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Digital Terminology

Programmatic Advertising

Above the Fold 

Originally a newspaper term, "above the fold” now refers to the portions of a webpage that are visible to visitors without scrolling. The content and ads that are "above the fold” can vary from screen to screen. Typically, publishers refer to "above the fold” inventory or ad space as more premium and will charge a higher rate for it.

Ad Server 

The technology that stores, delivers and places ads on websites. Typically, publishers and third-party ad tech companies have ad servers.

Ad Serving 

The process of an ad server delivering ads to a computer or mobile device. From there, the ad is displayed by the browser.

Ad Tag 

Software code that a buyer provides to a publisher or ad network, which will call the advertiser's ad server and then display an ad when called.

Agency Trading Desk 

These are centralized management platforms used by ad agencies that specialize in programmatic media and audience buying. They are typically layered on top of a DSP or other audience buying technologies. Trading desks attempt to help clients improve their advertising performance and receive increased value from their display advertising. Trading desk staff don't just plan and buy media. They also measure results and report audience insights to their clients. All the major holding companies have agency trading desks, including Havas, IPG, WPP and Omnicom. Trading desks were created in order to give the client and the agency more control over ad placement. When working with an ad network, the client often has limited say over where the ad is placed. Working with a trading desk allows the client to direct where ad dollars and spent and more closely examine the results to optimize if necessary.

Auction Pricing 

A situation in which the price for an ad, impression or placement is determined by the participants in the auction. The highest bidder wins.

Audience Buying 

Directly purchasing audience segments based on data that has been assembled about them, including their demographics, interests, etc. For example, audience buying gives a buyer the ability to target consumers who may be planning a vacation and then place ads on all of the sites they might visit in contrast to just airline, hotel and vacation websites.

Automated Guaranteed 

(aka programmatic guaranteed, programmatic premium, programmatic direct programmatic reserved)

Automated guaranteed is a type of programmatic advertising. It refers to 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, reserved, guaranteed, first-look, direct sold or class-1. Automated guaranteed allows the publisher to regulate the price of inventory to buyers. It also gives buyers the ability to buy more premium inventory on a direct basis from the publisher, transparently. Media buyers and sellers can connect and transact in this manner via automated guaranteed marketplaces, such as Shiny Ads, BuySellAds, PubMatic, Adslot and iSocket.

Banner Ads 

A form of display advertising that has long been considered one of the most popular forms of digital advertising.

Daisy Chain 

The linking of ad networks in order to ensure that an ad will be served in order to optimize revenues. For example, a flat CPM will be assigned to each network and the network with the higher agreed-upon CPM will be first in the daisy chain. If, for some reason, the network can't deliver an ad above or equal to that flat price, it passes the ad request back. The ad request is then redirected to the second network in the chain. Traditionally, daisy chains are used for remnant inventory.

Deal ID 

A deal identifier (ID) is a unique string of characters that is used in a private marketplace to match up specific buyers and sellers based on a number of rules they have agreed on previously. Deal IDs grant buyer/ATD/DSP access to ad placements or data that a publisher exclusively makes available to them. Specifically, if a buyer and seller decide on a deal with specific prices, inventory and data, that information can be programmed into a Deal ID. It allows a private exchange to work more like a direct deal, likening deal IDs to a more automated version of an IO. Here's a more specific example. Let's say a strikes a deal with an agency whose client is Nike. In an open exchange, Grantland has decided not to show inventory from its site so that it doesn't dent the direct sales team. Using a deal ID allows Grantland to make a deal with the agency so that it can exclusively see and bid on inventory from Grantland's site that matches the target demographic Nike wants to advertise to.

First Look 

A situation in which the media seller gives certain buyers priority in access to inventory. For example, a publisher is selling its remnant inventory through two ad networks. In a first look situation, the publisher gives the first ad network a chance to buy the inventory first. If that first network does not want it, the publisher will pass it to the second network and so on.

Fixed Pricing 

A pricing model and agreement in which an ad buyer and seller determine a flat price the buyer will pay for the inventory or deal. This is stated within the contract as in contrast to an auction environment where the highest bidder wins.


The number of times an ad is delivered to a specific browser in a distinct Internet session or time period. Cookies are often used to regulate ad frequency so as to avoid burnout.

Open Ad Exchange 

(aka open marketplace, open auction)

An open exchange is an ad buying and selling environment in which the publisher allows buyers to access their inventory. This is usually remnant or unsold inventory. The exchange does not buy impressions up-front, but impressions are still bought and sold on an impression level. There is usually no direct relationship between the buyer and seller in an exchange model so it may be a blind transaction. Further, advertisers may not know which publishers they are buying from (and vice versa) because they may be transacting through a DSP and the publisher may be transacting through an SSP.

Premium Inventory 

Ad space on a site that a publisher has deemed higher-quality, and subsequently attempts to sell it at a higher price. Inventory could be deemed premium because it's above-the-fold, on a popular section of the site or for other reasons. Historically, this inventory was sold through the publisher's direct sales team, though now, it's also being sold more often on direct guaranteed platforms.

Private Marketplace 

(aka private auction, private exchange, closed auction)

Private marketplace is a type of programmatic advertising. It refers to an RTB, invitation-only, auction environment for digital advertising that leverages publishers' online ad inventory, typically to a select number of advertisers. Inventory is bought and sold at an impression level and it is a one-on-one deal between publisher and buyer, facilitated through a private marketplace such as Rubicon Project. It also allows publishers to monetize their inventory more efficiently and place rules around who can purchase impressions.

Programmatic Advertising 

Programmatic advertising refers to the automation of buying and selling digital media. Advertisers use programmatic technology to more efficiently buy or bid on digital ad inventory, with less (and sometimes no) direct communication with people. It reduces much of the manual back and forth that come with the middle steps of buying and selling, including IOs.

