A guide for media buyers

When planning and placing print and digital newspaper advertising, it is helpful to be familiar with the jargon that is used by the industry. Here is a list and description of some of the most popular terms.

Advertising Impressions

The audience delivery of media vehicles, programs or schedules. Usually expressed as thousands (000).

Advertising Weight

The measure of advertising support for an item/brand over a period of time, expressed in gross rating points, impressions, target audience reached, etc.


A print advertisement that is deliberately intended to resemble editorial matter or story in a newspaper or magazine.


A formal sworn statement of fact, signed by someone who can verify this fact, and witnessed by someone such as a notary public. For newspapers, this is often used to prove that an insert or legal notice has run in a paper as scheduled.

Agate Line

A unit of measurement for newspaper advertising which measures one column wide with 14 agate lines per inch (each equal to 1.81 millimeter or 0.07 of an inch).

Average Frequency

The average number of times a person or household is exposed to an advertising schedule/campaign.

Alliance for Audited Media (AAM)

Independent, non-profi t organization comprised of publishers, advertisers, advertising agencies to audit and certify circulation of various publications.  Annual audit reports show the average net-paid-circulation of the publications (including daily and weekly editions of newspapers, and magazines) and is used by advertisers in planning their marketing campaigns.


Rectangular digital advertisements that are shown in and around content on a webpage.


Printing that extends to the trimmed edge of a printed page.

Brand Development Index (BDI)

A measure of the strength of a brand’s sales in a particular geographic area indexed to the national sales average. BDI indicates where significant groups of a brand’s customers live and aids in targeting marketing efforts.


A full-size newspaper.

Buy Sheet

The form used by a media buyer to keep track of data related to a media “buy”.

Center Spread

An advertisement appearing on two facing pages of a newspaper, printed on a single sheet in the center of a publication (see Double Truck).

Checking Copy

A copy of a printed page sent to the advertiser and the agency as proof the ad ran as ordered (see tearsheet).


The total average number of distributed copies of a publication during a specified standard time (day, week or month).

City Zone Circulation

The targeted number of newspapers distributed within a specifi ed city area, not outlying areas.

Classified Advertising

Advertising arranged according to categories featuring items offered for sale at a set price for a set period of time. The ad is generally in small print.

Classified Display Advertising

Classified advertising with the characteristics of display advertising – larger-sized, non-classified fonts, graphics, and borders.


When a user manually takes action and clicks on a digital advertisement.

Click Through Rate (CTR)

The percentage of ads that were clicked on by a user (total number of clicks divided by the total number of impressions served).

Closing Date

The final deadline by which advertising space must be reserved to secure the dates/ times/positions requested.


An acronym for cyan, magenta, yellow and black – the four ink colors used in full-color printing.

Column Inch

Publication space that is one column wide by one-inch high, used as a measure of advertising space. Column inches are used to determine the cost of ads.

Combination Rate

A discounted advertising rate offered to advertisers for buying advertising space in two or more publications owned by the same company.

Connected TV

Video content that is delivered to a user via the internet rather than a traditional cable subscription.

Cooperative advertising (Co-Op)

Retail advertising that is paid partly or fully by a manufacturer when set guidelines are followed (slang “co-op”). Co-op advertising may only be available at limited times of the year and on certain products.

Corporate Discounting

Rate discounts offered to advertisers with numerous brands of products; all of the corporation’s advertising buys are combined for a larger discount level.

Cost Per Click (CPC)

The total cost of the campaign divided by the total number of clicks.

Cost Per Rating Point (Cost Per Point, CPP, Cost Per GRP)

The cost of advertising to reach one percentage point of the target group, audience, or population in a given market or geographic area.

Cost Per Thousand (CPM)

The cost of every 1,000 digital ad impressions purchased.

Coverage Area

The geography of where a media has coverage. In print, the coverage area equates to the circulation area.

Cover Position

Advertising on the cover of a publication, often at a premium cost due to limited availability. Cover positions can include front cover, inside front cover, inside back cover, outside back cover or section cover.

Cume (Cumulative Audience)

The total number of individuals or households reached by an advertising campaign at least once during the media buy.


The final date and time for accepting final buy to meet a publication schedule.

Desktop Delivery

Digital ads that are served on a traditional desktop computer or laptop device.

