Digital Advertising & Marketing Glossary

All the marketing terms and definitions to keep you in the know. Explore the complete marketing glossary covering every topic under the digital sun.

A/B testing

A/B testing is a common tool used in digital marketing to test two versions of a digital ad or asset and find out which performs better. The test usually involves one element, such as two different versions of a headline, or two different colors on the CTA button. The purpose of an A/B test is to find out which version garners more interest and engagement among the target audience. Marketers can use that information to optimize online campaigns and boost performance.

Read more

Ad network

Ad networks are platforms where digital advertisers and digital publishers trade in online ad space. Ad networks are designed to match supply of ad space inventory with advertiser demand. They utilize a range of technologies to support auctions and advertiser bidding in real time.

Read more

Ad server

An ad server is a software platform used by online publishers, advertisers, and advertising agencies to manage, serve, and track online advertisements. It helps to centralize the ad management process and automate tasks such as ad trafficking, ad targeting, ad reporting, and ad optimization. The ad server provides advertisers with a single point of access to serve ads across multiple websites and devices, and enables publishers to maximize revenue from their advertising inventory.

Ad targeting

Ad targeting is a powerful tool used in digital marketing to tailor ad campaigns to specific audiences. It enables both marketers and publishers to deliver adverts more effectively and efficiently by narrowing ad placements down and displaying ads to people who are most likely to show an interest.

Read more


Stands for “Authorised Digital Sellers”, and is a text file in which a publisher records who can sell inventory on the site. This text file is integrated into programmatic platforms and provides buyers with additional transparency. It can also help to prevent ad fraud.

Affiliate marketing

When a blogger or website owner promotes ads for an advertiser on their site, this is called affiliate marketing, or affiliate advertising. The website is operating as an ‘affiliate’ of the advertiser. Affiliate advertising is based on performance – whether it be Pay Per Click, Pay Per Lead or Pay Per Sale. 

Read more

Agency trading desk

A trading system developed by large agency holding companies to make programmatic purchasing more efficient for their customers. Agency Trading Desks usually access several DSPs and thus a larger inventory, and can be connected to additional data streams via Data Management Platforms (DMPs).


Attribution in marketing refers to the process of attributing value or credit to different touchpoints in a customer's journey, in order to understand the impact of marketing and advertising efforts on customer behavior and conversion. It helps to optimize and allocate marketing budgets by identifying the most effective channels and tactics.

Read more

Automated guaranteed

Automated Guaranteed is a buying model in programmatic advertising that combines the benefits of both automated and guaranteed methods. Advertisers set a fixed price for a specific audience and inventory, ensuring the delivery of their ad campaign. The process is automated, meaning it's executed programmatically using technology, allowing for real-time bidding, targeting, and optimization. This model provides advertisers with more control over their ad spend and the delivery of their ads, while also providing publishers with a guaranteed source of revenue. 

Banner ads

Banner ads are a type of digital ad that typically appear at the top, bottom or sides of a web page, and are typically rectangular in shape. Banner ads often include graphics, text, and a call-to-action button inviting you to "click here." Their purpose is to promote a product, service, brand, or website and get you to take a closer look by visiting the advertiser's landing page.

Read more

Banner blindness

Banner blindness is a phenomenon in which internet users stop noticing or paying attention to online ads. First coined in 1998, banner blindness has become a serious concern for digital marketers. Related to the similar phenomenon of ‘ad fatigue’, banner blindness is one of the reasons for the increased use of ad blockers.

Read more

Bottom-of-funnel marketing (BOFU)

Bottom-funnel marketing refers to the stage in the customer journey where potential customers are close to making a purchase decision. At this stage, they have already been exposed to the brand and its offerings through various marketing channels such as social media interactions, email marketing, content marketing, and retargeting ad campaigns. The goal of bottom-funnel marketing is to guide customers toward making a purchase and ultimately convert them into loyal customers.

Read more

Brand ambassador

A brand ambassador is an individual who promotes and represents a brand with the aim of building awareness of the brand among their own target audiences and customers.

Read more

Brand awareness

Brand awareness relates to how aware people are about a brand, from its logo, ads, slogan or simply its market presence. Global icons like Nike have very high awareness, while a local business will likely have good brand awareness only in the immediate community or niche target audience. 

Read more

Brand equity

Brand equity is a marketing term that denotes the perceived, inherent value of a brand. It is not the brand’s monetary value, but rather its social value among the wider public and consumer audience.

