Mobile advertising continues to grow, but it can appear an opaque world of acronyms and jargon if you’ve yet to try it out. Here, we seek to explain some of the terms you’ll hear bandied about when it comes to mobile advertising. This short primer should not only bring you up to speed on a bit of terminology – it should also help explain why mobile offers unique opportunities for both advertisers and publishers.

Ad Network

An online advertising network or ad network is a company that connects advertisers to web sites that want to host advertisements. The key function of an ad network is aggregation of ad space supply from publishers and matching it with advertiser demand.


Application programming interface. Allows data to be sent and received from many different sources and doesn’t require a complex interface.


This is basically the matching process key to being able to track a user from click to install and post install activity. Tracking providers provide the technology to ‘attribute’ a click to install.

Conversion rate optimisation

So, you’ve set up your campaign, and you’ve tracked your results according to your KPIs. The next step is to do some conversion rate optimisation – using the real-time ad performance data that your campaign has pulled together to tweak its parameters, targeting, and creative to get the best return on your investment.

Conversion tracking

Conversion tracking is the practise of tracking the post-click actions of users after they have clicked on an ad. What actions you measure will depend on the purpose of the campaign, or your KPIs.

Cross device

The ability to match a user who may view/click on an ad on their mobile but make no further action but then might return to convert on their laptop/tablet and vice versa. Complex matching technology required and only a handful of current providers out there who can do this

Deep Linking

A tracking link which takes a user to a certain specified area with in the App.


Term that covers any action that occurs inside the app which a marketer may want to track. So typically a purchase, registration, subscription etc


If a unique identifier like IDFA of GAID is not available most tracking providers can use a backup attribution process called device fingerprinting. This is a more probabilistic matching method where a set of data points from a user’s device is taken at click such as device type, OS, IP address etc and then again when an install/event is made. The fingerprinting attribution engine of the tracking provider makes real time comparisons in this data to try and make a match. Like two slightly blurred pictures of someone being compared and matched. Still highly accurate but not of course as accurate as a deterministic device id.

Google AID 

Google’s advertising identifier and like the IDFA can be turned on and off to limit tracking. . In terms of app tracking this is the main identifier when tracking a user on an Android device.


The Advertising Identifier (IDFA) is a unique ID for each iOS device that mobile ad networks typically use to serve targeted ads. Users can choose to limit ad tracking by turning off this setting on their devices. In terms of app tracking this is the main identifier when tracking a user on an IOS device.


A KPI is a Key Performance Indicator. It’s essentially the things you measure to determine whether or not your ad campaign is a success. In digital advertising such as mobile, when consumer interactions with an ad can be tracked in real time, it’s possible to then tweak your campaigns based on their success and failure – and this is done by measuring KPIs and acting accordingly.


Change and reallocate spend, change campaign parameters etc towards a specific metric based on either reporting or real time data sent via an API and get more value from your spend.


Typically when the tracking provider sends install/event data to Network/Publisher via an API.


Advertisers on mobile have had to face the fact that clicks on an ad aren’t necessarily a good indicator of success. ‘Fat finger syndrome’ (where smartphone users click an ad accidentally) is one reason why. In any case, someone clicking an ad doesn’t represent great success unless your campaign is particularly focused on branding. So, the smart mobile marketers are interested in what the user does ‘post-click’ – does the user’s click result in deeper engagement with content? Does it lead to an app download? Has the user bought a product as a result of your ad?


When brands utilise fingerprinting, and track their post-click actions, they can employ retargeting techniques to help their campaigns succeed. Retargeting is when ads are served to consumers who have started to interact with a brand, but haven’t yet made a purchase (or performed some other action that the campaign was trying to trigger). For example, if a consumer clicks on an ad for a shirt, then puts his size in the shopping basket, and then leaves the site, he can be retargeted with marketing encouraging to take the plunge and buy.


An SDK (software development kit) is typically a suite of tools that help third parties develop for a certain technology platform. In the context of mobile advertising, ad networks will have an SDK that allows advertisers to create content that will work on their tech platforms.

Tracking link

A measurement url which sits behind an ad and when clicked will take the user to the tracking server (millisecond) with user defined info then redirects to the app store to enable user to download app.

If you’d like to know more about mobile advertising, or if some jargon is bothering you, click on the ‘Contact Us’ page above.

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