Advertising Glossary: Ad units, Ad Zones and Adstrips
Welcome back to Digital Ad Academy, where no advertising term or concept is too mundane or obscure for our careful examination. Today we’re looking at ad units, and zones and adstrips. Though use of these terms varies from amongst different online ad providers and networks, they are the most common words used to describe ads and their placement. If you understand what they mean, then it will be easier to get the quality ad impressions you expect as an advertiser — or set the prices you desire as a publisher.
The ad unit is vessel that carries a brand’s message through publications, broadcasts or applications. Or, more simply, it is the ad itself.
This term can also be used to refer to the type of ad unit, such as a bilboard, TV commercial or interactive skin.
Some online publishers only sell advertising based on guidelines set by the International Advertising Bureau (IAB), to attract a broad spectrum of advertisers. More exclusive ad services and publishers, especially those in the social media realm, like Blogads.com and Facebook, have proprietary ad units that are not based on IAB standard, for which advertisers can create uniquely engaging ads.
For more information on how online ad units are priced and purchased, check out our overview of CPM, CPC and CPA.
“Ad zone” is usually a non-technical term. Most online advertising services and publishers use it to define the part of a web site that is set aside for the ads. Sometimes called by the even less technical name, “ad space,” it’s where the ads live.
The most desirable location for an online ad zone is “above the fold,” which means the ad zone is visible when the page on which it appears loads, without any scrolling.
At Blogads.com, we sometimes use the terms “ad zone” and “adstrip” interchangeably. While they don’t technically mean the same thing, they are usually located in the same place. So what’s the difference? In Blogads lingo, it’s the piece of code that calls our ad servers and retrieves the ads that are displayed on our network’s blogs. So if someone at Blogads refers to an “adstrip,” she could be talking about the technical component of a blog’s ad zone or the ad zone itself.
Putting it all together at Blogads.com
We let bloggers set a maximum limit to the number of ad units they display in each adstrip. Depending on the configuration of a blogger’s ad zones, an ad might be one of three or the only one.