Read more

Brand exposure

Brand exposure is the actions taken to ensure a brand is seen, noticed, and recognized by consumers and audiences. The more exposure a brand has, the more it can grow brand awareness, brand equity, its customer base, and revenue.

Read more

Brand influencer

A brand influencer is an individual who partners with a brand to promote its products or services via the influencer’s social media and online networks. Brand influencers usually gain monetary compensation or may receive complimentary products as compensation.

Read more

Brand loyalty

Brand loyalty relates to the positive sentiment that consumers have towards a brand, which leads them to continually purchase the product or service. When brand loyalty is strong, the consumer may continue to purchase from the brand even in the face of inconvenience or negative experiences.

Read more

Brand personality

Brand personality can be described as the traits that make up a brand, and which the customers relate to. The brand personality includes the kinds of traits normally attributed to people, like sense of humor, sincerity, introvert/extrovert, conservative, or boisterous.

Read more

Brand positioning

Brand positioning relates to the place a brand occupies in the minds of consumers, especially in relation to other brands. In this way, it is somewhat similar to brand perception. 

Read more

Brand recall

Brand recall denotes how many customers can remember your brand name when prompted or aided, say with a mention of a product, service, or any other concept associated with it, or when unaided, such as when asked “name your favorite shampoo brands.” 

Read more

Brand recognition

Brand recognition denotes the ability of consumers to recognize a brand based on one or more of its identifying characteristics, such as a product or service, ad jingle, logo, packaging, or any other visual or audio element. 

Read more

Brand reputation

Brand reputation refers to the general sentiment, associations and perceptions of a brand among all who regard it, including customers, stakeholders, partners, employees, and competitors. 

Read more

Brand salience

Brand salience is a measure used to describe how much a customer thinks about a brand at a particularly important moment: the purchase decision.

Read more

Brand tone

Brand tone describes the overall way a brand communicates with its audiences and the ‘sense’ it creates among consumers. 

Read more

Brand value proposition

Brand value proposition is a statement that describes the value that customers can expect from a brand. 

Read more

Brand voice

Brand voice refers specifically to the way a brand ‘speaks’ or ‘sounds’ in all the ways it communicates with the wider world. 

Read more

Carousel ads

A carousel ad is a type of online ad that allows you to showcase multiple images, GIFs, headlines, and descriptions in a single ad unit that functions like a rotating carousel. With this format, you can display more information than a single image or text-based ad, so you can engage with potential customers in a unique way. 

Read more


Churn, or customer churn, is also known as "customer attrition". This is when customers stop doing business with a certain company, and it may be due to a number of reasons. These include a lack of products or services that the customer needs, bad customer service, or better prices, products, services, or deals from competitors. Churn is a very important metric as it shows why customers may be unhappy and gives the business an opportunity to correct it, increase customer retention, and boost revenue. 

Read more

Content recommendations

Content recommendations are content pieces that are suggested or recommended to web users on the web page they are visiting. Content recommendations are served via discovery platforms such as Outbrain. They are designed to enhance the experience of the reader by suggesting articles that may interest them, based on their past online activity.

Read more

Conversion rate (CVR)

Conversion rate, or CVR, is a common metric used in digital marketing to denote the percentage of website visitors who ‘convert’ by taking a desired action, such as making a purchase, filling out an online form, or subscribing to a newsletter. CVR is a key indicator of how effectively a website is converting visitors into customers or leads.

Read more

Conversion tracking

Conversion tracking involves taking action to see what customers do after they have clicked on an online ad. Brands and marketers use conversion tracking to gain insight into the effectiveness of their advertisements and campaigns, as well as which ads and offers are most successful in driving engagement.

Read more

Cost Per View (CPV)

The price for one video play when a predefined minimum video viewing time is reached. Other possible billing models for videos include Cost Per Completed View (CPCV; paid only when the video is viewed through to completion) and Cost Per Video Viewability (CPVV, paid only if the video is visible; the IAB standard is 50% of the number of pixels visible for at least 2 consecutive seconds).

CPA (Cost per acquisition)

CPA is a marketing metric that denotes how much it costs to acquire a new customer or conversion. The data is used frequently by businesses to drive user acquisition and growth through improved decision making, such as how to allocate your marketing budget and how to optimize the marketing funnel.

Read more

CPC (Cost per click)

Cost per click (CPC) is a pricing model in digital advertising that reflects the price an advertiser pays for every click on their ad. CPC (sometimes referred to as PPC or Pay Per Click) is a popular way to run campaigns, as advertisers only pay when someone interacts with the ad. CPC is used for a wide range of online ads from Google Shopping and video ads to social media ads, display ads, and native ads. 

