Glossary of terms

Digital Advertising, A-to-Z

Digital advertising is the land of acronyms and technical terms. Our glossary can help you make sense of it all with definitions of the most common terminology.


A/B Test

Comparative test in which cookie pool is split (usually in half) and two alternative solutions or features are run on each cookie pool. It is used to compare the performance of one solution or feature against the other.

Above the Fold

An ad is “above the fold” when the ad is placed within the height of the browser’s content window on a website’s page. In other words, it is visible on the user’s screen after page load, prior to scrolling down.

Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP)

Google-backed project designed as an open standard for any publisher to have pages load quickly on mobile devices.

Active Elements

Design components of an ad such as logos, call to action, descriptions, and ratings that are dynamically combined with images from a product catalog on native publishers such as Facebook and Instagram.

Ad Exchange

An ad exchange is a technology platform that facilitates the buying and selling of media advertising inventory. Ad prices are determined through bidding in a real-time auction (also known as RTB (Real-Time Bidding)).

Ad Layout

The way the components of a banner (product images, prices, descriptions, titles) are organized within a banner.

Ad Tech

Ad tech, short for "advertising technology", provides advertisers with the ability to target users and deliver and control digital advertisements.

Adaptive Design

Design that adapts to the user’s device and browser.


A set of rules established for making a calculation. Criteo AI Engine uses algorithms to predict and recommend.

App-Events SDK

The App-Events Software Development Kit (SDK) is an easy-to-use developer toolkit that supports the complete feature set of Criteo Dynamic Retargeting and accurately collects in-app events and transactions.

Artificial Intelligence (AI)

The use of machine learning algorithms to parse data, extract insights, and make decisions based on those insights—all in real time.

Audience Targeting

The practice of separating consumers into groups based on different criteria in order to deliver more customized advertising.

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Average Cart

The average revenue generated by a campaign’s sales. This number is calculated by dividing the total revenue by the total sales.


Banner Ad

An online advertisement placed on a publisher’s webpage and linked to an advertiser’s page. A traditional display banner usually has a preset size (e.g., 300X250 pixels) and often includes a combination of images and text.


A list of IP addresses, publishers, advertisers, or products that should be excluded from a campaign.


California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA)

A law that secures new privacy rights for California consumers. Learn more about it here.

Call to Action (CTA)

A specific button within the ad inviting the user to click through on text, like “Buy Now.”


Buckets of users for which the advertiser has a set Key Performance Indicator (KPI). Campaign examples include Lower Funnel, Mid-Funnel, Customers, Non-Customers.


Frequency capping means restricting (capping) the number of times (frequency) a specific visitor to a website is shown a particular ad.

Catalog Feed

Advertiser’s product inventory. A product in the feed will typically include a product’s ID, name, description, category, image URL, and the product’s URL on the advertiser’s website.

Click-Through Rate (CTR)

Shows how often people who see your ad end up clicking on it. CTR is calculated by dividing the number of clicks on an ad by the number of impressions served.

Click/Click Through

Each time a user clicks on an ad and is taken to an advertiser’s website.

Cohort audiences

Google’s solution for ad targeting in Chrome without third-party cookies. Cohorts are groups of consumers with the same interests, based on their browsing behaviors.

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Commerce audience

A Criteo audience that enables advertisers to target prospects who are interested in specific categories or brands, or with specific socio-demographic features. Learn more.

Commerce Media

Digital advertising that combines commerce data and intelligence to help marketers and media owners drive commerce outcomes.

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Competition Win %

The share of targeted impressions that you won on the display market.


Composer is a core component of DCO+. It allows Creative Services to build a digital design framework for each client based on its brand guidelines.

Connected TV Advertising (CTV)

Ads served within shows and movies that are streamed via over-the-top (OTT) services on any connected TV (those with a built-in internet connection), or streaming device (like Apple TV or Roku).

Contextual audiences

These can be built using a variety of data points. Online contextual relies on technology that reads the content of a page and summarizes the content topic and sentiment (positive or negative). Real world signals can also be analyzed, such as weather, time of day, and location.

Contextual targeting

Contextual targeting matches an ad to a website page, based on the content of that page. It enables advertisers to display ads to groups of consumers based on their interests and a website’s page content.

Conversion Rate (CR)

The percentage of people who clicked on an ad and completed the desired action.


A piece of data stored on a user’s web browser that enables advertisers to recognize users and serve them a personalized ad.

Cookie-less targeting

Targeting techniques that don’t require identifying a user, for example using contextual signals to add insight into a user, or by using aggregated or cohort targeting which relies on grouping like users but not identifying individuals.

Cost of Sales (COS)

The ratio between the total cost of the campaign and the sales that the campaign generated. In other words, your ad cost as a percentage of revenue. COS is calculated by dividing ad spend by revenue driven.

Cost Per Acquisition (CPA)

The amount an advertiser spends for a user's action, i.e. a purchase, a form submission, a completed booking. Calculated as total cost divided by total conversions.

Cost Per Click (CPC)

The price you pay each time a user clicks on your ad. Calculated as total cost divided by total clicks.

Cost Per Install (CPI)

The price you pay for each app install. Calculated as total cost divided by total installs.

Cost Per Lead (CPL)

The price you pay for each lead generated, usually identified as a form fill where contact information is obtained. Calculated as total cost divided by total leads.

Cost Per Mille (CPM)

The price you pay per one thousand impressions. Calculated as total cost divided by total impressions times 1,000.

Cost Per Order (CPO)

The price you pay for each order. Calculated as total cost divided by total number of orders.

Cost Per View (CPV)

The price you pay each time a video ad is viewed. Typically, a user must watch for at least 30 seconds for it to count as a view. Calculated as total cost divided by total views.

Criteo AI Engine

Consists of multiple machine learning algorithms and proprietary hard- and software infrastructure that enables Criteo’s solution to operate in real time and at significant scale. Learn more.


Data Management Platform (DMP)

Software-based solution that aggregates and processes data feeds that provide insights into audiences and targeting for buyers and sellers of ads.

Demand-Side Platform (DSP)

Technology platform that provides centralized and aggregated media buying from multiple sources, including ad exchanges, ad networks, and sell-side platforms, often using real-time bidding capabilities of these sources.

Digital shelf

The online equivalent of the brick-and-mortar shopping experience. The digital shelf is where a brand's product is displayed online, and can include search results and product detail pages on retailer websites and apps, marketplaces, and other ecommerce channels.

Display Advertising

Visual ads placed on websites, social media networks, or apps. They are typically image, text, or video banner ads that when clicked on, take a user to a website or landing page.

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Dynamic Ads

An ad automatically personalized for the user viewing it in order to create additional engagement and conversions.

Dynamic Creative Optimization+ (DCO+)

A core feature of the Criteo AI Engine. DCO+ is a dynamic creative optimization technology that uses insights from the Criteo Shopper Graph to generate personalized ads for every individual in real-time.


Effective Cost Per Mille (eCPM)

Revenue the engine predicts Criteo can achieve on each impression. The computation of the eCPM depends on the relevant KPI selected by the advertiser (CTR/CR/COS).


First-party cookie (1P cookie)

When an advertiser or publisher stores a user's information in a cookie on their own website, it’s a 1st party cookie.

First-party data (1P data)

Any information that is gathered directly between the company and the consumer. This could be web-site usage, CRM, email address, or other.


Proposed by Google as an audience targeting scenario for Chrome, FLEDGE allows advertisers, publishers, and ad tech to add users to the cohorts that they define.

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Proposed by Google as an audience targeting scenario for Chrome, the “Federated Learning of Cohorts” (FLoC) creates lookalike audiences based on machine learning.

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Full-Funnel Marketing

A strategy that addresses the full shopper journey and incorporates objectives for all three stages of the purchase funnel: awareness, consideration, and conversion.


General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)

The EU GDPR harmonizes data privacy laws across Europe. It protects the privacy of EU citizens and applies to all companies collecting or processing personal data on individuals in the EU, even if not established in the EU.


Hashed Email

Encrypted email collected from advertisers to enable cross-device advertising. A hashed email is an email address that’s been coded into a unique hexadecimal string that can’t be decrypted. This ensures secure privacy of the email address’s owner.

Head to Head Test (H2H)

A period during which an advertiser will run two competing solutions at the same time to assess which one performs better.

Header Bidding

Header bidding is an advanced programmatic technique wherein publishers offer inventory to multiple ad exchanges simultaneously before making calls to their ad servers.


Identity Graph

Criteo Shopper Graph data collective that connects online and offline shopper IDs across devices, browsers, apps, and environments.

Impression (or Display)

The number of times your ads are displayed to a user on publishers’ websites.

Insertion Order (IO)

The contract signed by an advertiser/agency to validate a new budget for an advertising campaign. It is signed by the advertiser.

Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB)

Organization that sets standards and guidelines for digital ad units.

Interest Map

Criteo Shopper Graph data collective that links a shopper’s historical browsing and transaction patterns to standard product, category, and brand identifiers.


Key Performance Indicator (KPI)

The target or result that you want to achieve. In other words, it’s how you measure the success of a campaign. Common KPIs are ROAS, COS, and CPO.


Liquid Design

Liquid ad layouts are based on percentages of the current browser window’s size. They remain consistent in size and relative page weight regardless of who is viewing the page.

Lookalike Finder

A core feature of the Criteo AI Engine. It creates audiences called Similar Audiences by using AI and the Criteo Shopper Graph to accurately identify new users with similar characteristics to a company’s best customer.


Management Center (formerly CPP)

Criteo’s performance-monitoring interface used both internally and externally to track the daily performance of advertisers and publishers and to monitor/change budgets and CPC of our advertisers.

Measurement Data

A Criteo Shopper Graph data collective that tracks every sale that occurs from a brand-funded retail campaign, and is able to report at the SKU, audience, and placement level.

Mobile Ads

Standardized ad units designed for mobile devices, including smartphones and tablets.

Mobile advertising identifiers (MAIDs)

Unique and anonymous identifiers provided by a mobile device’s operating system. Apple plans to change the usage of its mobile identifiers (IDFA) on Apple devices to ask users to “opt-in” before enabling ad tracking in apps.


Native Ads

Ads that look and feel like the surrounding content in an attempt to improve the user experience by letting ads blend into the content backdrop. Ads on the Facebook News feed are a good example of native ads.


Open Internet

The online environments of publishers, retailers, and brands that are outside search and social walled gardens.


Opt-out is the option we give end users to unsubscribe from Criteo’s retargeting solution; anyone can opt out on our Privacy page after clicking on the blue “i” icon on each Criteo banner.

Over-the-Top (OTT)

Enables the internet streaming of movies, tv shows, and other video content "over the top" of a cable box. Includes services such as Netflix, Hulu, and Sling.



A publisher passes Criteo impressions and we decide whether or not to accept them. When we don’t, we “passback” to the publisher.

Post-Click Sales

Purchase made by a user on a website or mobile app within a certain period of time following the user clicking on an ad. This period of time varies by but is typically a maximum of 30 days.

Predicted Click-Through Rate

Expected click-through rate (CTR) for each possible impression that the Criteo AI Engine computes.

Predictive Bidding

A core feature of the Criteo AI Engine. It uses granular insights on consumers, products, publishers, and the interactions among them to enable us to bid at the right price and right time for each individual consumer.

Premium Ad Inventory

Ad inventory that is considered to be of high quality and is therefore valued at a higher price.

Product Recommendations

A core feature of the Criteo AI Engine. Recommendations are made based on the shopper’s specific on-site behavior such as navigation, recency, and the types of products browsed, along with the on-site behavior of other visitors.

Programmatic Advertising

Automated ad buying in real time through a software solution as opposed to the traditional method via phone, email or fax.


A website that publishes content (news, etc.) and which often monetizes its traffic by selling ad placements.

Publisher monetization

How publishers leverage their data and content to drive revenue.



Share of the advertiser’s audience exposed to at least one display ad (expressed as a %).

Real-Time Audience (RTA)

Protocol invented by Criteo that allows us to communicate with the publisher’s ad server to determine whether to show ads to the user currently browsing the page.

Real-Time Bidding (RTB)

Buying and selling of ad inventory through a programmatic exchange or software solution. Each ad impression is sold to the highest bidder in real time, in the split second it takes a potential customer’s browser to load an ad unit.

Real-Time Creative Optimization (RTCO)

A sub-feature of DCO+, Criteo’s Real-Time Creative Optimization instantly calculates which set of predefined visual elements will be the most engaging to a specific consumer at any given time in any given context.


Proprietary technology that allows us to render fully optimized ads on the publisher page in real time, enabling billions of ad variations to be available within a given campaign.

Reseller Program

Allows retailers to resell Criteo Dynamic Retargeting to their brand partners and allows both parties to reach shoppers with co-branded, dynamic ads delivered across top publishers.

Retail Media

A discipline that includes the buying and selling of advertising within retailer websites and apps. The most common ad format is the sponsored product ad, usually shown on search results, category, and/or product detail pages.

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Display ads shown on websites and apps to bring someone who has left your website without buying back to complete their purchase. Usually personalized based on the last item browsed or added to cart.

Return on Advertising Spend (ROAS)

Shows how much revenue you make for every dollar of ad spend. ROAS is expressed as a ratio, like 2:1.

Return on Investment (ROI)

Digital marketing ROI is usually calculated as Revenue/Cost. Cost usually means initial investment, but also cost of an ad campaign. ROI = 1/COS. In many cases, ROI is equivalent to ROAS.


Same-Device Match

Connects the mobile web cookie to the device ID (Android or Apple).

Second-party data

A company’s 1st-party data that has been securely sourced, and then sold with consent to another company. For example, a publisher’s site-use data shared with an advertiser would be 2nd-party data.

Second-Price Auction

Mechanism allowing the highest bidder to win, while paying the second-highest bid plus a penny. Encourages buyers to bid their true value, as their paid price will always be equal to or lower than their bid.

Self-Service Platform

Allows advertisers to manage their own digital advertising campaigns from beginning to end, including launching campaigns, monitoring and maintenance, and performance reporting.


Shoppers visiting the store to find, try, and gather information on the products but eventually buying online.

Similar Audiences

Similar Audiences are built using our Lookalike Finder AI technology and the Criteo Shopper Graph and identify new potential customers with similar characteristics to a company’s best customers.


Proposed by Criteo as an audience targeting scenario in Chrome, SPARROW introduced amendments to Google’s TURTLEDOVE proposal, some of which have been incorporated into FLEDGE.

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Static Ad

Unlike dynamic banners, the content of static banners is pre-prepared - the element you can control is the condition that defines which pre-prepared option the user sees, such as which website pages they've viewed.

Supply-Side Platform

Third-party technology platform used by publishers to sell their advertising inventory in an automated fashion.


Tagged User

A user who visited an advertiser’s website whom Criteo identified with a cookie (= tagged).

Third-party cookie (3P cookie)

A cookie that is created by domains other than the one you are visiting directly. 3P cookies are used for cross-site tracking, retargeting, and ad-serving.

Third-party data (3P data)

Data that you buy from an outside source, typically a data aggregator that collects it from publishers and other first-party data owners. 3P data is used to enhance and scale audiences.


Unique Visitor

Counting website visitors on a unique level. When a person visits a site, the individual is counted once, no matter how many times or pages the person visits, thus creating a better idea of how many people are visiting.


An individual with access to the Internet. A user can access the Internet through multiple browsers or devices, and thus have multiple cookies/user IDs.

User ID

A token attributed to a technical identifier, such as a cookie or device ID, and specific to a given browser or device.


Walled Gardens

A closed online environment where advertisers have less access to customer data and have less control over how to measure success.


Shoppers gathering product information online and deciding which products to buy online but then going to the store to make the purchase.


Zero-party data

Data that is proactively and intentionally shared by a user. It is different from 1P data in that zero-party data has explicit interest and preferences as defined by the customer.

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360° experience

A digital ad that immerses the user in a 360 degree experience that they can control just by moving their mobile device. An interactive format that invites users to have fun with your ads.​ ​