A List of Advertising Terms

A List of Advertising Terms

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With the world of advertising changing at a rapid pace, it's difficult to keep up with the latest terms. So, please find our comprehensive list of advertising terms.

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Whatever advertising terms you use to describe your own project, there are still only two types of advertising; those that work and those that don’t. However, whilst this saying may be true, the problem most companies face is how to make them work. And work well.

The advertising team at Design Inc was set up to help companies to cut through the options, risks and jargon associated with advertising. And to work with these companies to build a successful media & advertising plan.

Knowing where to invest your advertising budget should not be a gamble. It needs to be a strategic decision based upon a number of factors, including:

the target audience
the available budget
the message
the duration of the message
the desired goals

Design Inc are able to help companies with all forms of advertising, from traditional print adverts, digital banners, OOH, radio, TV, through to online & search advertising such as PPC/AdWords, Facebook ads, etc.

To help cut through the jargon, we have introduced a simple glossary of advertising terms:

A/B testing
This is a method used to compare different versions of digital ads in order to determine which one performs better.

Above the Line
Above the line advertising (ABT) refers to advertising mediums which reach a wide, general audience. TV, radio, billboard. See also Below the Line

Ad Click
This term refers to the action taken when a user interacts with an ad by clicking on it (presumably to be taken elsewhere to learn more or to show interest).
An advertisement that has the appearance of a news article or editorial.

This is one of those advertising terms offered by Google for businesses wanting to display ads on Google and its advertising network. The AdWords program enables businesses to set a budget for advertising and only pay when people click the ads. The ad service is largely focused on keywords. See PPC

This is an abbreviation which stands for Attention, Interest, Desire, and Action. This is a historical model of how dales & advertising works, by first getting the consumer’s attention, then their interest, etc.

The intended target market for an advert, usually defined in terms of specific demographics (age, gender) and psychographics (interests, behaviours).

Average Persons
This is the number of people that, on average, will be exposed to each Spot. Average Persons is calculated by multiplying  Population by Rating then dividing by 100.

This stands for Business to Business and refers to the audience, and therefore the angle of the advertising message. The audience in this case are businesses, as opposed to individuals or ‘consumers’ (see B2C).

This stands for Business to Consumer and refers to the audience being individuals (as opposed to businesses) who may personally want the product or service being advertised.

Banner advert
This is a common form of online advertising, and entails embedding a static, video or interactive advertisement into a web page.

Below the Line
Below the line advertising (ABT) refers to advertising mediums which reach a specific, targeted audience. See also Above the Line

A digital billboard is the internet equivalent of the giant advertisement you see by the side of the motorway. These are generally 970pixels wide by 250pixels tall and sit at the very top of a webpage.

This is a term used in the artworking of a printed advertisement. Bleed is an extra area of the artwork which enables the image to extend beyond the normal margin of a printed page (ie the edge of the page). It is added to allow for some tolerance in the cutting (guillotine) of the printed page.

Body Copy
This is the core text of an advertisement, not including the headline, logo, or subscript material.

Call To Arms
This is the content of an advert that tells the viewer what you want them to do (eg visit our website / contact us on XXX, etc)

Classified Advertising
This is a term that relates to the type of advertising within a printed or digital publication. These are typically the smaller ads or those provided by the general public (for example, when advertising your own vehicle for sale in a motoring magazine). See also Display Advertising

Conversion Rate
This is a result of the performance of the adv xpressed as a percentage, a conversion rate is calculated by dividing the number of views or visits by the number of form fills.

Expressed as a percentage, a conversion rate is calculated by dividing the number of views or visits by the number of form fills.This stands for ‘Cost per Click’. This is the price paid by an advertiser to a publisher for a single click on the ad that brings the consumer to its intended destination.

This stands for ‘cost per thousand impressions’ and is another measure of cost efficiency which enables you to compare the cost of this ad to other advertisements. CPM is calculated as the Media Cost divided by Impressions divided by 1,000.

This relates to technology or media that applies across multiple formats and across multiple devices. This is different from “cross-device”, which implies only multi-device application rather than multiple formats within devices.

This stands for ‘click through rate’ and is a metric that measures the number of clicks your ad (s) receive per number of impressions.

Display Advertising
This is a form of online advertising where an advertiser‘s message is shown on a web page, generally set off in a box at the top or bottom or to one side of the content of the page.
In printed publications, display advertising refers to the corporate advertisements (eg. full page corporate ads).

This is short for Double Mid-page Unit, a digital advert that measures 300 pixels wide and 600 pixels high. This is also known as a tall rectangle or a half-page unit and almost always appear along the left or right side of a webpage.

