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Glossary of Terms

We know that you may encounter a fair amount of marketing and technology jargon when working with us. The LumenAd glossary below provides an overview of digital advertising vocabulary and terminology.


A programmatically generated display of sequential images, creating the illusion that objects in the image are moving. Not digital video, as it relates to this document (see the definition for “Video”).
The audible file that may accompany ads. Advertising audio should never play without user-initiation.
Also known as “display ads”, banner advertisements are a form of graphical ads embedded into a webpage, typically including a combination of static/animated images, text and/or video designed to convey a marketing message and/or cause the user to take an action. Banner dimensions are typically defined by width and height, represented in pixels.
Also known as “interstitial” ads, between-the-page ad units display as a user navigates from one webpage to the next webpage. The ad appears after the user leaves the initial page, but before the target page displays on the user’s screen. Typically, the ad is self-contained within its own browser window, but may also appear briefly as an overlay on the target page rather than in its own browser window.
An IAB Universal Brand Package ad unit template designed with options for rich interactivity to display prominently inline with Publishers’ webpage content. A distinct feature of the Billboard is a close button that a user may click to collapse the ad completely if the user doesn’t want to see the ad.
The rate of bits processed per unit of time, commonly measured in bits per second (bps), kilobits per second (Kbps), or megabits per second (Mbps). The bitrate is one of the biggest factors in audio or video quality.
A small rectangular standard ad unit with the size 120×60 pixels.
The practice of temporarily storing files on local servers for quick retrieval the next time the file is needed. Cached files supply an old copy that may not be up to date with the file stored at the original source, but are often necessary for improving page load performance.
The advertising period in which an ad delivery strategy is executed.
A creative control that enables a user to close an ad (remove it from view) or to reduce an expanded panel back to its original size.
An event where the expanded panel of an expandable ad reduces to its original size, or disappears completely.
Active elements of an ad that enable a user to control the advertising experience. Examples of common controls include the “Close X” button in an expandable ad or the Play/Pause/Mute buttons in a video player.
An advertising unit created by an ad designer, in accordance with publisher specifications and guidelines, for the purpose of communicating a marketing message to that publisher’s audience. One creative may consist of multiple files in various formats, such as standard images, animation, video, execution files (.html, .js, etc.) and other files that work together for an interactive experience.
Measured in pixels, the width and height of an ad unit (WxH). The width is always the first dimension listed, followed by the height dimension (i.e. an ad that is 300×250 is 300 pixels wide by 250 pixels high).
Rich media ads that can be enlarged to dimensions beyond the initial dimensions of the placement they fill on the webpage. The user initiates expanding events, sometimes after the ad initially expands briefly on its own to catch the user’s attention.
The secondary dimensions of an expanding ad unit (after the ad is expanded). Initial dimensions are fit to the dimensions of the placement. Then, either by auto-play or by user interaction, the ad unit expands to its secondary dimension.
An IAB Universal Brand Package ad unit template that is 350×3000 pixels, divided into five 350×600 pixel segments that scroll by user interaction though a 350×600 pixel placement “window.”
Software and tools developed by Adobe used to build, generate, and play animated files. Also used to define the creative files generated by the program. In order for Flash files to execute in a browser, the Flash player plug-in must be installed. However, Flash development tools can also generate files in HTML5 format so that no plug-in is required for execution.
FPS is an acronym for Frames Per Second, the metric used to indicate the frame rate of animated or video creative content.
The rate at which video frames or animated images display as the video or animated file executes, measured as the number of frames per second (fps).
Automatic compression of creative assets for an ad when delivering from an ad server to a web page or application. The key difference between .zip files and gzip is that zip is used for storing files, and gzip is used for compressing files that are in transmission from one server to another.
Any activity that is auto-initiated.
A “hot spot” is an area of an ad unit, which when rolled-over/rolled-on by the user’s cursor, such rollover triggers an event (i.e. expand ad). The hotspot should never be larger than 1/4th the size of the original (collapsed) ad unit. The trigger event should not occur unless the user’s cursor rests in the hotspot zone for at least 1-second. Hotspots should never initiate audio (audio should only be initiated by a click). When hotspots are used, the trigger event should stop immediately upon the user’s cursor leaving the hotspot zone (i.e. ad collapses), and the ad unit should return to its original state.
