Glossary of Ad Terms

Term Definition
Animation A programmatically generated display of sequential images, creating the illusion that objects in the image are moving. Not digital video, as it relates to this document (see the definition for “Video”).
Audio The audible file that may accompany ads. Advertising audio should never play without user-initiation.
Banner Also known as “display ads”, banner advertisements are a form of graphical ads embedded into a webpage, typically including a combination of static/animated images, text and/or video designed to convey a marketing message and/or cause the user to take an action. Banner dimensions are typically defined by width and height, represented in pixels.
Between-the-Page Also known as “interstitial” ads, between-the-page ad units display as a user navigates from one webpage to the next webpage. The ad appears after the user leaves the initial page, but before the target page displays on the user’s screen. Typically, the ad is self-contained within its own browser window, but may also appear briefly as an overlay on the target page rather than in its own browser window.
Billboard An IAB Universal Brand Package ad unit template designed with options for rich interactivity to display prominently inline with Publishers’ webpage content. A distinct feature of the Billboard is a close button that a user may click to collapse the ad completely if the user doesn’t want to see the ad.
Button 2 A small rectangular standard ad unit with the size 120×60 pixels.
Byte A unit of digital information in computing and telecommunications that most commonly consists of eight bits. Historically, a byte was the number of bits used to encode a single character of text in a computer and for this reason it is the basic addressable element in many computer architectures.
Campaign The advertising period in which an ad delivery strategy is executed.
CLEAR Ad Notice CLEAR is an acronym for “Control Links for Education and Advertising Responsibly,” a set of technical guidelines developed by the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) and the Network Advertising Initiative (NAI) to empower members of the online advertising community to communicate their presence and behavioral advertising targeting practices (if any) to consumers in a simple and direct manner. Derived from:
Click An interaction between a website visitor and the browser in which the website visitor uses a device, such as a mouse, to move the cursor (or pointer) to an active area of the screen and then deliberately interacts with that area by clicking a button on their device, triggering an event. In the case of touch-screen devices, the user “clicks” by touching the active area with their finger or a stylus.
Close X A creative control that enables a user to close an ad (remove it from view) or to reduce an expanded panel back to its original size.
Collapse An event where the expanded panel of an expandable ad reduces to its original size, or disappears completely.
Controls Active elements of an ad that enable a user to control the advertising experience. Examples of common controls include the “Close X” button in an expandable ad or the Play/Pause/Mute buttons in a video player.
CPU CPU is an acronym for Central Processing Unit, the key component of a computer system, which contains the circuitry necessary to interpret and execute program instructions.
CPU Usage % A guideline for the amount of central processing power used to display advertising content compared to what’s available on an individual’s computer. CPU usage percentage can be measured directly, during the execution of an online ad. In addition to file size, the complexity of drawings, gradients, slow moving animations and detailed moving elements can affect the number of calculations the CPU must make for each frame.
CPU Spike A brief increase in central processing power, sustained for no more than a few seconds, experienced while “heavy” content is loaded/executed.
Creative An advertising unit created by an ad designer, in accordance with publisher specifications and guidelines, for the purpose of communicating a marketing message to that publisher’s audience. One creative may consist of multiple files in various formats, such as standard images, animation, video, execution files (.html, .js, etc.) and other files that work together for an interactive experience.
Creative Dimensions Measured in pixels, the width and height of an ad unit (WxH). The width is always the first dimension listed, followed by the height dimension (i.e. an ad that is 300×250 is 300 pixels wide by 250 pixels high).
Cursor The graphical representation of a “pointer” on a user screen, controlled by the user’s interaction with controlling devices such as a mouse, mouse pad, stylus or other input hardware.
Expandable Ads Rich media ads that can be enlarged to dimensions beyond the initial dimensions of the placement they fill on the webpage. The user initiates expanding events, sometimes after the ad initially expands briefly on its own to catch the user’s attention.
Expanded Dimensions The secondary dimensions of an expanding ad unit (after the ad is expanded). Initial dimensions are fit to the dimensions of the placement. Then, either by auto-play or by user interaction, the ad unit expands to its secondary dimension.
Filmstrip An IAB Universal Brand Package ad unit template that is 350×3000 pixels, divided into five 350×600 pixel segments that scroll by user interaction though a 350×600 pixel placement “window.”
Flash™ Software developed by Adobe used to build, generate, and play animated files. Also used to define the creative files generated by the program.
