Understanding Adult Advertising Terminology

Alex Henderson

The digital age and the innovations of Silicon Valley have brought an endless supply of new terminology into existence. Even in many countries where English is not the primary language, techies understand widely used terms like “download,” “cloud,” “software” and “smartphone.”

There is no shortage of high-tech terminology used in connection with online advertising, and when ad networks provide or recommend glossaries and help their clients understand advertising-related terms, it is beneficial for everyone involved.

A media buyer is not necessarily an affiliate. A media buyer is the person who buys and manages some advertising campaign for himself or for a company. -Alex Lecomte, JuicyAds

Nicole Adams, North American sales manager for the Netherlands-based adult ad network EroAdvertising, noted that with mobile/wireless traffic becoming increasingly important to adult companies, publishers and advertisers need to understand as much mobile-related terminology as possible.

“The important terms adult companies should have a firm understanding of are smart bidding, geo-targeting and 3G versus wireless mobile traffic,” Adams told XBIZ. “I think a big misconception is in mobile, where all mobile traffic is seen as the same thing. Companies need to know that 3G traffic performs differently than wireless traffic, and it is important to be able to segment to one or the other depending on your offer.”

Adams added: “I think a glossary can help online adult companies to make sure everyone is on the same page, especially with the global marketplace. Some countries do call things by a different name, and there can be different interpretations of things such as an impression versus a view.”

Ross Allan, advertising manager for TrafficForce, urged publishers and advertisers to carefully study’s glossary of advertising terms — most of which, he said, are relevant to both mainstream and adult advertising.

Allan told XBIZ: “In advertising, there are so many terms a successful media buyer has to understand to have a basic conversation with someone selling traffic, let alone more advanced conversation. has a great wiki of all terms used in day-to-day negotiations or talks regarding advertising — it is very detailed and covers everything that anyone would ever need. The TrafficForce team always refers our clients to this index due to how thorough it is. As much as adult versus mainstream is very different, most of the terminology is the same.”

The more adult businesses understand advertising terminology, Allan said, the more productive their relationships with ad networks will be.

“Some companies need to realize that an ad network’s first mission is to sell their traffic,” Allan asserted. “Too many people will contact reps or business development people to try and convince them to send affiliate traffic or conduct free testing. Sadly, it is more common than I’d like, and it wastes everyone’s time. If I say ‘no’ the first time around, it doesn’t mean that when you ask me again tomorrow, I will have changed my mind and start flooding you with traffic.

“One thing I ask these people is if they have a media buying team; if so, then I am open to a mutually beneficial relationship where they buy some and we send some as affiliates. That keeps everyone happy and makes people see the value in media buying.”

Allan added, however, that overall, ad networks are doing a fine job explaining ad-related terminology to their clients.

“Most ad networks I have dealt with are great at educating their clients through one-to-one support via Skype or e-mail,” Allan commented. “The advertising industry is filled with very knowledgeable, friendly people who take a great deal of pride in helping their clients to achieve the best results. I don’t think there is a lack of education within adult networks.

“Moreover, I’d say that clients buying from adult ad networks get better treatment than people buying at a lot of mainstream places do. The community really likes to see each other become successful.”

The term “programmatic advertising” refers to the use of software to purchase online advertising, and according to Giles Hirst (marketing and communications manager for the Barcelona, Spain-based ad network ExoClick), the concept is relevant to both mainstream and adult businesses.

Hirst told XBIZ: “Programmatic advertising is the buzzword in mainstream right now, and ExoClick has brought this to the adult audience with our platform API — which allows clients to integrate their own software applications to automate some of their processes.”

Rocco Bruzzese, sales manager for AdXpansion, noted that helping clients understand digital advertising concepts has been a high priority for that company. Bruzzese told XBIZ: “A list or glossary does help. Our account managers often refer to some of our most used terms listed on our FAQ page when having a Skype or phone call with a new advertiser or publisher.

“With all of the acronyms used with online advertising networks, you need to know more than only CPM and CTR: cost per 1,000 impressions, and click-through rate. Now, we have terms often used like CPV, DSPs, RTB, retargeting, and many others. I think adult companies are already quite vocal on forums or at trade shows when it comes to some benefits with ad networks.”

Online advertising has an abundance of “cost per” terms: cost per download (CPD), cost per unique visitor, cost per completed view (CPCV), cost per order (CPO), CPC (cost per customer), cost per action (CPA), and CPM (which means “cost per thousand,” as M is the Roman numeral for 1000).

Bruzzese noted that understanding “cost per” terms is essential when companies are working out their advertising budgets.

“We understand that not everyone has thousands of dollars to spend simply to test different sources,” Bruzzese explained. “For advertisers who are on a limited budget, it’s important to make sure that you get the most for your dollar. Making sure that you set up and run the proper type of campaign is the best way to maximize your budget and get full value from it. Most networks offer different types of campaigns. Our two most used types are CPM, cost per (thousand), and CPC, cost per click. For someone on a limited budget, it might be in their best interest to prioritize more CPC campaigns.

“The advertiser will only pay when a validated click happens on their banner. Many networks offer advertisers the ability to keyword target: this is a great feature for CPC campaigns, and you can identify the main keywords that really best reflect your product to make your campaigns even more targeted.”

Run of network (RON) and run of site (ROS) are two terms that often come up in ad-related discussions. With ROS campaigns, ads appear across an entire website; with RON, ads appear on select parts of sites that an ad network represents.

Ad networks often educate new clients about “yield management,” which defines as “the process of understanding, anticipating and influencing advertiser and consumer behavior in order to maximize profits through better selling, pricing, packaging and inventory management, while delivering value to advertisers and site users.”

And ad networks also help clients understand terms pertaining to cookies. For example, a “cookie buster” is software that blocks cookie placement on a user’s browser. And a “persistent cookie” is one that remains on a hard drive until it either expires or is removed by the end user.

Alex Lecomte, marketing specialist for the ad network JuicyAds, noted that the term “media buyer” is often misunderstood by companies that are new to online advertising. Lecomte told XBIZ: “A media buyer is not necessarily an affiliate. A media buyer is the person who buys and manages some advertising campaign for himself or for a company.”

Juicy Jay, JuicyAds’ founder and CEO, stressed that understanding how CPC and CPM billing works is fundamental for companies.

Jay told XBIZ, “I believe a firm grasp of the main billing methods, CPC and CPM, and their benefits is a strong foundation. Cost per click or pay per click, CPC, is commonly used for lower click-through banners or ads that are looking for value in each click. Sometimes, it requires a high individual click price to get good placement, but the banners should be targeted to bring in only people who want to specifically buy your product.

“Some networks don’t even allow this method and insist on charging for every impression. Cost per thousand or per impression, CPM, is more beneficial for higher click-through ads, which gather a lot of clicks but have lower individual value. It’s about providing an offer with wide interest to drive volume clicks and see what sticks.

“Choose your billing method: JuicyAds offers both of these options. And make sure your choice reflects the creatives — banners — and offers you want to promote. Don’t forget to test, test, test, and then test some more. The bottom line is conversions regardless of the billing method.”