AdTech for Dummies 80+ Industry Terms Defined

AdTech Industry Definitions
October 11, 2023 | by Aleesha Jacob
adtech for dummies industry terms defined

The world of AdTech and ad optimization contains multiple categories, subcategories, terms, formulas and more. Here in this post, we want to help save you time and avoid confusion by providing you with the ultimate list of AdTech related terms.

Below you’ll find an ever-growing list of 80+ terms and definitions. Let’s get started!



Ad Unit

Ad unit is a term commonly used to describe the advertisement space on a website/mobile app – IE a 300×250 ad unit. It’s widely used within Google’s range of advertising products such as Google Ad Manager, AdExchange and AdSense.

Ad unit ID

This is the unique ID that identifies a specific ad unit on a website or app.

Ad Price Floors

Ad price floors are the lowest price that a publisher will sell their ad inventory for on the open exchange. IE If a publisher sets their ad price floor at $1.25 it means that a publisher will not accept bids lower than $1.25 for placement on their website/mobile app. Applying price floors is an advanced tactic that publishers will use to find the optimal price that advertisers are willing to pay. They also balance their price floor strategy with the coinciding fill rate for their ad inventory. Find out how to effectively optimize AdX price floors in our guide.

Ad Inventory

Ad inventory refers to the number of ad impressions available for sale on a publisher’s website or mobile app. In other words, these are the commodities available for the advertisers to buy on the website.

Ad network

An ad network is a company that brings together advertising demand and helps them reach their audience through a list of qualified publishers. Both publishers and advertisers utilize ad networks to sell and buy advertising inventory. Check out our list of the best ad networks here.

Ad request

An ad request is an action where your ad server sends a request to fill an ad unit with an advertisement. An ad request is made when a user starts loading your webpage/mobile app. The ad request action will happen for every ad unit on a specific webpage. Ad requests can be counted even if no ads were returned from your advertisers.

Ad mediation

Ad mediation typically refers to ads being served in a mobile app environment. Here the goal of ad mediation is to increase the advertising demand for your mobile app by calling multiple ad network SDKs to bid on your inventory. Ad mediation helps publishers host competitive auctions with their advertisers and typically drives up the ad earnings for the publisher. Check out our list of best app ad networks here.

Ad server

Ad servers help publishers gain better control over their ad inventory by giving them access to various features such as ad management, rotating creatives, direct selling of inventory, advanced reporting, and much more. Some of the most popular ad servers include Google Ad Manager, Smart AdServer, OpenX. See our list of the top ad servers here.

Ad tag

Ad tags are codes generated by ad networks that need to be included on web pages or within mobile apps where ads need to be displayed.

Ad Fraud

Many forms of ad fraud exist, but at a basic level, it relates to companies serving ads to fake ad inventories by using bots or automatically refreshing pages to increase views. The result is that no real person sees an advertiser’s ad and the ads served are fraudulent. Detect and block Ad Fraud with this tool now!

IVT (Invalid Traffic)

Traffic that does not represent genuine human interactions with digital advertising, is often caused by bots or other fraudulent activity.

Ad blocking

Ad blocking is the process of using software that blocks ads from displaying. Ad-blocking software is available for most browsers and internet-enabled devices on either desktop or mobile.

Anchor Ads

Anchor ads or also known as sticky ads. These are ads that stay fixed at a particular position on the screen even while the user scrolls up or down on the page.

Bumper Ads

These are very short video ads(6 secs) that are inserted into videos either before, during, or after the video.

Interstitial Ads

Interstitial ads are full-page ads that tend to serve during transition points within a web page or mobile app. The ads are loaded in an iframe that displays the content of the current app or page.

Native Ads

Native ads are ads that tend to blend in with the content of the page. They are often designed similarly to web page content to provide a seamless experience to users and behave very similar to content from the publisher’s website.

Video Ads

Video ads are ads that display within video formats. Many different variations and types of video ads exist. They can serve before, during, or after the video plays.

Display Ads

Display ads are a term used for traditional banner advertisements that serve on mobile or desktop web pages. Like video ads, many variations, types, and sizes exist.

