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Beginner’s Luck? Media Buying Lexicon

Digital Marketing, and performance marketing within, are filled with acronyms; CPA, CPI, CPS, GDPR, and it might get confusing. And within all of it, the world of media buying is even more so. DSP? SSP? CPM? These ones are confusing. This article will explain not only the technical term but also what do they do. It’s important to understand that all of these terms are connected. As together they allow media buyers to buy or sell their ad impressions, and this whole process happens in real-time (if not, how would you see ads when you scroll your favorite tech blog?).

Let’s start from the beginning, Media Buying and Media Planning are two different things, although their work completes each other. Media Planning is focused on identifying an audience, researching the market, deciding on a budget, and building the goals. It’s also the part that decides on which channel to purchase ad spaces from. Media Buying is the stage that comes after the media plan is established, and it involves purchasing ad spaces and time to run your ads. It also involves monitoring performance and adjusting your strategy as needed to fit the campaign’s performance. Your goal as a media buyer, and well – the whole purpose of media buying, is to deliver your message to your target audience. 

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Ad Creatives: check our guide here about creatives types. In general, this is what your target audience will see, it’s the image or video you create in order to catch their attention.

SSP – Supply Side Platform: a technology that enables web or app owners to manage their ad spaces inventory and maximize their monetization. It gathers many forms of campaigns (demand) for publishers. Put it simply, SSP offers ad impressions for sale to many ad exchanges and DSPs directly. The customer, in this case, is the web/app owner.

Ad Exchange: a big pool of ad impressions where publishers put their available ad spaces hoping someone will buy them. This is similar to SSP. 

Ad Network: companies that connect advertisers (apps) with publishers (websites/apps) that want to promote their ads. They vary based on transparency regarding where the ads will run, and on whether the advertiser is looking to reach a specific audience, or formats (mobile, or video). 

DSP – Demand Side Platform: a platform that allows advertisers to buy ad spaces from different publishers. DSP helps marketers and advertising agencies to choose the right inventory, and also allows the advertisers to deliver and track their ads for the purpose of optimization. The customer, in this case, is the advertiser.

RTB – Real-Time Bidding: what makes DSP and SSP operate. It’s a process in which ad inventory is sold instantly, this is done through programmatic advertising. The auctions sell the ad inventory to marketers willing to pay the highest price. 

DMP – Data Management Platform: connecting you with the data you’ve collected, both offline and online for the benefit of the analysis, retargeting, and segmentation. This is very important, as it can help you optimize and target your customers at the right moment. 

Identify and purchase ad spaces on channels that are relevant to your target audience at the best time, and for cheap.

CPM: cost per 1,000 impressions. This is the rate you’d pay for impressions; this can vary depending on GEOs you’re targeting, DSPs, and so on. 

CTR – Click-through Rate: the ratio of users who click on a specific link to the number of total users who view an ad. It is used to measure the success of an advertising campaign. 

VTA – View-through Attribution: also known as impression tracking, is the name used for showing that an impression has led to an install. This helps to understand if a specific creative has been effective in convincing a user to install your app, and can show which impressions may lead to installs. 

Manual Bidding: bidding on ad space and managing directly through an ad platform.

Programmatic Buys: automatic bidding on ad spaces that matches your consumer’s profile (by setting targeting). 

Direct Buys: negotiating ad rates and run times with a specific publisher.

We hope this lexicon will help you in your adventure of discovering media buying. And remember, media buying terms and media buy technology keeps updating and developing with the years. Whether you are a media buyer in your position, or whether you are an app developer or a marketer in general – it’s important to keep track and follow all the technological advances and trends in this field, as they in some ways dictate and affect the whole fennel of digital marketing. 

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