Adspend Analyser: Category and Format Help Guide

To get the most out of our Adspend Analyser tool, take a look at the simplified descriptions outlined here

Please be aware that these are not the full definitions. For full definitions you can visit or contact the IAB research team


Search: Paid-for-listings within search services

Display: Paid-for graphic advertising on websites, apps or social media e.g. banners, video and sponsored content

Classified: Paid-for listings on online directories e.g. jobs, properties, cars, B2B

Other: Other online display formats that are not included in the three major categories, e.g. Audio, SMS, and solus email advertising


Display formats:

Standard display banners: Banner ad units embedded into a webpage, e.g. Leaderboard on a news site

Native: Non-video ad units that match the form and function of the platform they appear on, e.g. within a feed of content

  • Native distribution: Includes discovery and amplification tools e.g. ‘more from around the web’

  • Native in-feed: Non-video advertisements within a feed of content. E.g. within feed on social or news site

Paid Sponsored Content: Advertiser sponsorships of content areas or advertisement features

Video display formats: Display formats that play video advertising specifically, e.g. within stream of video content or a stand-alone video ad unit

  • Pre/mid/post roll video: Video advertising that plays before, during or after a stream of video content. It is specific to the content against which it is attached and not the static web pages that the content may be launched from
  • Broadcaster VOD: Broadcaster VOD figures provided by Thinkbox
  • Non-broadcaster VODPre-mid-post roll advertising shown outside of broadcaster VOD platforms, e.g. pre-roll ad on a YouTube clip or news video
  • Outstream / social in-feed videoVideo specific advertising that is not within a stream of video content, e.g. a video ad placed within an article or social feed
  • Video other: This includes display advertising that is attached to video content within the player itself or is wrapped around the video content, e.g. overlays or branded video players

Other display: Other display advertising outside of major display formats, e.g. tenancies and interruptive formats

  • Interruptive formats: Advertisements that appear on users' screens (sometimes before content appears), e.g. pop-ups, interstitials
  • TenanciesLong term strategic partnerships, typically providing content or online services e.g. a dating service partnering with a news site to permanently feature
  • Display other: All other display ad units outside of major display formats e.g. display ads on email, in-game ad units etc.

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