RTB (Real Time Bidding) Glossary

This Real Time Bidding glossary contains some of the most common eClickZ terms and RTB definitions.

General terms:

Ad tag: Typically served as javascript through a website’s ad server, an ad tag allows a website to communicate with an ad partner and serve an appropriate ad

Ad exchange: an ad partner that serves as a broker between a publisher and an advertiser. Ad exchanges use RTB technology to sell a publisher’s inventory in an auction-like manner. Typically, you can set a price floor within an ad exchange and you’ll receive a higher rate due to the auctioning process.

Ad network: an ad partner that serves as a middle man between a publisher and an advertiser. Typically, ad networks provide you with a static rate for your inventory that rarely fluctuates.

Auction Price Floor: This is the same idea as a standard price floor but in an auction or programmatic environment the floor serves as a minimum but can be exceeded by higher bidding. For example if you set your price floor at $1 you can still receives bids at $1.25 but not $.75.

Creative: You will often here this word used to refer to the actual images the advertising display

Daisy chain (Ad chain): Placing ad partners ad tags in order (usually by CPM rate, highest to lowest) so they have the option of serving an ad or ‘defaulting’ to the next partner in line.

Discrepancy: In digital advertising this refers to the difference between client number (typically taken from an ad server) and ad partner numbers. These differences are caused by a variety of factors including the number of partners you’re working with, the individual user you’re serving ads to, and page load time. Standard discrepancy metrics are impressions sold, served, revenue.

DSP (Demand Side Platform): A buy side platform that allows buyers of digital ad inventory to easily and more directly connect with sellers in a programmatic and real time environment

Fixed CPM: A CPM rate that remains constant and is guaranteed by an ad partner for every 1,000 impressions that are sent.

IAB (The Interactive Advertising Bureau): Made up of over 500 leading media and technology companies, IAB works to educate about the value of interactive advertising as well as evaluate and recommend standards and practices (such as standard unit size).

Iframes: an HTML document embedded within another HTML document that allows content from another source to appear on a web page.

Passback tag (Default tag): When an ad partner chooses to pass on the opportunity to capture or serve an ad impression they ‘default’ the opportunity to serve an ad. The tag that’s called during that default process is referred to as a passback tag.

Price Floor: A fixed CPM rate that prevents an ad partner from serving campaigns that pay below a certain price threshold. For example, if you set your price floor to $1 your ad partner shouldn’t serve any campaigns with net CPM rates below that amount.

Revenue share model: A partnership between a publisher and ad provider where profits from ad serving are split as per the terms of the agreement. Before the rise of programmatic and RTB these agreements were closer to 50/50, but with the rise of programmatic buying that split has increased in the publishers favor. For example, eClickZ Ad Exchange offers a 80/20 revenue share. These rates are often negotiable depending on how much volume a publisher can provide.

RFP (Request for Proposal): A request from an advertiser, brand, or media agency for a publisher to submit a bid to win their business for an ad campaign. A RFP typically outlines rates, time, cost, technical specs, audience and units.

RTB (Real Time Bidding): Impression based, real time ad inventory sales method. This is a technology that allows thousands of buyers to bid on a single website impression based on bidding algorithms.

SSP (Supply Side Platform): A sell side platform that allows publishers to better package and manage their websites inventory to sell.

Viewability: A new metric for measuring performance created by the 3MS initiative (Making Measurement Make Sense), and authorized by the MRC (Media Rating Council). Viewability was created to ensure an advertiser that a brand will be viewed by a user. The MRC declared a viewable impression as “at least 50% of the ad creative is displayed for at least 1 second.”

Volume: Refers to how much traffic (impressions/pageviews) a website has over a given period of time. Ad partners will often ask how much volume a publisher is willing to send at a discussed rate.

Common terms used to buy/sell advertising inventory:

CPA (cost-per-action) or CPL (cost-per-lead): “Action” or “Lead” mean exactly that; some type of action or lead resulted from the display of the ad such as a sale or registration obtained.

CPC (cost-per-click): Yes, you guessed it; this would be the amount paid every time someone clicks on an advertisement.

