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List of terms commonly used in Online and Offline Advertising - Print, Radio, Television

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Glossary of Advertising Terms & Terminology

The Advertising Industry is one of the most exciting, competitive and fast paced industries that exist today. If you are interested in pursuing a career in advertising or just plain inquisitive about the lingo used in this sector (online advertising & offline), here is a list of Advertising terms (terminology used in Advertising) for your ready reference.    

Directory of Advertising Terms / Language - Definitions of commonly used Terminology in Advertising

above the fold : In web advertising, an ad placed on a web page in such a way that you do not need to scroll horizontally or vertically to view it.

account : The term account refers to the client / employer of the ad agency - a business entity, organization or a corporate that employs the advertising agency.

account executive : a professional who represents the advertising agency to its clients. He / she is the link between the ad agency and the organization hiring the agency.

ad space: refers to the space on a web page that is used for placing and showing ads. 

ad views : the number of times an advertisement is shown. 

advertisement : According to the American Marketing Association, Chicago, "Advertising is any paid form of non personal presentation of ideas, goods and services by an identified sponsor."

advertising specialty : Refers to advertising on promotional products - such as items of daily use which are used to carry the advertising message for a Company or brand. The message can be a Company logo, or a slogan, etc.

ad agency : An independent entity that works for various clients and helps them in promoting their brand by designing and creating attention grabbing advertisements and campaigns. Also handles other promotional work for the client.

affiliate program : this form of online marketing is gaining tremendous popularity and is based on the concept that affiliates are paid when their marketing efforts boost sales and generate revenue for the advertiser. Affiliate marketing programs create a win-win situation for all parties concerned.

animated GIF : In the online world, animated GIF (graphical interchange format) is very commonly used especially in the form of banners which display graphical images one after the other. It is generally seen that moving images / banners are effective in catching the attention of online surfers and in most cases register a high click through rate.

art director : is an artist with strong visualization & drawing skills. This is the person who oversees the work of graphic artists. In some smaller agencies, the Art Director takes the complete responsibility of designing and converting ideas into awe-inspiring visuals within an ad - from ad layouts, to storyboarding and compilations. 

audiovisual : In advertising, a number of A/V presentation tools are used including videos, slides etc.

billboards : are widely used large sized outdoor signs that carry the advertising message on a mega scale. Billboards are able to catch the attention of passers by and other traffic due to their heightened visibility.

Note: Billboards have lately become a cause for concern as it is believed that billboards can distract traffic and increase the possibilities of accidents.

B2B : or Business to Business refers to a business or a website that serves and works with other businesses of a commercial nature. 

banner : banners or banner ads are the most commonly used forms of online advertising. Banners of varied sizes such as 468x60 are used to carry the ad message at strategic positions on a website. Banner advertising and banner exchange programs are gaining centre stage.

brainstorming : brainstorming sessions are meetings in which the advertising agency staff meet and share ideas with each other to come up with creative concepts.

brochure : a tool that carries the advertising message.

campaign : clients hire advertising agencies to create advertising campaigns to promote their brand / Co. An advertising campaign can be made up of a series of ads that can run over a long period of time, on a number of media vehicles like television, radio, print etc.

click-through rate (CTR) : refers to the number of times visitors to a site click on an ad.

commercial : refers to an audio or visual advertisement that carries the advertiser's message through a range of media such as radio, television etc. Commercials show in between television programs and serve the purpose of informing, educating and creating an interest in the advertised brand.

Note: due to too much clutter, many television viewers switch channels in between commercials thus, reducing their effectiveness.

concept : every advertisement is designed around a concept or idea that gives shape to the entire advertising campaign.

copy : an ad is made up of different elements and copy refers to the textual matter or the written word in an advertisement.  


copywriter : is a person who has the ability to create magic with words. The Copywriter is responsible for transforming ideas into words, writing the body copy for advertisements etc.

corporate identity : a number of factors contribute to a firm's corporate identity such as its name, logo & slogan etc.

cost per thousand : (CPM) is the cost incurred per 1000 displays of an ad.

