SEA : Online Advertising Glossary & Terms

There are so many acronyms, terms, abbreviations and glossary of digital media available on the internet. A good knowledge of it can help you to know what is going on in the digital marketing world. I am compiling a list of terms most commonly used in Online Advertising for references. Use the following alphabet key to find the definition of the terms. Hope this is useful for you.


Ad Dimension

The size of a creative measured in pixels.

Advertiser An individual or organization which has ad campaigns or creative to run on a website or ad network.

Ad Server

A computer, normally operated by a third party, that delivers and tracks advertisements independent of the web site where the ad is being displayed. Use of an ad server helps establish trust between an advertiser and publisher since an objective third party maintains the statistics.

Ad Tag

A piece of code that a publisher puts on their website to run ads served by an ad server.

Ad Spot

This represents the location of an advertisement’s real estate on a web page.


A type of advertising system based on the CPA payment method whereby web sites run advertiser’s banners for free but get paid on any sales or registrations that result from visitors that click on the banner.


An organization that provides a variety of ad services for advertisers, including helping them design creative and locate the best place to run their advertising campaign.


Behavioral Targeting

Behavioral targeting is used to show specific ads based on the behavior of a user, such as how long they spend on a page, or the order of pages they visit. Typically, this is done with special software that tracks a user’s progress through a website.



A campaign specifies a collection of common settings that a creative or groups of creatives abides
by. These settings may include start/end dates, and targeting options. More broadly, a campaign
can refer to the entire process of planning, creating, buying and tracking an online advertising
project from start to finish.


Channels (sometimes referred to as Themes or Categories) provide a way to target particular sites or sections of sites at the same time. A website might create channels for different sections of their site, making it easier for advertisers to target advertising just to a specific topic area. An ad network might use channels to provide a simple way for an advertiser to run their ads on a large group of relateed sites on the network (i.e. they might create a Technology Channel that encompassed all of the technology sites in the network).

Contextual Targeting

Showing someone an ad that is relevant to what that person is doing at that point in time, or showing ads based on the contents of the page the ad is displaying on. Google AdSense is a good example of contextual targeting.


Cookies are small files that are sent from a web server to the local user’s computer to store information unique to that user. Often used by advertisers to keep track of the number and frequency of advertisements that have been shown to a visitor or by sites to help them determine the number of unique visitors. Cookies can also be used to target advertising, such as targeting advertising based on an individual’s user profile on a site.


Cost per thousand (CPM) is an online payment model where advertisers pay for every 1000 impressions of their advertisement. This is an ideal method of payment for advertisers who are primarily concerned with the number of times their ads are seen. The “M” in CPM is from the Roman numeral for 1000.


Cost per click (CPC) is an online payment model where advertisers pay for each click‐through their ad receives. This is an ideal method of payment for advertisers who are primarily concerned with the actual number of clickthroughs their ad received.


Cost per action (CPA) is an online payment model where advertisers pay for ever action (sale or registration) completed as a result of a visitor clicking on their advertisement. This usually depends on Post‐Click Tracking, which enables the ad server to tell when a visitor arrived at a particular page (such as the Confirmation page of an online ordering system) after clicking on a banner ad.


Cost per lead (CPL) is a method that allows advertisers to pay for every lead or customer inquiry that resulted from a visitor who clicked on one of their advertisements. Also known as cost per inquiry (CPI).


A banner, HTML form, Flash file or any other form of advertising material. Common creative types include GIF, JPEG, Java, HTML, Flash or streaming audio/video.


This is an abbreviation for conversion rate. It is one of the most important parts of paid inclusion campaigns. The conversion rate of a website is the measurement of the success of a paid inclusion campaign. A conversion rate is measured by the number of potential visitors performing the desired action, whether the action is buying a product, filling out a form, or some other goal of the web page. For example, if there are 100 visitors to a particular web page via a pay per click ad, and one of those 100 buys the product the website sells, then the conversion rate for that particular ad is one percent. The larger the conversion rate of a web page means the more successful the website will be as well as how successful the paid inclusion campaign is.



DoubleClick is currently the largest provider in the market with their DART technology products for both advertisers and publishers.



Effective Cost per action (aka effective cost per acquisition). The effectiveness of advertising inventory purchased by an advertiser can be measured using effective cost per action or eCPA. The eCPA indicates the exact amount the advertiser would have paid if it had purchased the inventory on a cost per action basis. Sometimes CPA is referred to as “cost per acquisition,” as the majority of actions are sales. In other words, the advertiser has acquired a new customer. [Technically speaking, a CPA deal could include any action, not just a customer acquisition or sale, but in practice CPA means sale. When the action is a click, the sales method is referred to as CPC, and when the action is a lead, the sales method is referred to as CPL.]


