Ever get confused by all this IM jargon?
Don’t worry – you’re not alone.
Here’s a sampling of the terms you’re very likely to come by often. If you check back often, you’ll probably see it grow!
If you know terms we’ve omitted, please contribute!
Online Marketing Glossary
Above the Fold: In reference to ad placement in traditional media, such as newspapers, this defines the top half of a page. On the web, this portion of the page is viewed without scrolling.
Advertisement or Ad: Digital creative that is typically interactive. Banners, buttons, interstitials and key words are all examples of online advertisements. The digital creative can be text, static graphic, animated graphic, video, audio or other.
Ad Network: Historically, an organization charged with the representation of advertising space for a group of websites for the purpose of maximizing revenue and minimizing administrative costs through aggregation. The role of the modern Internet advertising network is to transact, serve, track and report the distribution of creative from advertisers to publishers using an efficient, interactive marketplace.
Ad Rotation: Different ads and different ad sources are often rotated in the same space on a webpage. Ad rotation can be static (one ad per page view) or dynamic (more than one ad per page view cycled based on elapsed display time). This is usually done automatically by software on the website. This function is related to, but different from ad serving provided by a network, such as Fastclick.com. Ad rotation software can be used in conjunction with the Fastclick.com service.
Ad server: Name for the organization, hardware, and software that deliver advertising creative to the user’s browser. The ad server typically is responsible for selecting the appropriate ad to serve by frequency control and targeting. The ad server also performs a variety of other administrative tasks including the counting of impressions and clicks, and report generation.
Ad Space: The space on a webpage reserved to display advertising.
Ad View: See Impression.
Advertiser: Any individual or entity purchasing online advertising space including agency media buyers, OEM media buyers, and sole proprietors.
Affinity Marketing: Marketing efforts aimed at consumers on the basis of established buying patterns.
Agency: An organization beholden with the responsibility to design, produce and manage the advertising for its customers. Agencies that handle digital creative and online campaigns are typical called interactive agencies. Many agencies handle both interactive and traditional media.
Affiliate: Typical term for a website that drives traffic to another website in exchange for a percent of sales from users driven to the site.
Alias: A URL that points to another website. Many websites use aliases to differentiate traffic. Fastclick allows approved aliases to be used with the same ad code as the main website.
Alternate text: Text that appears while a banner is loading or when a cursor moves over a banner.
Application Service Provider (ASP): Entities that manage and distribute services and solutions to customers across a wide area network from a central data center. Internet advertising networks are sometimes referred to as ASPs.
Applet: A small application served along with or instead of an image file for the purpose of executing a specific animation, visual or audio sequence. Some rich media creatives are served using a Java applet. Applets are typically intended to provide an enhanced web user experience, comparable to a plug-in.
Business-to-Business (B2B) Targeting: The targeting of online advertising to websites that cater to business users, or targeting the business users directly.
Bandwidth: Digital throughput capacity. A measure of how much digital signal or information can be passed through a device or interconnect. Bandwidth is usually measured in bits per second. A 2400 baud modem can handle 2.4 kilobits per second. A T3 industrial interconnect can handle 45 megabits per second. A 100 base-T ethernet interconnect can handle 100 mega-bits-per-second. Bandwidth is analogous to the size of a water pipe.
Banner: An interactive online advertisement in the form of a graphic image that typically runs across the top or bottom of a webpage, or is positioned in a margin or other space reserved for ads. Banner ads are historically GIF images. Many ads are animated GIFs since animation has been shown to be more effective. The standard banner is 468 pixels wide by 60 pixels high. The standard banner is still the mainstay of online advertising, but is quickly giving up ground to newer, potentially more effective forms of online advertising, such as email and interstitials. See Creative.
Banner Burnout: Overexposure of advertising creative that contributes to a drop in click-through rates. Frequency control reduces burnout for a particular creative or campaign.
Booked Space: Website advertising space that is already sold or otherwise unavailable to receive new campaign commitments.
Branding: A traditional advertising method used to elicit a latent response from a target based on cumulative impressions and positive reinforcement. The most successful brands are considered “trustmarks” and enjoy loyal, lifelong customers.
Browser: An application used to access files from the Internet. Common browsers are Microsoft’s Internet Explorer and Netscape’s Navigator.
Browser Caching: See Cache.
Business-to-Business (B2B): Businesses doing business with other businesses. The term is most commonly used in connection with e-commerce and advertising, when you are targeting businesses as opposed to consumers.
