Metastructure refers to the overarching framework which supplies rules regarding the relationship between meanings on the page or within the 'frame.' Judith Williamson defines metastructure as follows:

"The advertisement provides a supreme arena for this: a 'metastructure' where meaning is not just 'decoded' within one structure, but transferred to create another. Two systems of meaning are always involved: the 'referent system' and the product's system; e.g., the world of glamour, and the world of perfumes. It has already been pointed out that the meta-system, the actual point of transference, is itself devoid of 'content' [meaning]....except insofar as meaning is constantly assumed through the form of its perpetual translation." (Williamson, 43).

The operation of advertising metastructures is closely linked to the question of metacommunication in ads.