CPA / CPL : cost per action / cost per lead - the advertiser pays the publisher for the ad only when it leads to the completion of a desired action such as a confirmed sale, or registration etc.

CPC : cost per click based on the number of clicks on a specific ad.

direct marketing : refers to marketing a brand's identity using mailers, leaflets, brochures etc.

fold : refers to the area which falls at the bottom of a web page when seen on a standard screen size.

Note: It is generally seen that, the area above the fold catches the most attention of surfers and thus, most advertising efforts are directed towards that region.

insert : Inserts are printed sheets of paper that carry an advertising message often inserted into magazines and newspapers. Many companies use inserts to reach their target audiences.



jingle : in advertising terminology, a jingle refers to a musical piece of advertising message that is played on the radio or television and are meant to catch the attention of listeners. Jingles should be catchy, short and likeable in order to create a lasting impression.

launch : refers to the introduction of a new product (brand) or service.

logo : is an image or symbol that represents a Company. Often, the logo becomes synonymous with the brand and is enough to portray the Company it represents.

mailing list : Companies spend time and effort in maintaining a mailing list of present and prospective customers. This list is valuable to the Co and is used to stay in touch with their target audiences.

market : refers to the present & prospective consumers for a product or service.

market research : refers to the efforts that go into researching, studying and analyzing the target audience. 

media : Print, television, radio, internet, billboards etc are all forms of media that help in communicating with audiences on a large scale - their reach, quality and affect differ from each other.

media planner : selects an optimum mix of media vehicles that will provide maximum visibility to the ads resulting in maximizing sales of the client's products. The media planner must have a thorough understanding of the client's products, target customers and their buying patterns along with a knowledge of each media vehicle.

point of purchase advertising - POP refers to the promotion tools that are displayed in shops, stores and malls. These display signs and danglers catch the attention of customers right when they are making purchases in a shop.

presentation : an advertising agency organizes a presentation before the client to present their ideas for the ad or the advertising campaign.

print advertising : pick up a newspaper, magazine or a catalog and you will see plenty of advertisements. Print advertisements contain elements such as copy, pictures etc. 

promotion : considering the fact that there is so much competition in the market, every Company, product / brand needs promotion. Promotion refers to all the activities that are undertaken to push sales and popularize the product.

public service announcement : refers to an announcement which is made in the general interest of the public using media tools such as radio, television and print.

ROI : Return on Investment is a very important determent for knowing whether the revenue generated by an ad exceeds the cost of producing it.

shoot : once an adverting concept is ready, it has to be converted into reality and made believable. An advertisement shoot leads to the filming of the ad using models in the right location giving substance to the concept.

slogan : an adverting campaign often carries a slogan which is a combination of catchy and memorable words that represent the Company's message and often identifies the brand.

storyboard : in the case of a television ad, the storyboard represents the various stages of the commercial from start to finish.

target audience : Target audience refers to the most probable group of customers for a product based on such criteria as age, region, status etc. Every business must identify their target audiences to make sure that all their advertising and marketing efforts are directed towards reaching these viable prospective customers.  

telemarketing : refers to the use of telephone to sell, advertise or research.

time slot : media planners have to select specific time slots during which their ad will be aired.

traffic : refers to the number of visitors that come to the website. Every website hopes to receive large number of visitors, both repeat and new visitors increasing the number of page views on the site. However, more traffic doesn't always mean more sales.

visits : the number of unique visits and visitors to a website in a given period of time - day/week/month.

voice over : various voice over artists lend their voice for commercials. Voice over is the voice behind an ad.

If you would like to add to this list or share your experience in advertising, write to me at [email protected]

Contributing Author: Akanksha is a freelance content writer. An Advertising graduate, she writes Research based Articles on topics ranging from content writing, travel, home improvement etc. [email protected]

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