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Definitions and descriptions for common ad terms


  • Advertiser: An advertiser is an entity that pays for a website or brand to be advertised. They are on the “demand” side of ad marketing and they are looking to spread a specific message about their product. 

  • Ad sets: Ads are grouped in ad sets, which define how they are distributed and to which audience. There can be many ad sets per Campaign and many ads per ad set, but you only need one of each to get started.

  • API: An application programming interface is a way for two or more computer programs to communicate with each other. 


  • Banner ads: One of the longest-serving advertising forms, banner ads place static or animated image ads above or around a website, typically only occasionally, but sometimes continuously.  


  • Campaign: A framework used to distribute your ads to your audience. 

  • Click-through attribution: A metric used to demonstrate the precise value of an ad. This is done by tracking clicks on an ad, all the way to purchase. 

  • CPM: Cost per mile is the amount advertisers pay to publishers for every 1,000 ad impressions and it is also known as cost per thousand (mile means 1,000 in Latin). This metric helps publishers keep track of the number of resources they should allocate to their portfolio to keep it net-positive.  

  • Creative: Describes a single advertisement. Creatives are files that you upload to the system and they need to be moderated before they can be used.  

  • CTR: Click-through rate is the percentage of users who saw an ad and clicked on it. This metric helps app advertisers understand the ratio of users who clicked on their ad and got redirected to their website. Click-through rate (CTR) = clicks/impressions. 

  • CVR: The conversion rate is the measure of what proportion of people are persuaded by advertising to take a particular action – such as clicking on a link or making a purchase.  


  • DAU: Daily active user is a metric that shows the total amount of users who visit a website on a daily basis. DAU offers a glimpse into how successful a website is, as it shows how immersed users are and how sticky it is. 

  • DSP: A demand-side platform is a system that allows buyers of digital advertising inventory to manage multiple ad exchange and data exchange accounts through one interface


  • Impression (or Display): Impressions in digital marketing tell advertisers and developers how many times an ad was viewed by users. 


  • KPI: A performance indicator or key performance indicator is a type of performance measurement. KPIs evaluate the success of an organization or of a particular activity in which it engages. 


  • LTV: Lifetime value estimates the revenue a single user generates throughout their entire life within a website. It helps predict a user’s monetary value over time. This figure is directly linked to retention because the longer a user stays, the more items they add to their cart 


  • MAU: Monthly active user is a metric that shows how many people open the website at least once each month. Often contrasted with DAU (daily active users). 


  • Publisher: A publisher provides the capability and inventory that allows advertisers to run ads on their websites (supply). A publisher can be a website that sells space on their property to advertisers and agencies. 


  • Retention rate: The percentage of users who continue engaging with a website over time. The retention rate is typically measured in days after users first visit a website. i.e.: seven days (D7), one day (D1), etc. 

  • ROAS: Return on advertising spend is a revenue-based metric used to calculate the efficiency and performance of digital advertising spend. ROAS is calculated by dividing the amount of revenue generated by an ad campaign by the amount spent on that ad campaign. 


  • SKAdNetwork: StoreKit Ad Network, or SKAdNetwork, is a privacy-centric API operated by Apple. It helps ad networks and advertisers measure their ad activity (such as impressions, clicks, and app installs) on an aggregated level. 


  • UA: User acquisition covers the many methods for gaining users. Often its use refers to the likes of CPI schemes, but advertising and marketing a product is also an act of user acquisition.  

  • UTC: Coordinated universal time or UTC is the primary time standard by which the world regulates clocks and time. It is within about one second of mean solar time at 0° longitude such as UT1 and is not adjusted for daylight saving time. It is effectively a successor to Greenwich Mean Time (GMT). 

  • Unified Auction: This is a programmatic feature that gives multiple demand-side partners (DSPs) the ability to compete for the same advertising spot. 


  • Waterfall: Also known as waterfall mediation, this refers to a style of auction for ad selling that orders the advertiser's bids by descending order of set cost per mile (CPM). The waterfall organizes ad sources in a way that is meant to yield the highest CPMs for advertisers and increase revenue for publishers.