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Advertising Terms

CPM - this is an acronym for Cost Per Mil, with M standing for Mil a symbol for thousand. CPM means the cost per 1000 ads. A CPM of 1 would mean a cost of $1 for 1000 ads. CPM is often used to describe standard banners seen often at the top and bottom of pages for reference. CPM ads are usually more appealing and tricky than ads paid per click as it costs no more to have 10 clicks per thousand as it does to have 1 or 100 so advertisers who pay CPM usually run trick ads that gets lots of clicks.

Effective CPM - an effective CPM is the average rate a publisher gets for 1000 ads usually banner ads factoring in the fact that much of the publisher's inventory may be unsold. If one sells half of ones banner inventory at 1 cpm and can't sell the other half then his effective cpm would be 0.50 cpm for example. Effective CPM is a term usually used to describe how well or poor a given adnetwork's rates are for a given publisher which factors in the unsold ads the adnetwork could not sell.

CPC - this is an acronym for cost per click and refers to advertising that is sold on the basis that money is only given for each time an ad is directly responded to via a clickthru to an advertisers site. CPC ads are usually designed to not be very appealing so they will only be clicked on by those most interested in what the ad is trying to sell.

CPA - this is an acronym for Cost per Action and refers to "ads" that are sold on the basis that money is only given when a certain action occurs because of the ad. A CPA ad could be one in which a publisher gets paid for people that click thru an ad and sign up for a newsletter or enter a contest or fill out a form for more information on a product. Many consider direct sales or Cost Per Sale ads, and CPC ads to also be a form of CPA. But CPA usually refers to being paid for leads, sign ups, and so on.

CPS - this is an acronym for Cost Per Sale and it refers to a program in which one is paid according to product or services sold. This could be a percentage or a set amount. Targeting and preselling a person on a product are a large part of what it takes to succesfully refer sales to other merchants. And as such CPS is not really considered a form of advertising but just a sales based commission program.

Hybrid Campaign - an advertising campaign online in which an advertiser agrees to pay for the ad partly via CPM and partly via CPC. So for example a hybrid campaign could pay both 0.20 cents cpm and 10 cents per click. Hybrid campaigns ensure some minimum payout level to publishers via the CPM part but place some risk on the publisher as the quantity of clicks the ad gets will contribute to the amount the publisher earns. Fastclick has made hybrid campaigns popular.

PPC - this is an acronym for pay per click and it refers to search engines in which one pays for advertising on the basis of clicks. PPC can also refer to the actual amount one pays per click; ie a given keyword has a high PPC.

PPI - this is an acronym for pay per inclusion and refers to a practice used by some search engines such as Inktomi and Fast that allows the url's from a given web domain to be included in their search engine results in exchange for a fee for listing them. PPI does not guarantee ranking for the urls and keywods you wish but it usually includes a more swift updating of your urls as to better allow you to tweak the pages to better rankings.

Gross or Gross Income- refers to the amount of money a publisher earns before his adnetwork, or ad representative takes away their commision. Things like gross CPM per campaign, gross CPM overall, and gross income are used online. Traditionally the term gross income refers to income before taxes as well.

Net or Net Income- refers to the amount of money a publisher earns after his adnetwork or ad representative takes away their comission. Traditionally the term net income refers to income after taxes as well.

Net 20, Net 45 etc - this refers to the period of time after ads are shown that a publisher is paid for them. To be paid net 45 means that 45 days after ads have been shown the publisher would receive payment. Adnetworks usually are from Net 20 to Net 90.

Agencies or Interactive Agencies - companies hired by advertisers to manage their advertising online. They are a middle man that often designs ads, finds sites to place them on, and report the results back to their client advertisers. AvenueA is one of the larger Interactive Agencies.

CTR - this is an acronym for click thru rate and it refers to the rate at which a given ad generates clicks. An ad that is shown 100 times and receives two clicks from interested internet users would have a 2% click thru rate. Advertising online is often optimized for direct response actions as in leads or sales or for raw clicks. Many advertisers do not run their ads with sites that generate below a specified click thru rate.

