Digital Advertising Terminology You Need to Know

Digital Advertising Terminology You Need to Know

It’s a Digital World; Get to Know the Lingo.


Digital advertising is here to stay. It’s not a passing fad; it has become the leading way to get your message in front of the masses. You’re either reading this on a laptop, smartphone, tablet, or desktop computer. This is the playground, and as the old saying goes, you fish where the fish are. But if you want to be successful, you need a working knowledge of the terminology that comes with the territory.

Here’s a good glossary to get you started.


Think of this like the way you would think of a typical TV or radio media buy. You are guaranteed to get the ad played a set number of times, but you have no guarantee that a specific number of people will see it, or interact. 2 million impressions sounds great until you find out that 99 percent of those have gone unnoticed.


This is a much better determination of the efficacy of your digital buy. Unlike impressions, reach tells you how many DIFFERENT people visit a website and see your ad, and also determines the percentage of these people that are targeted by the advertising. Many people refer to this as “unique visitors per month.” So 50 impressions seen by the same person would have a reach of just 1.

Contextual Targeting  

You experience this daily. Using user information, browsing habits, and shopping patterns, ads are served to people in a very targeted way

For instance, if you’ve been looking around for a flight, you will start seeing ads for luggage and beachwear over the next few weeks. Contextual targeting is the modern equivalent of pulling lists for direct mail campaigns. Only this is more accurate and immediate.

Native Advertising

An advertising method that continues to grow in popularity, native advertising attempts to mimic the content of the site on which it is seen.

It will have to announce, in some way, that it is a paid advertisement. But, those alerts are usually small and hidden away in small print. For example, you may create an advertisement that looks and reads like an article about men’s health, fishing, or grocery shopping. However, the content all leads to your product or service. The traditional, non-digital form of native advertising is known as an advertorial.


Keywords are a vital part of online advertising. Specific words or phrases are chosen by advertisers, and these will trigger ads for the client when someone searches for those words. They do not have to be directly related, either. For instance, while it may be common to trigger purchase the phrase “Mother’s Day gifts” to sell flowers, you could also buy words and phrases like “my wife is mad at me” or “box of chocolates.”

Interstitial Ads

These are adverts that appear before, during, and after the content that you actually want to access. They have become the scourge of digital advertising, and people will now happily pay a monthly subscription to YouTube Red to avoid having to see an interstitial ad. Basically, they are the digital equivalent of commercial breaks on television.

However, they make the page load more slowly, they interrupt the natural flow of the reader, and they can often take longer to view than the actual content the user was looking for. Be very careful with your use of interstitial ads, it’s a digital mistake that can do a lot of damage to your brand.


You will come across these acronyms daily if you’re doing online media buys. The CP in each one stands for “Cost Per…” and is going to determine what you’re paying for the online campaign you’re about to launch.

CPC is Cost Per Click. This is how much you will pay every time someone clicks on your ad. CPM, on the other hand, is a cost to serve ads, and is the amount you will pay to serve 1,000 ad impressions to the audience.

CPL is Cost Per Lead and is how much you pay for each click that turns into a qualified lead.

Your most expensive of them all will most likely by CPA or Cost Per Acquisition. This is most akin to your ROI, or Return On Investment. The CPA is determined by dividing the number of new customers you get into the cost of your digital campaign. If you spend $10,000 on the digital buy and get 100 new customers, then your CPA is $100.

These are some of the most important terms in digital advertising, but there are hundreds more that you should know well if you are going to have success in the digital space. Get to know them, and you’ll give your product or service campaigns an advantage.

Go to our website:

One comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s