Direct Mail Advertising

Any printed material sent via mail directly to target customers.

Display Advertising

Print advertisement that is placed outside of classified advertising. Display ads can range from small to the full size of the print page. Ads generally contain typeset copy, graphics, and design to attract customer interest. The size of the ad is based on the number of columns wide by the number of inches tall.


An advertisement designed to promote a heavy volume of response/foot traffic for a special event or short-term sale.

Double Truck

A large newspaper ad measurement that uses two facing full pages, including the gutter or fold. The entire ad is treated as one unit and is traditionally the center spread of the section.

Dots Per Inch (dpi)

The number of electronic dots per inch that a printer can print affecting resolution. The higher the dpi, the higher the resolution.


A promotional email sent to targeted opt-in users where the client owns the entire message and appears as the sender.


The ratio of cost of an advertising campaign to the size of the audience used to compare various mediums and buys.


An email sent to opt-in users from an owned and operated news site with advertisements in conjunction with editorial content.


An agreement between a media and an advertiser. The media agrees to run no advertising by competitors for a given client. This is often granted at a premium price.


An electronic tear sheet – an electronic image of a newspaper page used to prove proof of publication.

First Refusal

The right of an advertiser to have the first choice in continuing sponsorship of a program or position before it is offered to another advertiser.

Fixed Position

An advertising placement that remains fixed over time (front cover of a section).

Flat Rate

A print advertising rate that does not offer a discount.


A scheduling technique for advertising buys.

Fractional Page

Print advertising space that is less than a full-page.

Free Circulation

A publication sent to customers without their need to pay for it.


The number of times that an individual is exposed to an advertisement or campaign or the number of times an ad is scheduled for placement.

Frequency Cap

A limit to the number of times an individual user will be shown a particular digital advertisement within a given time frame.

Frequency Discount

A discounted advertising rate that is given by media to advertisers for placing multiple ad placements within a given time frame.


The geographical area being targeted by a digital campaign.


A digital border that is drawn around a specific address or set of addresses used to target users with digital ads when they are present at that specific location.

Gross Billing

Cost of an advertising buy that includes the advertising agency commission.

Gross Impressions

The total impressions for a series of ads or an ad campaign among a given audience.

Gross Rating Points (GRP’s)

A measure of how much advertising exposure is going to a given audience in a media plan.


The blank space between margins of facing pages of a publication or the blank space between columns of text.


To increase the frequency in an advertising campaign for a limited period of time.


A planned period of inactivity between advertising schedules.

Homepage Takeover

Digital advertisement involving every unit on the homepage of a website, giving the client a 100% share of voice on the page.


When a digital ad is shown on a user’s screen.

In-Banner Video

Video advertisement that loads and plays inside a space sized for and traditionally reserved for a standard banner unit.


A one-page or multi-page print advertisement that is distributed and inserted into a publication.

Insertion Order

Written authorization from the advertiser or agency to a publication. Orders specify cost per ad, size, publication dates as well as any request for special position.

Internet Radio

Audio streamed over a network rather than received as a signal from a particular physical location.


A type of digital advertisement that is displayed between two pages of content.

Island Position

A print advertisement surrounded entirely by editorial and not other ads.

Line Rate

The cost per agate line for newspapers. This is often seen in classified placements.


A code placed in an advertisement to facilitate tracking data.

Local Display

A newspaper or broadcast station’s owned and operated website.

Magazine Supplement

A separately printed magazine section inserted into a newspaper. Supplements can be produced both locally and nationally.


No charge rerun placement given to an advertiser when the original spot or ad did not run or ran incorrectly.

Media Buying

The purchase of media space for the placement of advertisements. This is often done by an agency or placement firm on behalf of the advertiser.

Mobile Delivery

Digital ads that are served while a user is engaging an app on their mobile device or visiting a website via an internet browser on their mobile device.

Native Advertising

Digital content from an advertiser that positions them as a subject matter expert and reads like an editorial piece.

Net Paid Circulation

A term used by AAM for the circulation of a publication to indicate the number of copies sold per issue both in subscription and newsstands.

Newspaper Syndicate

A company that sells special material such as features, photographs, comic strips, and cartoons to newspapers for print in their publications.

Open Rate

The highest advertising rate given to an advertiser before any discount can be earned; also called “one-time rate”.

