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Digital Advertising Concepts

If you have explored digital advertising you are probably aware that getting started can be fairly overwhelming. To begin with, it is full of specialized terms that might be new to you. Second, the data sources, depending on the type of campaign you are running totals in the several hundred (if not thousands). Third, the types of advertising units that a brand can buy can also total in the hundreds (if not thousands). How does one distinguish between television advertising, online video (OLV), display advertising, and programmatic advertising? All of these platforms have their own unique creative applications and ability to target your core audience. Lastly, the number of metrics that you could use to gauge performance of your digital advertising campaign is huge.

We could write an entire book exclusively on digital and television advertising measurement, and such books do exist already in the marketplace. Alternatively, we could list all the metrics that you could use to measure digital advertising performance. However, for the purposes of this book we wanted to capture a series of definitions that you might run into when running digital advertising programs for your brand as a primer. Here are some of those key definitions:

  • A/B testing—A method used to compare different versions of digital advertising or website landing pages to determine which one performs better.

  • Ad banner/digital display—This is probably the most common form of digital advertising. These advertising units, which include static graphics, videos, and/or interactive rich media, display on a webpage or in an application.

  • Ad exchange—A technology-facilitated marketplace that allows Internet publishers and advertisers to buy and sell advertising inventory in real-time auctions. Ad exchanges are a departure from the historical method of buying advertising inventory, where advertisers and publishers would enter price negotiations in order to show ads on a particular site.

  • Ad inventory—Website publishers serve ads to visitors when they visit a web page. The number of potential ads that can be served is considered their ad inventory.

  • Ad serving—The delivery of an ad from a web server to the end user’s device, where the ads are displayed on a browser or an application.

  • Cookie—Information stored on a website visitor’s browser. A cookie tracks the visitor’s movement on the website and is used to remember the visitor’s behavior and preferences.

  • Demand-side platform (DSP)—A system that allows advertisers to bid for and purchase inventory from multiple ad exchanges, through one single interface.

  • Display advertising—A digital advertising format where graphic ads are shown on a web page. Display ads can be graphics, videos, interactive images, and expandable banners.

  • Data Management Platform (DMP)—A data management platform pulls data from multiple different, potentially unrelated sources of data to define specific audience segments. Those audience segments are then often used to target groups through digital advertising.

  • Frequency—The number of times an ad is served to the same consumer during a specific period of time.

  • Lookalike audiences—A lookalike audience targets people who are similar to your existing customers, which helps improve conversion rates.

  • Native advertising—Any form of paid advertising that is largely indistinguishable in form from the channel being used to present it.

  • Programmatic media buying—An automated method of buying media, which ensures that advertisers are reaching the right person, at the right time, in the right place. The ads are bought on set parameters pre-defined by the company placing the ads. Programmatic advertising uses data to make decisions about which ads to buy in real-time.

  • Viewability—This is an online advertising metric that aims to track only impressions that can actually be seen by users. For example, if an ad is loaded at the bottom of a web page but a user doesn’t scroll down far enough to see it, that impression would not be deemed viewable.

We could list literally hundreds of terms here, but we did want to capture the most critical ones in case you run across them when executing a campaign.

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