Ad Tech Demystified: The Guide to the Terms, Jargon, and Acronyms of Online Advertising

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Ad Tech Demystified: The Guide to the Terms, Jargon, and Acronyms of Online Advertising

Marketing Innovation

It is no secret that the ad tech world can be a very esoteric place. Learning to decipher the jargon in online advertising is a key first step to becoming a productive member of the ecosystem.

That’s why LiveRamp has created a definitive glossary of ad tech terms. You can download the full glossary below.

Below is a list of the top 10 most commonly used terms from digital marketers and other industry professionals:




Ad Exchange

A platform for automated selling and buying of online advertising inventory.  On an ad exchange, the buyers are: advertisers, media agencies, and retargeting networks, and the suppliers are networks and publishers.

Ad Network

An ad network serves as an intermediary between advertisers and publishers, and aggregates large amounts of advertising inventory from a publishers’ websites.

Ad Server

Software that enables the advertiser to manage ad campaigns, view campaign statistics, and distribute ads easily across many websites.


The measurement of the value of each user interaction that contributes to a conversion within a campaign. Attribution allows marketers more accurately measure the success of a campaign.

CPM (Cost Per Thousand)

Advertising cost model based on ad impressions. (The advertiser pays for every 1000 impressions served. The total price paid in a CPM deal is calculated by multiplying the CPM rate by the number of CPM units. For example, one million impressions at $10 CPM equal a $10,000 total price.)

CTR (Click-through Rate)

The ratio of clicks to ad impressions. This is the most commonly used metric to determine the success of an ad campaign. (To calculate CTR: Number of clicks /  Number of ad impressions expressed as a percentage).

DMP (Data Management Platform)

Also called an Audience Management Platform, The DMP provides the infrastructure to process billions of first-, second-, and third-party data events per day.

DNT (Do Not Track)

Do Not Track is a technology and policy proposal that enables users to opt out of tracking by websites they do not visit, including analytics services, advertising networks, and social platforms. At present few of these third parties offer a reliable tracking opt out, and tools for blocking them are neither user-friendly nor comprehensive. Much like the popular Do Not Call registry, Do Not Track provides users with a single, simple, persistent choice to opt out of third-party web tracking.

DSP (Demand Side Platform)

A company that helps advertisers manage multiple ad and data exchange accounts for media buying purposes.


A measure of the number of times an ad is displayed, without regard to if the ad is ever clicked.


To read our full glossary click here!