Online Marketing Glossary

Take a look at our NEW Interactive Marketing Glossary in the Resources Section! 


A/B Testing / Split Testing

The process of testing different elements to see what works best. Even the smallest changes such as adjusting the copy, color, font size or call-to-action can help improve conversion rates. To figure out what truly works, advertisers need to test, optimize and repeat on a regular basis. 

Read our blog posts:
4 Easy Split Tests To Try Today
Split-Testing Tips for Banner Ads

Above The Fold

The area of a web page that is immediately visible to the visitor, without having to engage the scroll bar. This is often considered prime “real estate” for ad inventory and is usually priced to reflect that.

Ad Network 

A company that aggregates available ad space across a large number of websites (publishers) and sells it to advertisers. There are many types of ad networks from large ones to niche ones that target a specific audience. By buying from these networks you get access to their extensive list of publishers.


Any company or user that purchases ad inventory on a publisher's domain. Ex: when you see an ad placed on a site, the site who paid to place that ad is the advertiser. 

The Search By Advertiser feature at allows users to search for the activity of specific advertisers. Ex: if you are in the automotive industry, you can access data from such advertisers as Ford, Toyota, BMW, etc.

Affiliate Marketing / Performance Marketing

A commission is paid to an individual called an "affiliate" when they generate a referral in the form of a lead or sale hence, it is based on performance. Because of its advantages for sales opportunities there are millions of different brands and websites that offer affiliate programs.  The most common examples are, online dating, insurance, etc.

Read our blog posts:
How To Choose An Affiliate Network
Is Your Small Business Ready For An Affiliate Marketing Program?

This is a free website that provides commercial web traffic data and ranking information. It crawls all publicly available sites to create a series of snapshots of the web. It employs web usage information, which tells users what is being seen on the web by real people. This information comes from the community of Alexa Toolbar users.


Banner Ads

Commonly called display advertising. They are graphics that come in different sizes and are placed on third-party websites with the goal of driving traffic back to an advertisers' website. 

WhatRunsWhere tracks millions of banner ads and shows you who is advertising where and what.

Big Data

Describes the abundance of available data that companies collect.  This can be information on who your customers are, their buying behaviors and other demographic details.

Read our blog post:
How To Use Big Data For Your Online Marketing Strategy


Call-to-Action (CTA)

A button, graphic or text in an ad intended to prompt the visitor to click the ad (which will redirect them to a landing page). Ex: Click Here, Buy Now, Sign Up, etc. This is an important component of making your ads successful, as it helps to engage the user and give them actionable direction.


Refers to when a user is redirected to an advertiser’s website by ‘clicking’.

Click-through Rate (CTR)

The percentage of clicks an ad receives in relation to the number of impressions. (CTR = clicks over impressions.) This is an important metric involved in analyzing the effectiveness of an ad.

Competitive Intelligence

The information that is collected regarding what your competition is doing. Its purpose is to provide insights and inspiration to get your business ahead of theirs. 

WhatRunsWhere offers premium tools to enhance your online and mobile marketing strategy so you can gain an upper edge on your competition.

Read our blog posts:
How Can You Find And Use Competitive Intelligence?
Competitive Advertising: The 4 W’s


A virtual token placed on a user’s computer allowing them to be identified with their browsing activity and visited website history. Using these virtual tokens, sites like Google can compile a fairly comprehensive profile of a user simply through their cookies, allowing them to infer what content they might be interested in. This data allows sites to display customized content to users.

Cost-Per-Action (CPA)

An online advertising pricing model that is calculated as cost divided by number of acquisitions.  Ex. if you spend $200 on a campaign and get 10 acquisitions then your CPA is $20.

Cost-Per-Click (CPC)

An online advertising pricing model that is calculated as the amount spent to get an advertisement clicked. Ex. for a $1 CPC, an advertiser pays a buck each time someone clicks the ad.

Cost-Per-Thousand (CPM)

The cost to an advertiser for every 1000 impressions an ad receives while placed on a publisher’s website. Ex: for a $10 CPM, an advertiser will pay $10 for every 1000 times the ad is shown.

Cost-Per-View (CPV)

The cost to an advertiser for each impression (view) their ad receives on a placement. Ex. if it cost 25 cents per view, an advertiser will pay 25 cents each time the ad is viewed.

Conversion Rate

The rate which an advertisement generates actual sales or signups for an advertiser. This differs from click-through rate in that it means that the customer has been successfully converted by the advertisement and has performed the goal action. This action can be anything from a purchase, a registration, a subscription to a service or mail list, etc.