Expandable Ads

Expandable ads can expand beyond the original ad unit size after being initiated by some form of user action. Examples of expandable ads include streaming a new movie trailer, a clip of a video game or even displaying something for sale.

Estimated earnings

Estimated earnings often showcase your ad earnings for a given period. However, estimated earnings are subject to change as ad earnings get verified for accuracy at the end of each month.


Viewability relates to the amount of time a user saw an ad.


Geotargeting is the process of showing ads to users based on geographical factors such as device location and zip codes.




CTR is known as the click-through rate and relates to how many times users clicked on an ad divided by the number of times that ad was displayed to users.


CPM is known as the cost per thousand impressions and an advertiser relates to the cost of showing an ad for 1000 served impressions. For a publisher displaying CPM ads, they will earn ad revenue every time a user views that ad.


eCPM is known as the effective cost per thousand impressions and is a metric used by publishers to determine the actual rate they’re earning from their ad inventory. eCPM is calculated by taking your (total ad earnings/impressions) x 1000. Read more about it here.


VCPM is known as the viewable cost per thousand impressions. With VCPM an impression is only counted/viewable when at least 50% or more of an ad was viewable by the user on the screen for at least one to two seconds. Keep in mind that standards and definitions of viewable impressions can differ across platforms.


CPV is known as cost per view and is a metric used with video advertising. Advertisers pay as soon as the video starts playing and the user watches it without any guaranteed view time. CPV can be calculated as the total cost / total views.


Pageviews is a metric used by many ad and analytic companies. However, from a Google product point of view, a pageview relates to a user viewing a page with a Google ad on it.

Pageviews per user

This relates to the average amount of pageviews users generate when visiting a website.


RPM is known as revenue per 1000 impressions and relates to the estimated ad earnings you could receive per 1000 ad impressions. RPM is calculated as estimated earnings/pageviews or impressions x 1000.

Page RPM

This is the RPM related to a specific page of your website instead of your site as a whole.


This is the RPM related to a specific ad on your website instead of your site as a whole.


A creative often refers to the image, gif or file used to display the ad. Often creatives need to be uploaded whereby a code snippet for that creative will be generated.

Daisy chaining

Daisy chaining is when the creative need to call multiple third-party ad servers.


An impression is when a user views an ad on a page or when an ad is displayed on a webpage.

Blank Impressions

Blank impressions are also known as blank ads or unfilled impressions and occur when blank ads are displayed on a website. No publishers want blank impressions as these ads don’t result in ad revenue. Many reasons for blank ads can exist such as not having enough advertiser demand, low page loading and having too high CPM floors. Find out how to solve this problem here.


Remnant refers to ad inventory that is available to advertisers but has not been sold. Publishers generally monetize remnant ad inventory by utilizing house ads, promoting affiliate-related products, and more. Here are some strategies for monetizing remnant ad inventory.

Fill Rate

The fill rate refers to how many ads were shown compared to the number of ad requests that were made. Fill rate can be calculated as impressions/ad requests. Higher fill rates generally result in more ad revenue for publishers. Find out how to maximize the fill rate here.


Backfill refers to ads that you can use when for some reason ads that were reserved did not serve. This helps publishers monetize as much ad inventory as possible.

Line item

A line item is a term commonly used in Ad Exchange or Google DoubleClick For Publishers (now known as Google Ad Manager). Line items represent an advertiser’s commitment to purchase ad inventory and can house information such as where and when ads will show.

Guaranteed line item

These are line items that a publisher contractually requires to be served a specific number of impressions with additional specifics such as ad size, traffic geography, etc. The ad manager would ensure deliverance by reserving ad inventory for this line item.

Non-guaranteed line item

In contrast to a guaranteed line item, non-guaranteed line items are not reserved nor contractually obligated to deliver ad impressions. Within Google Ad Manager examples of non-guaranteed line item types include Network, Bulk, Price Priority, and House.


An order represents an agreement between a buyer and publisher regarding an advertising campaign. The order specificities details regarding the campaign and can include multiple line items.

Google-related products and services


Google AdSense is an ad network that allows web publishers to monetize their website traffic with text, image, video, and native ads.

