Online Media Buying Terms You Should Know

Last week, we discussed the pros and cons of direct media buying and programmatic media buying. Direct vs. programmatic is a hot topic right now in media buying, however there are more basic media buying terms you should know.

(We’re letting you off easy today because we won’t be quizzing you on the terms you’ve read.)

Direct media buying vs programmatic buying

Online media buying terms you should know:

Media buyers are the individuals responsible for purchasing advertising time and space. The method of buying can be direct or programmatic.

For online-display ads you have options for to pay for your ads: CPM (cost-per-thousand impressions), CPC (cost-per-click) or PPC (pay-per-click), CPA (cost-per-action) or PPA (pay-per-action), and CPP (cost-per-purchase).

Instead of purchasing online-display ads through a specific publisher (such as www.nytimes.com), a media buyer or advertiser can engage in real-time bidding (RTB) to purchase one or multiple online-display ad space(s) through computer-run auctions.

Ad exchanges

Ad exchanges are auction-based online platforms that sell advertising space from multiple ad networks. (Examples of well-established ad exchanges: Google’s DoubleClick, Yahoo!’s Right Media, AOL’s Adapt.tv, Adobe Media Optimizer, OpenX, etc.)

Ad networks

Ad networks are third-party companies that connect advertisers to websites with advertisement space/inventory. If you are working directly with an ad exchange, you won’t need an ad network.

Ad server

Ad server is a computer technology that an advertiser or publisher owns to facilitate the distribution and tracking of online-display ads. You’ll need an ad server to track the online-display ads you’ve places across the world wide web.

Behavioral targeting

Behavioral targeting describes the process of matching an Internet user’s online browsing behavior or history to select advertisements. For example, an Internet user who is searching for reviews on the latest Apple notebook computers may see online-display ads about Apple products on other webpages as he continues his online research.

Contextual targeting

Contextual advertising networks use contextual targeting, also called contextual matching, to scan the copy of a webpage and fill their ad space based on matching keywords. For example, an Internet user who is looking up the final score for last night’s game, may see display ads for sports memorabilia.

Those are the online media buying terms you absolutely need to know, but they cover only the very basics of what media buyers do everyday. In this fast-changing industry, having a good media buying partner is well worth the investment.

In conclusion, I’d like share one final warning: many processes are becoming automated, which often leads to better pricing but less monitoring. Be sure you are partnering with a legitimate agency or network who has your best advertising interests at heart.