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Charles McCarthy

Charles McCarthy Marketing Copywriter

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Defining the Digital Advertising Buzzwords That All Dealers Should Know

91feb6565aead9ede069dc0cdf6ff87a.jpg?t=1Every industry has its own proprietary vocabulary to meet the unique demands of the work. Digital advertising is no exception. And since digital ads are nascent relative to the entire history of outbound marketing, confusion and misinformation are likely to surround the terminology that is helping shape the practice.


So what are the digital advertising buzzwords you ought to know? 

We can help. We’ve compiled a glossary containing some of the most commonly used digital advertising terms. Let’s take a look:

Ad Extensions – A feature of an advertising platform that allows additional information (an address, phone number, business rating or additional website links) to display alongside search ads.

Algorithms – A rule-based operation or set of operations of varying complexity. An algorithm, in the context of digital advertising, could be as simple as “decrease bids when availability increases above X impressions/visitors” or as complex as “increase bids until incremental cost-per-lead rises above $10.”

Attribution – A consistent data/analytics tracking framework. Cross-device attribution provides insight into visitors as they move between mobile, tablet, and desktop devices. Cross-channel attribution uses a holistic picture of all advertising and referral sources, and provides insight into how each channel influences the others at every stage of the customer engagement cycle. Improved attribution across channels and devices is a constant driver behind development and architectural work on our advertising and analytics platforms.

Audience Targeting – The use of behavioral attributes and advertising platforms that allow advertisers to proactively target audience segments driven by activity-based user profiles.

Bid Modifiers – A simple bid rule that adjusts bids for advertising impressions by a fixed or variable percentage based on set criteria (i.e. decrease bids by 5% for mobile devices, or increase bids by 50% within a five mile radius of the dealership).

Callout Extensions – Additional text that can display below an ad. This can be information about the business, level of service, or comments on the advertised product.

Click to Call – A phone number built into an advertisement, allowing a user to call the advertising business with a simple click.

Contextual Targeting – The use of context, such as content of the page containing the advertising placement, and available user/browser attributes, to drive an automated or algorithm-driven advertising strategy.

Geo-fencing­ – An advertising practice driven by bidding on all impressions available to devices within a certain geographically restricted area. This is frequently limited to a special event or specific business with the intention of capturing cross-shoppers and low funnel, in-market shoppers on mobile devices.

Interstitial Ads­ – Advertising mainly intended for mobile devices that serves between click-throughs (requiring users to close the ad before loading the content of the page they clicked) or in-app (i.e. mobile-sized ads that display while navigating or upon exiting a game). 

Location Extensions – An attachment of business address and location information to an ad. This draws attention to the proximity of the business for local searchers and location-based queries.

Machine Learning ­­– The technology that allows processes and algorithms (in our case, algorithms drive real-time bidding and exchange-/channel-level budget management) to continuously improve the quantity and quality of engaged traffic, and simultaneously minimize the volume of inefficient impressions served and unqualified traffic.

Media Mix Modeling – The use of a cross-channel attribution model to determine the weighted value of each channel and provide an ideal mix of channel budgets to meet overall campaign goals.

Native Ads ­­– Advertising that appears within actual content. This is a hot-button issue in the news/magazine publishing world, where sponsored content is often cleverly disguised and presented alongside the publication’s own content, sometimes only tangentially referring to the product receiving the sponsorship (e.g. a NY Times Online article titled Women Inmates: Why the Male Model Doesn’t Work sponsored by the Netflix Original Series Orange is the New Black). A more benign and action-oriented form of native advertising is when single words are underlined and clickable within online articles or other digital content, or hovering over the word to cause a relevant and clickable display ad to appear.

Programmatic Marketing – The technology environment that allows both the demand-side (bidder) and supply-side (exchange) platforms to function in an automated way. In many cases, it involves a continuous, machine-driven optimization, ensuring each impression provides additional intelligence to make subsequent bids smarter and more efficient. 

Real-Time Bidding (RTB) – The auction marketplace in which bidders compete for impressions in the time it takes for a webpage to load (under .25 seconds). 

Rich Media – Advertising creative units that expand and/or contain interactive elements, multiple click-through paths, or video. It is generally presented in contrast to “standard flash.”

Sitelink Extensions – Links to specific pages within a website under a text ad. recommends this function.

View-through – The activity that takes place after a user has viewed a display ad. This can include a visit generated from any other channel (direct, organic search, other), as well as a phone call or a lead. It is increasingly difficult to attribute view-through activity across devices, given tracking limitations on many popular mobile devices and the use of tools like Ad Block.

Hopefully, this helps alleviate any confusion involving digital advertising. This list will continue to grow as this medium evolves.

What are the advertising buzzwords you’ve recently been hearing a lot about? Tell us which terms you’d like to see added to this glossary.


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