Button: An interactive online advertisement in the form of a small graphic image that typically resides in the margin of a webpage. Buttons are typically 88 x 31 pixels. The same button is often recurring for every page view on a particular site. Affiliate programs and sponsorships often use buttons to drive traffic.
Cache: To store pages, images, or other items, on a local server or user’s computer to speed the rate at which webpages load. Ads, like other images, are cached unless some sort of cache-busting technique is used. When ads are cached, they will be served but will not be counted by an ad server. This can lead ad servers to under count the number of times a page is viewed, and this can in turn skew monitoring techniques.
Cache Busting: The process of blocking the caching of certain files to guarantee new delivery from the external server for each page view. Cache busting is necessary for the successful execution on online advertising.
Campaign: A contracted agreement between an advertiser or advertising agency and either a publisher or a representative of a publisher. The campaign is specific to the creative to be published and the issue, or duration of the publication. Online advertising campaigns are defined by a number of variables, including the digital creative, the duration or flight dates, the pricing program, the publishers to be used and any user targeting applied.
Category Targeting: The controlled delivery of creative to categorized websites. Categories focus a campaign to those users most likely to be interested in the products or services being offered, thus increasing the effectiveness of the campaign.
Click, Click-Thru or Click-Through: The activation of a hyperlink using a mouse or other input device. The click-through is essential to the interactivity of online advertising.
Click-Through Rate (or Ratio) (CTR): The rate of activated ads to total ads displayed. A typical CTR is 0.5% (1 in 200). Also called Click-Through Percent (CTP). The click-through rate of an advertising creative is one measure of its effectiveness.
Click-through URL: When users click on a banner or text link, the click-through URL is the new destination to which they are directed.
Click Tracking: The process of counting and auditing the clicks for a campaign. Click tracking can be done by a different entity than that which serves the creative.
Commission: The percentage of the advertising fee paid to the Publisher for hosting the creative on their website Typical commissions range from 50 to 75 percent.
Common Gateway Interface (CGI): Interface-creation scripting programs that create webpages in real-time based on dynamic end user interactive data.
Cookie: A cookie is a file used to record and store a variety of information on a user’s computer. Cookies are placed by an external source during a certain event, such as the display of an ad. A cookie can be read only by the server in the domain that stored it. Cookies placed by Fastclick.com on user’s computers as part of the ad serving process do not collect, store or transmit personally identifiable information. Users can accept or deny cookies, by changing a setting in their browser preferences. The denial of cookies severely limits the customization and interactivity of a user’s online experience.
Cost per 1,000 Impressions (CPM): An advertising campaign pricing model based on an estimate of the number of impressions of a particular creative in a particular media at a particular time (TV) or issue (printed media). The vast majority of online banner advertising is priced using the CPM model. The “M” is the Roman numeral for 1,000. The cost is aggregated per thousand for convenience; the cost for individual impressions would be very small. CPM is strongly associated with the “branding” school of marketing.
Cost per Action or Acquisition (CPA): An advertising campaign pricing model based on paying for direct results. The direct correlation between the action taken and the payment for the advertising that led to the action is desirable to advertisers. This model takes many forms (leads, sales, etc.) and is increasing in popularity online due to the ease of implementation and accounting compared to traditional media. CPA is strongly associated with the “direct response” school of marketing. Also called Cost per Transaction
Cost per Click-through (CPC): An advertising campaign pricing model base on paying only for those ads that experience a click-through CPC can be considered a measure of direct response, but is not a measure of true action taken by a user.
Cost per Lead (CPL): A CPA pricing method that typically pays a fixed fee for the acquisition of a customer lead, such as a filled out form or an opt-in email address. See Cost per Action (CPA).
Cost per Sale (CPS): A CPA pricing method that typically pays a transaction percentage for the acquisition of a customer that makes a purchase. See Cost per Action (CPA).
Creative: The materials used in advertising to convey a message. Digital creative can be text, static graphic, animated graphic, video, audio or other. See Banner.
CUME: A broadcast (radio/TV) term that is shorthand for ‘net cumulative audience’ over a 4-week timespan, based on the total number of unduplicacted people reached.
Data Reporting: The presentation and delivery of publisher website and advertiser campaign data. Data reporting is typically a combination of tabular and graphic presentation.
Demographics: Statistical data that describes the makeup of a given user base, and includes information such as age range, gender, education levels, and average household income. Demographic data is one of the tools used to match ad space with an advertising campaign.
Digital Creative: Advertising creative that is in digital format. Digital creative is easily stored, retrieved and delivered online. Common forms of digital creative include hypertext, HTML files, GIF image files, MPEG video files and AVI audio files.
