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3rd Party Ad Serving?

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This thread was started before GSAP 3 was released. Some information, especially the syntax, may be out of date for GSAP 3. Please see the GSAP 3 migration guide and release notes for more information about how to update the code to GSAP 3's syntax. 

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A little off topic from GSAP specifically, but I'm reaching out to my fellow banner developers to see what your experience is—


With this sudden rush to convert flash banners to HTML5, we've also been told by some of our vendors that these HTML5 banners need to be served by '3rd party ad servers'. In the past, I've always created swf's with a 'clickTag' and sent that over to the vendor. The hosting of the banners and tracking of impressions was always handled by the vendors. It seems that by requiring a '3rd party ad server' that they now want us to handle this portion as well?


Is this something the rest of you are seeing, or am I dealing with lazy vendors that don't know how to handle HTML5 banners? If you could share your general workflow or shed some light on your typical responsibilities as the banner developer in this HTML world, that would be greatly appreciated also.


Thanks for any insight!

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This is basically the Media Agencies saying, "we don't know what to do, here's a line from our websites and publishers".


What is a 3rd Party Ad Serving Platform?

You may have read some posts on this forum talking about: DoubleClick, Sizmek, Flashtalkingadform. Frankly I'm quite surprised that you would be a banner developer and never had to use one of these platforms.


Each platform has their own tools, scripts and nuances, some of which can be a boon and some a complete pain in the arse.


The choice of 3rd party ad server normally lies with the Media Agency, they are the ones that the clients give the budget to book media spaces on specific websites, and they strike deals with the Ad Servers for impressions on behalf of the client.


(If they don't have a preference and you could force their hand in this, you might want to think about what platform suits you best. Your agency would need to create an account with a 3rd Party Platform to test them out and see how things go.)



  1. Find out what ad serving platform is required.
  2. Demand specifications and if possible a template (I say demand, because if you ask nicely, people don't always respond in kind).
  3. Build your banner, as and how you do is your own.
  4. Incorporate any platform specific code into your banner for clickthroughs and other metrics. For DoubleClick this would be Enabler.exit("THIS_IS_MY_EXIT"); for Sizmek, this should be EB.Clickthrough("THIS_IS_MY_CLICKTHROUGH"); remembering to include any platform specific libraries also.
  5. Upload to platform and send for QA.
  6. You'll need to associate a campaign to an advertiser/media agent, this will be different for each platform and will require the help of an account manager on the platform team.


Hope this helps!

Edited by joe_midi
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Joe, thank you so much for taking the time to put together this great write up.Your first guess was absolutely right.


After researching the various ad serving platforms available, I was ready to go with DoubleClick to serve the HTML banners if required. The funny thing is, after a few more emails with this media agency, they revealed that they use DoubleClick. So they really have grossly misunderstood google's new guidelines and the capabilities of their platform if they think it doesn't support HTML banners.


Their new recommendation, in case I couldn't acquire third party hosting, was to "embed HTML5 backup code in the flash code", and they linked me to this page: https://support.google.com/dfp_premium/answer/6263155?hl=en . Too funny, they really are hopeless!


Thanks again for your help and dose of sanity. This is just one of many vendors that have misinterpreted googles guidelines this week.

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"embed HTML5 backup code in the flash code"


:mrgreen:  :mrgreen:

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Edited to add. it looks like Doubleclick has edited the HTML5 in page banner templates to not say DCRM in the title. (Doubleclick Rich Media). Even though once unzipped they are clearly called DCRM and are the same files.


I have done Rich Media ads for awhile. My decision to go Rich Media sometimes was due to multiple files for Flash (xml, subSWFs, JPGs, etc.) and not because the unit was going to exapnd and have a frequency cap.


Those were all served from a rich media vendor's server and were trafficked as 3rd party tags. So I can see where this idea that HTML5 will need to be served/trafficked as Rich Media originates from, simply because there are multiple files.


I have sent a zipped file of an Edge Animate published 300x250 to the Doubleclick rep who  is assisting us in our transition. He says that this zipped multiple file HTML5 banner does not need to be uploaded to and served as a rich media ad to Studio as it is just an in page 300x250 banner.


Here is the support doc for preparing HTML5 assets for DCM




I know there are many alphabets in the Doubleclick realm but the Edge Animate banner files are going to just be uploaded to DCM. Publishers use something called DFP and agencies have something they call DFA.


I also have a DCRM polite load  in page 300x250 that uses GSAP in the works. This one requires geo targeted logo swapping. Will report back when I see how that plays out. 

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Thanks for the additional input, somnamblst. That will likely be helpful for me when I meet to talk with this vendor.

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Still no definitive answer as to how to correct a DCRM Edge Animate template published banner that does not need to be trafficked through DC Studio (rich media third party tag trafficked by DC or a DC QA certified person).


It is most likely the studio enabler.js that is not playing nicely. As most of the files I create do need dynamic logos based on geo, I may not have to get this solved (AdOps just uploading zipped files to DCM), because Plan B would be run everything through Studio.


However this is what people are saying will work in the Adobe Edge forum.




For Studio uploaded and third party trafficked creatives the templates you can download definitely work, just add GSAP in your ad container div or use the HTML5 and or Edge templates.

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@somnamblst, what issues are you facing?


When uploading to DCM, the banners should not be using the Enabler, as the Enabler contains a lot more tracking metrics that is not used in DCM.


