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The A-to-Z of Advertising Operations Terms: 75+ Words You Should Know

Navigating the world of digital advertising can be a daunting task, particularly when you’re faced with a sea of marketing terms, industry jargon, and acronyms. To effectively manage your ad operations, it’s crucial to grasp the terminologies that define this landscape. Whether you’re an industry newcomer or a seasoned professional looking to brush up on the latest concepts, our comprehensive glossary of advertising operations terms is your go-to resource.

In this A-to-Z glossary, we delve into an array of terms, from ‘Ad blocking’ to ‘Yield management’, simplifying complex ideas while providing valuable insights into the latest trends in the digital advertising industry. By understanding the nuanced language of ad ops, you’ll be better equipped to drive successful marketing campaigns, foster stronger relationships with clients and partners, and optimize your overall advertising strategy.

Get ready to dive deep into the marketing lexicon as we demystify commonly-used advertising phrases, clarify essential jargon, and shed light on some of the industry’s most important concepts.


Above the fold (ATF): This term refers to the area of a web page visible without scrolling, often considered prime real estate for advertisers.

Ad blocking: This is the use of software to prevent ads from being displayed on a web page.

Ad call: An ad call is a request made by a web page to an ad server for an ad to be displayed.

Ad campaign: This term refers to a series of ads designed to achieve a specific marketing goal.

Ad creative: This term refers to the design and content of an ad.

Ad exchange: This is a marketplace where publishers and advertisers can buy and sell ad space.

Ad inventory: This refers to the total amount of ad space available on a publisher’s website or app.

Ad markup: Ad markup is the code used to insert an ad into a web page.

Ad ops: This is the department within a company responsible for the planning, buying, and placement of ads.

Ad pod: A group of ads displayed together on a web page.

Ad refresh: The process of replacing an existing ad with a new one on a web page.

Ad server: A software application used to deliver ads to web pages.

Ad server priority: The order in which ads are delivered to a web page from an ad server.

Ad tag: A piece of code used to identify an ad.

Ad targeting: The process of selecting the right audience for an ad based on various characteristics or behaviors.

Ad tech: This refers to the collection of technologies and services used to deliver ads online.

Ad trafficking: This is the process of scheduling and implementing ad placements on a web page.

Ad unit: A specific location on a web page where an ad can be displayed.

Ad verification: This is the process of ensuring that an ad has been delivered to the correct audience and seen by the intended viewer.

AdChoices: A program that allows advertisers to provide more transparency and control to users about the ads they see.

Ads.cert: A program allowing publishers to verify the identity of their ad servers to prevent fraud.

Ads.txt: A file that publishers use to list the authorized digital sellers for their inventory, helping prevent fraud.

Advanced TV: A term used to describe the delivery of video ads to connected TV devices, including smart TVs and devices like Roku or Chromecast.

Analytics suite: A collection of software applications used to collect and analyze data about website performance and user behaviors.

API: An application programming interface (API) allows two pieces of software to communicate with each other.

Attribution: This is the process of determining which marketing channels are responsible for driving conversions (actions taken by users that fulfill the advertiser’s goal, like making a purchase or signing up for a newsletter).

Audience extension: The process of targeting ads to a broader audience based on the interests of a specific audience segment.

Audience segment: A group of people who share a common characteristic (like age, gender, or interests) that an advertiser wants to target.


Banner ad: A rectangular ad displayed at the top or bottom of a web page.

Bid request: A request from a publisher for an ad from an ad exchange. Advertisers bid on these requests in real-time.

Bidding strategy: The process of determining how much an advertiser is willing to pay for an ad placement.

Blacklist: A list of websites or IP addresses that are known to be associated with fraud.

Bot fraud: The use of automated software (bots) to generate fake impressions or clicks on ads.

Bounce rate: The percentage of visitors who leave a website after viewing only one page. A high bounce rate may indicate unengaging content or poor user experience.


Campaign: Just like an ad campaign, a series of ads designed to achieve a specific marketing goal.

Click-through rate (CTR): The percentage of people who click on an ad after seeing it. This is a key measure of an ad’s effectiveness.

Conversion: An action that a website visitor takes, such as making a purchase or signing up for a newsletter, which fulfills the advertiser’s goal.

Cost per acquisition (CPA): A pricing model where advertisers pay only when a user takes a specific action (like a purchase or sign-up) after clicking an ad.