This stands for ‘Digital Out-Of-Home’ advertising,  that is, digital ads that are marketed to consumers when they are “on the go”, such as in transit, in commercial locations, or in waiting areas.

Double Page Spread is the size of the advert across two full pages of a publication. This is one of the most costly adverts as it has huge impact.

Email Marketing
Also known as eMarketing or eShots, this is a type of advertising that pushes your message to the recipient of a targeted email address, landing directly in their inbox. The advert message is coded and sent through specific eMarketing software such as MailChimp.


This is the average number of times the advertisement will be presented to the audience. One way to calculate frequency is to divide the number of Impressions by the Reach. Another way is to divide GRPs by Reach Percentage.

Showing ads to people based on their mobile device’s location, postal code information they submit when registering a site/service or GPS coordinates collected by site/service.

This stands for ‘gross rating point’ and is a measure of the size of an advertising campaign by a specific medium or schedule. GRP is calculated by multiplying the number of Spots by Rating.

This refers to the number of times an ad has been served, regardless of whether the user has actually seen or interacted with the ad in any way

This is the actual placement of an advertisement – digital or otherwise – as recorded by the ad server.

The ‘Key Performance Indicator’ is a measurable value that demonstrates how effectively a company is achieving key business objectives.

Media Cost 
This is the price you pay to present your advertisement. There are many different ways to price media including points, impressions, clicks, leads, actions, days, weeks, months, etc. However, it ultimately boils down to the amount you pay to present your advertisement, which is Media Cost. Media Cost excludes the cost to create the advertisement and other costs.

Media Market or Market 
This describes the set of people that could potentially be exposed to your advertisement. The media market is often described using Designated Market Areas or DMAs, (which are trademarked by Nielsen). However, Media Market can be any market you define.

Message Recall
A measurement used to evaluate an ad’s effectiveness at driving a viewer’s ability to remember a brand or the message it intended to communicate. Typically measured using a control/exposed survey methodology.

Mobile Advertising
This is paid advertising that occurs on mobile phones or devices that have a wireless internet connection.

This stands for mid-page unit and refers to a digital banner ad that is 300 pixels wide and 250 pixels high, usually appearing on the left of right hand side panels of a website.

This stands for Out-Of-Home advertising, referring to any advertisement viewed in commercial, public locations. This can include roadside billboards, train stations, train interiors, even small ads on the handle of a petrol pump.

Opt In
Refers to an individual giving a company permission to use data collected from or about the individual for a particular reason, such as to market the company’s products and services.

Organic Searches
This is one of two types of results based on search engine marketing (SEM). Results are ‘advertised’ based on the search term types into a search engine. Organic searches are those within the results which are not sponsored ads (see AdWords, PPC).

This is a term used to cover the action of the booking of an advertisement to appear in a physical or digital location. For example, roadside billboards, train or bus interiors, online publication.


This is the total number of people in your Media Market.

Standing for ‘pay per click’, this is a type of internet marketing in which advertisers pay a fee each time one of their ads is clicked. Essentially, it’s a way of buying visits to your site, rather than attempting to “earn” those visits organically. Search engine advertising is one of the most popular forms of PPC.

Print Ready
Also known as ‘press ready’, this is an artworking term used to suggest the artwork of the advertisement has been set up correctly for the way it needs to be printed.

Rate Card
This term relates to the highest costs for the placement of advertisements within the publication, location or vehicle.


This is the percentage (0 to 100) of the market that will likely be exposed to your advertisement. Rating is an estimate based on past performance often sourced from surveys.

This is the number of people (or percentage) in the market that will likely be exposed to one Spot of advertising.

Also known as remarketing, this is a term used for a type of digital advertising which allow you to specifically target those who have previously visited a webpage / website.

Rich Media Advertising
This is a form of online page advertising that includes various types of media elements, such as audio, video, and images which often allow users to interact with the ad.

This stands for Search Engine Marketing which is a type of digital advertising where a company is advertised to a viewer based upon the search term typed into the search engine.

Site Skin
This is a digital display designed to sit as the background of a web page without encroaching on the main webpage content.

This is one of those advertising terms used to describe a size of a printed or digital advert. A skyscraper is a tall, thin online advert (often one of two sizes: 120×600 and 160×600).

This is a single broadcast of an advertisement. Typically, an advertising placement includes multiple spots.

This refers to the action of defining and delivering an advertisement to a pre-selected audience based on various attributes, such as location, demographics, web browsing behaviour, preferences, etc.

Website ads
These are digital display advertising that appear at the top, bottom or sides of websites.

This is the percentage of clicks vs. impressions on an ad within a specific page. Also called “ad click rate.”

>>Guide to Print Finishing Terms
>>Guide to Web Build Terms

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