Understanding
Online Advertising

Glossary

  • Ad Delivery and Reporting

    Ad Delivery and Reporting is separate and distinct from Interest-Based Advertising and means the logging of page views or the collection of other data about a computer or device for the purpose of delivering ads or providing advertising-related services, including, but not limited to: providing a specific advertisement based on a particular type of browser or time of day; statistical reporting in connection with the activity on a website; analytics and analysis; optimization of location of ad placement; ad performance; reach and frequency metrics (e.g., frequency capping); security and fraud prevention; billing; and logging the number and type of ads served on a particular day to a particular website.

  • Advertisers

    These companies pay to have their advertisements placed on websites. For example, Ford would be the advertiser in a display ad for a Ford Mustang you might see in the auto section of a newspaper. The Coca-Cola Company would be the advertiser for a Sprite banner ad.

  • Advertising

    A tool used to get people's attention and to get people to do, buy, or believe something. Advertising helps brands engage with their customers and potential customers. Advertising subsidizes websites’ delivery of rich content, innovative tools and services used by consumers and businesses to connect and communicate.

  • Browser

    A web browser is the software program you use to retrieve and view webpages and other content on the Internet. The most popular browsers today are Google's Chrome, Mozilla's Firefox, Microsoft's Internet Explorer, and Apple's Safari. These programs are free to download, and users may have more than one browser on their computer or other device. In general, third-party advertising companies associate interest categories or audience segments with a particular browser -- not with a person -- to serve ads. 

  • Cookie

    A cookie is information (a small text file) that a site saves to your computer using your web browser. Cookies enable personalization of your web experiences. For example, a cookie may allow sites to record your browsing activities - like what pages and content you've looked at, when you visited, and whether you clicked on an ad. Cookies can help sites remember items in your shopping cart, your log-in name, or your high game scores. Cookies are typically exceedingly small (less than the size of a file containing a sentence or two) and take virtually no space on or slow down your computer.

  • De-Identified Data

    De-Identified Data is data that is not linked or reasonably linkable to an individual or to a particular computer or device.

  • Domain

    A domain is a user-friendly name that represents an IP Address or similar online location. This is similar to referring to “Joe’s House” instead of saying, “123 Park Ave.” For example, networkadvertising.org is a domain representing a website located on the IP Address 198.101.192.213 (as of the date of this writing).

  • Exchange

    An ad exchange is a technology that facilitates automated, real-time auctions for online advertising. Publishers sell open ad spaces on websites to advertisers in real-time - it happens incredibly fast, just as a web page is loading. The matching of advertisements with ad spaces is similar to the "stock exchange" in the stock market, with buyers and sellers negotiating prices that fluctuate in real-time. Because the entire transaction is automated, it is an efficient process for publishers to sell their inventory without a huge sales team and for advertisers to buy ad spaces or impressions.

  • Interest-Based Advertising

    Interest-Based Advertising means the collection of data across web domains owned or operated by different entities for the purpose of delivering advertising based on preferences or interests known or inferred from the data collected.

  • IP Address

    An IP address (Internet Protocol Address) is an address to a computer, device, or online service. It typically looks like this: 198.101.218.235. This is how computers are able to identify each other and know where to send information over the Internet. In general, your computer or other device is assigned an IP address from the network you are using, and that's then used to send the website data back to your web browser. Your computer's IP address may change over time or as you change locations.

  • Non-PII

    Non-PII is data that is linked or reasonably linkable to a particular computer or device. Non-PII includes, but is not limited to, unique identifiers associated with users’ computers or devices and IP addresses, where such identifiers or IP addresses are not linked to PII. Non-PII does not include De-Identified Data.

  • Opt-In Consent

    Opt-In Consent means that an individual takes some affirmative action that manifests the intent to opt in.

  • Opt-Out Mechanism

    An Opt-Out Mechanism is an easy-to-use mechanism by which individuals may exercise choice to disallow Interest-Based Advertising with respect to a particular browser or device.

  • Personally Identifiable Information (PII)

    Personally Identifiable Information (PII) is any information used or intended to be used to identify a particular individual, including name, address, telephone number, email address, financial account number, and government-issued identifier.

  • Precise Location Data

    Precise Location Data is information that describes the precise geographic location of a device derived through any technology that is capable of determining with reasonable specificity the actual physical location of an individual or device, such as GPS-level latitude-longitude coordinates or location-based Wi-Fi triangulation.

  • Publishers

    The individual or organization who creates and delivers online content or services such as a website or blog. Publishers generate income for their websites by showing advertisements on the sites. The websites you visit work with NAI members and other advertising companies to provide you with advertising that is as relevant and useful as possible.

  • Real Time Bidding (RTB)

    RTB is an auction for online advertising. Advertisers place bids on the opportunity to show an ad on a web page. The "real time" part means that it happens very quickly -- in milliseconds -- at the moment a page is loaded.

  • Retargeting

    Retargeting is the practice of collecting data about a user’s activity on one web domain for the purpose of delivering an advertisement based on that data on a different, unaffiliated web domain. Although it is a separate and distinct practice from Interest-Based Advertising, unless specified otherwise, requirements and obligations set forth under the Code for Interest-Based Advertising apply equally to Retargeting.

  • Sensitive Data

    Sensitive Data includes:

    • · Social Security Numbers or other government-issued identifiers;

    • · Insurance plan numbers;

    • · Financial account numbers;

    • · Information about any past, present, or potential future health or medical conditions or treatments, including genetic, genomic, and family medical history, based on, obtained, or derived from pharmaceutical prescriptions or medical records, or similar health or medical sources that provide actual knowledge of a condition or treatment (the source is sensitive);

    • · Information, including inferences, about sensitive health or medical conditions or treatments, including, but not limited to, all types of cancer, mental health-related conditions, and sexually transmitted diseases (the condition or treatment is sensitive regardless of the source); and

    • · Sexual Orientation.

  • Third-Party Cookies

    Cookies set by the websites you visit are typically “first-party” cookies. The sites you visit may work with ad networks or other service providers to help provide content or services, including advertising. Those partners also use cookies. But because these partners can only place cookies using their own web domains, they are called “third-party” cookies. NAI members, working with publishers and websites, use third-party cookies to make advertising more engaging to users and more valuable to publishers and advertisers.

  • Web Beacon

    A web beacon enables two websites to share information. A web beacon consists of a small string of software code that represents a graphic image request on a web page or email. There may or may not be a visible graphic image associated with the web beacon and often the image is designed to blend into the background of a web page or email. Web beacons can be used for many purposes - including site traffic reporting, unique visitor counts, advertising auditing and reporting.