Cross-device attribution: The process of tracking a user’s journey across multiple devices to understand how different touchpoints influenced their ultimate decision.


Daisy chain: A process of connecting multiple ad servers together to fill ad space, maximizing the chance that a suitable ad will be found for every impression.

Demand-side platform (DSP): A software application that allows advertisers to buy ad space from multiple ad exchanges.

Data management platform (DMP): A platform used by digital advertising buyers and sellers to store, manage, and analyze data.

Display advertising: The delivery of graphical ads (like banners and images) on websites and apps.

Dynamic creative: The process of creating ads that are personalized for each individual user, often using real-time data to tailor the message.


First-party data: Data that is collected directly from a user, such as their name, email address, or purchase history. It is considered the most valuable and reliable data for marketing purposes.

Frequency capping: The process of limiting the number of times that an ad is shown to a user, ensuring they aren’t overwhelmed by repeated ad exposure.

Fraud detection: The process of identifying and preventing fraud, such as bot fraud and click fraud.


Impression: The number of times that an ad is displayed, regardless of whether it was clicked.

Interstitial ad: An ad that appears in between two content pages, often capturing full attention from the user.


Key performance indicator (KPI): A measurable value that demonstrates how effectively a company is achieving key business objectives. For ad campaigns, KPIs could be impressions, clicks, conversions, etc.


Landing page: The webpage a user is directed to after clicking on an ad. These are often specially designed to encourage the user to take a specific action, such as making a purchase or signing up for a newsletter.

Lead: A potential customer who has shown interest in a company’s products or services, often by providing contact information.


Media buyer: An individual or agency responsible for buying ad space on behalf of an advertiser.

Media planning: The process of developing a media strategy for a marketing campaign, including decisions on where, when, and how often to run ads.

Mobile ad: An ad specifically designed to be displayed on mobile devices.


Native ad: An ad that blends in with the surrounding content, looking less like an ad and more like part of the content itself. These can improve user experience and engagement.


Paid search: A type of online advertising where advertisers pay to have their ads appear at the top of search engine results pages (SERPs).

Publisher: A website, app, or other platform that sells ad space. Publishers generate revenue by displaying ads from various advertisers.

Programmatic advertising: The use of software to automate the buying and selling of ad space. This streamlines the process and allows for more precise targeting and real-time bidding (RTB).


Real-time bidding (RTB): A process where advertisers bid on ad space in real-time. The highest bidder wins the opportunity to display their ad.

Referrer: The website that a user came from before visiting a publisher’s website. This information is useful for understanding traffic sources and user behavior.

Revenue: The income that a publisher generates from selling ad space. This can come from various pricing models, including cost-per-impression, cost-per-click, or cost-per-action.

Return on investment (ROI): A measure of the profit or loss made from an investment. In advertising, it compares the amount of revenue gained from ads to the cost of running those ads.


Site targeting: The process of targeting ads to a specific website or app. This is usually based on the demographics or behavior of the site’s audience.

Social media advertising: The use of social media platforms to deliver ads to users. This can be highly effective due to the large user base and advanced targeting options on many social media sites.

Standard ad unit: A common size and format for an ad, standardized by the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB). Common examples include banner ads, skyscraper ads, and button ads.

Supply-side platform (SSP): A software application or platform that enables publishers to manage their ad inventory and maximize revenue from digital advertising.


Third-party data: Data collected by entities that don’t have a direct relationship with the user. This data is typically aggregated from various sources and used to enhance audience targeting.

Trafficker: An individual in an ad ops team who is responsible for the technical aspects of placing ads on a publisher’s website or app.


Video ad: An ad that is delivered in video format. These can be standalone or inserted within video content (such as pre-roll, mid-roll, or post-roll ads).


Website analytics: The process of collecting and analyzing data about a website’s visitors. This can help understand user behavior and optimize web design and content.


Yield management: The process of maximizing the revenue that a publisher generates from selling ad space, often by adjusting pricing strategies and inventory availability in response to market dynamics.


Zero-party data: Data that a user voluntarily provides to a company.

Z-targeting: The process of targeting ads to users based on their zero-party data.

That’s a wrap! This glossary represents a broad overview of the must-know words in ad ops. Keep this guide close at hand as a reference – we’ll update it regularly as new jargon emerges. Happy advertising!


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