Contextual Advertising

A more targeted form of advertising allowing advertisers to focus their resources on a select demographic or niche publishers. Ex. an ad for baby diapers will be placed on websites that predominantly attracts mothers.


Demand-side Platform (DSP)

A system that allows advertisers to manage multiple ad exchange and data exchange accounts through a single interface.  It aggregates advertisers and provides one location to purchase inventory from many publishers without requiring them to negotiate a direct media buy on a case by case basis.

Direct Buy

Purchasing ad space directly from a website from the website owner. For example, doing a media buy on, would be an example of a direct media buy.

Display Advertising

Placing banner ads on third-party websites with the goal of driving traffic to your own. 

At WhatRunsWhere, we track display advertising on desktop sites, mobile web, as well as in-app.

Read our blog posts:
5 Rules For Creating Eye-Catching Display Ads
4 Display Strategy Secrets From Chevrolet

Direct Marketing

Display/text ads or emails specially created to directly communicate with leads or customers. The purpose is to initiate a direct response, such as a click or purchase.

Read our blog posts:
5 Direct Marketing Mistakes And How To Avoid Them


Effective-Cost-Per-Action (eCPA)

The ratio of the total cost of a campaign over the total number of conversions it has generated. Ex: if $1000 is spent and it generated 100 sales from that spend, the eCPA would be $10 per conversion.

Earnings-Per-Click (EPC)

The ratio of revenue an ad earns per a hundred clicks. Ex: if an ad generated $1000 after receiving 1000 clicks, the EPC would be $1.



A popular online social network launched in 2004 and currently has over 1 billion users. Their advertising network is called Facebook Exchange (FBX).

Interested in gaining competitive intelligence on Facebook? Signup for our Enterprise Package and access Facebook Ad Data. (These insights are provided via our partnership with ComScore Inc.)



Ads that are targeted based on where a user is located. This can be a country, city, zip/postal code or even a distance radius.

Google Display Planner 

Replaced Google Ad Planner. The improved Display Planner is a research and planning resource that integrates the Contextual Targeting Tool and Placement Tool. It is built right into AdWords so advertisers can directly modify their campaigns.

Google Display Network (GDN)

Makes advertising on websites easy and effective.  Your AdWords ads will appear across a large collection of websites, mobile apps and video content. 

Read our White Paper:
A Beginner’s Guide To The Google Display Network


Hybrid Ads

A type of ad format that combines text and display images.

When searching for Hybrid Ads on the WhatRunsWhere platform, simply search for your advertiser of choice then click ‘Text/Hybrid Ads’.  From there, you can uncheck ‘Text Ad’ to view any Hybrid Ads that advertiser may be running.

For more information and to view examples of Hybrid Ads:
We Now Have Even More Hybrid Ad Coverage

History Data

Data that is collected over a period of time in order to perform analysis of how a campaign has changed or maintained over time.

WhatRunsWhere has been collecting data since late 2011.  Quickly and efficiently access the history of an advertiser and see what they have been doing over the years and what is and isn’t working for them and use that information in your own campaigns.



A measure of the number of times an ad has been seen.

In-App Advertising

An advertisement that appears within an application on a mobile device.

Use WhatRunsWhere mobile intelligence to see exactly what your competitors and top-performing advertisers are doing. View their full creative strategies, campaign overviews and use key performance indicators to spot what truly works within the mobile ecosystem.

Read our blog posts:
3 Cardinal Rules for In-App Advertising
Case Study: Top In-App Campaigns


An infographic is a visual image that uses pictures, charts, and simple bold text to share insights with the reader.

See samples:
6 Powerful Online Marketing Infographics

Insertion order

A formal printed order to run an ad campaign that includes such information as the website or ad network receiving the order, what ads are to be run (or who will provide them), ad sizes, start and end dates, rates, reporting requirements and possible penalties or stipulations relative to the failure to deliver the impressions and the out clause (the maximum time needed to stop the buy in case of failure or other issues).


Keyword Advertising

Any advertising that is linked to specific words or phrases.

WhatRunsWhere uses keywords to help narrow in on searches within our platform. Ex. Running the keyword search for “Online Dating” brings up all the ads that are related to this keyword.


Lead Generation

A lead is defined as a potential customer, therefore lead generation is using various sales and marketing tactics such as email marketing, paid search or tradeshows, etc. to generate new leads.

Read our blog posts:
The Top 4 Lead Gen Tactics And How To Master Them
4 Tips For Nurturing Your Leads to Conversion

Landing Page

A single web page that appears in response to clicking on a search engine optimized search result or an online advertisement.