Direct Response: A traditional advertising method used to elicit a direct response from a target by providing immediate access to the means to make a purchase. The interactivity of the Internet is ideal for the implementation of direct response advertising campaigns.
Even Delivery: The uniform distribution of advertising creative across designated websites and over the flight of the campaign given targeting parameters, if any. Reputable ad serving systems have a variety of methods to maximize even delivery.
Exclusive: A contract that forces a Publisher to sell all specified inventory through a certain channel for a specified period of time. Advertisers can also be bound to purchase media only through a certain channel for a specified period of time. Fastclick does not use exclusive contracts.
Exit Transfer: The automatic launch of a browser window containing the advertiser’s content triggered by the visitor exiting a particular webpage or website.
Flight, Flight Dates: The time period, and associated start and end dates, over which an advertising campaign runs.
Frequency: The rate a particular user is exposed to a particular creative or a particular campaign during a single session or period of time. Frequency capping is essential to the success of online advertising campaigns to maximize creative effectiveness.
Graphic Interchange Format (GIF): A common graphics format that can be displayed on almost all web browsers. GIFs typically display in 256 colors and have built-in compression. Static or animated GIF images are the most common form of banner creative.
Geo-targeting: Serving of ads to a particular geographical area or population segment.
Hang: When a webpage is prevented from loading completely or at all due to a technical difficulty at the server end or at the user end. Online advertising that is poorly served may have the tendency to hang pages, thus irritating the user and publisher alike.
Hit: The sending of a single file from a web server to a user’s computer. Most webpages contain several files, including all HTML, graphics, audio, etc. Hit is not the same as impression, page view, or number of unique visitors. Information about hits is valuable to the provider for server loading and bandwidth predictions, but used alone, it is of little value as a metric of online advertising, or online use in general.
Host: The individual or website that displays online advertising. See Publisher.
Hybrid Campaign: An advertising campaign pricing model base on combining different individual pricing models into one. A CPM/CPA hybrid campaign combines the benefits of branding and direct response into the same campaign. The relative weighting of each individual model is adjustable within the hybrid campaign, and can be modified during the campaign run to maximize ROI.
Hyperlink: The foundation of online interactivity. This is the clickable link in text or graphics on a webpage that takes you to another place on the same page, another page, or another website.
Hypertext Markup Language (HTML): A coding language used to make hypertext documents for use online.
Hypertext: The text version of the hyperlink.
Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP): The networking protocol that allows hyperlinks to work.
Impression: The display of a single creative to a consumer on a website, also called an ad or page impression. A single page view can have more than one impression if there is more than one advertising location on the page, or if dynamic ad rotation is used.
Interactive Agency: An advertising agency, or division of an advertising agency dedicated to interactive advertising, primarily published online.
Interactive Media: The online, Internet, or web environment is the primary interactive media for advertising. It is dubbed interactive because the user, or advertising target, can typically interact with the content and advertising.
Interactive Creative: A digital creative that uses a hyperlink to transfer the user to another website or open a separate interactive window.
Interstitial: Advertising creative placed in-between the origin website and the destination website, either physically or in time – also called a pop-up window. The interstitial is analogous to the advertising inserts in the Sunday paper that usually go straight to the trash. Newer concepts called superstitials or metastitials attempt to be more acceptable to consumers by being less intrusive, subtle and more interesting with the use of rich media components such as video.
Inventory: The ad space available for sale on a website. Ad inventory is determined by the number of ads on a page, the number of pages containing ad space and an estimate of future page views. Also called ad avail.
Internet Protocol Address (IP Address): The numerical system used to identify the components of the Internet. Every system connected to the Internet has a unique IP address. In the current system (IPv4), there are only 4.3 billion unique IP addresses.
Jump Page : See Splash Page.
Java: An object-oriented programming language developed by Sun Microsystems, Java supports animation and real-time information transfer. Web pages that have Java applets embedded are recognized by Java supported web browsers.
Joint Photographic Experts Group (JPEG): Easily compressed graphics format that displays photographic as well as graphic images. JPEG is a newer format than GIF.
Keyword: A word or phrase used to focus an online search and to target advertising. Advertisers can purchase keywords on search engines to guarantee that their website information is displayed prominently and/or display an associated creative.
Lag Time: The amount of time between making an online request or command and receiving a response. A primary goal of advertising network efficiency is to minimize lag time.
Link: See Hyperlink.
Last Call: An opportunity for buyers to find broad penetration at low prices through last-minute, wide-ranging Run-of-Network buys.