Over The Top (OTT)

Video content that is delivered to a user via the internet rather than a traditional cable subscription.

Paid Circulation

The number of printed copies that are purchased by readers in a given time period.

Page Unit

An ad measurement system used in magazine advertisements and some tabloids. Designated measurements often include full page, half page, one-third page, one-sixth page, etc. These are also called modular units.

Pass-Along Readership

Readers of a publication in addition to the initial buyer. Also called Secondary Audience.

Page View

The total number of times a page on a website is visited during a set period of time.


The degree to which a media has coverage in a market. It can also refer to the effectiveness of a campaign’s impact on individuals or households.

Per Column Inch (PCI) Rate

Cost per column inch for print display advertising, mostly used for newspaper pricing.


A unit of measurement used in the creation of digital advertisements.


The location of an advertisement on a page.

Pre-Roll Video

Video advertisements that play before video content on websites or mobile apps.

Premium Network

The programmatic ad-buying space where ads are served based on audience targets rather than on a specific website.

Premium Price

A special advertising rate, usually higher, for special positions or other considerations.


Advertising inserts that are printed in advance of the regular press run and then combined with the final publication just prior to distribution.


Research data that describes consumers on the basis of psychological traits or lifestyle preferences.

Publisher’s Statement

A notarized statement from the publisher of total circulation, geographic distribution, method of getting subscriptions, etc. Statements are filed as needed by AAM.


The division of an audience into five equal groups ranging from heaviest to lightest amount of exposure to any medium. Each quintile contains 20% of the total sample.

Rate Card

A document that communicates the advertising costs, issue dates, program names, closing dates, requirements, cancellation dates for a given publication.


A charge for advertising media space or time.


The total number of individuals or households reached by an advertising campaign at least once during the media buy.   An alternate term for CUME Audience.


The number of persons who read a publication or advertisement.

Readers Per Copy

The number of readers per copy of a newspaper or magazine.

Regional Edition

A national publication’s geographic-specific section that provides circulation in a certain geographic area.


Digital advertisement involving every unit on a webpage, giving the client a 100% share of voice on the page.

ROP Color

Color printing that is done during the scheduled press run and is placed in the regular space of the publication.

Run of Paper  (ROP)

Newspaper advertising that is positioned to run anywhere in a publication, with no exact choice of a specifi c position or page. Placement is at the discretion of the newspaper.


A separately printed, unbound broadsheet that is folded around a newspaper, or around one of its sections, appearing as a partial page or flap over the front and back.


A list of advertisements or media to be used in a campaign along with the timing of placements.

Schedule and Estimate

Detailed information submitted to the advertiser prior to a media buy; traditionally details price, schedule, publications and goals.

Secondary Audience

Readers of a publication in addition to the initial buyer. Also called Pass Along Readership.

Share of Voice

The percentage of advertising a client owns during a specific set of time relative to all available inventory.

Shopping Newspaper

A newspaper-like publication that is predominately advertising and often distributed free to shoppers or to households (slang “shopper”).

Short Rate

Money that is owed to a media by an advertiser to compensate for the shortfall difference in revenue between what was purchased and what was contracted.

Sliding Billboard

High-Impact digital advertisements that display as a narrow bar at the top of a website and expand down when a user rolls over the ad.

Social Display

Paid advertisements on a social platform such as Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, etc.


Payment for marketing vehicles in exchange for advertisements in the piece.

Spot Color

A single extra color ink added to a page; also called flat color.


The method of receiving audio or video data in a continuous flow across a network.


A newspaper section in magazine format inserted prior to distribution.


A newspaper format that’s roughly half the size of a broadsheet newspaper. Approximate size of a standard newspaper folded in half (slang “tab”).


A publication page with an advertiser’s message, sent to the advertiser as proof of accurate placement.


An interest-building advertisement that precedes the kick-off of an advertising campaign.

Till Forbidden (TF)

A newspaper insertion order abbreviation; run the advertisement until told to stop.

Trade Paper

A specialized publication for a specific audience like a profession, trade, or industry.

Traffic Report

The data provided to the client at the end of a campaign demonstrating the performance and results of a digital campaign.

Video Completion Rate (VCR)

The percentage of videos viewed to 100% completion (total number of videos watched at 100% divided by the total number of impressions served).


Anything capable of exposing advertising to customers.