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(Making Measurement Make Sense) A cross-industry initiative founded by the 4A’s, ANA, and IAB. For more information on 3MS, visit www.MeasurementNow.net



American Association of Advertising Agencies


Ad chain

(Daisy chain) This is 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.

Ad exchange

​This is 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 impression

An ad that has successfully loaded on page. Each time an ad is fetched, it is counted as one impression. This is independent of whether it is viewed, clicked, etc.

Ad network

​This is 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.

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 unit

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


The creativeid passed to us. Index currently passes this to us, but no other partners.


Association of National Advertisers


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

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.



A standard ad unit (728X90). Also referred to as Leaderboard.

Bid response rates

How often a DSP responds with a bid vs. no bid. Because of server infrastructure costs, SSPs will throttle/filter requests to DSPs if they are less likely to participate in an auction.

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.


(Below the fold) ­The portion of the website that is not viewable without scrolling.



­​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.


(Consent Management Platform) Allows a website/app to be GDPR-compliant by collecting information about consent and passing this information down to advertisers.


When a user completes an action in response to an ad they saw on the publisher’s web page. This could involve purchasing an item or signing up for something.


(Cost Per Action)​ An action resulting from the display of the ad such as a sale or registration obtained.


(Cost Per Click) The amount paid every time someone clicks on an advertisement.


(Cost­ Per Lead) A lead resulting from the display of the ad such as a sale or registration obtained.


(Cost Per Mille) From the Latin meaning one thousand. Literally, the amount paid for every 1,000 qualifying impressions served.


This word refers to the visual components of the ad.


Content Security Policy


Click Through Rate


Daisy chain

(Ad chain) This is 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.


​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.


­​(Designated Market Area) A geographic location where an advertiser wants to reach users. DMAs can be outlined in ad servers via targeting.


Daily Reccurring Revenue


(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.



(effective Cost Per Mille) This refers to the average amount paid for 1000 impressions regardless of payment method (e.g. CPM, CPC, CPL, etc). The formula to determine this amount is eCPM = Revenue/(Paid Impressions/1000)


Fixed CPM

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


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.



Google Ad Manager


General Data Protection Regulation


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, or town.


Google Publisher Tag



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


In Banner Video


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


Space on a publisher’s web page where an ad can be displayed.

Invocation​ code

­Generated within an adserver, invocation code literally allows ads to show (or invoke) on a website according 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.



The percent increase in performance (measured in ROI, CPC, CPA, etc.) that can be attributed to advertising (or some other marketing endeavor).

Line item

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


(Level of Effort) This is a term for estimating the effort for a task or initiative.



Multi-Request Architecture is when multiple requests are sent to Google Ad Manager (GAM;, one request for each ad request (that have been defined and displayed).


(Media Rating Council) A United States-based nonprofit organization that manages accreditation for media research and rating purposes; an independent body responsible for setting and implementing measurement standards.


Native ads

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



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



Private Auction

Page source

A set of instructions for the browser. It contains text content, markup and styling that informs the design of the websites elements, references to other files on the web server that need to be loaded in, SEO indexing information, references to files hosted on third party servers, and logic that specifies the functions of the site. Sortable’s ad library (internally known as “tag file”) is one of the files loaded from a third party server. The page source also contains ad elements and page-specific logic for ad serving.


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

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.


Preferred Deal


Programmatic Guaranteed


Private MarketPlace

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.



(Queries Per Second) This is used to talk about request volumes to bidders. Optimizing QPS, reduces server costs.



(real Cost Per Mille) A measure of actual revenue per 1000 impressions. In modern adops from a publisher’s perspective, this is often used interchangeably with CPM/RPM. For a publisher, the difference is only impactful in an environment where the CPM set does not directly reflect the revenue the publisher will receive. The formula to determine this amount is rCPM = Revenue/(Total Impressions/1000)

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.


A standard ad unit (300X250).

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 publisher’s favour. For example, Google’s Ad Exchange offers a 80/20 revenue share. These rates are often negotiable depending on how much volume a publisher can provide.


(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. An RFP typically outlines rates, time, cost, technical specs, audience, and units.

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, and rising stars.

Rising stars

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


(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.


(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.


­(Revenue Per Mille) Typically used to denote revenue by 1000 pageviews or sessions.


(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.


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.


(Share Of Voice) ­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.


(Supply Path Optimization) Optimizing the supply path of the advertiser to the publisher. Reducing as many middle men as possible and putting the most amount of money in a publisher’s pocket.


Single Request Architecture is when a single request is sent to Google Ad Manager (GAM) with all of the ad requests (that have been defined, displayed, and refreshed) grouped together in one single request.


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


See Inventory.



Ad targeting is a practice that intends to get ads in front of people with specific characteristics (geographic location, gender etc) or behaviours.


A standard ad unit (160X600). Also referred to as a Wide Skyscraper.


Unique user

­​A visitor on a web page for the first time over the course of audience measurement (typically day, week, month, year).



A new metric for measuring performance created by the 3MS initiative, 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.”


­A user who revisits a webpage, regardless of frequency (for example, if you visit Facebook four times in a day, you would count as one unique user for that day but four visitors or visits).


​Refers to how much traffic (impressions/page views) 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.