Programmatic Glossary

Programmatic advertising is continually evolving. Subject matters can take on new meanings and new terms are popping up on a regular basis. To help sort through the acronyms we’ve compiled Unruly’s Programmatic Glossary. 

We’ll be adding to this on a weekly basis, so be sure to check back in if new topics arise that you’re curious to learn more about.


It stands for Authorised Digital Sellers and allows publishers to add a text file to their servers, which are then integrated into programmatic platforms. This helps publishers clearly communicate who is authorised to sell their inventory, adding additional layers of transparency for programmatic buyers.

Audience Segments

Audiences segmentation is the process of dividing people up into subgroups based on particular criteria.

Cookie-less targeting

Cookie-less targeting refers to a number of non-cookie based methods that can be used for targeting in cases where cookies may not work.

Cookie Syncing

Since cookies can’t be shared across domains for security reasons (otherwise everyone would see your Facebook login!), cookie syncing is an out-of-band or asynchronous process that enables the SSP to “match” their cookie with a cookie for the demand partner.

Cross Device Targeting

Cross device targeting refers to the ability to track users across multiple devices, such as when they switch from a computer to a smartphone.


The amount paid for every 1,000 qualifying impressions served.


This term gets more specific and shows the cost of ad inventory based on the amount of impressions that were actually shown/paid. Here is the formula to determine this amount: eCPM = Revenue/(Paid Imps/1000).


The CPV price is the amount that gets paid when a video ad is played. In general, the video doesn’t have to be watched the whole way through to cause a payout – just started. In some video advertising models this price is also paid when someone clicks on a video ad.


A model that allows advertisers to pay only when ad is watched for a pre-determined amount of time, such as 30 seconds.


A model that allows advertisers to pay only when playback on the ad meets a certain viewaibility requirement, e.g. 50% of pixels in view for at least 2 continuous seconds for the MRC standard. CPVV is always relative to a viewability definition or standard.


Dayparting is a feature of programmatic platforms such as DSPs and SSPs that allows you to set particular ads to run only at certain times of the day.


A deal ID is a piece of code that is used as the unique ID number to identify a pre-negotiated deal between a buyer and a seller in an automated buy. The deal ID is typically generated by the platform through which the deal will be executed (for instance, Unruly’s SSP UnrulyX). The ID itself doesn’t include any details of the deal (content, data packages or price floors). The details of deals are stored in the platform where the ID was generated.


A data management platform is a centralised platform used by agencies, publishers and marketers to manage and merge data such as cookie IDs.


A demand side platform allows advertisers to launch and manage online ad campaigns across exchanges or Supply Side Platforms (SSPs) and enables buyers to perform audience targeting and optimisation.

First Look

First Look is a type of special deal arranged between a buyer on the demand side and a seller on the supply side. NB We don’t currently offer this! Where certain clients get first opportunity to buy impressions on a specific marketplace package.

Header Bidding

A type of programmatic advertising in which publishers can offer their inventory to multiple ad exchanges at the same time before making calls to their ad servers.

MRC Standard 

Viewable impression standard set by the Media Ratings Council. The current definition for video is that 50% of the ad unit in view for 2 consecutive seconds for video ads.

Price Floor

A price, usually set by the publisher, specifying the minimum CPM at which their inventory can be sold. It is common to set different floor prices for different sections of inventory and different ad formats.

Private Marketplace

A “Private Marketplace” (PMP), functions similarly to an open auction in pricing and is determined in real time based on what advertisers are willing to pay. The difference is Private Marketplace deals are more exclusive, because only a select group of invited buyers are permitted to bid in the auction.

Programmatic Direct

Programmatic Direct is direct sold, guaranteed inventory, that doesn’t require human intervention to run (non-RTB). Under programmatic direct deals, a publisher’s sales rep may negotiate an arrangement with an advertiser that includes top-tier inventory like home-page- takeover ads at a fixed price for a guaranteed number of impressions. It’s the equivalent of booking a hotel room directly through the hotel, rather than from an online retailer like Expedia.

Second Price Auction

Second price auctions means the winner of an ad impression pays just one cent more than the next highest bidder.


A supply-side platform is a piece of software used to sell advertising in an automated fashion. The yin to the DSPs’ yang. SSPs are most often used by online publishers to help them sell display, video and mobile ads and to maximise the prices their impressions sell at. SSPs allow publishers to connect their inventory to multiple ad exchanges, DSPs and ad networks at once.

Video Ad-Serving Template (VAST)

VAST stands for “Video Ad Serving Template” and was created by the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) in 2008. Essentially it’s a uniform template that structures ad tags and metadata, which are then transferred from the ad server to a video player. This enables ad servers from different companies to use a standardised tag format across multiple publishers/video players, allowing any ad server to deliver a video ad into any compatible player.