Ad code

Ad code is a piece of HTML – or a link – which is used to retrieve ads from a server. It is recognised as a middleman for being the mechanism that redirects to a piece of content.

Ad mediation

Ad mediation is the practice that allows publishers to connect to and manage campaigns on multiple networks. Considered something of a recent innovation, ad mediation will act as an intermediary between publisher and network while sourcing the very best deals for the former’s inventory. Websites will often use this technology to increase their earnings and without the headache that comes with having to track their progress on numerous platforms, which does not guarantee as much in terms of revenue boosts. Read more about ad mediation.

Ad network

An ad network acts as the connecting point for most members of the advertising ecosystem. An advertiser or an agency will use a network to connect with publishers en masse, and vice versa.

Ad tag

The phrase ad tag is interchangeable with ad code.


The advertiser or ‘merchant’ supplies advertisements to be displayed on websites. It is their investment that powers the ad economy.


Back URL

A back URL or a ‘redirect back URL’ is used by publishers to protect themselves in the case of their network failing to find suitable ads for their traffic. In this instance, the traffic will be directed to this url.



A campaign is a set of advertisements which follow a similar theme. For example, there could be a set of inventory that targets a certain location or/and has the same size.

CPA (cost per action)

CPA is the one of pricing models for affiliate marketing. The cost per action refers to the commission paid to the publisher when someone they referred to an advertiser triggers a desired response, like a sale.  

CPM (cost per mille)

CPM is the default pricing model for display advertising. The cost per mille is the cost of one thousand impressions to the advertiser when their creative is displayed on a publisher’s site.


Creative is a catchall term which refers to the creative elements of an advertisement. Many types of creative exist, but ad professionals will be most familiar with the pieces of code, images or links that can be transformed into a display advertisement when programmed into an ad server.

CTR (click-through rate)

A popular way of measuring the effectiveness of email campaigns, the click-through rate is the proportion of people that ‘clicked through’ to a page after being directed by a link.  


Daisy chain

The daisy chain is the same as the waterfall method that often dictates how programmatic ads are traded. Publishers will attempt to find homes for their premium inventory via direct sales with advertisers, with any remnant spots filtering down the bidding chain of different networks. Recently the format has encountered competition from header bidding.


eCPM (effective cost per mille)

The metric eCPM outlines how much an advertisement made based on the division of its earnings by the amount of times it was viewed.


Fill rate

Fill rates are hugely important to publishers as they show the percentage of their ad pageloads that featured campaigns.

Flat rate

Flat or ‘fixed’ rates refer to the price paid for a customized arrangement on the publisher’s website. For example, an advertiser could negotiate a fixed price for an ad to be shown for a specified period of time without having to pay for every thousand impressions or similar.

Frequency capping

Frequency capping is the practice of controlling how many times a given web user views an ad.


Geo targeting

Geo targeting is the practice of zoning in and serving ads to web users in specific geographical territories. New technology allows advertisers to communicate with people according to not only their country, but onto their city, zip code or IP address.


Header bidding

A relatively new term, header bidding is the programmatic technique that enables publishers to simultaneously offer their inventory to any number of ad exchanges with the aim of increasing their yield and therefore boosting their revenue. This offers an alternative to the sequential format of the waterfall method which can favour popular ad servers like Google DoubleClick for Publishers. Read more about header bidding.



An impression is a single view of a display ad.

Instant message

Instant message is a type of ad inventory, often popping up from the bottom of the screen, which reaches out to users in fields like dating. Thanks to the workings of parties like ExoClick in enhancing the script of this inventory, instant message functions are even piquing the interest of premium sites. On mobile the size of an instant message chat box is usually 300×100. On desktop it is 250×150.

In-video banner

An in-video banner is a form of advertisement which is shown within a video-playing function.


Native advertising

Native advertisements are constructed to fit in with the environment on which they sit. A native placement will blend into the content of a publisher’s site and can prove more effective compared to regular banner ads.


The term net-7 is used by parties to show that a payment is due seven days after they submit an invoice.


Similar to net-7, the term net-15 is used by parties to show that a payment is due 15 days after they submit an invoice.

NTV banner

As their title suggests, next to video banners are a form of inventory commonly positioned to the right of a piece of video content. They are a mainstay of publishers that serve multimedia content, like tube sites.



A pop-under is a type of ad that is positioned behind the browser and is designed to be hard to find.


In contrast to a pop-under, a pop-up is a form of inventory used for a variety of means. These usually come in the form of new browser windows that ‘pop’ via the use of JavaScript, cross-site scripting (XSS) and occasionally Adobe Flash, deployed with the purpose of gaining traffic or capturing data, like email addresses.


Post roll is the term used to describe ads that appear within a video-playing function once the user reaches the end of a piece of content.


On the opposite scale to post-roll is pre-roll, which appears as soon as the user has committed to viewing a piece of content.


Publishers are hosts or creators of web content that tend to monetise their businesses via the selling of ad space, either around or within the content itself.  



Retargeting is the practice of serving ads to a user that has shown the intent to complete a desired action on the advertiser’s site. This sees the site owner placing a piece of code or a ‘pixel’ on their property which drops an anonymous cookie, attached to the user that visited their site. This allows someone to effectively follow that same user round the web and inform the serving of ads to people who have visited certain pages.

RON (run of network)

Run of network is a way for someone to apply an advertising campaign to a range of different websites. Generally people like to choose specific sites to work with, but run of network allows the ads to be seen without this level of customisation.  

RTB (real-time bidding)

The technique that powers programmatic advertising, real-time bidding or ‘RTB’ facilitates the buying and selling of ad impressions through an instant auction. Most of this trading is facilitated by a supply-side platform (SSP) or an ad exchange.


Sticky banner

The sticky banner is a form of inventory that allows a publisher to ‘stick’ an ad to a place on the user’s screen, regardless of where they navigate to. In a typical practice, the banner will show up along with the rest of the content in the top, middle or bottom of the page and will follow the user with every scroll they make.


“Waterfall” method

Sometimes referred to as ‘waterfalling’, the waterfall method is a programmatic technique used by publishers to sell off the ads that didn’t attract buyers via direct sale. It is the same as the daisy chain.