Read our blog posts:
4 Easy Split Tests To Try Today
Steal These 5 Killer Landing Page Testing Strategies


Market Research

The action or activity of gathering information about consumers' needs and preferences. It involved figuring out what your market wants, how best to sell to them and who your competitors are.

Read our blog posts:
How To Find And Use Competitive Intelligence?
Competitive Advertising: The 4 W’s

Media Buying

The task of negotiating the price and placement to ensure the best possible value secured for an advertisement.

WhatRunsWhere offers premium tools for media buyers. We show you who is buying what, from where, the duration and much more.

Read our blog posts:
Media Buying Calculator: How Profitable Are Your Campaigns?
‘Meet the Media Buyer’ Series

Meta Tags

Words or phrases that are often invisible to the user but helps classify websites and content so users can find the site and navigate it more efficiently.

Mobile Advertising

Advertising that has been optimized for smartphone and tablets. 

WhatRunsWhere tracks ads on both mobile web and in app.

Read our blog posts:
Mobile Advertising: From Clicks To Taps
Major Mistakes To Avoid With Your Mobile Strategy


Native Advertising

An online advertising method in which the advertiser attempts to gain attention by providing content in the context of the user's experience. It is less intrusive thereby, increases the likelihood of consumers clicking on it.

Network/Agency Buy 

When an advertiser purchases ad space through a third party network or agency such as Google Adwords and Bing Ads, etc.



The process of testing and improving marketing efforts (website, display ads, landing pages, etc.) to achieve the best results.

Read our blog posts:
4 Easy Split Tests To Try Today
Split-Testing Tips for Banner Ads


Pay Per Click (PPC)

The amount spent to get an advertisement clicked.

Performance Marketing

Otherwise known as Affiliate Marketing (see definition above).

Premium inventory

High quality ad inventory that is typically more expensive than remnant inventory.

Programmatic Advertising

An automated form of online advertising using a program to preset rules and algorithms. It allows marketers to better organize their data and execute highly targeted marketing campaigns.


A user or website that sells ad inventory such as and, etc.


Specializes in audience measurement and real-time advertising. They offer public access to traffic and demographic data for millions of websites and detailed user insights to digital publishers enrolled in its Quantified Publisher Program.

Quality Score

The number used to grade the quality of ads on Google and Yahoo Bing. The quality score your ads are given is based on the relevancy of your ads, keywords and landing page, etc.


Real-time bidding (RTB)

A technology that allows advertisers to bid on each ad impression as it is served. The highest bidder will have their ad displayed, and will be billed for each impression the ad receives. RTB platforms allow you to bid on a huge amount of inventory from many different sources in one interface.


A website that has redirected a visitor to another domain after the visitor has clicked a link.

Remnant inventory

Advertising space that a media company has been unable to sell and can typically be purchased at a steep discount.


A form of online advertising that keeps your brand in front of bounced traffic after they leave your website. The goal is to keep bringing leads back to a site until a consumer converts - whether that be a sale or signup, etc.

Return On Investment (ROI)

The profit gained after your total costs.


Sales Cycle

The course of time between the initial contact being made with a customer, the identification of services or goods to be procured, the acceptance of the intended purchase, and the transaction that completes the sale.

Split Testing

Also refers to A/B Testing (see definition above).

Read our blog posts:
4 Easy Split Tests To Try Today
Split-Testing Tips for Banner Ads

Supply-side platform (SSP)

A technology platform with the single mission of enabling publishers to manage their advertising impression inventory and maximize revenue from digital media.


Text Ad

Text-based form of online advertising that only uses words. Text ads can be used in both search and display campaigns. They are very popular for driving traffic and relatively easy to manage.

Read our blog posts:
5 Tips To Power-up Your Text Ad Strategy
Build Ads That Convert: Learning From Progressive Insurance


Data sent and received from a given visitor on a webpage. 

Check out our “Who Placed It Best?” blog series to see what traffic sources are finding success.

Traffic Sources

Any source that sends visitors to your website.


Unique Visitor

The number of individual (unique and not repeat) visitors that arrive at a website. A unique visitor differs from a visitor because it is measured by counting each individual only once.

Uniform Resource Locator (URL)

The specific web address or unique string of characters that brings visitors to a given site when entered in their Internet browsing bar.


Vertical Market

A grouping of brands or businesses that are targeting a similar niche.



Also known as a web-based seminar.

White Paper

A report or guide that helps a reader understand an issue, solve a problem, or make a decision.

Check out our free  White Papers on media buying and display ads.


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