Ad Exchange

Ad Exchange is often referred to as the premium version of AdSense, and also a Google-owned ad network of sorts. To join Ad Exchange, publishers need to meet specific requirements such as 500 000 minimum monthly traffic, be invited, or join through a Google-certified partner. Recently Google has rebranded this product, and it is now called Google Ad Manager.

Google Ad Manager

Google Ad Manager is a combination of both Google Ad Exchange and DoubleClick For Publishers as a unified platform that provides publishers with ad-serving services. Read more about it here.

Google Analytics

This is Google’s traffic tracking and analytics tool that gives publishers insight into traffic origins, popular pages on their websites, and much more.

Google publisher console

This tool helps publishers to troubleshoot ad performance and overlays directly onto their website or app.


AMP is also known as Accelerated Mobile Pages and is a project supported by Google to provide web publishers with a way to serve web page very quickly for mobile devices.

Video metrics


In-display ads are shown on the same page while the user is watching a video. Find out more about video advertising here.


In-stream video ads are shown before, during, or after a video gets played.


OTT is also known as over-the-top and refers to TV content being delivered via the internet without needing to subscribe to traditional TV services. Netflix is a popular example of OTT services.


CTV is also known as connected TV and is very similar to OTT. However, it refers to smart TVs only that are connected to the internet and not other mobile and desktop devices. Some classifications even include ordinary TVs into this spectrum as with devices such as Roku and Google Chromecast users can use internet-related TV services. Read about OTT vs CTV here.


VAST is also known as Video Ad Serving Template and it is an industry-standard script that helps provide video players with information on which ads to display, how to display them, when and what functions it should offer. Read more about VAST here.


VPAID is also known as the Video Player Ad-Serving Interface Definition and contains a code that runs in video players. This code enables ads to become interactive within a video player by adding functions like “read more” buttons and overlays.

Video discovery

Video discovery is a form of native advertising where a user is prompted to discover more content with a focus on video content.

Header Bidding


Header bidding

Header bidding is an ad technology that allows publishers to earn to most ad revenue possible for their ad inventory by ensuring the highest bidding ad is served. Find out more about header bidding here.

Header wrapper

A header wrapper is what a publisher uses to integrate multiple ad networks on their website to run the header bidding auction. Instead of each demand partner needing a separate code implemented, header wrappers allow seamless integration of multiple partners with one script.

Header code

This is the piece of code publishers need to place in the head section of their website for the header bidding auction to run.

Ad optimization

Ad Optimization

Ad optimization is the process of performing various tasks and implementing methods to optimize ad earnings for a publisher. Some of these tasks can include implementing procedures such as having ad inventory run through an ad server, signing up for multiple ad networks, and implementing header bidding. Find out more about MonetizeMore’s ad optimization services here.

Programmatic advertising

Programmatic advertising entails using machine learning and technology suites to buy and sell ad inventory with a data-driven process. Read more about programmatic advertising here.

Programmatic guaranteed

This type of programmatic advertising enables a programmatic buyer to agree beforehand or guarantee a cookie/device ID-matched audience for a fixed price. See this post to read more about programmatic guaranteed.

In-app advertising

This is advertising that happens within a mobile app ecosystem and can include different types of ads such as banner, interstitial, native, and video ads.

Real-time bidding (RTB)

Real-time bidding is a technology-driven auction process where ad impressions are bought and sold almost instantaneously. Once an advertiser wins a bid for an ad impression, their ad is shown on a website. Real-time bidding plays a crucial part in the digital advertising ecosystem together with other players such as ad exchanges and supply-side platforms. Find out more about real-time bidding here.

OpenRTB (Real-Time Bidding) 3.0

The latest version of the OpenRTB protocol, which includes support for Ads.txt and Sellers.json, enhances transparency and security in programmatic advertising.

Demand Side Platform (DSP)

A Demand Side Platform or DSP is a platform where advertisers can buy digital inventory to easily and more directly connect with sellers in a programmatic and real-time ecosystem. Find out more about it here.

Bid Scaling

Bid scaling is used to make all bids compete in the auction as an apples-to-apples comparison based on the net amount paid to the publisher. Bid scaling occurs between receiving the bids and passing the bids up into Google Ad Manager.  Bid scaling principles are applied to demand fairly, equally, and non-discrimination based on that individual bidder’s revenue. Read more about bid scaling here.


