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Ad Tag – Everything You Need to Know

what is an Ad Tag
Ad tags are the chunks of codes intended to send requests, fetch ad creatives, and facilitate the automatic placement of an ad on your site.

To put it simply, ad tag bridges your ad server (for instance, Google Ad Manager) and website, facilitating the placement of the right ad to the right user at the right time. Ad tags can help you to optimize the overall performance, as they allow you to measure and record critical metrics. Before getting into the specifics and working, let’s start with the basics. 

Table of Contents

What is an Ad Tag?

Ad tag (sometimes called a placement tag or creative tag) is a piece of HTML or Javascript code snippet that is implanted on the web page to get an ad from the ad server. This integrated code signifies the space where the ad will be displayed. The tag not only indicates the space but also key parameters including – the size of the ad, topic/sub-topic of the page requesting for an ad, basic page info, synchronization or asynchronization of ad requests, custom key values, and more.

Types of Ad Tags

There are two types of ad tags i.e. Synchronous ad tags, and Asynchronous ad tags. While Asynchronous ad tags enable the publisher to independently load the page’s elements, Synchronous ad tags load in a sequential manner with the rest of the page’s elements. For this reason, Synchronous ad tags lead to page latency. And hence, Asynchronous ad tags are preferred by the publishers as these tags result in faster page load time.

An Example Ad Tag (Asynchronous ad code):

<script async src="https://pagead2.googlesyndication.com/
<!-- leaderboard -->
<ins class="adsbygoogle"
(adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push({});

An Example Ad Tag (Synchronous ad code):

<script type="text/javascript">
google_ad_client = "ca-pub-xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx";
google_ad_slot = "1234567890";
google_ad_width = 728;
google_ad_height = 90;
<!-- leaderboard -->
<script type="text/javascript"

What led us to the tags?

Proper implementation is an important part of digital advertising operations as it influences the user experience and so your bottom line. As a publisher, when you begin to monetize, you’re likely to have concerns about ad relevancy, technical errors, and page load speed. Even a simple technical error on the code can get the page down or mess up the page elements.

To mitigate the risk and reduce the complexity, the advertising ecosystem relies on advertising tags. Ad tags are simple and pieces of code constructed to provide you seamless integration and a quick debugging experience. For instance, you can go to any site with ads and get the tag from the source code to see the ad server, topic, page header info, ad size, and more.

Note: Ad tag isn’t just for publishers. For a publisher, an ad tag is placed on a website to sell ad space. For an advertiser, it is used to direct a browser to an ad creative. An ad tag or a dfp ad tag is a kind of request or an ad call that could lead to anything – ad creative, additional ad tag, redirects, third-party vendors, etc. 

How it helps you?

Let us take an example where there are a publisher, an ad server, and a user, to understand the working of an ad tag and how they work effectively within multiple systems. (However, publishers and advertisers can have their individual & different ad servers in a real-life scenario to track impressions and determine the choice of ads).

Whenever a user loads a webpage, the ad tag on the page will send an ad call to the ad server. The ad request received at the ad server contains the information about ad units and targeting information you’ve enabled while creating the tag. 

Now, the ad server sees can make calls to a specific third-party provider (like DMP, another ad server) in order to fetch user information for appropriate targeting or get more demand to fill the ad slot. However, this depends on you, the publisher. You can create ad tags in the way you want it to work. 

The ad request is then used to accrue the bids from advertisers. It can be done via a real-time bidding environment or within the ad server. For instance, if you’ve inked a direct deal with an advertiser, the advertiser will get the chance to serve the ad to the user. 

The structure of an ad tag can vary on the basis of complexity.

How to generate an Ad Tag?

There are numerous ways of generating Ad Tags based on what ad server is being used. Here we will explain the steps to follow for creating ad tags using DFP or Google Ad Manager (previously known as Google DFP).

  • Log in to your Google Ad Manager account.
  • Select the Inventory tab and navigate to the ad unit section on the left panel.
  • Now select the ad unit for which the tag is to be created.
  • Once you select the ad unit, you will see the “Generate Tags” button on the right- hand side of the page.
  • Click Generate Tags.
  • You will get multiple options for the type of tags such as – Google publisher tag, mobile applications, audience pixel tag, accelerated mobile pages tag. Amongst these, you can select the tag you wish to generate and continue. 
  • You can append the tag with features and key values from the setting if required. 

Once you are done with this, you can share this tag with your web developer or paste it directly into the source code of the intended web page.

Similarly, other ad servers will have a click-to-generate mechanism to create the tag. Remember, in order to implement header bidding, you need to create and pass the right key values so you can get bids from demand partners and ad exchanges. If you have any questions or need help, feel free to reach out to us.

Automatad Team

At Automatad, we help publishers to monetize better without hampering the user experience. Our products are live across hundreds of publishers, earning them incremental ad revenue with every passing second. You can request a free audit to get an estimated revenue uplift today.

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