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GLOSSARY OF MOBILE ADVERTISING TERMS

As consumers spend more time on mobile, app marketing has been growing at a tremendous rate.

From newcomers to mobile industry veterans, the amount of acronyms and terms that exist can be daunting, and frankly, often times confusing. The industry is constantly evolving, and with that, comes a steady flow of new terminology. We've compiled a list of 70 terms that are most prevalent in adtech and broken them down into easy to understand terms.

Here is the complete glossary to mobile advertising at your fingertips. Read, take notes and prosper.


Refers to the first ad displayed to a user within a session. Considered to be the most valuable in terms of eCPM.

Ad-networks are prioritized in a a waterfall where the 1st ad-network gets to “look” at the ad request and decide if they want to provide an ad or not. If the ad-network passes the turn goes down the waterfall to the 2nd ad-network. When an ad-network asks for “1st look” it means they want to sit on the top of the waterfall and have the opportunity to see all the ad requests.

Where a bidder pays exactly what they bid. Often times leading to inflated prices and a lower demand for that publisher's inventory.

Where the top bidder pays the what the second highest bid was + $0.01. Allows for the saving of money due to overestimation of the value of a publisher's inventory

A test in which all variables are identical aside from one. The purpose is to compare the two versions and see which performs better according to the established KPI

An ad exchange refers to a platform that helps facilitate the buying and selling of advertiser inventory from multiple ad networks.

Ad Inventory

The amount of (virtual) space a publisher has available to be sold to advertisers. Also known as "ad space".

A platform that sends requests for advertisements to multiple ad networks for publishers, ensuring the ad space is filled with the best possible deal.

An ad network connects advertisers and publishers looking to generate revenue by serving ads in a mobile app or website.

Ad Revenue

The amount of revenue generated from placing advertisements in an application / website.

Refers to a group of users who make the most amount of ad revenue. Typically this is defined as the top 10% or 20% of the users who make 70% or 80% of the ad revenue. In other cases, the ad-whales are defined as a threshold of $0.7 (the equivalent of a $1 IAP).

The process of publishers blacklisting specific advertisers from appearing in their app. Some ad networks provide this as an option to publishers. The blacklisting is often based on competition, poor eCPMs or inappropriate content.

Advertiser Identity

Identifying which advertisers are advertising in one's app and their respective performance.

API

Application Program Interface. An API opens access to a limited part of a piece of software, allowing 3rd party developers to access previously unaccessible information.

(Average Revenue Per User). Calculated by dividing the total revenue by the number of users across a time perdiod (generally monthly or annually).

ASO

(App Store Optimization). The process of improving the visibility of an app in the respective app store (Google Play, iTunes, etc.)

The process of accrediting a traffic source with the conversion. Each platform has it's own methodologies for doing so.

Audience

A group of consumers / users within a specific target market which are targetted for a specific ad campaign.

The rate at which users have stopped using an app during a specific time period

CLV

(Customer Lifetime Value). Has the same meaning to LTV - the total value of a user if given enough time to fully exhaust all opportunities to pay or watch ads in the game. This value is often averaged across a group of users (cohort) and most publishers try to create models for future prediction of CLV/LTV based on the activity of the first few days so they can make quick decisions on the marketing side.

Cohort

A group of users that share one or more similar characteristics. Used for grouping in data analysis.

CPA

(Cost Per Acquisition). The cost a publisher incurs to bring a new user through various paid channels.

CPC

(Cost Per Click). A campaign where the advertiser is charged everytime a user clicks on the ad they are shown.

CPI

(Cost Per Install). A campaign where a price is paid when a user views an ad, goes to the app store and installs an app.

CPM

(Cost per Mile). A campaign were advertisers pay for every thousand times the advertisement is shown.

CTR

(Click-Through-Rate). The ratio of users who click on an ad / opt-in to the total users who were displayed an ad.

DAU

(Daily Active Users). How many users open your app on a daily basis. This is one of the key metrics used to measure ad revenue.

Direct Deal

Rather than going through an ad network or mediation platform, publishers can make direct deals with advertisers, cutting out the middle men.

DSP

(Demand Side Platform). A platform in which marketers can buy ad inventory from multiple ad exchanges in one place.

(Effective Cost Per Thousand). A metric used to measure ad revenue generated. Generally calculated by dividing total revenue earned by total number of impressions in the thousands.

eCPM Decay

The inevitable decrease in eCPM as ads begin to be displayed to your users. There are however methods proven to help slow it down.

The number of ads requested that are successfully filled in relation to the total number of ads requested. Tends to be displayed in a percentage format.

The rate at which users are shown ads. For example, some apps place a frequency cap of 4 ads per day for users.