CPM (cost-per-milli): From the Latin meaning one thousand. Literally, the amount paid for every 1,000 qualifying impressions served.

eCPM (effective cost per milli): This term gets more specific and shows the cost of ad inventory based on the amount of impressions that were actually shown/paid. Here is the formula to determine this amount: eCPM = Revenue/(Paid Imps/1000)

rCPM (real cost per milli): The most accurate view of ad space of the three, this provides the “real” worth because it takes into account the total imps that occurred, not just the ones that paid, which is important when determining the value of a space. The formula to determine this amount is: rCPM = Revenue/(Total Imps/1000)

Ad unit types/sizes:

Above the fold (ATF): Typically the upper half of a website, or any part a user can view without having to scroll down. Automatically viewable.

Ad Units: The space in an application where ads are displayed. The format used is widthXheight in pixels (e.g. 728X90).

Banner/Leaderboard, Rectangle, Tower/Skyscraper: These terms refer to standard ad units. Banner (728X90), Rectangle (300X250) and Tower (160X600).

Below the fold (BTF): Lower half of a website or the portion where users have to scroll down to view. Not automatically viewable.

Native ads: advertising that aims to blend into the user’s experience with the website. Native ad mimic a site’s content and format.

Rich Media: Advertising appearing in a ‘richer’ form. These units are outside of the standard ad sizes and usually include special placements and movement. Examples of rich media units include skins, sponsor bars, pushdowns, rising stars.

Rising Stars: Rising Stars are premium ad units that run from or instead of a standard IAB unit. The specs of the unit are defined by the IAB in an attempt to scale out rich media advertising and normalize the units so they can be sold and served more often. Standard Rising Star units include billboard, filmstrip, sidekick, slider, portrait , and pushdown. For visual examples of each of the rising stars visit the IAB’s site here: http://www.iab.net/risingstars.

Site Skin: Creative that appears behind the content of the webpage. Typically this takes over the borders of the website and produces very high engagement. It may also take over the 728×90 if that unit runs outside of the sites frame.

User Behavior:

Ad Impression: A single ad placement on a page that’s available for purchase by demand partners. There is one ad impressions per ad unit per pageview.

Bounce rate: Percentage of users that visit a page and then leave the site in a short time frame without visiting any other pages at that site.

Pageview: Anytime a webpage loads, a pageview is created. The more pageviews a website has the more impressions it will have an opportunity to sell.

Re-targeting pixel: An identifier (cookie) that gets dropped on a user when they are browsing a participating web page. These cookies track online behavior and allow for more targeted ads that are specific to the user.

Unique user: A visitor on a web page for the first time over the course of audience measurement (Typically day, week, month, year).

Visitor: A user who revisits a webpage, regardless of frequency E.G. if you visit Facebook four times in a day you would count as one unique user for that day but 4 visitors or visits.

Ad serving:

Cachebuster: This allows an ad tag to “defeat the cache”. A cache is what makes all contents of a web page the same when a user returns to site, decreasing time it takes to load the page. A cachebuster adds an extra figure to the ad code that forces the call to be different each time the page is reloaded. The end result is more efficient ad loading.

DMA: Designated Market Area, geographic location where an advertiser wants to reach users. DMA’s can be outlined in ad servers via targeting.

Flight: Lifetime of a campaign, how long a campaign runs on a site.

Frequency cap: An established limit to the number of times an ad campaign, tag or ad size can be shown to an individual user.

Geo-targeting: Showing certain campaigns to certain users based on what geographic location the user is located. This is helpful when working with an advertiser looking to reach a specific part of the world, country, state, city, town.

Invocation code: Generated within an adserver, invocation code literally allows ads to show (Invokes) on a website accordingly to placements defined by where the code is positioned. Beyond allowing ads to show, invocation codes also dictate ad size. The specifics of the campaign are controlled within the ad server and after the invocation codes are placed and loaded.

Line item: Unit of advertising sold by the publisher to the advertiser that specifies details of the sale (site, size, cost, dates, etc).

Order: The name of a group of line items in your ad server. Orders help keep your ad server sorted and organized.

Roadblock (Takeover): When an advertising campaign creative is the only brand on a particular page or website, taking over all ad sizes at once. This can be controlled in the setting of an ad server.

ROS (Run of Site): An option for ad display which places ads on a rotation in all non-custom ad spaces. These ads can run on any page within the site that doesn’t have an ad already designated for that unit.

Share of voice (SOV): Percentage of a publisher’s inventory that an ad campaign controls during the course of a campaign. The higher the share of voice the more they control.