a media owner or their representatives. In order to be approved, the buyer may need to pre-negotiate terms with the publisher, pay a sitting fee, or commit to a minimum spend on the platform. Private exchanges may host private RTB auctions for approved buyers, or it may offer fixed rates for buyers to buy impressions outright. Typically, private exchanges host premium inventory, which is more expensive and considered to be higher-quality than that available on open-access exchanges.

See also

Programmatic

Programmatic media buying is the practice of using computer algorithms to buy media placements for advertising. Programmatic can refer to several methods of algorithm-based buying, such as RTB or programmatic direct, but is most often used as a catch-all for any buying method that involves automation.

Synonyms

  • programmatic media
  • programmatic marketing
  • programmatic advertising
  • automation

See also

Did You Know?

Nearly half (45%) of Canadian Marketers feel their organization is below average or lagging behind in their utilization of programmatic.*

*Sponsored Post
Programmatic direct

Programmatic direct is a type of programmatic buying in which media buyers negotiate deals with sellers up-front, but select impressions for campaigns using programmatic technology. As in direct deals, buyers are able to purchase media at pre-negotiated bulk rates, but they may use algorithms to fill the order with only high-performing, in-target impressions. This method maintains the traditional, deal-based media buying model, but incorporates the impression-by-impression audience targeting and real-time analytics that programmatic offers.

See also

Real-time

Real-time describes any computer operation that is completed quickly enough for the result to have a significant effect on its immediate environment. For example, real-time media buying refers to the computer process of selecting, purchasing and delivering media (the operation) fast enough that an ad appears on a user’s browser (the environment) in the time it takes to load a webpage (the immediacy constraint). Similarly, real-time reporting or real-time analytics refers to the computer process of analyzing data and delivering a report in a short enough time that the buyer can use it to inform mid-course decisions about the campaign (rather than receiving the report after the campaign, when it is no longer possible to use it for decision-making). In practice, processes are subject to a “real-time window”, which refers to the timeframe in which the operation’s results will have the desired impact. In some cases, like independent measurement, this window may be as long as several hours; in others, like ad serving, it is a space of several milliseconds.

See also

RTB (real-time-bidding)

Real-time bidding is a type of programmatic media buying in which media buyers bid against one another over individual ad impressions, as those impressions are shown to users. Whenever a user loads an ad on a webpage or mobile app, it generates an impression. Publishers can sell these impressions at the time they are generated by auctioning them to programmatic buyers on an ad exchange. Buyers use algorithms to seek out and bid on auctions that match their criteria, in terms of the quality of the placement and whether the user viewing the ad is part of a target audience. When an auction is completed, the winning bidder’s ad is delivered to the user via an ad server.

See also

Remnant

Remnant refers to ad inventory that is sold to a secondary market after it has failed to be sold through direct sales. Publishers typically try to sell to direct partners first, in order to get the highest rates; remnant impressions that remain unsold at the end of this process may be sold on an exchange, or sold in bulk to a re-seller network. Although these impressions tend to be lower quality and less prominent on the publisher’s site, programmatic technology can make them more valuable, by using audience targeting to sift through large volumes of remnant and buy only those impressions that reach the advertiser’s target audience. These kinds of high-efficiency media buys are particularly useful in acquisition-driven marketing.

See also

Retargeting

Retargeting is a form of audience targeting focused on messaging to consumers that have already shown interest in a product. The most basic form of retargeting uses cookie tracking to deliver targeted ads to web users that have recently visited a product page or advertiser website. More advanced processes, like dynamic retargeting, may optimize the messaging based on the kind of product the user looked at, or their current position in the purchase funnel. Retargeting is practiced extensively by e-commerce retailers and other acquisition-driven marketers, and was one of the earliest forms of programmatic advertising.

See also

SSP (supply-side platform)

An SSP is a software tool used by publishers and their representatives to make impressions available to media buyers via exchanges, networks and programmatic direct. SSPs offer publishers tools to directly track sales, optimize yield, and whitelist preferred advertisers.

See also

Trading desk

A trading desk is a team of individuals that manage programmatic buying. They use proprietary or licensed DSP technology to acquire impressions from RTB exchanges and programmatic direct, according to the buyer’s audience criteria.

See also

Verification

Verification is a form of analytics that confirms that a delivered ad and its audience match the publisher’s description of them. Using ad tags, verification providers track an ad from the ad server to the target user’s browser, and measure a number of environmental quality factors, such as whether the ad is placed where the publisher said it would be, whether it is viewable (i.e. 50% on-screen for at least 1 second), whether the content around it is brand safe, and the likelihood the user is non-human or engaged in some other form of fraud. Verification is often used to determine the quality of a publisher or placement, and optimize towards placements that are more likely to be viewable, brand safe, etc. It is often provided by a trusted third-party partner that specializes in verification and security, rather than the publisher or buying platform.

Synonyms

  • fraud detection
  • traffic quality analytics
  • validation

See also

Viewable impression

A viewable impression is an ad impression that a human user has had the opportunity to see. Many ads are delivered and loaded on browsers, but never appear on a user’s screen because they are outside of the browser frame or otherwise hidden. A viewable impression is an impressions that appeared at least partially on a user’s screen for a long enough time that a human could reasonably have seen it. The Interactive Advertising Bureau defines a display impression as viewable if at least 50% of its area is on-screen for at least one second, and a video impression as viewable if at least 50% of its area is on-screen for at least two consecutive seconds.

See also

Viewability

Viewability is the fraction of delivered impressions that are viewable impressions. A viewability rate of 75% means that 1 out of every 4 impressions delivered either did not appear on the user’s screen or did not remain on-screen for at least one second. Viewability is typically measured using verification, which follows each impression to its destination and determines whether at least 50% of its area is on a user’s screen for at least 1 second.

See also

Did You Know?

Programmatic understanding amongst Canadian Marketers is minimal — only 7% of marketers “understand it well enough to use it”.*

*Sponsored Post