RON - this is an acronym for Run of Network and it refers to an untargeted buy on an online advertising network. Rather than buy targeted ads in targeted categories an advertiser who opts for RON is going after cheap advertising.

ROS - this is an acronym for Run of Site and it refers to an untargeted buy on a given website. A large site like Yahoo has many different topic areas and an advertiser that buys Run of Site advertising would be buying anything and everything without being particular as to content. This is done to get a cheaper rate.

Ratecard - this is a term referring to the posted ad rates of websites or adnetworks. Ratecard prices are usually far higher than what the site or network will actually sell advertising for if a buy is large enough. It is not uncommon for a site to have a ratecard of $6 or more cpm but be running primarily ads from a cheap paying adnetwork at $0.30 cpm. Ratecards are often a site's wishful thinking rather than a realistic measure of what ads are actually bought for.

Click - this term refers to an interaction with an ad online that results in a user being sent to an advertiser's website. Many adnetworks and advertisers have strict definitions of what a click is. They may include requirements such as only one click is allowed per brower per hour according to Ip or cookie. Otherwise if a person clicks 4 times on a slow responding ad before arriving at an advertiser's site they would be recorded as 4 clicks rather than one.

Second Clickthru - a term that refers to advertising that is paid on the basis that a visitor visits a site or search engine result page and then selects something and clicks on it. In pay per click search engines the engine gets paid only when someone clicks through on a result. When someone only responds to an ad with a click and ends up at a pay per click search engine no money is made for the search engine. A referring webmaster is consequently paid often only for second clickthroughs which occurs by clicking ads on the search engine results pages themselves.

Href Tag - this term refers to a destination url such as when used as part of an online ad.

Img src Tag - this term refers to the source of the image for an online ad.

URL - this is an acronym for uniform resource locator and it refers to what one types in to reach a given site or page on the internet. A url would be something like or

Adnetwork - this is a business entity that pools the combined audiences of many member sites with the goal of being a facilitator for the buying and selling of advertising between the publishers who contribute ads and the advertisers that wish to buy them. Adnetworks usually sell advertising in exchange for a percentage of the price they can get for ads. Commissions are usually between 30 and 50 percent.

Adrotation - term referring to the process by which multiple ads are shown to visitors at varying rates. They are "rotated" around so that the same ad is not shown exclusively. Adrotation is done by publishers with software or by adnetworks.

Adserver - this phrase refers to the computer or collection of servers that coordinate, target, and deliver ads for adnetworks or websites. If an "adserver" is down a website can function normally often but their ads will not appear.

Alt text or Alternate Text - this is the text that shows up when a visitor positions their mouse over a given ad if the ad is set up with alternate text.

On Mouse Over Ad - this is a banner ad or other format in which a menu popups up when an internet user positions their cursor over the ad. The purpose of this is to draw extra attention to the ad.

Adserving - the actual process done by an adserver that sends ads to websites.

Third Party Adserving - when an outside entity is paid to serve advertising for a given website or webproperty. The ads themselves are usually sold by the site only the serving is done via a third party.

Tracking pixel - a small graphic usually 1x1 pixel which ads in tracking online ad effectiveness. It loads so small it can not be seen by internet users. The tracking pixel can be put on purchase pages to determine how many people arrive there due to an ad online. Tracking pixels also can be used to measure the difference between ad requests and the ads actually delivered. Independent web traffic measurement services such as webtrends live and hitbox also use tracking pixels to provide information about visitors to a given website.

Banner Exchange - this is a business entity that provides a technical means for websites to exchange traffic via the ads of its member sites being rotated between them. The banner exchange keeps a portion of the advertising space to cover expenses. For example a banner exchange with a 2:1 ratio would result in every time a given site showed another ad two times their ad would be shown one time. Another member site would have one of their ads shown and the banner exchange would take the other to account for the two ads that the one publisher showed.

Booked Advertising - advertising inventory that is already spoken for and sold in advance.

