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Glossary of Advertising Terms



There are many terms used in online web advertising which might be new or confusing to first time advertisers. This advertising glossary will help you understand what advertising online is all about.

CPM - Cost Per Thousand (M = 1 thousand in Roman Numerals). This means you are paying a certain cost for every 1,000 ads that are shown to an end user. Think of this like a newspaper. If your ad goes out to 1,000 people, you pay $X amount. If your ad goes out to 2,000 people, you pay $Y amount. While the concept is easily explained with the newspaper analogy, web ads are much better than newspaper ads. With a newspaper, all you know is that the reader lives in a certain region of the state. You don't know if they're a wine drinker. With WineIntro, you are positive the reader is interested in wine and therefore your products. Even if you chose to advertise in a wine magazine, there is a different problem. You have no idea if the reader turned to your page to even see your ad. With WineIntro, not only are you sure the reader is interested in wine related items, but you also know for sure that the user actually saw the page your ad is featured on.

Hits - Some deceptive websites give you their visitor count in hits. This is a really misleading number for them to tell you. In essence, on the web a hit is a single item shown to an end user. This can be a button on a page, or even a white square used to adjust spacing in a table. If a page has 20 different graphic items on it, that page generates twenty "hits" when a person looks at it! If the website wants to double their hit count, they simply add more graphics to their pages. You can see why this number is completely meaningless. It drives me crazy when websites claim a high hit count. If you can't trust a site to deal honestly with you with basic traffic figures, you can't trust them with anything. WineIntro never reports values in hits.

Pageviews - Pageviews are the proper way to report traffic. This is the number of actual pages seen by visitors, regardless of how many little graphic images are found on those pages. WineIntro only shows pageviews on all of its reports. Our total traffic figure is over 2 million pageviews to end users each month.

Unique Visitors - With current, modern technology, there is no way for any website to count unique visitors. Any website that claims to know this information is lying or guessing. Yes, you can try to put cookies on a user's computer. However, many computers are blocking cookies for security reasons. Even if you put a cookie on a user's computer, you have no idea what human being is actually using the keyboard. This computer could be a library computer, shared by thousands of people a day. So that one "user" is really 1,000 users. On the other hand, the computer could be a work computer used by one person - and that same person visits your site from 3 other work computers. So now that computer only counts for 1/4th a person. You could have a home system accessed by 3 or 4 different people. You could have a laptop that a person uses in the evening, while they use a different system in the daytime. Until we get to a point where fingerprints are sensed when a person types, there is literally no possible way to ever count unique users for a website. We therefore do not try to deceive people by guessing.

Referring Page - Some advertisers try to correlate how many people come to their site from a given source - say from WineIntro.com. They look at their log files to get this information. It's important to understand how your log file knows this value. When a given computer goes to a given webpage, the only way that webpage knows anything at all is that it asks that visitor's browser for information. That is how the log file knows what browser they are using, what page they "came from" and so on. Many visitors in modern times have their browsers set to hide privacy information. That is, they refuse to divulge what page they were last on. If the browser does not provide this information, there is no way for your log files to know at all where they "came from". A contact between a user's computer and your website is a discreet event. It is a direct request from that user's computer to see a given page on your site. There is no context at all of what they did previous to that one specific request.

If you want to know details about a given ad campaign, it is really best if you set up specific landing pages. For example, make a special page on your site called WineIntro.html. Have it look like your site homepage, but maybe say "Welcome to WineIntro Visitors" on it. Have that URL linked to from all of your advertising campaigns, and don't use that URL in anything else you do. That way, when you get traffic on that URL, you are pretty certain that it must have come from your advertising efforts through WineIntro. This same idea is true for any advertising that you do, anywhere on the web.

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