Learning the Lingo: How to Speak Media-ese

Jackson-Alissa-RicciBy Alissa Ricci, Media Supervisor

“Listen,” said the media buyer with a disconcerting authority. “We’re going to have to reduce these CPP and CPM levels to be equal YOY and the negotiations for Q4 need to be complete by EOD, ASAP so please contact WXYZ and KSTV so that we can finalize our eCPA and KPI goals.”

The intern’s eyes glazed over as she passed out, a common symptom of over-acronymization.

OK, so maybe all media conversations don’t go that way. And over-acronymization may or may not be a word (fun fact: it is). But media lingo can be pretty confusing if you’re not used to the terms and acronyms that we media buyers like to throw around in workplace conversation.

So, here’s a list of common acronyms and terms, and what they mean as it relates to media and advertising:

downloadCPM – Cost per Thousand. Perhaps one of the most common terms, CPM is typically used when discussing impressions. The lower your CPM, the less expensive it is to generate 1,000 impressions. This is a useful measure to create an apples-to-apples comparison when talking about different media tactics. (Apples-to-apples is more favorite media buyer jargon.)

Imps – (Hint: Not mischievous little creatures frolicking through the woods.) Imps is just short for Impressions. You will sometimes see it expressed in thousands [Imps (000)] or hundreds [Imps(00)].

CPP – Cost per Rating Point. Typically used when discussing broadcast media buys, either radio or television. A point is typically a Nielsen rating point. The lower your CPP, the less expensive it is to buy one rating point.

GRP – Gross Rating Point. Gross Rating Point is the sum of the rating points. This can refer to a HH (Household. See below.) rating point measurement, or a specific demographic.

TRP – Target Audience GRP. This is the GRP of a specific demographic.

HH – Household. Refers to all of the households in a given universe.

DMA – Designated Market Area. Nielsen divides the country into DMAs in order to measure viewership, and this is the standard market definition that media buyers use when planning. Jackson Marketing is the GSAA DMA, or the Greenville-Spartanburg-Asheville-Anderson Designated Market Area (see why we need to abbreviate?!)

CPC – Cost per Click. Used for digital buys, CPC tells us how much it costs for one click on your ad. This is typically how you purchase SEM ads. Which brings me to my next acronym…

SEM – Search Engine Marketing. Not to be confused with SEO, SEM specifically refers to paid search engine advertising campaigns. On the other hand…

icon-1527675_1920SEO – Search Engine Optimization is the practice by which websites are optimized using content and backend structure to ensure a website will appear high in organic search results when a user searches for content related to the website.

CPA – Cost per Action. CPA is a buying strategy for digital media campaigns that enables you to set the amount you’re willing to pay for a certain action. The action can be on your website, such as an eNewsletter signup, a visit to a key page within your website, or simply a click.

eCPA – Effective Cost per Action. This is what it costs you for certain actions in a digital ad campaign. If you do not run your campaign by CPA bidding as noted above, you can calculate your eCPA by dividing your spend by the actions after seeing the results.

CPL – Cost per Lead. Same as CPA, just referring to leads. Leads can by defined however you want them to be, whether that is a contact form filled out or an eNewsletter signup.

eCPL – Effective Cost per Lead. Same as eCPA, just referring to leads.

CTR – Click-Through Rate. Occasionally a KPI for digital campaigns, CTR just measures how many times your ad was clicked on as a percentage of the total ad impressions. CTR = clicks/impressions x 100. A high CTR is a good sign that your ad is resonating with your target audience.

KPI – Key Performance Indicator. This can be any measure that the overall strategy defines as an indication of campaign success.

IO – Insertion Order. A document that we send to media vendors describing exactly what it is that we want to buy, in detail, and the cost.

RFP – Request for Proposal. We will often send RFPs to our media vendors for inclusion in a potential media buy, and our clients may also send us an RFP when they are planning for a new ad campaign.

OOH – Out of Home. Any medium that is not reaching people in their home, such as billboards, transit, airplane banners, sidewalk chalk, etc.

OTT – Over the Top. This refers to any type of content (typically video but could also include audio or other media content) delivered via the Internet, not through a cable or satellite TV service (MSO). Netflix, Hulu, Roku, AppleTV and others can be considered OTT.