GDPR

(General Data Protection Regulation). A comprehensive new set of regulations designed to give EU citizens more control / oversight on their personal data and the entities that collect it. Under GDPR, companies will need to notify their customers when collecting personal data. Consent can be given or denied based on the purpose of the data usage.

The process by which publishers open ad space to be bid upon by multiple ad exchanges, resulting in an increased yield and revenue.

IAP Cannibalization

The notion that the integration of incentivized rewarded videos are damaging to the revenue gained from in-app purchases.

IDFA

The "Identifier for Advertisers" is a random identifier number given by Apple to a user's device. It is used for advertising targeting.

Impression

Refers to the moment when an ad is fetched from its source and dispalyed to the user. Each ad type has a varying distinction of when the impression occurs. For banner ads, once an ad is fetched from its source and the user sees the ad. For video ads, the impressions is logged once the first frame of the video is displayed.

Interstitials Ads

Ads that are full-screen which are typically displayed at natural transition points in the flow of an app. For example, between levels or when the game is paused.

Lookalikes

A method of targeting additional users based on similarities to existing users. Generally based on geo, interests, gender, age etc.

LTV

(Lifetime Value). Has the same meaning to CLV - the total value of a user if given enough time to fully exhaust all opportunities to pay or watch ads in the game. This value is often averaged across a group of users (cohort) and most publishers try to create models for future prediction of CLV/LTV based on the activity of the first few days so they can make quick decisions on the marketing side.

MAU

(Monthly Active Users) How many users open your app on a monthly basis. This is another of the key metrics used to measure ad revenue.

Mobile Ad Fraud

The process which fraudsters cheat advertisers into displaying ads to fake users / bot traffic.

Multi-Touch Attribution

Allows for the attiributing of all channels in the conversion process. Different from the existing last touch approach.

Offer Wall

A list of incentives which a user can receive by performing a specific action, typically downloading another app, watching a video ad, or sharing content on social media. The rewards for doing so tend to be some form of digital currency or other in-app incentives.

Opt In

When a user actively agrees to participate in viewing an ad.

Pipelining

The process of moving data from one point to another.

Playable Ads

Ads that request the user to interact, often showing off the basic gameplay of the game being advertised.

Postbacks

The ability to notify a third party of a specific event that occurs within an app (install, in-app event, etc.)

Programmatic

An automated process for purchasing digitial advertising, eliminating the need for a human touch.

Reach

The number of unique users who can potentially be targeted by advertising.

Real-Time Bidding

Bidding on inventory in real-time. The bid is often dynamically generated based on past performance of creatives, inventory, user groups, and other parameters.

Retargeting

A marketing effort in which targeted online advertisements are shown to users based on their previous behaviour.

Rewarded Video Ads

Video ads that are offer the user the option to opt-in to view them in order to receive some incentive. Can range from free coins, extra lives to free uprades.

ROI

(Return on investment). A performance measure used to determine the efficiency of an investment / effort.

SDK

(Software Development Kit). A set of software development tools that can be added to existing apps to support new capabilities.

SDK Mediation

Mediation of ad-networks allows publishers to use a few ad-networks in parallel and maximize fill rates and eCPM. SDK mediation is a form of mediation where each ad-networks installs an SDK on the publisher’s app and the mediation is done on the client side.

Server Side Mediation

Server side mediaiton is a form of mediation. Unlike SDK mediation, the goal of maximizing fill rates and eCPMs for the publisher is acheived with a single SDK provided by the mediaiton company and the ad-networks have to serve their ads through that SDK. This means that the mediaion is done on the server side

Share of Voice

Refers to the portion that one company controls out of the total. In terms of ads, can refer to an ad network who maintains a larger share of voice in rewarded video displays in comparison to other ad networks.

SSP

(Supply Side Platform) A platform that allows publishers to sell their advertising inventory in an automated way.

Target Audience

A group of consumers / users within a specific target market which are targetted for a specific ad campaign.

Traceback

SOOMLA's unique ability to traceback individual user's ad behavior.

Tracker

A tracker is a link structure generated by the attribution platform on behalf of the advertiser. The tracker is than passed along to the ad-network so clicks on the ads of the advertiser which are associated with the ad-networks can be identified through the unique link structure of the tracker.

Unified auction

On open auction where all ad networks are given an equal opportunity to bit on an app's inventory, without any preferential treatment, in which the highest bid tends to win.

UDID

(Unique User ID). A unique identifier assigned to each device. Apple and Google have their own methods for doing so.

User Acquisition

The marketing efforts to acquire new users through advertising campaigns.

VAST Tag

(Video Ad Serving Template). A universal XML-based protocol specification created by the IAB for serving video ads.

Whitelisting

The opposite of blacklisting in which certain entities are explicitly approved.

Yield Management

The use of tools and business practices to maximize revenue.