FPS FPS is an acronym for Frames Per Second, the metric used to indicate the frame rate of animated or video creative content.
Frame Rate The rate at which video frames or animated images display as the video or animated file executes, measured as the number of frames per second (fps).
GPU GPU is an acronym for Graphics Processing Unit. In modern computers, the GPU handles graphical processing, decreasing the processing burden handled by the CPU.
Hot Spot A “hot spot” is an area of an ad unit, which when rolled-over/rolled-on by the user’s cursor, such rollover triggers an event (i.e. expand ad). The hotspot should never be larger than 1/4th the size of the original (collapsed) ad unit. The trigger event should not occur unless the user’s cursor rests in the hotspot zone for at least 1-second. Hotspots should never initiate audio (audio should only be initiated by a click). When hotspots are used, the trigger event should stop immediately upon the user’s cursor leaving the hotspot zone (i.e. ad collapses), and the ad unit should return to its original state.
In-Banner Video A video delivered as part of (inside of) the display ad creative for a given placement rather than initiating the use of a video player.
Initial Dimension The original width and height (in pixels) of an expanding ad. Expanding ads are designed to expand to dimensions larger than the initial dimensions.
Initial File Load The size of the creative file(s) for an ad, measured in KB or MB, that load along with (inline with) the webpage files that load when a user first initiates a page load. The initial file load size of an ad is limited in order to preserve the page load performance and thus the user’s web browsing experience.
Interstitial See ‘Between-the-Page’
Kilobyte (KB) A multiple of the unit ‘byte’ for digital information, used to quantify computer memory or storage capacity equal to a 1,000 bytes (or technically, 2^10 = 1,024 bytes). For the purposes of this document, this measure relates to creative file size. (See definition for Byte)
Labeling Requirements The minimal requirements for distinguishing an online advertisement from regular webpage content.
Megabyte (MB) A multiple of the unit ‘byte’ for digital information, used to quantify computer memory or storage capacity equal to 1,000 kilobytes (or technically, 2^20 = 1,048,576 bytes). For the purposes of this document, this measure relates to creative file size. (See definition for Byte)
Mouse-off The act of a user moving the cursor away (off) from the hot spot of an ad. Mouse-off by a user may trigger an event, such as collapsing an expanding panel or stopping any animation in progress.
Mouse-over The act of a user moving the cursor and resting it on the hot spot of an ad for at least one second. Mouse-over may trigger an event such as expanding the ad or initiating an animated sequence within the ad. Mouse-over may NOT initiate audio play.
OBA Acronym for Online Behavioral Advertising. The collection of data from a particular computer or device regarding Web viewing behaviors over time and across non- Affiliate Web sites for the purpose of using such data to predict user preferences or interests in order to deliver advertising to that computer or device based on the preferences or interests inferred from such Web viewing behaviors. Online Behavioral Advertising does not include the activities of First Parties, Ad Delivery or Ad Reporting, or contextual advertising (i.e. advertising based on the content of the Web page being visited, a consumer’s current visit to a Web page, or a search query).
Definition from page 10 of the Self-Regulatory Principles for Online Behavioral Advertising:
OBA Self-Regulation Developed by leading industry associations to apply consumer-friendly standards
to online behavioral advertising across the Internet, the Self-Regulatory Program consists of seven Principles that correspond with the “Self-Regulatory Principles for Online Behavioral Advertising” proposed by the Federal Trade Commission in February 2009 that also address public education and industry accountability issues raised by the Commission.
Definition derived from page 1 of the Self-Regulatory Principles for Online Behavioral Advertising:
Overlay An ad unit that displays over the webpage content briefly when initiated.
Pause A video, animation or audio control that enables users to stop the video, animation, or audio from playing until the user is ready to resume play.
Pixel (as a unit of measure) The smallest unit of measure for graphical elements in digital imagery, used as the standard unit of measure for ad creative (i.e. 300×250 pixels). Pixels may also represent x/y coordinates relevant to a given space, such as the browser window, an application workspace or the user’s computer screen. (See also “Tracking Pixel”)
Play A video, animation or audio control that enables a user to initiate (or avoid initiating) the video, animation or audio of an ad.
Polite file load Withholding a portion of the total ad creative file size (besides any initial file load size) from loading on a page until publisher content has loaded.
Pop-up Ad Any advertising experience where visiting a website in an initial browser window initiates a secondary browser window to deliver an ad impression directly above the initial browser window.
