Media & Advertising Terms You Should Know

This glossary of terms serves as both a primer and an in-depth guide for media marketers. It deftly demystifies complex terms, amplifies your understanding, and arms you with potent knowledge. Whether you're just venturing into the space or are an established professional, we're happy to provide you with this reference guide to help elevate your marketing prowess.


Also known as advertising agencies. Typically strategic media buying firms or full-service creative firms that partner with brand advertisers and marketers to plan, design, produce, place, and supervise ad creative assets or ad media buys. loves working with media agencies!

Ad fraud relates to advertising that is served but never seen by a user and still has a cost collected against the impression.

ASVOD is similar to SVOD (Subscription Video on Demand), but is configured to allow ad-supported streaming.

Also known as targeted advertising. Refers to the practice of attempting to reach a particular group of consumers, or audience, with specific ad content. Ads are placed in strategic areas to increase visibility among consumers who have specific traits, determined by their past behaviors, and preferences, and is meant to increase the likelihood of the targeted consumer clicking on the advertisement.

Advertising technology, or ad tech, refers to software built for the advertising industry that helps improve media effectiveness and increase operational efficiencies. Ad tech can refer to a number of platforms, including demand-side platforms (DSPs), data management platforms (DMPs), supply-side platforms (SSPs), and ad exchanges.

Addressable TV advertising is the ability to target individually selected households with specific advertisements. This is delivered via set-top boxes using first- or third-party data. Addressable TV reporting is typically based on actual online and offline outcomes such as site activity, branding and sales.

Advanced targeting data (or audience data) is a data set used for the purposes of making ad decisions beyond what can be leveraged from age and gender. It may include the use of first-, second-, and third-party audience data for buying and targeting.

An auction is the practice of allowing multiple buyers to value and bid on a singular ad opportunity, leveraging first-, second-, or third-party data within a pre-fulfillment window. The concept of an auction is different in the TV world than in the digital world. TV auctions exist within a spectrum of totally open and highly controlled bidding rules and publisher controls that enforce end value for both the buy and sell sides.

Audience buying is the process of directly buying audience segments based on data. Our Demand-Side Platform (DSP) is able to target specified audience segments and learn the most effective combinations of creative and context within those segments. Those learnings are then applied to extend the campaign beyond the originally defined audience segment.

Automated media buying allows for targeting and engaging with consumer segments within a single platform. Our Demand-Side Platform's (DSP) buying capabilities provide everything agency teams need to plan, buy, optimize, and measure media campaigns across all formats and all devices worldwide.

Automatic content recognition (ACR) is an identification technology that recognizes content that is played on a media device or is present in a media file. Devices containing ACR support enable users to quickly obtain additional information about the content they have just experienced without any user-based input or search efforts.


The term “big data” refers to extremely large sets of data that can be analyzed to reveal patterns and trends. It aims to deepen and drive the conversation and uncover ways in which the entire ecosystem can benefit through shared information and expertise.

Non-human traffic bots designed to generate fake ad impressions. These impressions or ads have zero chance of being seen by a human.

Today’s ongoing digital transformation has caused an evolution of brand advertising. Consumers have shifted in the way they think about businesses and the ways in which they interact with brands. They expect more from these interactions, and brands need to step up and deliver. Brand advertising today involves more direct, targeted advertisements that create more relevant connections with the intended audience.

One-to-one household targeting of advertising on TV, across all TV screens (i.e. Linear TV, TVE, VOD and SVOD).

A television broadcast is a program that is transmitted one-to-many over airwaves for public reception. The broadcast is accessible by anyone with a receiver tuned to the right signal channel. Because it uses the public airwaves, broadcasts are subject to regulation by the FCC. The signal is sometimes allowed to be retransmitted by the owner through other means beyond the airwaves, such as via a cable or satellite system.


An interaction with an ad seen by a user, such as a mouse click on a laptop or tap of a finger on a mobile device.

A metric used in digital marketing with a calculation of clicks divided by impressions, represented as a percentage.

A connected TV, also referred to as a smart TV or hybrid TV, is a television set or set-top box with integrated Internet connectivity and features that can receive video programming (and advertising) through an open IP method outside of the traditional cable QAM transport. Connected TV is an example of innovative technological convergence between computers, televisions, and set-top boxes. Well-known examples include Roku, Apple TV, Chromecast, or Samsung SmartTV.

Consumer insights allow agencies, media companies, and advertisers to better understand who their best customers are and which campaigns are excelling. Consumer insights are derived from analysis of available collected data.

Content marketing or management software (CMS) helps marketers determine and manage a user’s end-to-end content process. Content software is typically used to create, store, and manage content; track content by date; assign workflows; assign user permissions; distribute content, and/or analyze content effectiveness.