An acronym for Hypertext Markup Language, version 5. HTML5 extends earlier versions to include tags for processing video, audio, canvas, an other embedded audio and video items without requiring proprietary plug-ins and APIs. HTML5 has been used as an alternative to developing and executing interactions similar to those using Adobe Flash but with very different technology.
Interest-based advertising — which is also sometimes called “online behavioral advertising” — uses information gathered about a site user’s visits over time and across different websites or applications in order to help predict preferences and show ads that are more likely to be of interest to you. For example, a sporting goods manufacturer might work with an advertising network that collects and uses interest-based advertising information to deliver ads to the browsers of users that have recently visited sports-related sites, or an airline might direct ads to users that recently visited mobile travel apps. Definition from aboutads.info site:http://www.aboutads.info/how-interest-based-ads-work
A video delivered as part of (inside of) the display ad creative for a given placement rather than initiating the use of a video player.
The original width and height (in pixels) of an expanding ad. Expanding ads are designed to expand to dimensions larger than the initial dimensions.
Includes all assets and files necessary (.html, .js, .css, .woff, images, ets.) for completing first visual display of the Ad. The initial file load size of an ad is limited in order to preserve the page load performance and thus the user’s web browsing experience. For non-rich media ads, the initial file load size limit is all that’s allowed for the ad.
See ‘Between-the-Page’
A collection of pre-written code used to simplify development of web-based applications.
A digital multimedia format used to store video and audio, but may also include features such as subtitles, chapter details, and other data related to the video or audio file. The filename extension for MPEG-4 files is .mp4.
A set of standards for audio and video compression and transmission established by the Moving Picture Experts Group.
An acronym for MPEG Dynamic Adaptive Streaming over HTTP. This adaptive streaming technique allows for a streaming experience using progressive download of several small chunks of video at different bitrates. An HTTP-connected video player (the client) detects the bandwidth at each chunk of time (about 3-5 seconds) and determines which quality level to download and play for the small duration allotted.
An acronym for Mobile Rich Media Ad Interface Definition. MRAID is a protocol that enables communication between an ad and a mobile application in order to execute interactions such as geolocation, ad resizing, and accelerometer functions among others.
An ad unit that displays over the webpage content briefly when initiated.
The smallest unit of measure for graphical elements in digital imagery, used as the standard unit of measure for ad creative (i.e. 300×250 pixels). Pixels may also represent x/y coordinates relevant to a given space, such as the browser window, an application workspace or the user’s computer screen. (See also “Tracking Pixel”)
The number of pixels displayed on the screen within an inch (pixels per inch or PPI) or within a centimeter (pixels per centimeter or PPCM). Screen pixel density varies by device with older monitors displaying 67 – 130 PPI. Mobile devices often exceed that at 300+ PPI. Pixel density of 163 PPI is referred to as pixel density of 1 in this document.
A video, animation or audio control that enables a user to initiate (or avoid initiating) the video, animation or audio of an ad.
Withholding a portion of the total ad creative file size (besides any initial file load size) from loading on a page until publisher content has loaded. With the release of the Display Creative Guidelines in 2015, polite file load has been replaced “Host-initiated subload.” See Host-Initiated Subload for definition.
An IAB Rising Star ad unit template that uses up to three interactive modules chosen (by the ad designer) from a variety of modular application options in a 350×1050 pixel space.
A video or animation control that shows users the progression of the video or animation in relation to its total duration.
A distribution method for serving video files in which the video file downloads progressively into the cache of a user’s computer, much the same way images and other content elements are downloaded. HTML5 files use progressive download for video files, but streaming methods can be simulated using adaptive bit streaming technologies such as HLS and MPEG-DASH.
An IAB Rising Star ad unit template designed for rich interaction in a space similar to, but larger than, an expanding leaderboard, with initial dimensions of 970×90 pixels and expanded dimensions of 970×415 pixels. When the ad is expanded, it “pushes” page content down rather than displaying over the top of page content as most expandable ads do.
