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A- Z of advertising terms

You may have come across words such as Programmatic and CPA, what do these mean? Don’t worry, below will hopefully give an insight. Remember as a graduate you are not expected to know everything about the industry, have an interest, show you have done your research and have that willingness to learn!

Advertising agency - A company that represents advertisers by offering media planning and buying services

Ad exchange - A one-stop-shop that holds all ad data for the digital advertising eco-system under one roof. From buyers, sellers, publishers, advertisers and beyond - it’s the most efficient way to buy and sell targeted online ads.

Ad impression - A measure of times an ad is seen by users when it's served and displayed.

Ad network - A company that connects advertisers and publishers.

Advertiser - A business that wants to advertise a product or service through promotional activity.

Ad server - The ad serving technology that channels the right ads to the right site at the right time, ultimately hitting the right person.

Affiliate - A website owner that promotes a product or service to potential customers in exchange for a commission from the advertiser on the sale of the product or service.

Banner ads - The traditional type of display ad that typically runs along the top, bottom, or side of a web page.

Big data - Using serious computing punch to analyse complex sets of information.

Click Through Rate (CTR) - The number of users who clicked on an ad versus the number of times the ad was viewed.

Conversion - When a user clicks on an ad and achieves the ads' objectives like signing up for a service or registering for an account.

Cost Per Acquisition (CPA) - The amount worked out for how much advertisers pay to "acquire" a user, basically a sale.

Cost Per Click (CPC) - The rate worked out for advertisers after a user has clicked on their ad.

Demand Side Platform (DSP) - Gives advertisers automated access to the auction process for media spending through real-time bidding the ad exchange ecosystem. It helps find the right audience at the right price as publishers bid for their campaign.

Inventory - The amount and types of ad space a publisher has available for an advertiser to buy.

Publisher - An individual or entity selling online advertising space.


Someone who runs a website and wants to monetise its online content through advertising channels.

Rich media

Ads designed to engage users through interactivity like playing games. Tends to use audio and movie animations.

Supply Side Platform (SSP)

The equivalent of DSPs for advertisers, these are for publishers to offer their ad inventory so advertisers can automatically bid on it.

Web analytics

A statistical breakdown of user behaviour to see how they interact with a website. The most popular is Google Analytics.