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Rubicon Project


The Rubicon Project‘s A to Z of Online Advertising

  • Ad Exchange: an auction-based system where advertisers bid for ad space on various websites. Advertisers and agencies can buy inventory directly on most ad exchanges, which both provides liquidity for publishers but also increases the risk of channel conflict and price erosion.
  • Channel Conflict: created by the availability of a common segment of a publisher’s ad inventory via multiple sales channels at different price points, which can lead to price erosion.
  • Cookie: a small text file used to identify a user and, subsequently, to facilitate campaign objectives like frequency capping, targeting, etc.
  • Data leakage: aka data theft or data loss. Especially high risk in the often-transparent RTB auction setting, this refers first to the creation of user profiles based on page URLs and user identifiers being sent out in bid requests without compensation to the publisher. More narrowly, retargeting of publisher users on different inventory can occur without the publisher’s knowledge. From the advertiser perspective the main type of data leakage is targeted audience theft, which can occur if the publisher or SSP is detecting a certain set of industry or advertiser ads targeted to a group of users. This could be used by an SSP to build a pool of intender data to resell via other channels.
  • DMP: data management platform. A method of collecting, organising and activating non-PII data, creating predictive audience profiles based on the data and optimising impressions in real-time according to audience profile on behalf of a buyer or seller.
  • Demand Sales Channels: Third-party monetisation channels available to publishers: DSPs, ad networks, exchanges, sales houses, etc.
  • DSP: demand side platform. DSPs help advertisers and agencies place real-time bids for individual impressions on a publisher’s website, each aimed at a specific user or audience. Most DSPs have some form of optimisation to choose an appropriate response to each bid opportunity. Some are armed with third-party data or their own audience data and sophisticated algorithms that work in real-time to decide which campaign to bid with and at what price
  • Dynamic Price Flooring: Intended to counter the dynamics of an imperfect market, RTB floor price optimisation may occur dynamically within an SSP’s RTB system on behalf of a publisher, within the limits set by the publisher. Characteristics may include decisioning that sets a unique floor price for each impression based on fair market value as determined by interested buyers and relevant data, and simulations that re-enact auction scenarios to find and enable the optimal price floor
  • Malware/malvertising: predatory software that variously steals users’ PII, hijacks their PCs, steals their identities, drops viruses or Trojans, etc. Malvertising has malware embedded in it or intent to fool somebody into taking some action with negative consequences.
  • Non-PII: non-personally identifiable information. Anonymous info that cannot identify a specific person, just traits or behaviors such as gender, age, geo, etc.
  • OBA: online behavioral advertising. The Self-Regulatory Program for Online Behavioral Advertising was developed by leading industry associations, including the IAB,[1] to apply consumer-friendly standards to online behavioral advertising.
  • Non-guaranteed inventory: Inventory sold by a publisher, via their direct sales or demand sales channels, that is pre-emptible by the highest-paying campaign that meets the publisher’s business rules around ad quality and channel conflict
  • Price Erosion: decline in value captured for a publisher’s online display ad inventory, driven by some combination of market pricing trends and channel conflict. The implicit assumption is that demand for the inventory (at the current price) goes down and thus the price the publisher is able to charge goes down as well.  This can occur when the publisher sets a price for their inventory when sold through their direct sales channel while offering similar inventory at lower rates through an third-party channel without managing which buyers have access to each channel
  • Private Marketplace/Exchange: Impressions with rules as to what a buyer (DSP, agency, trading desk, or advertiser) has access to, what inventory (or audience) at what priority and at what price floor.
  • Programmatic Trading: automated buying and selling in an environment where the buyer optimises bid price against impressions in an auction. Creates workflow efficiencies through increased automation, within an outside of auction environments[2]
  • RTB: real-time bidding. The fastest growing trading channel in display today, RTB is an auction-based and highly targeted mode of programmatic trading. In a real-time auction, many prospective buyers bid on a given ad impression from a single source of inventory via an ad exchange or marketplace in real-time, and the seller accepts, blocks or rejects these bids. The process generally occurs in 30-40 milliseconds.
  • SSP: sell-side platform. An advertising technology platform engineered for the purpose of aiding publishers in capturing the real value of their digital inventory. SSPs may offer some combination of the following: inventory monetisation via both direct and third party demand sales channels (RTB, ad networks, ad exchanges), private marketplace/exchange management, international traffic monetisation, yield optimisation, user/privacy protection, data management, controls for business rule enforcement, transparent reporting and actionable insights across digital ad sales channels.
  • (Agency) Trading Desk: a group within each agency holding company designed to centralise the practice of buying non-guaranteed digital media on networks/ exchanges
The Rubicon Project is an Associate Member of AOP.

[2] Paraphrased from AdExchanger interview with Michael Greene, Forrester –

This page is a work in progress… if you’d like to suggest any additional links/tips or useful sources for online advertising, sales and business development in media, please let us know.