The rate at which a conversion occurs from ad traffic. The calculation is the number of conversions divided by the number of clicks.

A cost metric used to determine the cost for each click in a campaign. A calculation defined as the cost divided by the number of clicks.

A cost metric that is calculated by taking the total cost of video and divided it by the number of video completions.

The cost for each conversion generated in the campaign. The calculation of campaign cost divided by the number of conversions.

CRM (Customer Relationship Management) Retargeting refers to turning a database of names and email addresses into a digital audience that can be targeted across your digital media efforts. Identity graph data providers provide this function of converting a “hard copy” of a database into a first-party audience pool.

Cross-device marketing allows agencies, media companies, and advertisers to deliver brand messages to consumers at the right time, in the right format, and on the right device. The underlying foundation of cross-device marketing is a technology that links together various identifiers associated with a digital consumer. This linking forms a holistic profile of an individual, which enables marketing professionals to address and understand actual people, instead of devices.

Cross-device attribution assigns a value to each device in the path to purchase, enabling agency teams and advertisers to better understand their consumers’ behavior and more intelligently invest their budgets. Traditional, single-device attribution assumes all message exposure and activity occurs on the same device, whereas cross-device attribution knows that a single user often has access to multiple devices on which message exposure and activity can occur.

Customer insights/analysis software, also known as customer intelligence software, helps marketing professionals analyze available customer data and past behaviors in order to inform future marketing strategies. This category of software is typically used to segment customers into sub-groups, track customers as they move across segments over time, predict future behaviors of customers, determine customer lifetime value, and access machine-based learning recommendations to improve future marketing efforts.

Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software is a category that covers a broad set of applications designed to help businesses manage customer data and track customer interactions. These programs are typically used by the Sales and Marketing departments and allow teams to access business information, track leads and opportunities, manage business contracts, manage employee, vendor and partner relationships, and provide customer support.


Data-driven decisioning is based on information derived from a real-time decision engine, such as our technology, that makes millions of Artificial Intelligence (AI) powered decisions every second. This allows agencies and advertisers to make millions of informed, data-driven decisions in real-time on a daily basis. This also allows marketing professionals to make more strategic decisions monthly, quarterly, and even yearly.

Data management helps marketing professionals identify, understand, and engage with high-value consumers in a more relevant and authentic way.

Marketing professionals have a need to tailor data usage based on local regulations and marketing objectives. Policy control allows agencies and advertisers to effortlessly apply the right mix of data and targeting to meet their needs. For example, a pharmaceutical advertiser may desire a more restrictive policy to ensure that their advertisements only target their specific customers.

A Deal ID or AdID is a parameter passed between a bid request and bid response to enable one-to-one programmatic buying. Standardized IDs are critical to the success of any open standards.

Deterministic data, or first-party data, is the one-to-one matching of two or more data sets based on unique identifiers. Cross-device marketing using deterministic data creates links between devices with a 100% level of confidence using login or subscriber data. For example, a user will log into a streaming music service with the same login on their desktop and mobile app. This will confirm that those devices belong to the same individual. Although highly accurate, this type of data is limited in scale.

Also known as identity management. A device graph describes how different devices, i.e. a laptop, smartphone, and TV, relate to each other by mapping all the devices, IDs, and associated data back to one unique user or household.

Digital advertising is the practice of using digital technologies to deliver advertisements to consumers. It allows advertisers and marketers to reach specific target audiences more effectively and efficiently than traditional advertising, such as print, static billboards, or traditional cable TV.

Digital advertising software is a broad category that covers data management platforms (DMPs), ad exchanges, supply-side platforms (SSPs), and less commonly, demand-side platforms (DSPs). These four technologies form the broader digital advertising ecosystem. Within this ecosystem, large amounts of data are collected, integrated, and managed by the DMP. Publishers connect their inventory to ad exchanges and DSPs and buyers purchase advertising inventory directly from an ad exchange, ad network, or via a DSP.

Digital marketing is the marketing of products or services using digital channels to reach the desired audience. It is an innovative, strategic approach, providing new strategies for interpreting data and making real-time business decisions based on the insights it provides.

Digital media in the advertising industry typically refers to digital advertising assets, such as the ad or creative element. Digital media includes digital video, banner ads, search, social media promotion, mobile banners, mobile video, digital audio, and more. It can be created, viewed, distributed, modified, and preserved on digital devices.

Display advertising is a type of online advertising that comes in several forms, including banner ads, rich media, and more. Unlike text-based ads, display advertising relies on elements such as images, audio, and video to communicate an advertising message and is aimed at generating quick conversions.

A DSP, or demand-side platform, offers digital ad buyers the promise of centralized management across multiple programmatic media sources, flexible machine learning, tools for improving optimization automation, and powerful audience management and predictive analytics.

This is AdTech's ability to insert ads that are relevant to specific household users. This ad experience will mean people watching the same linear channel may have different ad experiences while watching the same show.  See also, Programmatic Linear.


Email marketing software provides businesses with all of the tools needed to create and execute email marketing campaigns, including templates, design tools, and contact-management solutions. Email software sends emails out via its own server and provides analytics on the success of each campaign.


First-party data is collected and owned by the party who collected it (brand, media company, etc.) about the consumer or household. This could include CRM data or data generated by digital properties, such as “this person uses my mobile app,” or “this person has been browsing for minivans on my website.” This data is proprietary and not available in the broader marketplace due to limits on its use.

A full episode player (FEP) features an episode of a program that may have previously aired on TV and can be watched on any device in either App or Web environments.


Or Geo-Targeting / -Zoning refers to delivering specific content based on a user’s location within a “fence” on a map, usually within 150m-1km around a point or building.

A guaranteed buy, also known as “programmatic direct” or “programmatic guaranteed,” is the direct sale of reserved ad inventory between a buyer and seller, with automation replacing the manual insertion order (IO) process. This inventory is sometimes categorized as premium, sold upfront, reserved, guaranteed, first-look, direct-sold, or class-1. Guaranteed buys allow the publisher to regulate the price of inventory to buyers.


Household data is data collected from non-personal devices that are shared within households, such as a television set or a desktop computer for a family. Household data has broad scale but less precision at an individual consumer level, given the shared nature of the targeted devices in question. Traditionally, this is a common way television advertising has been bought – with an entire household in mind.


The ad unit used in digital marketing; it is when a consumer sees an ad as they go about their day on the internet.

Sometimes referred to as Ad Sequencing, you use the impressions served from CTV, Geofencing, or simply, other advertising, as an audience itself to deliver ads to users as a means to sequence ad messages.

A unit of measure to show where data measures against the average. If a group of people indexes at 120 or 1.2 for being in the market for a new car, these people are 20% more likely than the average to be in the market for a new car.

Internet television (or online television) is the digital distribution of television content via the public Internet, which also carries other types of data. Dedicated terrestrial television, cable television, and satellite television systems carry video only.


A metric that is typically seen in passive digital ads such as display or TV where an ad view influences a conversion without the need for an ad click.

Linear TV refers to traditional television viewing. In order to watch a show, the viewer must tune into the specific channel of the broadcaster at the appointed time. Viewers cannot pause or replay the content.

Live streaming refers to content that is delivered live over the Internet. It requires a form of source media (e.g. a video camera, an audio interface, screen capture software), an encoder to digitize the content, a media publisher, and a content delivery network to distribute and deliver the content. Some examples of Live Streaming in TV include Sling TV, live content on CBS All Access, or NBC streaming the SuperBowl.

Long-form video is video content that adheres to traditional episodic lengths. Generally, long-form video is 30 minutes or longer and typically increases at 30-minute increments.


Marketing analytics is the process of measuring, managing, and analyzing the performance of overall and individual marketing initiatives. Business metrics such as return on investment (ROI), marketing attribution, and overall marketing effectiveness are used to determine the total effectiveness of a marketing program. Understanding marketing analytics allows agency teams and advertisers to be more efficient at their jobs and minimize wasted web marketing dollars.

Media activation refers to the unification of everything that media buyers need to understand their audience segments in order to execute real-time bidding.

Media buying is the process of purchasing advertising space. Today, media buying is typically completed digitally, which allows agencies or advertisers to make algorithmic purchases of advertising space in real-time using computers.

In the marketing and advertising industry, “mobile” generally refers to the use of techniques and campaigns that specifically target audiences on their mobile devices. Mobile is often viewed as a market sector that allows for greater engagement and connections, forming a bridge to help join the consumer and advertiser.


Native advertising refers to the process of creating paid media that follows the form and function of the user experience in which it is placed. This technique blurs the lines between organic content and paid content, creating a more pleasing experience for the targeted user.


Omni-channel refers to the creation of a seamless user experience across all facets of the customer’s path to purchase. Finding the right tools and partners to unify your campaigns, no matter the channel, and give you a 360 degree understanding of your customer is no longer a luxury – it’s a necessity. Technology is making it easier to measure and market across the entire customer journey.

OpenRTB, also referred to as the Real-time Bidding (RTB) Project, is an initiative sponsored by the IAB (the Interactive Advertising Bureau). The project provides standards for communication between buyers of advertising and sellers of publisher inventory who are involved in the automated trading of digital media. The goal is to help all parties transact RTB at scale and ensure continued innovation in the industry.

