Important Media Buying Terms You Need to Know

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Above The Fold/ATF: Ads positioned “above the fold” of the web page. This typically is the highest valued inventory out there. Most online ad networks define suitable above the fold placement as within 500 or 600 pixels of the top of the page.

Ad Network: In internet marketing, this term means a broker or infomediary who helps an advertiser place online ads across hundreds or thousands of web sites. An “ad network” might have relationships with 100 sites such as, and, allowing a marketer to place ads across this entire spectrum with one media contact. This approach is often combined with Behavioral Targeting, in which ads appear across the network of sites only to users who fit a demographic profile.

Ad Server: A third-party system composed of powerful server hardware, ad serving software, and a powerful internet connection, used by advertisers and web publishers for rapid and reliable display of online advertisements.

Ad Tags: HTML code produced by your ad server that displays the corresponding creatives

Behavioral Targeting: In online advertising, the placement of banner ads that run over a network of hundreds or thousands of web sites, so that the ads only appear to users who fit a specific demographic profile or behavior. For example, banner ads for financial service products could be shown only to web users who have previously read articles on saving for retirement. See Retargeting.

Below The Fold/BTF: Ads positioned “below the fold” of the web page. Also known as under the fold.

Campaign: An advertising or direct mail program in market during a given period of time, typically with numerous media components. See Flight.

Click Fraud: The fraudulent practice of clicking on competitor ads to drive up their costs for advertising.

Click-Through Rate (CTR): The percent of users who receive an online ad impression who click on (or click through) the ad. CTR is calculated as clicks divided by impressions.

Contextual Advertising: In online advertising, the display of ads with graphics or text that match either keywords (search phrases) typed in by the site user or the content of the web site page. For example, a reader of a web site page that contains news about financial planning might be served a banner ad for a financial planning service.

Conversion Rate: In online advertising, the percent of users who reach a transaction page and then complete the transaction. If 1 out of 20 users who visit an e-commerce site complete a transaction, the site has a conversion rate of 5%.

Cost Per Action (CPA): An online advertising payment model where the advertiser pays only after a user completes a desired action, such as a purchase or completing a lead form.

Cost Per Click (CPC): An online advertising payment model where the advertiser pays each time a user clicks on the ad.

Cost per Thousand (CPM): The cost to make 1,000 impressions on the target audience. The acronym originally stood for Cost Per Mille, hence “CPM.” (In online advertising, CPM is a payment model in which advertisers pay a fixed rate per 1,000 online ad impressions.)

 A media buying approach used to allocate ads to certain sections of the day.

Effective cost per mille (eCPM): Your average earnings per 1,000 impressions.

eCPA: Your average cost per action.

EPC: Earnings per click.

Flight Date/Flight: In advertising, flight is the period of time in which a portion of a marketing campaign is active in the market. For example, a series of banner ads that ran over two months could be said to be an 8-week flight. The beginning and end date of a campaign.

Frequency Cap: The number of times that an average audience member sees or hears an advertisement; the number of times that an individual or household is exposed to an advertisement or campaign (frequency of exposure).

Geo-targeting: In online advertising, an approach to target banner, video or text ads so they appear only on web sites within a given geographic area. Geo-targeting can improve online ad relevance and in many cases can reduce online advertising costs.

IAB: Internet Advertising Bureau: The IAB, or Internet Advertising Bureau, is an association dedicated to helping online, interactive broadcasting, email, wireless and interactive television media companies increase their revenues.

Impressions:Number of individual exposures to an advertisement. For example, in online advertising, an impression is one view of one page by one user.

Insertion order: A statement from an advertising agency to a campaign that accompanies the advertisement copy and indicates specifications for the advertisement.

Interstitial Ad: Interstitial advertisements are usually full-page ads displayed while a user is in transit from one page to another, triggered by code included in the link. CPM rates can be as high or higher than popup and popunder rates.

Landing Page: A landing page is the advertiser’s web page to which a user is directed after clicking an ad. For affiliate, CPL and CPA sales, it is important that the landing page is one which entices users to immediately purchase a product or service, rather than simply the home page of the advertising site.

Lead: A lead indicates a potential customer who has expressed interest in a product or service, generally by means of requesting additional information or following through on an online registration. Some affiliate programs pay on a CPL, or Cost Per Lead, basis.

LTV: Lifetime value of the consumer.

Out-Clause: Amount of time agreed upon to cancel insertion order.

Pay Per Click (PPC):An internet advertising model where advertisers pay each time the ad is clicked on. See CPC (Cost Per Click).

Rate: A charge for advertising media space or time.

Rate card: A printed listing of advertising rates for a single media placement.

Rep: A media representative (slang for a national sales represen- tative).

Retargeting: In online advertising, the approach of “chasing” a consumer who visited one web site with a series of banner ads that may escalate in offer across a network of other sites. For example, John Smith might visit and consider a new leather jacket, but leave the site just before the point of sale. The leather coat company could serve up a series of new ads for leather coats to John Smith whenever he visited a network of related web sites; each ad could escalate in offer, with the objective of luring John Smith back to the original e-commerce site to complete the transaction.

ROI: ROI, or return on investment, is a calculation used to determine the relative efficancy of an ad campaign in financial terms, in particular whether or not an ad campaign has generated more or less new revenue than it cost. Due to the direct response nature of many internet ad campaigns, it may be possible to determine ROI with much greater precision than, for example, a television commercial. The response to broader, branding-style campaigns may be more imprecise.

RON: A RON, or run of network, buy means that an advertiser purchases banner inventory across an ad network’s entire range of sites. This type of buy is often used for large-scale branding or awareness campaigns, and usually commands a significantly lower CPM rate than buys which are targeted demographically or by category or site. NOT RECOMMENDED FOR PERFORMANCE BUYS.

Target market: The geographic area or areas to which a campaign is directed; the areas where a product is being sold or introduced; also called “market profile”.

Target profile: A demographic description of the target groups, often including the geographic target markets.

Unit: Advertising unit; the form and context in which an advertisement appears in a media campaign; for example, full-page, half-page vertical, center spread, black and white, back cover, two colors; thirty-second commercial, ten-second ID, and so on.

James Burr is a seasoned Graphic & Web Designer with a decade of experience. A PR Strategist with a deep understanding of Social & New Media. He is also an avid Gamer who favors FPS Games on PlayStation & PC.

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