Digital media: Jargon buster

Don't know the difference between DAB and VOD? Find the answer in this essential glossary of digital media terms.

- ABCe

Measures electronic media traffic and adheres to industry-agreed global standards, making audience figures comparable with one another.

- Ad serving

Delivery of online ads to a consumer's computer via an ad-management system. The system allows different online ads to be served in order to target various audiences, as well as serving ads across multiple sites. Advertising technology providers each have their own proprietary models.

- Badges

Animated badges are a rich-media type of sponsorship and come in various sizes. Depending on their size, they are effective either for driving traffic to a specific site or area of it, e-commerce promotions and branding a company or product.

- Behavioural targeting

A form of online marketing that uses advertising technology to target web users based on their previous behaviour. The creative and content can be tailored to a user by capturing their past decision-making behaviour and looking for patterns.

- Blog

A regularly updated online space featuring the opinions or activities of groups or individuals.

- Broadband

An internet connection that is always on. As it delivers a higher bit rate than a standard dial-up, it provides a faster way of surfing the web.

- Contextual advertising

Advertising that is tailored to the viewer based on the content of a web page at that specific time.

- Conversion rate

A measure of the success of an online ad based on the click-through rate. What constitutes a 'conversion' depends on the marketing objective - it can be defined as a sale or request to receive more information, for example.


DAB, or digital audio broadcasting, is the transmission system used for digital radio.

- E-magazine

An online magazine delivered in an electronic form. It can be online only or a version of a printed title.

- Embedded format

Advertising formats that are displayed in set spaces on a publisher's page.

- Expandable banner/skyscraper

Fixed online advertising placements that expand over the page in response to user action.

- Flash

Web-design software that creates quick-to-download animation and interactive elements.

- Green button

A Sky service due to launch next summer that allows viewers to download ads on demand via the green button on their remote control. According to Sky, green button will be cheaper than red button, as advertisers won't need to buy any bandwidth, just the number of hours they want.


Internet protocol television is the delivery of digital television and other audio and video services over broadband data networks using the same basic protocols that support the internet.

- Microsite

A sub-site reached by clicking on an ad. The user stays on the publisher's website but has access to more information from the advertiser.

- MP3

A computer file format that compresses audio or WAV files up to a factor of 12.


File format used to compress and transmit video clips online.

- Podcasting

The creation of an audio file, usually in MP3 format, of content. It is often a radio programme that is available to download to an MP3 player. While most are free, some providers do charge a fee for podcasts, such as Ricky Gervais and Danny Baker.

- Pre-roll video

Video ads that play before a viewer sees content.

- Reach

The number of unique web users potentially seeing a website at least once in a given time period expressed as a percentage of the total active web population for that period.

- Red button

TV viewers press the red button on their remote control to access additional content, such as competitions, extra footage or special promotions from advertisers or broadcasters. In turn, this captures data for advertisers.

- Rich media

The collective name for online ad formats that use advanced technology, such as interactive and audio-visual elements, to provide richer content.

- Sponsorship

Advertiser sponsorship of targeted content areas, often for promotional purposes. It could apply to an entire website, site area or event, for example.

- Stickiness

Measure used to gauge the effectiveness of a site in retaining its users. Usually based on the duration of a visit.

- Streaming media

Compressed audio/video which plays and downloads at the same time. The user does not have to wait for the whole file to download before it starts playing.

- Superstitials

A form of rich-media advertising that offers a TV-like experience on the web. It is fully loaded before playing, which avoids any delay.

- User-generated content

Online content created by website users, rather than media owners or publishers, through reviews, blogging, podcasting or posting comments, pictures or video clips.


Video on demand is a service that allows users to receive and watch selected TV programmes when they want, rather than when they are broadcast.

- Wi-fi

The ability to connect to the internet wirelessly. Internet 'hotspots' in locations such as coffee shops and airports use this technology.

- Wiki

A type of website that allows visitors to add, remove and edit the content.

Source: IAB, Digital Strategy Consulting.


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