Remnant Inventory 

Ad space on a site that a publisher has been unable to sell, so it's typically given a lower-cost and is considered undesirable. To be sold, remnant inventory is usually offloaded to ad networks or blind, RTB exchanges.

Reserved Inventory 

Ad space on a website that is set aside for an advertiser for an established price. This inventory is typically purchased through automated guaranteed methods.


A form of programmatic buying where display ad inventory is bought by agencies/advertisers and sold by publishers through an online media exchange with auction pricing in real time. It takes place one ad impression at a time, sometimes in 1/3 of a second. RTB is impression-by-impression buying and valuation, with cost efficiency. The targeting and metrics involved deliver advertisers greater granularity. However, much of RTB is done blindly without the buyer knowing who will be running ads on their site and vice versa. Another disadvantage is that much of the inventory that is sold is remnant.

Unreserved Inventory 

Ad space on a site that is available for advertisers to purchase or bid on. Typically, this inventory is purchased through direct deals or within private marketplaces and RTB exchanges.

Inventory Data Definitions

Accepted Formats 

The banner ad types the publisher accepts from a buyer. These may include image ads, flash ads, etc. This should help you determine whether or not to purchase available inventory from this publisher.

Ad Impressions 

A metric that refers to the number of times an ad is sent by an ad server to a user's browser. The number of monthly impressions helps a buyer gain more information about a site, its visitors and its popularity.

Ad Size 

The width and height of a display ad unit. There are almost 100 ad sizes running on the Web currently, some of which are IAB-Standard. Other ad sizes are IAB Rising Stars, IAB Delisted or Non-IAB. We've found that the most popular ad sizes are the Leaderboard (728x90), the Medium Rectangle (300x250) and the Wide Skyscraper (160x600).

ATF (above the fold) 

The portions of a webpage, and specifically the ads, that are visible to the visitor without scrolling. Typically, publishers refer to "above the fold" inventory or ad space as more premium and will charge a higher rate for it.

Available Inventory 

The digital display advertising that a publisher has made available through our programmatic partners, both guaranteed direct and private marketplace, which you can now click to transact from their platforms.

BTF (below the fold) 

The portions of a webpage, and specifically the ads, that are not visible to the visitor without scrolling. Traditionally, BTF was considered less premium and will typically have lower rates than "above the fold" inventory.

CPD/Cost Per Day 

A time-based pricing method in which an advertiser buys ad impressions on a "time" basis. It refers to the amount an advertiser is willing to pay, per day, to have their ad on a specific site.

CPM/Cost Per Thousand 

A pricing method used to determine the cost for 1,000 impressions/views of an advertisement. Publishers and media properties use CPM to measure revenue made per 1,000 impressions of the ad.


A personal computer small enough to fit in one person's workspace. The majority of publishers listed in offer their inventory on this platform.

Flash Ads 

Adobe's rich media file format, which is used to display interactive animations on the Web. Depending on the ad's design, an entire Flash ad can be animated, or just part can be while the other remains static. Publishers usually limit the file size of a Flash ad and the number of times or length of time the animation can loop.

Horizontal Ad Location 

Some of our programmatic partners and their publishers also provide you with a horizontal location, which informs you where in the page your ad will appear. This could include "top," "middle," "right," "center," etc.

Image Ads 

Static display ads that offer no movement or user interaction. These are simple images hyperlinked to an advertiser's site and can contain a combination of still images and text.


The position on the website where your ad will run.

Max File Size 

The largest file size that the publisher will accept for the specific creative for the ad unit they've made available.


Information and data that is either provided by the publisher or a third party in order to give buyers more information about the site, its visitors and site usage.

Minimum Buy 

Some publishers and some programmatic partners require a minimum spend in order for an advertiser to purchase space on their website or on a specific ad unit. For example, it may be that an advertiser must spend at least $500 on this specific ad unit, which then results in a certain number of impressions depending on the CPM.


A small, handheld computing device, that usually has a touch-display screen and/or a mini keyboard. While all publishers do not currently offer ad inventory on mobile, this number is increasing over time.


This notification will display instead of a price when a rate is still being established.

Per 30 Days 

A pricing method offered by some publishers, which gives advertisers a fixed rate for running their ad on a publisher's site for 30 days.


The various device types a publisher has chosen to make its ad inventory available on


This refers to the rate and pricing model this publisher accepts for this specific ad unit via the programmatic partner listed.

Programmatic Partner 

This refers to the ad tech companies we have partnered with on our programmatic initiative, such as Rubicon Project, PubMatic, iSocket, OpenX, Adslot, Shiny Ads and BuySellAds. Publishers that have direct relationships with these partners can now showcase their ad inventory in where you can click to purchase it through the corresponding partner. Please note that you will be directed to the programmatic partner (not Kantar Media SRDS) in order to complete the transaction and pay.

Run of Site 

The ability to purchase an ad which will run and alternate on any of the pages of that chosen publisher's website.


A one-piece mobile computer that typically has a touchscreen, used with finger or stylus gestures. Tablets are larger than smart phones or personal digital assistants. While all publishers do not currently offer ad inventory on mobile, this number is increasing over time.

Targeting Options 

The specific targeting selections a publisher has made available for this specific ad unit. Each unique publisher determines their targeting options so they will vary. Examples include geographic targeting (by country, state, zip code or DMA), browser targeting as well as some custom targeting.

Unique Visitors 

A metric used to help a buyer understand the popularity and relevance of a site. Specifically, it refers to the number of unique individuals or browsers, which have accessed the site in a specific time period. Within the publishers who have programmatic ad inventory available in, we report unique monthly visitors via a third-party provider, Compete.