Portrait An IAB Universal Brand Package ad unit template that uses up to three interactive modules chosen (by the ad designer) from a variety of modular application options in a 350×1050 pixel space.
Progress Bar A video or animation control that shows users the progression of the video or animation in relation to its total duration.
Progressive Load Video A distribution method for serving video files in which the video file downloads progressively into the cache of a user’s computer, much the same way images and other content elements are downloaded.
Pushdown An IAB Universal Brand Package ad unit template designed for rich interaction in a space similar to, but larger than, an expanding leaderboard, with initial dimensions of 970×90 pixels and expanded dimensions of 970×415 pixels. When the ad is expanded, it “pushes” page content down rather than displaying over the top of page content as most expandable ads do.
Retraction An event programmed into an expandable ad the causes the ad to be reduced to its original dimensions (i.e. the expanded portion of the ad retracts).
Rising Stars See ‘Universal Brand Package’
Rollover The willful pause of the user’s cursor on the target portion of the creative (the “hot spot”), such pause lasting at least one second in duration, before an action may be initiated by the ad (i.e. trigger an expand event, etc.). This one-second pause/delay requirement prevents unwanted, user-initiated actions and false reporting of user engagement. Rollover may NOT initiate audio.
Sidekick An IAB Universal Brand Package ad unit template initially displayed as one of three standard ad unit dimensions, but upon user initiation, “pushes” publisher content to the left to display a canvas of up to 970×550 pixels full of rich interaction.
Skyscraper A standard ad unit with dimensions of 160×600 pixels.
Slider An IAB Universal Brand Package Ad Unit template designed with an overlay “slider” (90 pixels high) that rests at the bottom of a publisher’s page and when prompted by user interaction, slides page content to the left for a canvas of 970×550 pixels full of rich interaction possibilities for user engagement.
Standard Ad Units A set of ad specifications for standard image or animated in-page ad units that establish a framework for advertising inventory and webpage design.
Streaming Video A distribution method for serving video files such that the video is played over a persistent connection between the browser and the ad server. Versions of the file at different levels of compression (quality) can be served based on detection of the user’s Internet bandwidth.
Submission Lead Time The number of business days (non-weekend/non-holiday days) prior to a campaign going live in which a publisher needs to validate advertiser submitted creative(s) for a campaign.
SWF Acronym for Shockwave Flash™. “.swf” is the file naming extension used for animated files complied using Adobe Flash™ software.
Tracking Pixel A 1×1 pixel-sized transparent image that provides information about an ad’s placement. In many cases, a tracking pixel is used to notify an ad tracking system that either an ad has been served (or not served, in some cases) or that a specific webpage has been accessed. Also known as: beacon, web beacon, action tag, redirect, etc.
Universal Ad Package (UAP) A set of four ad units (728×90, 300×250, 160×600 and 180×150 pixels) offered by UAP-compliant publishers as a ‘package’ where ads in in these four formats are used collectively across the publisher’s site, enabling advertisers to reach more of the publisher’s audience.
Universal Brand Package (UBP) Display Ad Units IAB invited companies and individuals to submit ad templates designed to drive brand equity. Six templates were chosen to be validated by the market. Universal Brand Package Display Ad Units are designed to be the only ad on a page. Their file load limits are larger than for other ads, so not only would a Universal Brand Package Ad Unit overshadow any other ads on the page but they would also compromise the performance of the page should other rich media ads be allowed to load simultaneously.
User An anonymous person who uses a web browser to access Internet web content.
User Initiation The willful act of a user to engage with an ad. Users may interact by clicking on the ad, and/or rolling over an ad (or a portion of an ad). When a user engages the ad using a rollover action, the user’s cursor must rest on the hotspot for at least one second before any action may be initiated in the ad. See the definition for rollover for more information.

(aka “Digital Video”)

In online advertising, the digital recording of a physical event or animated files that have been transcribed into a digital video format.
Volume A control that enables users to adjust the audio output of ad creative. Volume controls should always allow adjustment down to zero (0) output.
Z-index Enumerated layers of elements and content on a publisher’s webpage. Consideration of the z-element in page content design such as navigation, imagery, and ads is important for providing a seamless experience when page content overlaps (i.e. an expanding ad with a z-index that is lower [on the z-index scale] than navigational elements may give the appearance that page navigational elements are showing through the expanded portions of the ad).