Adtech Jargon Cruncher

Alex Dixie in Jargon Cruncher

in Jargon Cruncher

The world of adtech can be a confusing place at times with the sheer volume of jargon used by those in the know. ADTEKR aims to help demystify the sector and make it accessible and understandable by a wider audience. We’ll be updating this post regularly with new terminology – you may wish to bookmark this page as your one-stop-shop for crunching adtech jargon.


An ad tag is essentially a request for content of a certain size and type from a certain URL. It is a piece of HTML or javascript code placed on a publisher’s mobile website that enables them to sell ad space. The ad tag requests an ad from an ad server and calls upon the browser to open an iframe which then holds the advertisement shown.


As the name suggests, a brand advocate is someone who has been officially commissioned to speak favourably about the brand. Not to be confused with “online influencers” (usually celebrities or popular bloggers), brand advocates are existing members of a business’s customer base, and do not receive compensation from the brands they endorse. Research shows that brand advocates generate much more consumer trust compared to influencers, due to their commitment to the product or company they represent.

Additionally, the lack of incentives (e.g. free products or discounts) required to engage brand advocates make them a very sustainable marketing force, while their brand loyalty ensures substantial results.


Programmatic advertising technology allows brands to buy online advertising inventory by reference to audiences, rather than publishers’ websites. While this ensures that the advertising reaches the right people, it means the brand has limited control over where adverts appear. Although websites can be divided into “whitelists” and “blacklists” to prevent ads appearing in manifestly offensive or problematic places (e.g. filtering out adult content sites), there may still be circumstances where ads are placed in a context that may negatively impact the advertiser’s brand. For example, an advert for an airline could appear on a premium publisher’s news website next to an article about a plane crash.

Brand safety is the practice of ensuring that an ad does not appear in a context which could undermine or damage the brand, through use of data science and algorithms aimed at identifying inappropriate content.


In simple terms, a data management platform is a data warehouse that sucks up, sorts and houses information and makes it available in a way that’s useful for marketers, publishers and other businesses.

In theory, DMPs can be used to house and manage any form of information, but for marketers, they’re most often used to manage cookie IDs and to generate audience segments, which are subsequently used to target specific users with online ads. With the rise of adtech, advertisers now buy media across a huge range of different sites and through various middlemen, including DSPs, ad networks and exchanges. DMPs can help tie all that activity and resulting campaign and audience data together in one, centralized location and use it to help optimize future media buys and ad creative. It’s all about better understanding customer information.

Key DMP vendors include Adobe, Krux, Lotame, Aggregate Knowledge, BlueKai, CoreAudience, Knotice, nPario and X+1


A DSP is a web-based platform which allows a single point of access to purchase inventory across multiple channels. These channels include purchases from ad exchanges. DSPs can either be standalone, independent entities or they can sit within (and be managed by) agency groups. In this case they are known as Agency Trading Desks. DSPs power programmatic buying, allowing automated purchasing of advertising inventory.


Native advertising is not exclusively an adtech concept, rather an online variant of the long-established media practice of “advertorial”.   In newspapers or magazines, an advertorial piece is a written article with the look and feel of a normal newspaper story, but which is paid for by a brand and which promotes a particular product or service.

This kind of subtle advertising has taken on particular relevance online, where many web users tend to ignore or block the more overt ads such as banners and intrusive pop-up ads.  By paying popular bloggers or vloggers (video bloggers) to embed product promotions in their content, advertisers are able to access hard-to-reach younger demographics.


One of the key services offered to brands by marketing agencies is placing ads where they will have the biggest impact.  Traditionally, this was done by human buyers.

Programmatic marketing is essentially the automated targeting of online ad space, using algorithms to work out the optimum place and time for an advert to appear.


RTB stands for “Real Time Bidding”: the process which ultimately decides what adverts you see when you log on to a website.

Online publishers make money by selling advertising space on their websites.  However, unlike in traditional media, they don’t have to sell the space to a particular brand in advance of publication.

Instead, when an individual visits a web page, the ad space is instantly put out to auction via an ad exchange.  Advertisers’ algorithms use that individual’s profile to decide whether and how much to bid.  The algorithm that bids the most gets to place its ad on that page in front of that individual. This means that what is being sold is the single page impression.

The whole auction process necessarily takes a fraction of a second (or the individual would notice the delay) which is where RTB gets its name.


When an individual visits a website, that site places a cookie on his or her browser, allowing adverts for that site’s products to be retargeted at him or her later on, across the web.

A “tag” is a piece of code on a website which drops the cookie onto the individual’s browser.  They are also used to collect analytics data about a site’s visitors (such as links clicked and total time spent on the site) and in addition can be used to create a unique device profile.  However, tags on a website can cause problems.  Too many of them on a website can slow load-times, and tags are often subject to technical errors.

Various companies specialise in “tag management”, troubleshooting these issues, allowing a simple, one-stop shop for management of multiple tags from a variety of sources, and generally looking after the tracking technology used in digital advertising.


User generated content (UGC) is content that is created by the users of websites, rather than the websites themselves, media owners or advertisers. This type of content includes customer reviews, comments, posted pictures and video clips. Sites like YouTube, Pinterest and Flickr encourage and facilitate the publication of UGC. UGC can also include collaboratively designed and freely accessibly software.

Brands and advertisers can benefit from monitoring UGC, measuring the effectiveness of campaigns by tuning into content created by their target audience and identifying potential audience influencers.

Adtech Jargon Cruncher was last modified: July 31st, 2015 by Alex Dixie