Optimization in digital advertising refers to the process of changing the current inventory mix to improve a certain metric in order to increase a campaign’s potential to meet its desired objective or outcome.

Over-the-top (OTT) refers to film or video content that is delivered over the Internet, outside of a managed network. OTT allows users to access the content without having to subscribe to traditional cable or satellite services.


Probabilistic data uses algorithms and patterns to connect devices with high levels of confidence. For example, if two devices always move together to the same locations, at the same time every day, they likely belong to the same individual. High-quality providers will use a truth set to validate the accuracy of their models. This type of data is generally reliable and scalable.

A programmatic approach to advertising enables agencies and advertisers to optimize media in real-time across channels to ensure that advertising dollars perform as efficiently and effectively as possible. Programmatic media buying brings data science and the power of algorithmic decisioning to each and every impression purchased, which helps buyers deliver the right message to the right consumer at the right time with less effort and waste than traditional methods of media buying.

Programmatic buying is the process of executing media planning and buying using automation. In most cases, programmatic buying is fueled by the use of advanced audience data through digital platforms such as exchanges, trading desks, and demand-side platforms (DSPs), which helps create operational efficiency for both the buy and sell sides. Agencies use programmatic on behalf of their advertiser clients to increase marketing efficiency, helping them get more out of media budgets.

Programmatic direct is where specified buyers get access to specified inventory that’s not necessarily available from an open marketplace or a supply-side platform (SSP).

Also known as Dynamic Linear Ad Insertion (DLA), this is AdTech's ability to insert ads that are relevant to specific household users. This means people watching the same linear channel may have different ad experiences while watching the same show. 

Programmatic media buying, marketing and advertising software enable agencies and advertisers to make algorithmic purchases of advertising space in real-time using computers. The term “programmatic software” is commonly used to refer to demand-side platforms (DSPs). It is used to automate the buying, placement, and optimization of media inventory via a bidding system and typically helps agency teams achieve cost and time efficiencies while simultaneously enabling better targeting of, and personalized messaging to, advertising recipients.

Programmatic TV refers to TV inventory that is planned, bought, and sold on impressions using system automation with the use of advanced audience data, creating value and operational efficiency for both the buy and sell sides.

Programmatic video refers to the process of buying and selling digital video ads. This process uses real-time data to better target specific audiences in the right place at the right time. It is generally carried out using ad tech such as a DSP.

PR software can be used to locate company press mentions, assess competitors’ share of voice, publish press releases, collect press analytics, and push out pitches to journalists.


Raw data is source-level data that does not conform to an acceptable standard of parameterization or taxonomy. Raw data is data being generated before any data science is applied (human or machine).

Real-time bidding (RTB) is the process of buying and selling online ad impressions through real-time, instantaneous actions. RTB is facilitated programmatically and helps increase the efficiency of both ad buyers and sellers.


Search advertising refers to advertisements that appear next to, or in-line with, organic results when a user searches for a product or service. It is the most simple and measurable form of online advertising. Search advertisers sometimes use consumer search data to retarget display advertising.

Search engine optimization (SEO) software offers keyword suggestions and quality ratings to help businesses and content rank better in search results. SEO software can help organizations perform better than competitors in search and drive highly qualified website traffic.

Second-party data is data that is collected or generated and owned by the publisher, made available to the buyer at the time of purchase. Could include consumer or household data that the publisher knows, or simply data about context and/or content.

Shopper marketing is the process of using information gleaned from shopper behaviors and leveraging those insights to develop a more influential marketing mix. The purpose of shopper marketing is to increase brand awareness and consumption within the target audience, or shoppers.

Short-form video is video content that has a length less than that of traditional episodic TV programs (i.e. 22 minutes).

A smart TV, sometimes referred to as a connected TV or hybrid TV, is a television set or set-top box with integrated Internet connectivity and features that can receive video programming through an open IP method outside of the traditional cable QAM transport. Connected TV is an example of innovative technological convergence between computers, televisions, and set-top boxes. Well-known examples include Roku, Apple TV, Chromecast, or Samsung SmartTV.

Social media management software (SMMS) is software that facilitates an organization’s ability to successfully engage in social media activities across different communication channels. SMMS is typically used by marketers to monitor inbound and outbound conversations, document social marketing initiatives, and evaluate the effectiveness of a company’s social media presence.

A streaming device is any internet-enabled device capable of receiving and displaying IP-distributed long-form content in its native resolution.

Subscription video on demand (SVOD) services use a subscription business model, where subscribers are charged a monthly fee to access programming. These services include solutions like Netflix, Hulu Plus, Amazon Video, and HBO.

Want expertise, efficiency, engagement, and effectiveness?

Find out why some of the top brands trust to deliver results.