In this series, we set out to help you get fluent with the Programmatic language.

*This is part 3 of a series, The Ultimate ABCs of Programmatic Advertising. For part 1, click here. For Part 2, click here.

We recently launched this series as an aid for every digital marketer out there who has ever been   confused, annoyed, or even a bit frustrated with all the programmatic advertising jargon out there.

In this series, “The ABCs of Programmatic Advertising,” we set out to help you get fluent with all the specific terms and acronyms.

Today, we breakdown everything from D to K.

Daily Active Users (DAU)

The average number of users who are active on a website or mobile app over 24 hours. DAU is a measurement of the “stickiness” of a site or app by showcasing precisely how many unique and active users visit on a daily basis. The main requirement for a user to be considered “active” is that they open to view or engage with a website (or web product) or app in any way.

Data, First Party

First Party Data is widely defined as data owned by the party that initially collected the data. For businesses, this includes information you directly collect about your customers through your CRM, and through surveys and feedback.

In the digital landscape, advertisers and publishers can also collect first party data about the behaviour and actions of audiences that visit their site. This information can be used by publishers to better sell their inventory to advertisers who want to leverage more precise targeting data. First party data is seen as the most accurate and reliable.

Data, Second Party

Second party data is data that is collected by an entity but is then sold from the source, usually through a DMP, to advertisers to improve their audience targeting.

Data, Third Party

Third party data is aggregated collected and owned cookie data from other sources. Third party data is usually provided by a vendor and sold to advertisers who need to reach a broad audience. There is an abundance of third party data, but it is not always seen as accurate.

Data Management Platform (DMP)

A DMP is a technology platform that warehouses and helps manage data. Advertisers often work with DMPs to manage cookie IDs and create specific audience segments for improved ad targeting. DMPs play an important role in the programmatic landscape by facilitating data driven advertising by way of layering audience data over media buys.

Deal ID

In the context of private marketplaces, a Deal ID is the unique number assigned to a buyer and used to identify and match their automated buys with sellers and their inventory, based on a number of trading variables negotiated beforehand. Variables negotiated can include a minimum price for bids, types of ad units available and specific placement location on the site. Deal IDs allow for rules to be set up across buyers working with a seller who then has control over preferential deals for advertisers willing to pay premium prices. Deal IDs also have the added function of helping to keep publishers from having to disclose their inventory in the public marketplace which would effect their direct sales.

Demand Side Platform (DSP)

The technology that helps facilitate programmatic media buys for buyers, most likely marketers, advertisers and agencies. DSPs can be used to manage the purchasing of display, video, mobile, in-app, and search ads by plugging into numerous exchanges. Why use a DSP? The technology makes media buying efficient by allowing a central location for advertisers to buy media across a large volume of publishers, while keeping costs low.


Display advertising is a type of online advertising that comes in several forms, including banner ads, rich media and more. Unlike text-based ads, display advertising relies on elements such as images, audio and video to communicate an advertising message. The IAB provides a standardized guideline for all display ad sizes and formats, now updated for HTML5, found here.

Effective CPA (eCPA)

A measurement of the actual costs spent to generate a specific action – it is used to measure the, well, effectiveness of a campaign. If the advertiser is purchasing inventory with a CPA target, instead of paying per action at a fixed rate, the goal of the effective CPA (eCPA) should always be below the maximum CPA. This fundamental view of what the performance of conversion-based campaign should be is served as the baseline for many buy-side platform optimization algorithms.


A term often used in the customer journey or in-apps, ‘events’ signify the moment a user takes a specific type of action. For example, in-app purchases or app downloads are often labeled an ‘event’.


Also known as First-Look Impressions or First-Look Inventory occurs when publishers, marketplaces, and SSPs allow specific advertisers to buy impressions at a set price. The selling process happens in sequences where the impression is shown to the preferred first-look buyer before being shown at any price to other buyers until the first-look buyer declines to purchase the impression.


The number of times (how often or frequency) a single visitor is shown an ad over a specified time period, usually 24 hours. Frequency capping is the maximum number the ad can be shown to a single visitor within the time period. For example, a visitor can only be shown an ad a maximum of 4 ads over a 24 hour period. Frequency capping uses cookies to remember the frequency count. Frequency capping is important to avoid ‘banner burnout’ or ‘creative fatigue’.


The practice of delivering ads or content to a user based on their physical location which is identified by postal (zip) code, IP address, ISP, or GPS data. Geotargeting is important for delivering relevant ads, and is an important innovation for mobile and local advertisers.


HTML5 ads as defined by the IAB “are like mini web pages and require multiple file types to create the ad display and ad features. These files need to be packaged in a way that optimizes load performance and reduces the time it takes to display the ad. However, ad developers may not know how they can produce a visually appealing and interactive ad while making the ad easier to load. In addition HTML5 opens up a diverse set of choices for advertisers and creative designers.”


The number of time an ad is shown or served to viewers. It is not a count of the number of unique viewers of the ad impression. A single visitor can be served and see an ad multiple times.

Insertion Order (IO)

This is a term that originates from the early days of advertising when paper was still being used, particularly among agencies. After an RFP (Request for Proposal) is sent out, a proposal by vendors is sent back to the agency. Insertion orders are the final step in the ad buying process that comes from the advertiser or agency that represents their commitment to run a campaign with an outline of spend and flight time. In the programmatic context, insertion orders are sent through ad exchanges.

Key Performance Indicator (KPI)

Key Performance Indicators are metrics that clearly quantify how well or how poorly a campaign meets objectives. In programmatic advertising, KPIs can range from conversions, to CTA, CTR, viewability, to completion rate (for video), and more.

If you didn’t know, now you know.

Stay tuned for more in upcoming posts in this series. Next up, we explore and define the everything programmatic from L to S.

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