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What are Ad Tags and How Do They Work?
ad tags

You may have heard about ad tags, but you’re still perplexed as to what they are and how they function. This is a phrase that is frequently used in the advertising technology sector. It’s usually the code that’s involved in providing the ad creative.

What are Ad Tags?

The term ad tag is often used and can apply to any link involved in the ad serving process, whether on the publisher or marketer side. Ad Tags are the JavaScript/HTML code that a browser executes to retrieve an advertising from an Ad Server – it is a redirect to content rather than the content itself. Ad tags serve as placeholders for the publisher’s ad creatives on the publisher’s website. These tags include information on the ad unit’s size, format, and other specifications. Ad tags provide various functions for various parties (advertisers, ad networks, ad servers, and third-party services).

An ad tag is in charge of creating the bid request, which is then sent to advertisers and agencies, through the ad server, notifying them about the user and his specifications so that the desired ad may be presented from the advertiser’s end via DSP. Ad tags are used by third-party services (such as data management systems) to gather user information and construct a detailed user profile.

How does ad tags work?

The answer to this question will vary greatly depending on the specific tag in question. At a higher level, all tags will typically function as follows:

• The user clicks on a webpage, which causes the page to load.

• The user’s browser will read the source code of the page that has been loaded. The various tags are inserted in the source code.

• When the browser reads the section containing the tag, it executes it.

• The only issue that may develop is if the tags are maintained by a tag management system or if they are piggybacking on another tag.

• If this happens, the original tag will be executed first, followed by the additional tags.

• The tag will gather data from the user, the URL, and the page. The collected data will be transmitted to a third party for processing and recording, resulting in web analytics and analytics reports.

• The structure of the majority of tags will be as follows:

The first portion explains where the data is going, and the final section explains what data has been obtained.

ad tags

What do ad tags look like?

An ad tag may reveal a lot about how an ad is placed on a website; if you look at the source code of any big publisher, you’ll almost certainly discover a real-life example of a functional ad tag. So, how do you figure out what the ad tag says regarding publisher hierarchy and ad targeting? Let’s take it one step at a time.

This is the structure of the DoubleClick ad tag, as well as the most widely used key-value pairs:;topic=abc;sbtpc=def;cat=ghi;kw=xyz;tile=1;slot=728×90.1;sz=728×90;ord=7268140825331981? — This is the Ad Server’s host address – you can see that it is not a publisher’s website, but rather an independent technological business that has nothing to do with content publication. In this case, DoubleClick is hosting the service for the publisher.

/ADJ — This code specifies a certain sort of ad request and what the answer can be, such as pictures, XML, or scripts.

publisher/— This is the stage at which a publisher’s identity is confirmed. To deliver the services, DoubleClick determines if the ‘publisher’ is a member of the DoubleClick network.

/zone — A zone is similar to a channel level. Because these content verticals are likely to attract a variety of advertisers, it’s critical for publishers to be able to target at this level of granularity.

topic=abc — the next in the hierarchy is topic level. You may use the topic level to tag information that is similar across zones. Games across many content verticals or within them, for example.

sbtpc=def — the subtopic level follows. You might use this to differentiate between sports games and adventure games, for example. Again, you can use this to target across or inside content verticals.

kw=xyz — the keyword segment is a means to characterize the page for contextual targeting rather than another level in the hierarchy. The advantage here is that several keywords are permitted.

tile=1 — For each ad call on a single page, this variable is assigned a unique value. If there are many tiles with the same value, the same ad will be displayed on all of them.

slot=72890.1 — This is used to organize the ad slots. If there are two leaderboard (72890) ad units on a page, these ad units will be assigned numbers (such as 72890.1 and 72890.2).

sz=72890 — This just indicates the ad unit’s size. The ad unit size in this case is 72890, which is equivalent to a leaderboard.

ord=7268140825331981 — this is a random value known as a cache-buster. Users frequently return to pages they’ve seen previously when they go back and forth between content pages, particularly navigational sites like the homepage. A random number is assigned to the ad tag in order to receive a unique view from the user and prevent the browser from seeing the same ad displayed from the browser cache.

ad tags

Wrap Up

Ad tags are crucial since they allow you to improve your campaigns automatically and target particular consumers. They assist you in changing the content of your ad based on the responses of your users, allowing you to get the most out of it. It’s past time to add tags into your website if you haven’t already. They are not difficult to make, but you may engage an expert to do it for you.

We hope we were able to clarify what ad tags are and how they function. If you work in digital marketing or advertising, you’re well aware that tags are critical to the successful operation of your business.

Samien Kidwai

Hailing from an academic background, I have been an Assistant Professor in Mass Communication with an additional decade of experience in creative writing. I’m passionate about music and theatre with an inclination towards movies. Being an avid reader, I love to scribble my thoughts and ideas when I’m not running behind my 8 year old daughter.