Read more

CPL (Cost per lead)

CPL (Cost per Lead) is a marketing metric denoting the amount spent to obtain a lead in a digital marketing campaign or channel. This enables advertisers to understand how effective their campaigns are at generating leads in a given stream. With CPL, conversions are reliant on end-users converting via an “opt in”, offering their contact details to the marketer so as to join the company’s marketing funnel. 

Read more


Cost per mille (CPM) is a metric used in digital advertising to indicate the cost of 1000 impressions of an ad on the web. CPM provides insight into the cost efficiency of a digital ad in terms of the size of the online audience that views it. Understanding the basics of CPM is essential for successful marketing professionals in this day and age. 

Read more

CTR (Click-through rate)

Click-through rate (CTR) is a marketing metric that denotes how many times a digital ad was clicked by the viewing audience, in relation to the number of impressions of the ad that were served. A high CTR is desirable, as it means that the ad is interesting or relevant enough to the viewer to entice them to click and continue the interaction with the brand. 

Read more

Data Management Platform (DMP)

A system for managing data used by agencies, advertisers, or publishers. Most first party data is managed and integrated with third party data to combine user information and activities as well as to optimize media purchasing.

Demand Side Platform (DSP)

A platform that allows brands and agencies to automatically bid on ad inventory. Buyers define information such as creatives and price, and control the distribution of their ads. DSPs determine the best possible inventory for reaching a target audience, place buys, and report on the performance. They are connected to SSPs via ad exchanges. Agency Trading Desks often bundle multiple DSPs to further increase efficiency.

Display advertising

Display ads, which are also sometimes known as banner ads, are a form of paid advertising in which the advertiser pays the website publisher for every ad impression or user click of the display ad. 

Read more

DSP (Demand Side Platform)

A Demand Side Platform, also known as a DSP, is an online network of ad inventory supply, where advertisers can buy ad placements made available by online publishers. Advertisers can bid in auctions for ad impressions, and thereby purchase ad space across many different websites and mobile apps. In simple terms, a DSP is a programmatic advertising tool that helps to match ads with the right ‘spots’ on publisher sites. 

Read more

First price auction

in programmatic advertising, a First Price Auction is a type of auction in which the highest bidder wins the impression and pays the price they bid. This contrasts with second price auctions, where the winning bid pays one increment above the second-highest bid. In a First Price Auction, the winning bid is the actual cost of the impression, so the cost to the advertiser may be higher than expected. This creates more competition among bidders and can lead to higher prices for publishers. Advertisers should have a clear understanding of First Price Auction mechanics and bid appropriately to ensure they are getting the best value for their ad spend.

First-party data

First-party data refers to data that is collected directly by the advertiser or publisher from their customers and website visitors. It is collected through website analytics, customer interactions, and other direct sources. First-party data is highly valuable because it is specific to the advertiser and provides insights into the interests and behaviors of their target audience. Unlike third-party data, first-party data is not shared with other advertisers. As third-party cookie depreciation sets in, first-party data will become even more vital for online ad targeting.

Floor price

A floor price in programmatic advertising refers to the minimum price that a publisher is willing to accept for an ad impression. This is set by the publisher to ensure that they are not undervaluing their inventory and receive a minimum revenue from the ad. The floor price is used in real-time bidding (RTB) auctions, where advertisers compete to purchase ad impressions. Advertisers must bid above the floor price to be considered for the impression. If the highest bid is below the floor price, the impression is not sold. The floor price helps to balance the needs of both advertisers and publishers and ensures that inventory is sold at a reasonable price.

Header bidding

Header bidding is a programmatic ad buying method that enables publishers to present their ad space inventory on multiple SSPs (Supply Side Platform), or ad exchanges, at once via an auction model. With header bidding, numerous advertisers can bid simultaneously to compete for advertising space on websites.

Read more

Middle-of-funnel marketing (MOFU)

Middle-funnel marketing, sometimes called 'consideration marketing', is the stage in the customer journey where potential customers are considering a purchase but haven't yet made a final decision. At this stage, they are aware of the brand and have shown some interest in the product or service, but they may still be evaluating alternatives and weighing their options.

Read more

Mobile advertising

Mobile advertising is paid advertising that occurs on mobile phones or devices that have a wireless internet connection. Mobile ads can be display ads published on mobile websites by mobile ad networks, or can be promoted in mobile applications as in-app ads.

