The Ad Tech Cheat Sheet 📢

Bhavya Singh
5 min readJan 7, 2024

I tried to create the almost exhaustive jargon and keywords cheat sheet in the AdTech ecosystem!

Steal away the Ad Tech cheat sheet

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Welcome to the Daily product management show! 📺 I’m your host, Bhavya, and I’ll be bringing you fresh insights on product management every single day! 👋

Programmatic Ad Distribution:

  • What it is: The automated buying and selling of digital ad space using software and algorithms.
  • How it works: Advertisers use DSPs to bid on ad impressions in real time, while publishers use SSPs to make their ad inventory available for purchase.
  • Major players: AppNexus, The Trade Desk, Google Ad Manager, Xandr, MediaMath.

Demand Side Platform (DSP):

  • What it is: A software platform that allows advertisers to buy ad impressions across multiple ad exchanges and networks.
  • What it does: Helps advertisers target specific audiences, set budgets, and track campaign performance.
  • Major players: The Trade Desk, Google Display & Video 360, MediaMath, Adobe Advertising Cloud, Amazon DSP.

Sell Side Platform (SSP):

  • What it is: A software platform that allows publishers to sell their ad inventory to advertisers.
  • What it does: Helps publishers manage their ad inventory, set floor prices, and connect with multiple DSPs.
  • Major players: Google Ad Manager, Xandr, OpenX, Magnite, PubMatic.

Ad Network:

  • What it is: A collection of websites that have agreed to sell ad space together.
  • What it does: Aggregates ad inventory from multiple publishers and sells it to advertisers.
  • Major players: Google AdSense, Facebook Audience Network, Yahoo! Network, Microsoft Advertising Network.

Ad Exchange:

  • What it is: A digital marketplace where advertisers and publishers can buy and sell ad impressions in real time.
  • What it does: Facilitates the buying and selling of ad impressions through Real Time bidding (RTB).
  • Major players: Google AdX, OpenX, AppNexus, Index Exchange, Rubicon Project.

Ad Server:

  • What it is: A technology that delivers ads to websites and apps.
  • What it does: Manages ad serving, tracking, and reporting.
  • Major players: Google Ad Manager, Xandr, FreeWheel, Adzerk, Sizmek.

Programmatic guaranteed deal:

  • What it is: A type of programmatic deal where a publisher guarantees a certain number of ad impressions to an advertiser at a fixed price.
  • How it works: Similar to traditional direct ad buying, but with automated processes.

Private Marketplace deal:

  • What it is: A type of programmatic deal where a publisher offers a select group of advertisers access to their premium ad inventory.
  • How it works: Advertisers can bid on ad impressions in a private auction, ensuring higher-quality inventory.

Floor Price:

  • What it is: The minimum price that a publisher is willing to accept for an ad impression.
  • How it works: Publishers set floor prices to protect the value of their ad inventory.

Real-Time Bidding (RTB):

  • What it is: A technology that allows advertisers to bid on ad impressions in real-time, as they are being viewed.
  • How it works: Advertisers use DSPs to bid on impressions in an auction-like process.

Open Auction:

  • What it is: A type of RTB auction where all advertisers have the opportunity to bid on ad impressions.
  • How it works: The highest bidder wins the impression and their ad is displayed.

Zero-Party Data (ZPD):

  • What it is: Data that is intentionally and proactively shared by a consumer with a brand.
  • Examples: Email addresses, survey responses, and preferences explicitly shared with a brand.

First-Party Data:

  • What it is: Data that is collected directly by a company about its own customers.
  • Examples: Website analytics, customer transactions, and email lists.

Second-Party Data:

  • What it is: Data that is acquired from a partner company.
  • Examples: Data sharing partnerships between brands with similar audiences.

Third-Party Data:

  • What it is: Data that is collected by a company that does not have a direct relationship with the consumer.
  • Examples: Data aggregators, and data brokers.

Data Management Platform:

  • What it is: A unified platform that collects, organizes, and activates data from various sources to help businesses understand their customers and target them with relevant marketing campaigns.
  • How it works: Data Intake + Data Unification + Data Segmentation + Data Activation.
  • Major Players: Adobe Experience Platform, Oracle BlueKai, Salesforce DMP, Tealium AudienceStream and LiveRamp IdentityLink


  • What it is: A marketing approach that aims to provide a seamless customer experience across all channels.
  • Examples: Consistent messaging across websites, social media, email, and in-store experiences.

Cookie Tracking:

  • What it is: A technology that uses small text files stored on a user’s device to track their online activity across different websites.
  • How it works: Cookies remember information about a user’s visits, such as pages viewed, links clicked, and purchases made. This data can be used for targeted advertising and website personalization.
  • Major players: Google, Facebook, Amazon, and third-party ad networks.


There are 3 different types of cookies:

  • Session Cookies: Temporary and memorize your online activities
  • Persistent cookies: To memorize any preferences you make
  • Tracking cookies/3rd party cookies: They collect various forms of data that are then passed on or even sold to advertisers by the website that created the cookies. They track Interests, Location, Age, and Search Trends.

Cookie-less Tracking:

  • What it is: Alternative methods for tracking users online without relying on cookies.
  • How it works: These methods can include device fingerprinting, contextual targeting, and first-party data analysis.
  • Major players: Google Privacy Sandbox, Unified ID 2.0, Ozone Project.

Contextual marketing:

  • What it is: This is a type of cookie-less tracking that relies on the context of the site, instead of matching ads with the users, this method matches ads with the content of the website on which the ads are shown.
  • Example: Laptop ads on Amazon when a user is searching for a laptop.


  • What it is: A technique that uses unique characteristics of a user’s device and browser to identify them.
  • How it works: Fingerprinting collects information like browser plugins, screen resolution, and system fonts to create a unique identifier.
  • Major players: Panoptocam, Evercookie, FingerprintJS.

Pixel Tracking

  • What it is: A method of tracking user activity using invisible images embedded in web pages.
  • How it works: When a user loads a page with a pixel, it sends information back to the server about the user’s visit, such as their IP address and browser type.
  • Major players: Facebook Pixel, Google Analytics, Twitter Pixel.

Identity Management Solutions:

  • What it is: Technologies that help businesses manage and protect user identities in a privacy-conscious way.
  • How it works: These solutions can include tools for consent management, data anonymization, and identity linking across different platforms.
  • Major players: Okta, Auth0, Ping Identity, Microsoft Azure AD.

Consent Management Platforms (CMPs):

  • What it is: CMPs inform website visitors that their data is being collected, ask for users’ permission to collect their data, store users’ data preferences, and provide additional information about websites’ cookies and data policies.
  • Major players: OneTrust, Usercentrics, iubenda, CookieYes and TrustArc



Bhavya Singh

Product Manager Generalist | B2B/B2C SaaS | ISB | Hyper focussed PM on Growth & UX. | Comment on any blog for a 1:1 call