Blog Series

Get the Lingo... with Ad Ops Buzzword Bingo


All industries have their own language, so to speak. Digital ad-ops is no exception. Our previous blogs explained the role of ad-ops and detailed its history. Now it’s time to talk you through our lingo and give you a run-down of some of our current favourites!

First things first…what is ‘lingo’?

The term “Jargon” or “buzzword” usually has negative connotations.  It can make the listener or reader feel like they are an outsider.  And that’s because they are.  They do not belong to the group who are speaking the lingo.  This is probably a good thing in some instances.  Lawyers speak legalese amongst themselves, doctors use language that patients would seldom understand.  It is the individual exclusive language of one defined social group, and that is usually acceptable.

When it comes to commercialese the negativity towards jargon can escalate.  We read any estate agent’s blurb with an interior cynical translator ticking over – the “bijou property with a sea view” really is just a bike shed in Tullamore with a postcard from Tramore on the wall. Likewise when your marketing manager tells you that “going forward there will be increased efficiency in terms of actualisation of deliverables” you might think he is trying to conceal something or to get away with not setting a real target, that he is trying to blind you with (lack-of)-science if you will.   But really he isn’t being devious; this is just his language, and it makes sense to him.

So what does ad-ops language sound like?

Likewise Ad Ops have their own acronyms and abbreviations for terms that need acronyms and abbreviations.    MPUs, DMPs, Datasets, Stacks – all of these things did not exist 20 years ago, they needed names, and they now have the names that stuck. That’s what a living language is, how it evolves, that’s how we got lots of words that we use daily.  Onomatopoeia is what gave language so many words, words that sound like their meaning – SPLASH,  GRUNT, SCREECH, WHISPER, and PURR.  

Who knows what give Ad Ops their language, but whatever it was, it works.  If it didn’t work, the word would disappear. The fact that everyone who is part of the Ad Ops team knows what we mean by terms like Tags, VOD and Attribution, helps eliminate misunderstanding and to expedite procedures.  Although how the term Interstitial ever caught on is a bit of a mystery.  Is it really quicker to say “interstitial” than “intersect”? Never mind, we motor on with our Gif’s, VAST Tags and Leaderboards.

In Ad Ops we don’t wish to exclude or alienate, so we are providing a jargon buster for the terms we use.  

Have fun next time you speak to your Digital Account Manager and see how many times you can get them to use any of these terms in your own version of Buzzword Bingo. Mail Jennifer your answers at Jennifer.downes@iprospect.com and there’ll be a prize in the post for the most inventive response!

  • Above the fold (ATF) - Typically the upper half of a website, or any part a user can view without having to scroll down. Automatically viewable. Remember A-T-F not W-T-F.
  • Attribution: determines how credit for sales and conversions is assigned to touchpoints in conversion paths. Not to be confused with its negative counterpart ‘attributing blame’. In advertising, attribution is a good thing. Yes a good thing.Conversion: a positive outcome from an ad campaign; could be a sale, registration, call back etc.
  • Dataset: a collection of related sets of information that is composed of separate elements but can be manipulated as a unit. Serious stuff these datasets.
  • DMP: Data Management Platform. A DMP is used to store and analyze data, while a DSP is used to actually buy advertising based on that information. See below for DSP explanation.
  • DSP: Demand Side Platform.  is a system that allows buyers of digital advertising inventory to manage multiple ad exchange and data exchange accounts through one interface.
  • GIF: Graphic interchange format, or...
Dog GIF

  • Interstitial:  No-one really knows, it just is.
  • Leaderboard: Width by height in pixels is 728x90
  • MPU: Mid Page Unit (as traditionally it sat in the middle of the web page)
  • Native: Most often used in relation to content. Native content; advertising that looks like it is part of the website. Indigenous to the page.
  • Stack: traditionally meant a limited access data structure - elements can be added and removed from the stack only at the top.  Now it is used to refer to the range of options available from a publisher.
  • Ad Tag: A piece of code that points the browser to the Publisher or advertisers Ad Server (not the label hanging from your new dress)
  • VAST Tag: Video Ad Serving Template, used to serve and monitor standardised video formats (not an oversized tag hanging from dress)
  • VOD: Video On Demand

Stay tuned for more Ad Ops insider info this week during the Ad Ops Evolution series!