The quality of an image or video file often determined by the number of pixels displayed on the screen and usually annoted as a pixel width and height dimension. However, resolution can be measured in a number of ways and takes into account pixel aspect ratio, pixel density, and other factors that determine the viewing quality of the file.
An event programmed into an expandable ad the causes the ad to be reduced to its original dimensions (i.e. the expanded portion of the ad retracts).
IAB invited companies and individuals to submit ad templates designed to drive brand equity. Six templates were chosen to be validated by the market. Rising Star Display Ad Units are designed to be the only ad on a page. Their file load limits are larger than for other ads, so not only would a Rising Star Ad Unit overshadow any other ads on the page but they would also compromise the performance of the page should other rich media ads be allowed to load simultaneously.
The willful pause of the user’s cursor on the target portion of the creative (the “hot spot”), such pause lasting at least one second in duration, before an action may be initiated by the ad (i.e. trigger an expand event, etc.). This one-second pause/delay requirement prevents unwanted, user-initiated actions and false reporting of user engagement. Rollover may NOT initiate audio.
In digital advertising, shared libraries are collections of pre-written code and resources that are used for implementing features and functions for an HTML5 ad. Instances of such resources that are downloaded to the browser from a specific server, like a CDN, are cached on the browser. Once cached, shared libraries can be shared with other ads that reference the library and the host server.
An IAB Rising Star ad unit template initially displayed as one of three standard ad unit dimensions, but upon user initiation, “pushes” publisher content to the left to display a canvas of up to 970×550 pixels full of rich interaction.
A standard ad unit with dimensions of 160×600 pixels.
An IAB Rising Star Ad Unit template designed with an overlay “slider” (90 pixels high) that rests at the bottom of a publisher’s page and when prompted by user interaction, slides page content to the left for a canvas of 970×550 pixels full of rich interaction possibilities for user engagement.
A set of ad specifications for standard image or animated in-page ad units that establish a framework for advertising inventory and webpage design.
A distribution method for serving video files such that the video is played over a persistent connection between the browser and the ad server. Versions of the file at different levels of compression (quality) can be served based on detection of the user’s Internet bandwidth. HTML5 files cannot be streamed and rely on adaptive bitrate streaming technologies such as HLS and MPEG-DASH.
In the context of HTML file loads, supporting files are files that the browser needs to reference in order to execute display of file contents and any interactions. Examples of supporting files include JavaScript libraries, font libraries, CSS files, and others.
Acronym for Shockwave Flash™. “.swf” is the file naming extension used for animated files complied using Adobe Flash™ software. HTML cannot execute .swf files without the browser-installed Flash player plug-in. For this reason, many content and ad providers are moving to the HTML5 format for more efficient execution of interactive media files.
A 1×1 pixel-sized transparent image that provides information about an ad’s placement. In many cases, a tracking pixel is used to notify an ad tracking system that either an ad has been served (or not served, in some cases) or that a specific webpage has been accessed. Also known as: beacon, web beacon, action tag, redirect, etc.
A set of four ad units (728×90, 300×250, 160×600 and 180×150 pixels) offered by UAP-compliant publishers as a ‘package’ where ads in in these four formats are used collectively across the publisher’s site, enabling advertisers to reach more of the publisher’s audience.
An anonymous person who uses a web browser to access Internet web content.
The willful act of a user to engage with an ad. Users may interact by clicking on the ad, and/or rolling over an ad (or a portion of an ad). When a user engages the ad using a rollover action, the user’s cursor must rest on the hotspot for at least one second before any action may be initiated in the ad. See the definition for rollover for more information.
In online advertising, the digital recording of a physical event or animated files that have been transcribed into a digital video format.
A video compression format owned by Google and created by ON2 Technologies. Latest version is VP9.
WebM is a video file format. It is primarily intended to offer a royalty-free alternative to use in the HTML5 video tag. The development of the format is sponsored by Google, and the corresponding software is distributed under a BSD license.
Enumerated layers of elements and content on a publisher’s webpage. Consideration of the z-element in page content design such as navigation, imagery, and ads is important for providing a seamless experience when page content overlaps (i.e. an expanding ad with a z-index that is lower [on the z-index scale] than navigational elements may give the appearance that page navigational elements are showing through the expanded portions of the ad).