Decoding advertisers: a media jargon dictionary.

While advertising is deeply rooted in common sense, you may have at one point found yourself drowning in media terminology alphabet soup. The good news? Media experts use jargon because it has the ability to turn mouthfuls of words into snackable phrases and content. It can feel like we’re speaking a completely different language, but with a little enlightenment into the art of media wordplay, it can become second nature to anyone. So, here you go! We’ve decoded some of the most commonly asked about media terms. Check out this awesome media jargon dictionary.


Brand awareness.

(This one’s easy.) The extent or level to which a potential consumer can recall and identify a particular product or service. Increased brand awareness is one of the two customary goals for a digital advertising campaign (the other being a conversion of some kind).


The number of unique people who have been served your ad.
• Post reach – unique users who saw your post
• Page reach – users saw any content you posted
• Organic reach – users saw your content, of their own
• Paid reach – users saw your promoted piece


SOV or share of voice or is your share of your category’s total ad investments. A high SOV means that you are seen and heard often in relation to your competitors, a low SOV means that your competitors are more visible than you.



CPP or cost-per-point/cost-per-rating-point is a measure of cost efficiency, which enables you to compare the cost of an ad to other ads. CPP is calculated as media cost divided by Gross Rating Points (GRPs).


Ad impression.

This is the number of times an ad has been served, regardless of whether the user has actually seen or interacted with the ad in any way.

Contextual targeting.

This is the art of selecting audiences based on the type of content being displayed on a particular webpage. An example of contextual advertising is placing shampoo ads for hair care products on the Vogue website.


CPC or cost-per-click is how much an advertiser pays, on average, for each click the ad receives. CPC is calculated by dividing the total amount spent on a campaign by the number of clicks generated.


CPL or cost-per-lead is an online advertising pricing model in which the advertiser pays for an explicit sign-up from a consumer interested in the advertiser’s offer. It is also commonly called online lead generation. CPL is calculated by dividing the total amount spent on a campaign by the number of leads generated.


CPM or cost-per-thousand is a metric that shows how much it costs to serve 1,000 ad impressions. It’s also used as a standard measure for buying display ads, as inventory is generally sold on a CPM basis.


CTR or click-through rate is a metric showing how often people click on an ad when they see it. It can be calculated by dividing the number of clicks the ad receivesby the number of impressions (how many times it was seen). This ratio can be useful when determining whether an ad’s messaging matches what the consumer is searching for, and if it resonates with them.


DSP or Demand-side platform is a system that allows advertisers to bid for and purchase inventory from multiple ad exchanges, through one single interface.


This term refers to a specific word or phrase targeted by advertisers to trigger their ad to appear within search engine results. The advertiser doing contextual advertising also chooses keywords, so that their ad will show up within pages that are returned for that keyword.

Native advertising.

This is any paid advertising that is indistinguishable in form from the channel being used to present it. Examples of native advertising include sponsored content on news websites and Facebook timeline ads.

Programmatic media buying.

This is an automated method of buying media which ensures that advertisers are reaching the right person, at the right time, in the right place. The ads are bought based on a set of parameters pre-defined by the company placing the ads. Programmatic advertising uses data to make decisions about which ads to buy in real time, which improves efficiencies and increases the effectiveness of the ads.


This refers to serving ads to people who have previously visited your website.

There are many other terms to learn in the realm of media, but this will help you build a foundation, so you can understand the basics of broadcast and digital advertising. If you’d like to chat more with our media team, shoot us a note: