Smart AdServer Glossary | Smart


Must-Know Programmatic Definitions

Programmatic Sales

An automated process for buying and selling online advertising inventory.

Advantages: efficiency, streamlined process, increased performance, publisher supply available to reduce RFP efforts.

Open Auction / RTB / OpenRTB

A type of programmatic ad buying in which ad exchanges auction off impressions from sites and mobile apps to automated bidders in real time. All connected DSPs are called upon and their bids are sent. The highest bidder wins.

Private Marketplace (PMP) / Deals

An invitation-only RTB exchange that uses programmatic buying channels to auction premium inventory to a selected set of  pre-approved buyers.  Publishers may set minimum bids (a floor price) to maintain the desired sale price. The tagging, testing, and validation are all automated and the sale is made through the use of deal IDs, private auctions or preferred deals. However, all parties are in contact with each other to negotiate the terms of the auction in advance. However, vendors are in contact with each other and decide on the details of the sale in advance.

  • Deal ID – The data sent to a publisher that identifies the package (specific inventory, price, volume, etc.) that was decided upon by both parties. The information tells a publisher that they’ve made a deal with an advertiser.
  • Private Auction – An auction within an auction for select, whitelisted buyers who are given first-look at the inventory before it’s made available to the open marketplace. Inventory is not sold at a fixed price.
  • Preferred Deal – Similar to a private auction, but one buyer has priority access to the inventory, which is offered to that buyer at a fixed, pre-negotiated price before it goes to an open auction. Volume, however, is not guaranteed.

Header Bidding (HB)

Header bidding, also known as advance bidding or pre-bidding, is an upstream bidding process designed to maximize the monetization of impressions. In this advanced programmatic technique, publishers or ad networks access multiple demand platforms to assess the inventory’s real value. Technically, publishers and website owners implement HB through a specific tag wrapped in the website header. This lets the demand side submit bids before the ad server/supply-side platform (SSP) request. The idea is that by letting multiple demand sources bid on the same inventory at the same time, publishers increase their yield and make more money.


  • It fosters bid value transparency, and it eliminates the waterfall principle used to access inventory clusters.


  • Setup costs
  • Website-loading latencies
  • Requirement by the publisher to manage different user interfaces, without centralized control
  • Difficult to get an aggregated monetization report
  • By wrapping the tags of different ad vendors on their pages, publishers relinquish control of their inventory. So, header bidding supports price arbitrage, which hurts publisher revenues.

Programmatic Guaranteed / Programmatic Direct / Premium Programmatic

This automated, direct-selling methodology leverages the OpenRTB standard and combines RTB deals and OpenDirect transactions. The buyer, often using a Deal ID, commits upfront to purchase a certain volume of inventory at a fixed price through a third-party direct sales platform. The automated transaction is processed by platforms initially designed for real-time bidding, but have added features and functionality to support “direct sales.” This type of transaction usually includes advanced formats and, in some cases, roadblocks.

Automated Guaranteed

A transaction designed to automate the direct sales RFP process, including reserving inventory, through a publisher’s ad server’s API.

The IAB OpenDirect specification, which standardized APIs and accelerated their development, allowed  publishers to package and market their inventory at guaranteed volumes. Within a buying platform, marketers have direct access to a publisher’s packaged inventory. With Automated Guaranteed, they have the ability to search and filter offers, check availability, send booking requests, traffic campaigns and access reports all from a single interface. Publishers can accept or refuse booking requests, validate creative files and even propose a discounted price.

This buying method allows publishers to keep control of their inventory while leveraging more modern sales processes. Automated Guaranteed is impossible without an ad server.

Premium Inventory

Quality, “brand safe” inventory offered by reputable publishers whose users have chosen to frequent their sites because of a true interest in the high-value content provided. The ad environment aids in properly targeting the user, and the surrounding content adds value to an ad impression. This inventory is also primed to display innovative formats which boost ad performance.

True premium inventory goes through a strict scanning process that includes proof of a direct relationship with publishers or insertion orders. Often, new inventory information is provided to buyers for approval. This enables fluent communication and knowledge-sharing of any suspicious activities, which helps improve the entire ecosystem.

Smart AdServer Makes Understanding Programmatic Easy

Are the definitions surrounding programmatic confusing you? Get it all straight in one minute flat!


This video sheds light on terms like:

OpenDirect, OpenRTB, open auction, private auction, preferred deals, direct deals, Automated Guaranteed, programmatic guaranteed, PMP (private marketplace), programmatic reserved, programmatic direct, and programmatic premium.

Must-Know Native Advertising Definitions

Sponsored Content (Editorial Sponsorship)

An advertisement that is written by the publisher for the brand to increase brand awareness. Roadblocks or full-page takeovers may be set up to heighten brand recognition, but there isn’t a clear call to action. The editorial style of the article matches that of the publication, so these ads are required by law to carry the label “sponsored content” (or a variation thereof).

Branded Content

Similar to sponsored content, branded content is written to increase brand awareness. The only difference between the two is that branded content is written by the advertiser or brand itself.
Roadblocks or full-page takeovers may be set up to heighten brand recognition.


A form of branded content designed to look like editorial content, and which features a clear call to action (hence the combination of the words “editorial” and “advertisement”.) The goal is to encourage the reader to buy the product as quickly as possible.

Product Placement

When a product is quietly slipped into an article, video or film, in order to increase brand awareness. Characters can be seen wearing, using or working with the product being advertised.

In-Feed Native Ads

Advertisements placed between the content on a page, allowing the reader to consult them naturally and with little effort. They’re often placed between content that appears on social media and news sites that use a mobile or in-app “infinite scroll” feature. To further clarify, the IAB has separated in-feed native into three main feed types (content, social, and product), four main ad types (story ad, video ad, app install ad, and product ad) and four link destinations (within site / app, new page, play video, or app install page).

Native Search Ads

The IAB has defined native search ads as those which display their content in a layout and format “readily available to organic search engine results”. More often than not, native search ads will:

  • have a disclosure statement
  • sit above the organic results
  • mirror page content behavior
  • link to a landing page
  • be sold with a guaranteed placement
  • be measured on conversion metrics such as direct response

Recommendation Widgets

The IAB defines this type of native advertising as an ad or paid content link delivered with a “widget.” Many recommendation widgets will title their ads “You might like” or “From around the web”, and link to another site. The widget doesn’t mirror the editorial content of the site, so it is not sold with a guaranteed placement. However, it is integrated into the page. Measurement is based on brand engagement like interaction and brand lift rather than direct response metrics, such as purchase.


Defined by the IAB as an ad placed “outside of the editorial well”, this type of native advertising is out-stream and matches the function of the website. It links to a different website, has been sold with a narrowly targeted placement, and is measured through brand engagement.

Acceptable Ads

Advertisements which ad blocking companies deem to be non-intrusive. Such ads, which are said to promote a more positive user experience, comply with specific criteria so that they can be displayed to users running an ad blocker.

Must-Know Ad Serving Definitions

Ad Server

The technology responsible for delivering the creative to the user. Ad servers report which and how many ads were run, where they were run, and who saw them.


A tool that allows clients to discover how much space they have sold and how much is left to sell. Forecasts also predict how much a publisher or ad network will earn based on the number of users and the amount of inventory sold.


When an ad server calls various SSPs until it finds one that accepts. Passbacks are part of the “waterfall” prioritization model.

Managed Tag

A way for advertisers to get a first look at a publisher’s inventory by plugging a tag into the publisher’s ad server. After they’re connected, the advertiser can see the inventory and, if desired, place a bid. If the advertiser buys, it’s at a fixed price and CPM. This process benefits publishers because it cuts out the middleman and helps them manage their campaign spending better. (Note: this has nothing to do with “tag management”.)

Holistic Yield Management (HYM)

HYM aims to merge all demand sources and inventory types (guaranteed, performance, networks, RTB, and programmatic direct) and assess their value simultaneously. The programmatic segment is merged based on internal forecast data. HYM integrates programmatic buying into ad delivery logic while taking into account all monetization types (direct, guaranteed, performance, and programmatic), allowing synchronization of the two buying methods.

Floor Price

In an RTB auction, the minimum bid price (CPM) set by a publisher or SSP on ad inventory. Any potential buyers who bid below this price are automatically rejected.

Dynamic Floor Pricing

In an RTB auction, a minimum bid price that is constantly set and reset in real time. Prices are selected in response to previous transactions and changes in demand. This pricing method allows publishers to boost revenue with an optimization system that fits with buyers’ bidding strategies.

Must-Know Acronyms

Solutions for publishers

Get started with Smart