3 minutes read

Ad tagging is a crucial component of your display advertising efforts. Not only ad tags play a huge role in optimizing your ad strategy, but they can also help you measure its performance.

Let’s kick off this article by breaking down what an ad tag is.   

What Is An Ad Tag?

An ad tag is a piece of HTML code that is inserted within the source code of a web page where an ad will be displayed.

It is formed by:

  • A URL, from which the browser will request the ad;
  • Some HTML or JavaScript code, which has the purpose of telling the browser how to display the ad.

how an ad tag is displayed

How ad tags work

When a person visits a website, the user’s browser will send an ad tag to the ad server. The ad tag contains information about this particular user and the ad placement.

The next step is for the ad server to pass the ad tag to a third-party data provider in order to fetch information about user segmentation or targeting.

Then, the ad server passes the ad tag back to the advertisers.

The last thing that happens is for the ad server to deliver the ad to the user’s browser. This means returning an ad tag with the creative URL, where the creative itself is hosted on a third-party hosting provider.

Why Should I Use An Ad Tag?

Ad tags serve many purposes in display advertising.

Here are the main reasons why you should use an ad tag for your digital marketing campaigns:

  • Collect information about the users who are shown ads for user segmentation purposes;
  • Optimize your ad strategy quick and easy because you can rotate the content however you want and adjust as you move along;
  • Make changes and optimization from the ad server, instead of going directly to each publisher;
  • Track ad engagement and viewability.

What Is A Third-Party Ad Tag?

A third-party ad tag is a piece of JavaScript code which is generated by a third-party ad server. It is then placed into an ad inventory space on a website to display the creative that was uploaded on the ad server.

A significant advantage of this ad tag is that it can be placed on different websites that have ad inventory spaces.   

Now, it’s time to discuss clickTags.

What Is A ClickTag?

The clickTag variable was first introduced in Flash banner ads. Now, it’s supported by all major ad servers, and it works for HTML5 banner ads as well.

A clickTag will allow third-party ad servers used by the publisher to provide the URL that will be used to track the clicks on the banner that lead to the landing page opening.

An essential advantage of using the clickTag is the fact that it allows the ad-serving network to gain insights regarding the number of clicks you received for your banner and from which sites were those clicks received.

This kind of data can help you, as an advertiser, evaluate the effectiveness of a campaign, and then you can easily decide whether you need to make some changes or not to improve its impact.

Thanks to the clickTag, you can see and modify the URL without needing a developer.

ClickTag Guidelines From Google

When you upload assets in Ad Manager, it will automatically detect the clickTags, and the good news is that you can change the click-through URL after you export the tags.

Here are the most important recommendations from Google when using the clickTag:

  • The creative needs to use the click tag variable as the click destination;
  • You shouldn’t use minification or obfuscation for the click tag because it needs to be easy for the ad server to read;
  • You should avoid hard-coded click-through URLs in the asset because they will prevent Ad Manager from tracking clicks.

Final Thoughts

The right tools can make your job a lot easier and improve your productivity levels.

We hope that this article proves to be a helpful resource for you and that clickTags and ad tags are no longer a mystery for you. 

To wrap it all up, I thought it would be best to end the article with some helpful resources you can use when working with ad tags.

If you’re looking for an ad tag generator, then you can go ahead and use the Ad Manager Tags Generator & Tester which is currently in beta. This generator will help you generate ad tags without having to manually edit the code.

You can use this Google ad tag tester to check this and receive validation results from Google’s support team.

If you have any additional questions, feel free to leave them in the comments section, and we’ll make sure to respond to them.

Ana Darstaru
Content Marketing Manager by day // avid foodie by night. Passionate about content creation, advertising, human psychology, carbs, and TV shows. Still obsessed with Sherlock (the TV show). Patient, yet impulsive.


    1. is this possible to use the same tag on multiple websites on any article,

    2. Hi. I’m afraid I don’t understand the question. Could you please give me more details?

    Leave a reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

    This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

    You may also like