18 Display Advertising Terms You Need to Know

If you are familiar with any form of digital advertising, you are most likely aware that some of the terms and acronyms can be a bit overwhelming, and display advertising is no exception. Here are some jargon-free definitions of the more common display advertising terms.

Display Advertising: A form of digital advertising where your ads are shown on various websites, like a local news site or shopping site, typically in a banner form.

Above the Fold: This term is actually derived from the print advertising industry. It describes the area of a web page that is visible before the website visitor scrolls down the page. Note: There is no set pixel size for the fold; it will vary depending on the visitor’s screen size and resolution.

Behavioral Targeting: This category of targeting comes from existing data gathered over long periods of time and large categories of sites and volumes of users. This type of targeting is specific and effective and uses existing knowledge to target the right users online.

Bounce Rate: The percentage of visitors to a particular website who navigate away from the site after viewing only one page, triggering only a single request to the Analytics server.

Call to Action: An option often embedded in advertising that explains how to respond to an opt-in for a particular promotion or mobile initiative. For example, a button on your display ad that tells prospects to “Call Now!”

Clickthrough Rate: The number of times a click is made on a banner divided by the total number of impressions (CTR formula = number of users who clicked on ad/number of times the ad was delivered).

Conversion: When launching a campaign, advertisers select a specific action or set of actions they want audiences to take. Each time an audience member takes this action it is counted as a conversion. Conversions include actions such as signing up for a newsletter or making a purchase on a website.

Cookies: Cookies are small files that are stored on a user’s computer designed to hold a small amount of data specific to a particular client and website and can be accessed either by the web server or the client computer. This allows the server to deliver a page tailored to a particular user, or the page itself can contain some script that recognizes the data in the cookie and can then carry information from one visit to the website (or related site) to the next.

Lead: A potential customer. A lead is someone who has given you his or her contact information, often by signing up for a newsletter or filling out a form to download content.

Lookalike Audience: A set audience you can target that is similar to your existing customers, which can help improve conversion rates.

Retargeting: A form of marketing used to find previous website visitors by using display banner ads to lead visitors back to the website. This allows marketers to target users who have already been to your site and have experience with your brand or service.

Impression: An impression is “served” every time one visitor sees a single advertisement. So, if there are four ads on a page, there are four ad impressions recorded each time someone views the page.

Pixel: Refers to the tracking script that collects cookies of the user’s browser so that the user can be tracked and retargeted with banner ads.

Optimization: A method of improving campaign performance through automated and/or semi-automated means.

CPM (cost-per-milli): From the Latin meaning one thousand. Literally, the amount paid for every 1,000 qualifying impressions served.

CPC (cost-per-click): Yes, you guessed it – this would be the amount paid every time someone clicks on an advertisement.

CPA (cost-per-action) or CPL (cost-per-lead): “Action” or “Lead” can be used interchangeably and mean exactly that; some type of action or lead resulted from the display of the ad such as a sale or registration obtained.

Banner/Leaderboard, Rectangle, Tower/Skyscraper: These terms refer to standard ad units. Banner (728X90), Rectangle (300X250) and Tower (160X600).

While understanding some of the terminology used in display advertising can be mind-boggling, learning some of these definitions can help you understand the industry and the reports you may receive from your digital marketing company. This way, you will be better prepared for any encounter when a piece of jargon is dropped on you.

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Tara Turner

With over four years of digital marketing experience, Tara is very involved in her clients' portfolios and enjoys aligning new strategies to further develop their brands. She is also a firm believer that a successful marketing campaign for her clients will lead to a positive experience for ReachLocal. Tara earned her B.A. in Marketing from Texas Tech University and is currently certified in Google AdWords as well as Bing. She continues to grow and develop her career at ReachLocal.

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