From what I've seen and talked to DCM support, the only thing you need in DCM is to add the "ad.size" <meta> tag to the <head>.

<meta name="ad.size" content="width=300, height=250">

And then somewhere else in the <head> add a global clickTag variable.

<script type="text/javascript">
        var clickTag = "https://www.google.com";

And then to activate the click you need to add an onClick to the relevant element(s).

<div id="main-div" onclick="javascript:window.open(window.clickTag);"></div>

I made a test creative here, but not had the chance to test it:



Edited by joe_midi
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Joe thanks. When I created the file I did not realize that they would not be trafficked for Studio, because technically it is not rich media. I have created a second version following a forum post in the Adobe Edge forum that describes the same process you outlined.


I too have a test file that won't be verified anytime soon as the go live date is after the geo targeted dynamic creative job,  that will be the first to run after the Chrome sunset date. 


So we wait.

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If there's one thing I always get confused is all these little names google's ad platforms have, DCM, DCRM, DFT, AdWords, etc.


Going to chip in here on top of what @joe_midi said - Do bear in mind I am talking based on the code he's provided, which to me reads: AdWords.


If your ad is going on AdWords, you don't actually need to specify any clicktag or listen to it. The platform does it all for you. You only need to do so if you don't want the whole ad to be clicktable. You really only need to put the <meta> tag inside the <head> tag:

<meta name="ad.size" content="width=300,height=250">

Here's the doc



Obviously, all of that has zero relevance if, once again, I find that there is another ad platform owned by Google via DC that I have never heard of. :|

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Its nuts how many different platforms Google owns, and it gets really confusing from a production perspective, and they each have different support teams.


That information I got was from dcm-support@google.com after I was referred by dcrm-support@google.com.


You're probably right with only needed the code if you don't want the entire ad clickable.


But checking out the the files that GWD spits out, shows the Enabler.js file being used for both DoubleClick and AdWords, which says to me that there is a level of compatibility. Or rather they have the same code base, and with each different name DCM/AdWords/DoubleClick Studio/DFA/DFP have different levels of service.

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The Enabler.js file from GWD probably does nothing in that case. These companies do have to create a very generic product that spits out an ad for many different platforms, I would not be surprised in the slightest if there's plenty of redundant code in there. Even back in the days of flash templates, we used to see a bunch of methods included that did not need to be in there.


That, in truth, was what caused me to start building my own classes and templates. And then, flash died. :(


Now I am re-doing everything again in JavaScript. It will never be the same, of course, due to the nature of the languages. But I surely will miss the ability that I had to change one line of code and have the whole ad go from being a Sizmek ready to a DC or a Flashtalking one...


I see you have some templates yourself, Joe, I intend to one day go over it and compare to the ones I am building. But, we already disagree in the task runner of choice ( I forgive you for that :D ).

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Completely gone off topic here.


I only started using Grunt when I watched Chris Coyier's getting started with Grunt screencast looked so simple! I might have to take a look at Gulp for my next test template (when I get some down time).


Regarding changing a line of code for it to switch platforms, why don't we build our own tasks; to get the command:

grunt/gulp build -sizmek

Automagically replacing Enabler.js with EBLoader.js, 

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I would say you're probably right.


We should really start another topic and discuss this in more depth, I am all up for that. My boilerplate is here at the moment. Not quite in the realms of adjusting it to specific ad platform yet but I am sure eventually I will get there. Still setting up the main tasks and writing up the readme.


There's plenty in my to-do list for this and I hope I get around to it as I go along.

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That information I got was from dcm-support@google.com after I was referred by dcrm-support@google.com.


Silly me, I expected an answer to my question from drm-support@google.com  :shock:  and I did not get a referral


DFA: Doubleclick for Agencies

DFP: Doubleclick for Publishers

DCM: Doubleclick Campaign Manager

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  • 4 weeks later...

I'm now at a point where I'm looking to set up our own 3rd party ad server so that we can handle all of the hosting / tracking ourselves. I've reached out to DoubleClick, Atlas, Sizmek, and Adform, expressing my interest in opening an account and have yet to hear back from any of them. The signup process for all of them involves filling out forms and hoping to hear back. It's strangely archaic and exclusive.


Are most of you using DCM or is there another company you would recommend? I need to get banners hosted and tracking in the next 72 hours. :(

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In my limited AdOps knowledge, DCM is something people who book ads use to book ads. Anybody who uses DCM to book ads can simply upload your zipped files, plus your backup image into DCM. If you have more than  10 files it will be booked as an Enhanced banner. Your zipped files are the HTML5 ad in DCM.


In Studio which is really for Rich Media, (expandables, floating, video, etc) there is a tag published, or at least there was for Flash. I have tried to view HTML5 ads and they are obfuscated just like the Flash rich media, so we won't just be viewing source to see how they were coded..


From my long experience with Rich Media which required third party serving and tag creation, it is all about the impressions. At say $5 CPM, they are not at all impressed with 500,000 impressions.


I always got an instant response because they wanted to land the corporate publisher I worked for. The account executives are the gatekeepers. They may want a minimum number of guaranteed impressions.


Regarding DC, it does seem they are putting a lot of resources into making GWD a seamless way to get ads into DCM. Maybe try using GWD as the container vehicle that gets ads into DCM.

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