LSI Keywords: (Latent Semantic Indexing) See Semantic Environments
Make-Good: Impressions not delivered. If 500,000 impressions are bought and only 400,000 are delivered, the make-good is 100,000. Make-good impressions typically run in the month following the end of flight date or are removed from the campaign invoice (credited).
Media: The forms of publication. Traditional advertising media include newspapers, magazines, billboards, radio and television. Digital interactive advertising media started with the Internet, accessed at an indoor computer, but is quickly spreading to television, cellular devices and outdoor locations.
Media Broker: An individual or organization that represents and is authorized to sell the advertising space of one or more publishers. Advertising networks can act as brokers for online publishers.
Media Buyer / Media Planner: An individual working directly for an advertiser, or for an advertising agency, charged with the responsibility of purchasing advertising space. An interactive media buyer makes online ad space purchases, sometimes through an ad network.
Metric: Any standardized measurement used for comparison purposes. Online advertising metrics include Click-through Ratio and Unique Page Views.
Net Dollars: The total amount a publisher receives for inventory.
Opt-In Email: Email received based on a user’s choice to opt-in, or rather their choice to be on a digital mailing list that (theoretically) is only used to send messages which will be of interest to them. Most opt-in email is advertising. Opt-in email continues to build market share in the online advertising world. More often than not, opt-in is the default and user action, such as a check box, is required to opt-out.
Page View: The loading of a webpage by a browser. A single User Session may result in multiple page views and numerous Impressions. Reload of the same page is another page view.
Pay-per-Click: See Cost per Click.
Pay-per-Impression: See Cost per 1,000 Impressions.
Pay-per-Lead: See Cost per Lead.
Pay-per-Sale: See Cost per Sale.
Pixel: See Tracking Pixel.
Plug-in: A modification to a browser that allows the execution of a certain type of custom file, such as Macromedia’s Flash™. Plug-ins are typically designed to enhance the web user experience by providing animation, video or audio content.
Pop-Under: A window that pops (launches automatically) behind the current browser window. Also known as a pop-behind or go-behind
Publisher: An individual or entity selling online advertising space, including portal media planners, Webmasters and other ad networks. Publisher, web publisher, Webmaster and host are synonymous with respect to online advertising.
Psychographics: Behavioral characteristics of a target audience, such as online shopping habits.
Rate Card: A presentation of the current rates to buy and sell advertising space on an ad network.
Reach: A metric that estimates, for a given reporting period, the Unique Visitors to a website or network of websites, as a percentage of all Unique Visitors considered accessible to that website or network of sites. Percent of the audience “reached”.
Redirect: The process of forwarding a call for a creative to another server based on availability and frequency capping, among other criteria.
Referral: A new member of the ad network (either a publisher or advertiser) referred directly by a current member through a button link or other means.
Refresh: To reload the same webpage.
Remnant Space: Website ad space that is relatively undesirable and is often resold to a third party to be filled with low dollar advertising. Online remnant space is analogous to 3 AM television air time.
Rep Firm: Company that represents advertising sold on a website, often exclusively.
Request for Proposal (RFP): A request to provide a competitive proposal to handle a particular campaign for publication. The best proposal is typically awarded a contract to perform the service.
Return on Investment (ROI): The actual or perceived future value of an expense or investment. Ad campaign ROI is a metric that attempts to determine what the advertiser receives in return for the cost of the advertising, usually in terms of new sales. The difficulty in determining ad campaign ROI is tied to the type of online campaign used.
Rich Media: A general term used to describe advances in online creative that take advantage of enhanced sensory features such as animation, audio and video. Rich media takes many different digital file forms. The serving of rich media creative can require more bandwidth and software modifications for older systems. Rich media creative will become more useful as user bandwidth increases.
Run-of-Network (RON): A campaign buy that distributes creative to all or most of a network of publisher websites with no targeting or other filtering applied, other than standard frequency capping. Run-of-Network campaigns provide Advertisers with the greatest reach at the lowest cost.
Safelist: A safe list is and email list you can join for free, and in returning for joining you are aloud to email out to the entire list of members that join. Usually most safelists have different levels of memberships you can join at, and each different level will allow you to email more members more often. The best types of safe lists to join are ones that are credit based. Joining a credit based safe list makes sure members visit your website, because in order for them to mail out they must earn credits. The only way to do this is by clicking on links to your website in the emails that are sent out.
