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Digital advertising is a dynamic strategy that can provide amazing results. But it comes with it's own language that can be confusing to stay on top of. Here are definitions of the most common terms:

Digital Advertising Terms

Behavioral Modeling: Utilizing machine learning to find consumers with behavior patterns that match those of existing customers.

Behavioral Targeting: Utilizing machine learning to understand the pattern of a consumer’s behavior and deliver them ads that are relevant to their interests.

Connected TV: The digital equivalent of broadcast advertising, it offers demographic targeting and tracking such as impressions, completion rates and click thru. Delivered to consumer through digital channels such as Hulu, Amazon Prime, Roku, and more.​

Contextual Targeting: The placing of ads on a website that match the content of the site. For example, a ad on Kayak.

Cookie: Small files delivered by websites that are stored on a user’s device and transmits preferences when you return to the site. Cookies are what saves the items in your shopping cart or updates to your current timezone. 

Geo-Fencing: Also referred to as geo-proximity targeting, it utilizes technology to create a virtual fence around a designated area. The area can be as small as an address or an large as a city or county. Once a mobile device enters the designated area, the desired behavior such as delivery of an ad, is triggered.

Interstitial: Image or video ads delivered in a full-screen format, covering other site or app content and forcing the consumer to interact. Due to the disruption factor, Google penalizes sites that use interstitial ads.


Native Content: Also referred to as advertorial as it combines advertising and editorial. The advertiser crafts the content and submits it for placement on various websites. It appears as an article, but with a small notation that it’s sponsored

Pixel: In digital advertising, a tracking pixel is a transparent element (the size of a pixel) embedded in everything from display ads to emails. It enables companies to track the behavior of anyone who is delivered the pixel.

PPC/Google AdWords: PPC is pay-per-click, of which Google AdWords is the most popular program. Ads are text only and limited to four results per search term within Google. You only pay when a consumer clicks on your ad.

Programmatic Display Ads: Display ads, also called digital tiles, that are served to consumers. Programmatic refers to the ad buying being done via automated methods. Programmatic RTB is real-time-bidding, which utilizes a digital auction format. All RTB is programmatic, but not all programmatic is RTB. Display ads also refers to banner ads.

Retargeting: Delivering of display ads to people who have left your website without converting. It utilizes a cookie to follow the user and put ads on websites they visit.

SEM: Search engine marketing with much debate as to what is included under the umbrella of SEM. For some it refers to any paid efforts including PPC and display ads, while others also include SEO as a component of SEM.

Streaming Audio: Similar to Connected TV, streaming audio offers demographic targeting and limited tracking. Consumers typically hear a commercial with a static image displaying in the program. Ads are delivered to consumers through outlets such as Spotify, Pandora, Apple Music, and others.

Tag: An advertising tag is a multi-purpose piece of coding places onto your website to direct and track behavior. It tracks the delivery of ads for impression counts, allows for monitoring of people who come to the website after seeing an ad but not clicking on it, and add information to the behavioral targeting database.

YouTube TrueView: TrueView In-Stream ads play for 5 seconds before the video consumers came to watch and advertisers only pay when their ad is watched for 30 seconds or the full duration if it’s shorter. TrueView Video Discovery ads show alongside YouTube video and also display in search results. Advertisers pay if the ad is clicked.

Native Content Sample
Display Ad Sample
Google AdWords Sample