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This section has been written to help marketers, agency executives, and publishers understand the evolving language of interactive marketing. Whether you are new to the industry or just looking for a reference, you should find standard definitions in our glossary of advertising terms which has been combined with the help of other IABs worldwide as well as IAB Australia Councils.

To explore the set of definitions, simply click on any of the letters or search by keyword.

If you think we have missed something or that a definition needs an update, just contact us!

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API (Application Programming Interface)

An Application Programming Interface allows a software application to interact with the operating system of another software application. It is a set of rules and specifications that software programs can follow to communicate with each other.


Short for "application". In social terms, an app may be a mobile or web based app that enables social functions, e.g. Facebook's mobile app for iPhone.


Small, self-contained software application that is most often used by browsers to automatically display animation and/or to perform database queries requested by the user.

Applicable browser

Any browser an ad will impact, regardless of whether/how it will play the ad.

Application Service Provider (ASP)

An online network that is accessible through the Internet instead of through the installation of software. It is quickly integrated with other websites and the services are easily implemented and scalable.


Distortion that is introduced into audio or video by the compression algorithm (codec). Compressed images may have stray pixels that were not present in the original image. See codec.

ASP (Active Server Page)

A type of HTML page (denoted by an .asp file name) that includes scripts (small programs) that are processed on a web server before the web page is served to the user's web browser.

ASP (Application Service Provider)

Online network that is accessible through the Internet instead of through the installation of software. It is quickly integrated with other websites and the services are easily implemented and scalable.

Aspect ratio

The width-to-height ratio of a picture or video frame. TV broadcasts at a 4:3 (1.33:1) aspect ratio; digital TV will be broadcast with a 16:9 (1.78:1) ratio; and most feature films are shot in at least a 1.85:1 ratio.

ATD (Agency Trading Desk)

Department or arm of an Agency that oversees programmatic buying. Many Agency holding companies have trading desks.


Single piece of information known about a user and stored in a behavioral profile which may be used to match ad content to users. Attributes consist of demographic information (age, gender, geographical location), segment or cluster information (auto enthusiast), and retargeting information (visited Site X two days ago).

Attribution Modelling

Mathematical process for linking marketing activities to outcomes such as online or offline product purchases. Attribution modelling typically analyses the degree to which different blends of media exposure across different channels generate different bottom line results in order to establish causality and properly credit each media channel for its impact on the final outcome. For example, users exposed to $100K of display media only may generate 1,000 conversions that can be directly attributed to the display campaign, but also generate a measurable lift in searches and in offline sales that lead to further impact.

Attrition Rate

Percentage of site visitors that are lost at each stage in making a purchase.

Audio Impression

Metric that indicates the number of fully delivered ads.


Third party validation of log activity and/or measurement process associated with Internet activity/advertising. Activity audits validate measurement counts. Process audits validate internal controls associated with measurement.


Third party independent organisation that performs audits.

Autoplay Video Ad

A video ad associated with video content that initiates “play” without an explicit user interaction.


Graphical representation of an individual in a game or other virtual world or environment.

Average Active Sessions (AAS)

The average number of listeners (with duration of at least one minute) during the daypart/time period.

Average Time Listening / Average Time Spent Listening (ATL / ATSL)

The average length of each session (with duration of at least one minute) within the daypart/time period.

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