Effective Cost Per Thousand(M). This is an auto optimization feature that compares the performance of all the campaigns in the system based on their CPM, CPC, and CPA in order to assign them an eCPM value, and then show the highest performing campaigns most often.


Exclusions prevent competing advertisers from having their ads shown with each other. For example, ad campaigns for Ford and GM might be set up with Exclusions, to ensure that a Ford ad and a GM ad were never shown on the same page.


An exclusive campaign is one in which only ads from that campaign are shown for the specified period of time, preventing any other ads from showing.


Frequency Capping

A term used to describe the number of times the same advertisement is shown to the same visitor during a particular session or time frame. Frequency Capping is a popular method for ensuring that a single user does not see the same ad too often. .



Geotargeting is the practice of targeting ads to web users based on their physical location. This is determined by matching their IP address to a database of IP addresses and locations provided by ISP’s in a geo‐targeting database, such as MaxMind or Quova.

Google Adwords

It is a pay-per-click advertising program by Google. Adwords is for ADVERTISERS to promote their website’s products and services on’s search results in the “sponsored links” section. Quality ad text and relevant keyword buys will give advertiser a competitive edge over advertiser’s competitors. With AdWords, advertiser can set own budget and change campaigns at any time -there are no commitments or spending requirements of any kind.

Google Adsense

It is an advertising placement service by Google. The program is designed for website PUBLISHERS who want to display targeted text, video or image advertisements on website pages and earn money when site visitors view or click the ads.





Founded in 1996, the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) is the leading online global advertising industry trade association with over 300 active member companies in the United States alone. IAB activities include evaluating and recommending standards and practices, fielding research to document the effectiveness of the online medium and educating the advertising industry about the use of online and digital advertising.


The number of times a banner ad was requested and presumably seen by users. It is often hard to obtain an accurate impression count as they can be under counted due to issues relating to cache or over counted due to requests that were not completed.


An particular type of advertisement that loads between web pages, requiring a user to look at it before getting to the page they meant to go to. It is one of the closest things on the Internet to television commercials.

Inventory Management

Tools designed to allow users to better control and understand what ads are showing and where they are showing.







This specifies a creative with the ad dimension of 728×90. Commonly used at the top of pages.



This term is used for sets of linked ads that are designed to show on the same page at the same time. For example when a 468×60 and 120×600 from the same campaign are designed to both be shown to a user at the same time.



An advertising company that usually serves as a broker between web site publishers and advertisers. Large ad networks aggregate sites into general categories so they can offer advertisers targeted buys. The majority of banner advertisements on the Internet are sold and served by ad networks.





This is an internet privacy protocol, supported by the majority of ad serving technologies, which defines how private information and tracking cookies should be used, in order to work with modern browsers.


PPC (Pay-Per-Click) aka CPC. It is an online payment model where advertisers pay for each click‐through their ad receives. This is an ideal method of payment for advertisers who are primarily concerned with the actual number of clickthroughs their ad received.


PCT stands for Post Click Tracking. This is used to track if a user performs an action after clicking on a banner, such as completing a registration page or purchasing an item. It is done with the use of a cookie placed in the browser that is read by a tracking pixel on a page (such as an order confirmation page or a “thank you for signing up” page).


These are ads that load up in a new browser window either in front of, or behind the originating browser. They are becoming less popular with advertisers due to the fact that so many users dislike them, and many web browsers now ship with pop‐up blocking tools built‐in, making them less effective than other forms of advertising< p>


A website owner who runs advertising on their site.




Rich Media

A general term to refer to any advanced type of advertising, such as Flash ads, video ads, expandable ads, floating ads, rollover ads and HTML ads. These are differentiated from basic image ads.


Roadblock is a term used for ads that take over a page, or block other advertisers from showing on a page. It is commonly used as another term for exclusive.


Run of Site. A campaign set for ROS means it has the potential to appear anywhere on a web site.


Run of network (RON) means a banner has the potential to appear on any page of any site that is part of an ad network. Since this type of buy is usually not targeted, it tends to be the least expensive type of advertisement that can be purchased.



Ad Dimension 120×600. Commonly used on the side of pages.


Third Party Redirect

A term used to describe a creative uploaded to an ad server that isn’t an image or media file, but rather a redirect to another ad server.













References :
Web Advertising Glossary Reference 1
Web Advertising Glossary Reference 2
Web Advertising Glossary (IAB) Reference 3
Web Advertising Glossary Reference 4
Web Advertising Glossary Google Reference 5


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