Digital Jargon, Explained: Your Digital Ad Strategy

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Still looking to learn the ins and outs of your campaign’s digital program? Look no further. In this week’s Digital Jargon, Explained, we’re digging into the delicate balance between budget, flight dates, and audience size. These key components of your digital strategy are the available levers that can optimize your digital ad run. We can use these tools to ensure your campaign is getting the most bang for your buck.

We started this series because we know the digital advertising world throws around a lot of jargon. The constant flow of acronyms, technical terms, and insider language can feel daunting to anyone trying to enter the space. This series will break down digital advertising terminology and explain – in layman’s terms – what it means and why it matters for your campaign.

Run Dates/Flight Dates

Run dates/flight dates are the days that your ad is up and running, being delivered to voters. For programmatic ads – ads run through automated technology, like we use at SpeakEasy – it is best to have your ads up consistently through a set period of time, rather than having your ad up only on select days.


Your budget is the amount of money you put behind your ad. Based on your budget and the cost per thousand impressions (CPM), you can calculate how many impressions you expect to receive.

Audience Size

Audience size is simply the number of voters you have in your list that may see your ad. But remember, once your list goes through a matching technology, some people in your audience will inevitably not be able to be matched.

What does this mean for your campaign?

There is a delicate balance to strike between run dates, budget, and audience size. While this balancing act is more of an art than a science, there are several ways that they tend to work together to optimize your campaign. In general, you’ll want a set of flight dates that is at least 5 days, increasing your flight as you increase your audience, budget, or both. With a small budget and a small audience, you’ll want to extend the flight dates to ensure you have enough time to reach all of your voters frequently enough that they recall your campaign. As you are planning out your digital communications for your campaign, it’s important to give yourself enough time to meet your impression goals — especially if you are in a small district. Bidding for inventory for a small audience can make it difficult to place the ads.


Frequency is the number of times an individual voter will see your ad. You can calculate this by finding the expected impressions based on the CPM and dividing it by the audience size. The math looks like:


This will tell you the number of times each person will see your ad.

What does this mean for your campaign?

Depending on your ad run and your strategy, this target will shift. In general you want your frequency to be high enough to be memorable to a voter, but low enough so that they are not inundated with the same ad. Too high a frequency can be irritating. For example, if you calculate a frequency of 20 and your ad run is 2 weeks, that would be a reasonable frequency, but a frequency of 20 in one week is higher than we would recommend, as it would likely get irritating to voters.

Again, all of this is a delicate balance and surely an art over a science. We hope this explanation helps you better understand how to manage and optimize your ad runs to set you up for success.

That’s all for today, folks! For more digital jargon terms, take a look at our other Digital Jargon, Explained blogs. And as always, if you have terms you’d like for us to break down, feel free to send them over to [email protected]. We’re here to help!

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