Cache Busting - a process used to combat caching which is a proces used by many ISP's that stores images and webpages on their own servers before serving them to internet users. Caching thwarts attempts to serve new ads to internet users as previous ads are already cached so cache busting techniques are used to force new ads to be refreshed and shown to internet users.

Campaigns - a phrase referring to an agreed advertising initiative between advertisers and publishers or their representatives online which specifies the creatives to be used and the duration. With adnetworks each ad one can run or choose not to run as a publisher is often considered a separate campaign.

CUME - a term originating from radio advertising that refers to the cumulative unique audience reached in a given period of time. A Monthly CUME would be the total monthly unique people reached. Fastclick has starting referring to Monthly CUME's for their popunders. Fastclick uses the phrase to refer to ads shown once per 30 day period to internet users. Hence the reason the phrase is used in regards to online advertising.

Default Ads - this is a term for unsold ad inventory. When websites try to sell their ads themselves or use an adnetwork all of their ad inventory will often not be sold. What is not sold is usually either sold by another adnetwork or used to show in house promotional ads. Default ads are often of a geographic nature that is hard to sell or traffic from visitors that view many pages on a given site. An english language site will often find that traffic from China is defaulted as is traffic from loyal visitors who view 20 pages. This is because adnetworks have difficulty selling traffic from countries their core advertisers are not a part of. Also adnetworks have a limited number of advertisers who want their ads shown a limited of times to each person. So often a network will not have enough ads for visitors that view lots of pages on a site.

Remnant Space - undesirable traffic from websites that is hard to sell. A US based site would find that its Chinese traffic would be practically worthless and it could be called remnant space. All sites have some remnant space that is hard to get much for.

PSA- an acronym for Public Service Announcement which are unpaid ads that networks often show when they have no paid campaigns or the publisher has not specified a default ad. A PSA would be an ad for the Red Cross or some charity organization.

Makegood - term for extra impressions served by publishers or their representatives to make good on advertising agreements. If for example a contract specifies 1 million impressions and after analysis it is found that during the campaign 1 million impressions were served but 50,000 of them were from search engine robots then 50,000 make good impressions would be given to the advertiser to make things right. Make good impressions can also be awarded by adnetworks to makeup for publishers who ran bots to artifically increase their page views and ultimately the times a given advertiser's ad was shown. If a publisher can not serve an agreed upon amount of impressions in the time specified make good impressions the next month can be awarded to try to make things right.

Demographics - a phrase from tradtional advertising that refers to the interests, background, gender, income, education levels, and other information about the makeup of a given group of interner users. For example if a given group of internet users all have high yearly incomes they could be called a "wealthy demographic." Ironically most demographic information about visitors to a given website comes from volunteer surveys.

Psychographics - this refers to the behavorial patterns of a given group of people online. A psychographic tendency would be more inclined to shop, or responsiveness to coupons and other things.

Direct response - phrase referring to advertising run online to generate measureable results or given actions and purchases. Commercial postal mailings are done to generate direct response and many advertisers online advertise for the same sort of direct response. Direct response online usually means the sale of something.

Below the Scroll - this is a term for a regular banner 468x60 that is shown below the first screen full of information. Usually below the scroll means to run at the bottom of the page, but it could be the middle of a very long page if the page has to be scrolled down to see the ad. Below the scroll ads are not nearly as valuable as ads shown at the top of the page because they are easier to not see.

Above the Scroll - this is a term for a regular banner 468x60 that is shown within the first screen full of informatoin. Usually these ads are shown at the top of the page or beneath a logo or some navigation features.

Banner Ad - this is a term for a 468x60 pixels ad unit that is commonly used in advertising online.

Skycraper - this is a term for an ad unit that is run vertically along the sides of a website's pages. Common skyscraper formats include 120x600 pixels and 160x600 pixels. Interestingly enough even though skyscrapers are bigger than normal banners which are 468x60 the banner is still the most common ad format and can usually fetch about the same rate or more than skycrapers can on the open market.