Semantic Environments: An organization of keywords related to each other semantically (meaning-wise). For example the keywords “drive” or “switch to third gear” are clearly semantically related to the keyword “car.” The presence of semantically related keywords on a page (a.k.a. LSI Keywords), will reassure the Google Algorithm that the subject of the page in question is indeed related to the keyword which has been declared. *)
Serving: The real-time, controlled distribution of advertising creative to publisher websites.
Single Pixel GIF (SPG): See Tracking Pixel.
Site Function Targeting: A simple way to target advertising by the primary use of a website (to buy or sell, to get information, to be entertained). Site function targeting is complementary to traditional category targeting.
Splash page: A highly expressive page between an advertisement and an advertiser’s website that often provides product information. Some splash pages automatically jump to another page on the advertiser’s website after a certain amount of time has elapsed.
Sponsorship: A “long term” advertising relationship that typically involves the payment of a fixed fee to display a banner or other graphic on a website, or be included in an email newsletter.
Stats: Data about the use of a website or the effectiveness of an ad campaign. The depth and breadth of stats is unlimited.
Stickiness: A performance metric based on the ability of a website to hold a visitor’s attention. A website’s stickiness is average duration per user session or per unique visitor.
Surplus Inventory: Website ad space available for purchase. Surplus inventory is often Remnant Space.
Tag: HTML fragment that enables a website to serve an impression.
Targeting: The control of the distribution of ad creative to only those websites or those users that fit within the particular targeting parameters. The depth and breadth of potential targeting parameters is unlimited. Targeting has the potential to dramatically improve the advertiser’s ROI. Typical targeting parameters are: local user time of day, website category, user country, user age, etc.
Third Party Auditing: The use of an “independent” serving authority to provide the definitive accounting of the execution of an ad campaign. The campaign contract is usually written so that the auditor’s numbers are final, rather than those of either the advertiser or publisher. Third party auditing is sometimes performed by a separate enterprise than third party serving, thus involving a total of four parties. If third party remnant space or affiliates are involved, the total number of entities involved in a single interactive advertising event can be five or more.
Third Party Serving: The task of managing the frequency capping, redirection and accounting of advertising events between publishers and advertisers.
Tracking: The collection and automated analysis of data associated with the serving of digital creative. Tracking provides the frequency control, accounting, stats data and anti-fraud components of a campaign.
Traffic: The volume of visitors to a website. Traffic is the currency of online success, but is not the only factor. Massive, low grade traffic to a website with poor content will inevitably result in failure. To an ad network Traffic Management is the ongoing effort to balance Publisher inventory with booked campaigns.
Tracking Pixel: The method used by Fastclick to track post-click actions. A small piece of HTML code is placed in the advertiser’s action page. This causes a clear, single pixel GIF image (1X1) to be loaded by our servers and count the action if a corresponding tracking cookie exists on the visitors computer.
Transfer Click: Another term for the automatic loading (pop) of a new browser window containing the advertiser’s content.
Trust Rank: An algorithm used by Google (and many other engines) whose objective is to determine the trusthworthiness – or contextual authority – of the page, or site, in question.*)
Uniform Resource Locator (URL): an HTTP address used by the World Wide Web to specify a certain site. This is the unique identifier, or address, of a webpage on the Internet http://www.fastclick.com is the URL of this site.
Unique Page Views: The total number of unique pages on a website by a unique visitor.
Unique Visitor and User Session: A unique IP address visiting a website for the first time in a specified period. Unique visitor is more often associated with long periods of time, such as a month. User session is more often associated with shorter periods of time, such as 30 minutes. Both are valuable traffic metrics for many websites. Frequency control in ad campaigns is a function of unique visitor and user session definitions.
Viral Marketing: The use of a self-perpetuation mechanism, such as a referral or affiliate program, to grow a user base in a manner similar to the spread of a virus. Good viral marketing campaigns have extraordinary ROI.
Web Page: The traditional presentation of information online. Websites are made up of webpages, analogous to the pages in a book. If frames are used, multiple pages can be displayed at the same time, resulting in multiple Page Views.
Webmaster: The individual responsible for the management of a website. See Publisher.
Website: A virtual location online designated by a unique URL. A website is made up of one or more webpages.
Website Categories: System of grouping based on content or demographic interests. These may include women’s interests, automotive, and financial sites, etc.
Website Profile: Details that may include historical demographic and psychographic information about visitors to the website, or a portion thereof.
Zip Code Targeting: Real-time geographic targeting of advertisements based on the zip code of the user.
Special Thanks To Alexis @ Fastclick.com for using their glossary as a base to build from.
*) concepts developed by the author of this site, Paul Sedkowski, a.k.a. APauley13