Ads.txt (Authorized Digital Sellers) is a text file that publishers place on their websites, listing the authorized entities that are allowed to sell their ad inventory. Ads.txt helps combat ad fraud by verifying the legitimacy of ad sellers.


A variant of Ads.txt designed for mobile apps. It serves a similar purpose, enabling app developers to declare authorized ad sources for their apps.


A complementary file to Ads.txt that provides more transparency by disclosing information about the entities involved in selling digital advertising inventory, including intermediary parties.

Lazy loading

With lazy loading, instead of all the content of a web page being downloaded and loaded all at once, content only loads when the users visit that specific part of the screen as they scroll down. The most significant advantage is saving on bandwidth usage which is especially important in countries where internet speeds are low, and data costs are high. Read more about lazy loading here.

Ad Refresh

This is when a publisher reloads ads on a page every 30, 60, or 90 seconds or even a custom setting.

Ad Verification

The process of ensuring that ads are delivered as intended, in brand-safe environments, and without fraudulent activity. Ad verification tools help detect and prevent ad fraud.

Private Marketplace Deals

Private Marketplace deals or PMPs are direct deals made between a publisher and buyer for programmatic ad inventory. A PMP can also be called Preferred Deals. This practice contains much more human interaction, unlike the alternative of selling ad inventory through an ad exchange. Often higher rates for ad inventory can be negotiated through this method. Read more about it here.

Asynchronous rendering

Asynchronous rendering loads the page content independently from the ads. This means that if for some reason a creative takes a while to load, the page content will continue loading regardless.

Synchronous rendering

Synchronous rendering makes content and ads load on a page depending on the order the browser reads them. Find out more about it here.

Key-value pair

This metric is often used within the Google Ad Manager and contains two data items, the key, and value. It allows for flexibility in Google Ad Manager targeting and helps you to do custom targeting on specific pages.

Dynamic allocation

Dynamic allocation allows publishers to maximize the yield on remnant inventory by giving Ad Exchange and AdSense a chance to bid on ad inventory.


Discrepancies happen when there are revenue and impression discrepancies between ad servers and ad network dashboards. It is critical to know and understand ad serving so that you can maximize ad revenues as a publisher. Find out how to calculate true CPMs here.

Revenue Attribution

Revenue attribution also known as UTM tracking is a way of attributing revenue to specific traffic sources.


Forecasting can usually be done through an ad server and helps publishers estimate the amount of ad inventory their site or app has available in the future.

Frequency capping

Frequency capping limits the frequency of a line item serving to a user during a specific period.


A Roadblock is a rule that can be implemented using Google Ad Manager which allows the publisher to block specific ads or creatives from showing on a web page.

Yield management

Yield management is the process of maximizing ad inventory revenue through the improved selling of inventory, making direct deals with advertisers, inventory management, and more.


GDPR which is also known as the General Data Protection Regulation is a set of personal data regulations created for EU citizens. It changes the way businesses store and collect data from their users from the EU. Read more about GDPR here.



Organic traffic

Organic traffic refers to web traffic derived from either desktop or mobile searches through a search engine such as Google.


SEO, also known as Search Engine Optimization, is the process is optimizing a website to rank higher in a search engine. SEO is merely one of the many methods publishers use to send traffic to their sites.

Google Search Console

Google Search Console, formerly known as Google Webmaster Tools, is a dashboard where publishers can check their website’s SEO performance within the Google search engine. Publishers can see statistics such as traffic, clicks, links and more.

Mobile traffic

This refers to traffic that only originates from mobile sources such as phones, tablets, and other smart devices.

Referral traffic

Referral traffic is often reported in Google Analytics and refers to traffic that originates from outside the Google search engine. This can include when a person clicks on a link from a third-party website that points to your site.

Direct traffic

This refers to traffic generated on a website that originated from a user typing in the website address directly into the browser.


There you have it! Over 80 AdTech terms defined. As you can see, AdTech is not for the faint of heart. These terms barely touch the surface of everything involved in AdTech. Are you looking for help in your publisher business? Our teams of ad optimization experts are standing by, ready to help take your ad revenue to the next level. Sign up for a Professional account at MonetizeMore today!

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