Trending This Season: What You Need to Know About a Mobile Ad Tag

Lately, I have noticed that the publishers’ choice of the monetization solution is not always governed by the direct access to the highest advertising dollars.

For a while, it has been common practice to blame closed-wall gardens for lack of transparency and controls, yet, it did not seem to affect their growth much and as a result, this lack was not taken seriously. However, once the skyrocketing payouts started to decrease and fill rates of non-English speaking countries didn’t grow, developers became even more open to searching for new monetization strategies. Only the laziest have not talked about parallel requests or flat waterfalls across mediation solutions, yet the ultimate strategy there turned out to be pretty straightforward and consistent.

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I would like to go over an ancient, yet still highly underestimated grandparent of server-side mediation: the JavaScript (JS) tag. JS is a primary programming language in nowadays browsers. It works simply by placing Java `<script>` tag in an HTML code. Manipulating these tags makes a web page interactive. Ad tag is a simple HTML snippet, with embedded Javascript, that is able to show an advertisement to mobile application or website user. More and more publishers are shifting their monetization preferences from a multiple SDKs frustration to the single, stable ad serving solution, allowing to do all the heavy lifting on the scalable backend with easy-to-use operational tools.

Here are several undoubtedly strong ad tag features you should pay attention to next season:

1. In contrast to adapters and SDKs, ad tag is a format-flexible product.

Whether your ad placements and app experience are designed for video content or playables, swipers or native, or a mix of them – you are good to go. And do not let prejudice about the quality of ad tags distract you. In recent years, advertising tags have evolved drastically and are up to date with international user protection policies; clearly disclosing the advertisement (with opt-out options for individual users), supporting MRAID, IAB and privacy standards, as well as being on top of the transparency game with 3rd party viewability and Ads Quality measurements.

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2. High quality standard attracts premium demand.

Such a strong fundamental quality check allows tag inventory to be equally sexy for the premium campaigns (both retargeting, content, and performance based) as it is for inventory via the devkits. Since all the heavy lifting in requests optimization and profiling is done on the server side, there is a direct streamlined API pipe that includes, not only competing RTB demand, but server side header bidding and exchange bidding auctions as well.

3. The ease of integration facilitates innovation.

The ease of integration is responsible for tags being the first frontier for innovation and ultimate playground for new tech and formats. Whether you are looking for carousel product recommendations, fullscreen playable interstitials, or expandable video tags – the newest ad designs are JS-first, engaging consumers and driving up performance KPIs. Advantage of tags is that integration methods (via ad servers or direct HTML) are both equally accessible and easily customizable for specific needs (in regards to passbacks, events, cachebusters, and other macros).

But don’t forget…

Being a simplified (or, as some would argue, advanced because of the multiple dynamic eCPM floors) mediation tool, ad tags carry the same operational optimization and configuration challenges as its mobile code-side sibling. Currently, tags do not solve the recurring problems of mediation optimization: multiple data sources, configuration complexity, and troubleshooting hours. There is still an open challenge here to make this product more account manager-friendly and a good fit for both individual developers (self-service) and for big companies (leveraging lack of release cycles).

 

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