Exclusive Contract - a phrase used to refer to an agreement between a publisher and an adnetwork in which the publisher must use the adnetwork to sell all of his advertising inventory exclusively. An exclusive contract in this regards prohibits the publisher from selling ads via other networks or entities. Exclusive contracts often allow a publisher to sell ads himself such that only the publisher and his exclusive adnetwork will be selling advertising. Burstmedia offers a higher percentage of gross revenue from advertisers to publishers that go with them exclusively for various periods of time. But in most instances going exclusive with anyone is not the best long term thing for a publisher.

Affiliate Program - this refers to a program in which a webmaster is paid for sales he generates for another company or for leads or something action oriented.

Opt-in - a term for a type of email list in which those who are a part of the list opted in to receiving it. Opt in lists can be content oriented but they can also be just commercial oriented lists one has signed up for.

Opt-out - a term for a type of email list in which people are sent the email automatically unless they opt out. The term is usually used in regards to SPAM mail that is sent with an unsubscribe method that hardly ever works and is used just to validate than an active interent user is using an email address so more messages can be sent in the future.

Coregistration - a term for a means by which email newsletters offer their audience to advertisers often via checkboxes on the form for signing up for a given site's email newsletter. If for example you sign up for a newsletter about golf the sign up process may have prechecked several offers for other email lists that you are signed up to if you don't uncheck them. These are coregistrations and the site gets paid if you sign up for any of these offers. Coregistratison can also be offered in an unchecked form in which you have to mannually check them to be subscribed to an advertiser's list. Coregistrations are sometimes a means of traffic leak.

SPAM - a term for unsolicited email sent out in mass quanities that is often commercial.

POP3 - a term for a type of email account that is the standard type that can be used with modern email programs.

UCE Unsolicited Bulk Email/ Unsolicited Commercial Email - a term for a type of email that is commericially oriented usually untargetted and sent out without anyone's permission. UCE is a specific type of SPAM.

Hits - a term that in a technical sense is used for every request from a given website or webserver for a file. A webpage would record a hit for the html of the page and each of the graphics of the page. So one page view could generate many hits. Less sophisticated types use hits to refer to everything from unique daily visitors to page views. If someone uses hits in this less precise method it is wise to have them specify what exactly they mean.

Page Views - a term for the number of times that pages from a given site or collection of sites have been fully loaded. If a site has 100 visitors a day that each view 5 pages then 500 page views would have occured during that day. Page views often are defined more technically in a manner to avoid visits from search engine spiders and hit bots which artificially simulate page views by real people. Page views are sometimes measured by page impressions or according to the amount of banners on each page that fully loaded. The other basic metric to define page views is according to the raw number of page views that the site measures being requested. How exactly page views are measured differs from website to website and adnetwork to adnetwork. Things like pages not fully loading and users hitting refresh on a page 100 times are things that have created a need for a more technical definition of page views with every site or ad network works to define by their own means.

Page impressons - a term for the number of times that pages with ads from a given site or collection of sites have fully loaded. People that view pages with graphics turned off or banner blockers do not usually have their visits recorded as page impressions. Also when pages are viewed before the ads can fully load those usually don't count as page impressions either. For a page impression to occur an ad most load. Other factors that affect page impressions include the speed of the server serving the ad itself and any errors it might generate. When a website trys to route ad space that could not sell with one adnetwork to another adnetwork usually a small latency results in a slightly smaller amount of page impressions being recorded.

Ad Impressions or simply Impressions - this can refer to the total amount of ads that are served in a given period of time. If a website serves 100,000 page views a month with two ads per page it could be said to have served 200,000 ad impressions. It is wise to clarify what is meant by ad impressions and use the term page impressions instead.

Sessions - term for a visit to a website by a unique surfer which ends when they close their browser or have left the site for an extended period of time. Sessions is a term used often in regards to popunders that load once per browser session. A person could experience the ad more than one time if they leave a given site for a long period of time and return or if they close their browser down and return. Unique user sessions would mean the same thing as unique visitors.

