TFW… “That Feeling When” You Have No Idea What’s Going On!?


If you’ve ever sat through a typical marketing or advertising meeting, there were probably a few three-letter acronyms thrown into the conversation that you may or may not have understood.

Well, if you work at an ad agency you’re hearing those acronyms all day, every day. How do you memorize them all, especially when the same three letters could mean different things to different departments? It’s like learning a new language!

In Part One, TFW…, we defined some of the basic acronyms you need to know to make it through your first day at an ad agency. Today, we’ll dive a little deeper and explain some acronyms that you may hear as you walk through the halls of Boulder’s digital ad agency, IMM.

AMP - Accelerated Mobile Pages – This is a script/web language that Google developed to make web pages load faster on your mobile device by prioritizing which elements of the website load first. For example, the text and images on the website will load before the advertisements do, which decreases the time you wait for a page to load. 

Container tags – Part one of this acronym definition series, TFW…, explained pixels/tags and cookies, but this is where they're held.

A container tag holds all the pixels you're placing on your site, which are then used to gather information about your site's users. Instead of placing specific pixels/unique pieces of code onto each of the different pages of your website, you place all the pixels into one container. This container will have one piece of code that can be copied onto all your web pages – simplification at its finest! The pixels within the container each have their own set of rules applied to them, which tell them when to "fire" and grab bits of information to report back to you. 

FTP – File Transfer Protocol – This allows computers to securely transfer files to one another.

KPI – Key Performance Indicator – These are the marketing metrics and goals used to show the success of your campaign. Each campaign will have different KPIs, because every campaign will have unique goals/measures of success.

PLA – Product Listing Ad – You’ll also hear this being called a “Google Shopping Ad.” When you’re using Google and you type in “Birkenstock sandals,” you’ll notice on the right side of the screen/search results page are multiple squares that feature the product image, price points, star ratings and the name of the company selling the shoes. These are all Product Listing Ads.

Retargeting ads – Remember when you looked at that L.L. Bean sweatshirt but didn't order it, and now an image of it seems to be haunting you by popping up in ads across all the websites you visit? That's a retargeting ad.

When you went to L.L. Bean’s website, their site placed a pixel/cookie on your browser (A pixel! A cookie! You know what those are now!). When you left their website to surf the web, that L.L. Bean cookie tells retargeting platforms, such as Facebook, to serve you an ad with a photo of that sweatshirt you looked at, just to make sure you don't forget to buy it!

RTB – Real Time Bidding – Now, to a graphic designer RTB may mean “Reason to Buy”…in this case, RTB is Real Time Bidding, which is a real-time, milliseconds-long, online auction for ad space.

So, let’s break it down: Let’s say you’re about to go to Before you go to their site, all of the content is already pre-written/pre-determined, but there are a couple of squares for ads that have yet to be filled. When you finally navigate to ESPN’s home page, a quick auction takes place that auctions off those 2-3 advertising squares to the highest paying advertiser. And voila! Now you see an ad for a movie coming to theaters near you!

SEM/SEO – Search Engine Optimization/Search Engine Marketing – Search Engine Optimization (“SEO”) is optimizing your website to receive better rankings on search platforms (i.e. being one of the top five results when you search something in Google), thus resulting in free/organic traffic to your site.

With Search Engine Marketing, you must come up with the best keywords to invest money in, and then your search result will appear in the paid search results at the top of a Google search. To put it plainly: SEO will get you free traffic, while SEM is a paid search campaign.

UX/UI – User Experience/User Interface – While it’s true that you need both to work closely together to create a streamlined product or website, they are two very different skill sets.

The User Experience is much more analytical – you must understand the target audience, what they want, and the way they will use the web page.

User Interface is graphic design-oriented, and their job is to design the wireframes (bones) and visual elements (makeup) of a webpage so the target user will have a pleasant experience and easily understand the brand.

About Ideas Made Measurable!

At IMM, creating action isn’t just what we do — it’s who we are. Our agency is built to deliver full service capabilities while also delivering measurable results. Big data is the marketing buzzword everyone talks about but few understand. We are here to explain in plain English how data-driven, bottoms-up marketing strategies can help generate leads, drive sales and build your brand. We leverage the expertise of the staff at IMM, a data-driven, full-service digital advertising agency based in Boulder, Colorado.

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