Glossary of Digital Auditing Terms

App - A program that runs inside another service

App store - Generic term for sites such as Apple’s app store or Android’s app store

Browser – A downloadable application that can request, load and display documents available on the Internet. AAM digital audits are designed to only count human-initiated browser activity. AAM digital audits screen out activity initiated by automated methods

Blog - A website where short entries are usually (but not always) presented in reverse chronological order, with the newest entry first. Can be news, commentary, photos, video or any combination of the above and other items. An update to a blog is a blog post or blog entry. Blogs can also be distributed outside the website context via RSS feed

Census-Based Audit Method – requires direct access to the website’s entire log file. Auditors then work to determine if there is any misleading online activity. Results are typically more consistent than a panel-based or survey method

Check in (v.), check-in (n. and adj.) - When using a location-based social networking tool, such as, Foursquare, the act of sharing a location via a mobile device

Click-thrus - A way of measuring how many people cl­­­­ick a link online to see its destination site. Click-thrus are often used to set advertising rates

Click-to-open rate - The ratio of unique clicks as a percentage of unique opens

Communication Error – the failure of a browser or server to successfully request or transfer a document. AAM digital audits only count successful requests or transfers

Cookie – a uniquely identifying file on the user’s computer. There are two types of cookies: persistent cookies and session cookies. Session cookies are temporary and are erased when the browser exits. Persistent cookies remain on the user’s hard drive until the user erases them or until they expire. Cookies track a user's website activity

Domain - A subdivision of the Internet consisting of computers or sites usually with a common purpose and denoted in Internet addresses by a unique abbreviation (as com or gov)

Domain name - The address used to locate a particular website or reach an email system

Download - To get information from another server or computer

End user (n.), end-user (adj.) - A phrase commonly referred to by technology developers when imagining the audience for an application, software or hardware. End-user experience

Feed - A stream of constantly updated material

Gross sends - Total number of messages deployed

Hyperlink - A link from one part of a Web page to another page

Internal Page Impressions – website activity that is generated by individuals with IP addresses known to be associated with the website such as employees or vendors working on the website. Internal page impression activity is not counted in an AAM digital audit

Intranet - A private network inside a company or organization, only for internal use

IP Address – a numerical address assigned to each computer on a network. IP addresses allow computers to be identified by location and activity

Log file – records all activity on a given website. Log files may collect a variety of data including: date and time stamp, URL served, IP address of requestor, user and more

Metadata - Data about data. Examples of metadata include descriptors indicating when information was created, by whom and in what format

Net Distribution - the newsletters from a given mailing that reached the subscribers email delivery server with a positive status code response received in return. Calculated by subtracting undelivered messages from sent messages

Nonqualifying activity – may include activities such as page-refreshes or other user actions; ad servers do not usually count this activity in order to be as accurate as possible and avoid fraud 

Page Impressions/Views – the combination of one or more files presented to a viewer as a single document as a result of a single request received by the server. In effect, one request by a valid user should result in one page impression/view being reported. The counted page impression may not necessarily be in focus or visible in the user’s browser

Panel-Based Audience Measurement – conducted by polling a pre-selected group for information on their usage of the Internet and specific websites. The results are then projected over a larger audience

Plug-in - An add-on software product

Spiders and Robots – programs that run without human intervention. These programs automatically scan and “fetch” data from websites and send that to search engines or other data users. Large search engines use multiple spiders and robots to browse the Internet. Spiders and robots are displayed as unique users or visitors in the website’s log files. Activity generated from identified spiders and robots are not human-generated and are not accounted in an AAM digital audit. Our auditors have found that spiders and robots can account for 20 to 25 percent of a website's traffic

Subscriber (e-newsletter) - the number of unduplicated email addresses that received the edition of the newsletter

Third-Party Ad Server - a company that specializes in managing, maintaining, serving, tracking, and analyzing the results of online ad campaigns

Undeliverable - Message that did not reach a subscriber due to any of several reasons

Unique Browser - a unique and valid identifier. Sites may use (i) IP+User-Agent and/or (ii) Cookie. This metric measures each browser; it does not measure a person. Counting of unique browsers may overstate or understate the number or individual devices concerned due to factors such as dynamic IP address allocation, significant levels of uniformity in IP and browser combinations operating through a proxy, cookie blocking and deletion

Unique open - Message that was opened by a subscriber

Unique open rate – number of people who opened an email message to the number who did not; it’s a percentage of the number of messages “delivered”

Unique Users - unduplicated people who have visited the Internet content or advertising during the measurement period. It is the most difficult measure for a census-based measurement organization to report, as the calculation required to reach this metric must include a component that is directly attributable to people, rather than computers or other mechanized devices

Upload – to transfer data or programs to a central computer

URL (Uniform Resource Locator) – the identifying "address" of any page on the Web (i.e. URLs are always unique and contain all the information needed to locate a page

User Registration – personal information contributed by an individual to a website, such as the visitor’s age, gender, ZIP code, etc. User registration allows a website to determine the number of unique visitors and tracks visitor behavior within the website. Registrations also provide a method of collecting demographic data

Visit Duration - amount of time between a visitor’s first and last measurable interaction with the site during the course of a single visit. AAM digital audits do not include single page visits in this calculation

Visits – a series of interactions by a visitor with a site without 30 consecutive minutes of inactivity

Widgets - function similar to Web pages but reside on a computer desktop or within a Web-based portal or social networking site to provide self-selected entertainment or information. Popular widgets deliver photo albums, music, Web-cam views, games, news, weather, stock updates, calendars and sport statistics, just to name a few

Wi-Fi - For the wireless networking standards