Ad platform glossary

The following table includes definitions of commonly used terms related to online advertising, ad tech, and Vistar, which are used throughout our Knowledge Base for the ad platform.

Term Definition
Ad exchange A digital marketplace that enables advertisers and media owners to buy and sell inventory, through real-time auctions. Media owners make inventory available on Vistar’s exchange through the ad platform and media buyers purchase inventory using a Demand Side Platform (DSP).
Ad server A system that enables the request, bidding, and serving of digital ads, as well as reporting on the performance of the campaigns executed. The ad server is the system that can be accessed through the ad platform.
CPM Cost per mille (CPM) is the cost per 1,000 impressions. All pricing in the ad platform is CPM. Media owners can set a CPM floor, which is the minimum they will accept in exchange for displaying 1000 impressions on their screens. This can be set on a network or venue-level.
Creative The media file (image or video) uploaded to the ad platform. A creative is for a particular advertiser and can be associated with multiple campaigns.
Data provider A third-party business that provides data about users, which can then be used to better target specific audiences. Note that data privacy laws ban any personally identifiable information (PII) of users.
Demand Side Platform (DSP) This platform is used to automate media buying across multiple sources. DSPs allow advertisers to buy impressions across a range of available venue types, but targeted to specific users based on information including location and previous browsing behavior.
Diagnostics This typically refers to the Diagnostics dashboard. This dashboard can be used to identify network or venue-related performance issues due to an integration. See the Diagnostics dashboard to learn more.
Direct buys Also known as programmatic direct buys. This is a contract agreement between a buyer and media owner to deliver a certain amount of specific inventory for a preset cost.
Flexible This is the Schedule Type that enables media owners to deliver impression-based direct sold orders in a programmatic manner.
Impression Vistar measures delivery of advertisements in units of impressions. An impression represents one person seeing one ad. For digital out-of-home (DOOH) screens, it is not possible to know the true number of people who saw an ad. For that reason, the number of impressions is estimated based on third-party data that the media owner provides to Vistar.
Inventory This refers to the complete list of digital spaces in which ads can be served and displayed. Media owners sell ad inventory. The Inventory view in the ad platform allows you to generate orders and get a better sense of your space that is available.
Line item Creating line items within an order enables media owners to split up the overall budget and apply targeting to account for business rules of a contract. For example, a client might require that a certain number of impressions for an order be delivered to office buildings in New York, while a different number of impressions must be delivered to office buildings in Chicago. These rules can be defined by creating multiple line items in a single order.
Loop-based This is the Schedule Type that enables media owners to deliver direct sold orders in a predictable manner, based on a spot or duration in a loop.
Open exchange buys Also known as open auction. Media owners can make their unsold inventory available on Vistar’s exchange. This transaction type is non-guaranteed, meaning that these ads are not scheduled to play on a media owner’s screen. Instead, the media owner indicates to our ad server that inventory is available, and an ad will be sent on a real-time basis.
Order This is a contractual relationship between a media owner and a media buyer. A single order can have multiple line items to split up the budget, flight (start and end) dates, and targeted inventory. You first create, then reserve, and finally book an order.
Private Marketplace deals Media owners can give digital buyers prioritized access to custom groupings of inventory at pre-negotiated rates through Private Marketplace (PMP) deals.
Programmatic selling / buying The act of selling or buying ad inventory through automated means, as opposed to manual selling or buying.
Real-time bidding (RTB) Bidding that happens through automated auctions on online ad inventory in real time. A real-time bid is often dynamically generated based on past performance of creatives, inventory, user groups, and other parameters. Real-time bidding also implies multiple bidding systems or exchanges making calls to each other in real time.
Schedule Type This defines how your ads or content are delivered on your screens. You can select the Schedule Type (Flexible or Loop-based) when you first create an order. See Create and manage orders for details.
Spot A single play of an ad.
Supply Side Platform (SSP) This platform enables media owners to access the demand source (Vistar’s DSP or third-party DSPs) through a variety of different transaction types (open exchange, Private Marketplace, or direct buys).
Targeting Media owners can apply certain rules (targeting) to line items or creatives to control when and where ads can run. Although it is optional to add targeting to your line items or creatives, it is very beneficial for when you have to account for complex business rules of a contract.
Unified Ad Serving Unified Ad Serving is comprised of programmatic and predictable ad serving. You can choose the Schedule Type for your ads to run in a loop-based or flexible manner. To learn more, see Overview of Unified Ad Serving.
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