Read more

Multi-touch attribution

Multi-touch attribution is a sophisticated approach to measuring the value of different digital touchpoints that contribute to a customer's decision-making process. Unlike traditional single-touch models, which give all the credit to the first or last touchpoint, multi-touch attribution considers the entire customer journey and fairly distributes credit across various interactions.

Read more

Native advertising

Native advertising is a digital ad that has the look and feel of editorial content. The ad is ‘native’ to the web page – in design and function, it seems just like the other content on the page. Native ad space is purchased by advertisers via native ad networks like Outbrain. 

Read more

Native DSP

A Native DSP (Demand Side Platform) is a platform designed specifically for buying native advertising inventory programmatically. Native advertising refers to ads that blend in with the look and feel of the web page, providing a more seamless and non-intrusive advertising experience for the user. A Native DSP allows advertisers to buy native advertising inventory from multiple sources and programmatically target their audience. It enables advertisers to reach their target audience with relevant, high-quality native ads, at scale. The use of a Native DSP streamlines the native advertising buying process and, unlike conventional DSPs, allows for post-engagement targeting.

Online advertising

Any type of advertising that occurs on the internet is considered online advertising. Online advertising comes in many forms, including display advertising, search engine advertising, email advertising, social media advertising, content recommendations, mobile advertising (app advertising).

Read more

Open auction

An Open Auction in programmatic advertising is a type of real-time bidding (RTB) auction that is open to all eligible demand sources, including DSPs, networks, and agencies. In an Open Auction, ad impressions are made available to all demand sources, allowing them to bid in real-time for the opportunity to serve an ad. The winning bid is determined by the highest bid, and the winning advertiser pays the amount they bid for the impression. Open Auctions provide a transparent and competitive environment for buying and selling ad impressions, helping to ensure that the best price is achieved for both the advertiser and the publisher. 

Open web

The open web is the online advertising ecosystem that is not owned or controlled by a single company or platform. It includes websites, apps, and other digital properties where advertisers can reach a broad audience across multiple channels, outside of the "walls" of closed networks, such as social media platforms and search engine results pages. Advertisers can use various methods, such as display advertising, native advertising, and programmatic buying, to reach users on the open web. The open web ecosystem enables higher transparency and competition than closed networks, allowing advertisers to reach users with relevant and engaging ads while giving those users more control over their data and privacy. The open web is essential for promoting innovation, diversity, and choice in the digital advertising industry.

Paid advertising

Paid advertising is any type of advertising that is paid for. It stands in contrast to owned advertising (ads promoted on the advertiser’s own channels) or earned advertising (non-commissioned writeups or recommendations from third-party publishers).

Read more

Post-click engagement

Important metric for performance marketers to optimize campaigns. KPIs such as click rates (on the landing page) or time on site of existing users are analyzed in order to bid on new users who are likely to show the highest engagement.


PPC, which stands for Pay Per Click, is an internet advertising model used to drive traffic to a website or landing page.

Read more

Pre-bid targeting

Data that enables advertisers to target visible, fraud-proof, brand-safe or contextually relevant inventory, and bid only on inventory that meets the pre-defined requirements.

Private Marketplace (PMP)

Higher-value ad groups that are grouped together by a publisher or SSP and are not available in an open auction. Only selected advertisers can bid on these placements. Subdivided into Preferred Deal, Private Auction and Automated Guaranteed.

Programmatic advertising

Programmatic advertising is an automated way of buying and selling advertising space in real time. It uses algorithms and software to purchase digital advertising, as opposed to traditional methods such as manual RFPs (Requests for Proposals) and negotiations.

Read more

Programmatic direct

A transaction between a publisher and advertiser that takes place through a programmatic ad buying system. Inventory is directly sold and guaranteed.

Quality Score (QS)

Quality Score (QS) is a single number Google produces for each ad an advertiser includes in their campaign. It measures the ‘quality’ of the ad by gathering data from users, comparing what they search with which ads they click on, and what they do once they’ve clicked through. In other words, the Quality Score is a measure of how relevant an ad is to a user based on the keywords the advertiser is targeting.

Read more

Real Time Bidding (RTB)

Real Time Bidding, or RTB, is a process used in programmatic advertising to buy and sell digital inventory in real time (a real-time bid consisting of a bid request and a bid response). The bid request is triggered when a user visits a page. The request data (user location, browser history, website, device) is offered for sale via an SSP on an Ad Exchange. A DSP connected to this Ad Exchange responds to this offer with data on price and creatives (bid response). The highest bid for the placement wins and the ad is distributed. This all happens automatically and within milliseconds.


Retargeting, also known as remarketing, is an advertising strategy that targets people who have previously interacted with a website or online content. It uses tracking technology to display ads to these individuals on other websites they visit. The goal is to re-engage potential customers and encourage them to complete a desired action, such as making a purchase or filling out a form. Retargeting is an effective tool to increase brand awareness and conversion rates.

Retention rate

Retention rate is a metric that refers to the percentage of returning customers to a business, service, or product. The retention rate for a subscription service is the percentage of customers who stay subscribed month after month. For a product (usually consumables such as food or clothing), it refers to consumers who prefer your brand to competitors and return to make repeat purchases.

Retention rate

Return on ad spend (ROAS)

Return on Ad Spend (ROAS) is a valuable metric for advertisers, as it provides insight into the profitability of a campaign and helps to inform decisions around budget allocation and campaign optimization. Advertisers aim to achieve a high ROAS, as this indicates that a specific campaign is generating a significant return on investment.

Read more

Search advertising

Search advertising is the promotion of ads on search engine listings or on the sidebar of search engine results pages (also known as SERPs). Search advertising is a very popular channel, largely due to the sheer volume of traffic seen by SERPs.

Read more

Search engine marketing

Search engine marketing (SEM) is a digital marketing technique that uses paid and organic advertising to help websites rank higher in search engine results pages (SERPs). The goal of search engine marketing is to increase a website’s visibility and gain more traffic and page views.

Read more

Second price auction

In programmatic advertising, a Second Price Auction is a type of real-time bidding (RTB) auction where the winning bidder pays one increment above the second highest bid, rather than the amount they bid. This type of auction helps to ensure that the final price of an ad impression reflects its true market value, creating a more stable and predictable pricing environment, benefitting both advertisers and publishers. 

Second-party data

Second-party data refers to data that is collected by one organization and shared with another. This type of data is obtained through partnerships or data-sharing agreements between two companies. Second-party data can be particularly useful for advertisers who have limited first-party data or who are seeking to reach a new audience. Unlike first-party data, second-party data is not collected directly from the advertiser's customers and website visitors, and is subject to privacy regulations and the data policies of both companies involved.

Social media advertising

Any type of promotion on social networks is considered social media advertising. Platforms such as Facebook, Linkedin, TikTok, Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram, Pinterest, Snapchat, YouTube, and others, have become hugely popular advertising channels. 

Read more

Supply Side Platform (SSP)

A platform that allows publishers to automatically sell their inventory and is often linked to ad exchanges. It allows the setting of floor prices and the bundling of inventory for private marketplaces.

Third-party data

Third-party data refers to data that is collected by companies other than the advertiser or publisher and is then made available for purchase by advertisers. It is collected through various sources, such as online and offline surveys, browser and search data, and demographic information. Because third-party data is not collected directly from the advertiser's own website visitors and/or customers, it is subject to privacy regulations and may be less accurate or relevant than first-party data. The use of third party data in digital advertising will wind down in the near future as the third-party cookie is removed from the market.

Top-of-funnel marketing (TOFU)

Top-funnel marketing, also known as awareness marketing or brand building, refers to the stage in the customer journey where potential customers are introduced to a brand for the first time. The goal of top-funnel marketing is to create brand awareness and generate interest in a brand's products or services among a wider audience.

Read more

User acquisition

User acquisition is a term that describes the strategy and processes businesses apply to get new people to buy their product, use their app, or register for their service. There are a variety of strategies and tactics that marketers use to maximize their user acquisition rates. For example, a company will develop advertising campaigns, promotions, and rewards that are focused on attracting new users.

Read more

Video Ad-Serving Template (VAST)

A Video Ad Serving Template (VAST) is a standardized XML format that defines the structure for delivering video ads to websites and apps. It provides a common language for video ad delivery and allows video ads to be served and played across a wide range of platforms and devices. VAST provides a framework for the delivery of video ads, including information about the ad's size, duration, and type, as well as tracking and reporting data. The use of a VAST standard helps to simplify the process of delivering video ads in programmatic advertising and ensures a high-quality, consistent viewing experience for users.

Video advertising

Video advertising is the promotion of ads via video. Video ads can take many forms, whether they be short image-style videos, explainer videos, or product videos. 

Read more

Walled gardens

Walled gardens refer to closed ecosystems on the web owned and controlled by a single company, such as Facebook, Amazon, and Google. Advertisers in walled gardens can only reach users within that ecosystem.

Read more