Unique Visitors - term for the amount of unique visitors as determined by IP, cookie, or some other means that visit a given website or collection of websites in a set period of time. When someone visits a site twice in a given time period they are counted only once. For example if visitors from 10,000 unique IP's visit a site in a 24 hour period then the site would have 10,000 unique visitors per day as determined by IP.

Rich Media - a term for a type of ad that allows interactivity via java, flash, or some other means. Rich Media ads are often run as banners that allow internet users to play games, enter data, or do something before they are taken to an advertisers site.

Interstitials - a term that is meant to refer to popups, popunders, or other ads that pop in a console and require interaction to continue viewing content. This term is not in use much now as it is not specific enough to determine what exact type of ad is being referred to.

DART - this is the name of the former Doubleclick's ad serving system. The term DART is synonomous with expensive.

Popups - a term for a type of ad that pops in front of the browser screen a person is viewing. This ad demands immediate attention as it blocks the normal viewing of a page's content. Popups can usually be closed by hitting the X on them or by hitting ALT F4 on your keyboard if they do not have an X. Popups pay well and generate results but are very intrusive.

Popbehinds or Popunders - a term for a type of ad that pops behind the browser screen a person is viewing.

Multispawning Popups - these are popups that show one popup after another. In short when viewing a site that uses multispawnings popups you don't get uncapped popups every page view instead you get 2 to 10 or more popups on a single page. Usually mutlispawning popups are run on sites that would actually rather its visitors not view content on the site. They would prefer they view ads instead exclusively.

Popup hell - term for sites with multispawning popups or uncapped popups that are hard to close and just seem to fill the screen until the user either closes down his browser, or fights his way through them closing them one at a time with Alt F4 or by clicking X's.

Inventory - a term for the amount of advertising space a site has. For example if a site has one banner per page and experiences 100,000 page views per month then its ad inventory would be 100,000 banners monthly.

Traffic - a generic term that refers to the quantity of visitors or page views a given website or network has. The phrase traffic needs to be qualified to determine exactly what is meant.

Targeting or Optimization- a process that is usually automated and done by software that in theory will match up the best ads for a given internet user. Targeting can be done by the category or type of content the internet user is looking at, his geography, time of day, ISP, previous websites he has looked at via cookies if used, and by other criteria.

Geotargeting - this is when advertisements are targeted to a given country, city, or continent. Some internet users can not be easily and reliably geotargeted. People who use America Online as their ISP are often not geotargetable because of AOL's use of proxy servers that make all AOL visitors appear to come from Virginia which is where AOL's proxy servers are.

Hanging - this is when a website appears to be loading slowly as it waits for advertising to load from adservers elsewhere. It hangs until the ad is skipped over and comes up blank finally or the webpage does not fully load at all.

Broken Banners - when banners or other graphical creative units do not load on publisher websites because of adserver difficulties. What loads is a nothing or a rectangular area with an error message stating the creative could not load or be found.

Branding Banners - a term used by webpublishers in response to uninteresting ads run on a cost per click basis that showcase a company name or theme with the advertiser's goal being to not get clicks but just get its name shown as much as possible for as cheap as possible.

Banner Burnout - this refers to the decreasing responsiveness that internet users have after seeing a given ad many times. A banner shown many times to the same visitor or small audience loses its effectiveness as compared to ads shown only a few times per visitor. Banners shown many times yield decreasing clickthru rates which is how banner burnout is usually spotted.

Click Based Optimization - a term referring to running ads only on websites and to webvisitors that click on them the most. For example a site that gets poor click thru response for a given ad could be optimized out of even being able to run the campaign at all. It then would be click optimized from the rotation of sites the ad is run on.

ROI or Return on Investment - a phrase referring to the profit generated from a given ad as expressed as a percentage. If $1,000 is spent on advertising online and this yields $1100 in profit then the ROI of the campaign would be 10 percent as 100/1000 is 10 percent.

*More Online Advertising Terms