Video Guide: Types of Zone Tags
A zone tag is the code chunk that places your banner on a page. It passes along the banner information, and usually some extra information, for tracking and display. Choosing the right type is really important because, depending on the situation, your banner might not show or you might miss some features if the zone isn’t properly configured.
The five types of zones we have are:
- Basic Image
- JSON API
No matter what zone you want to use, you will always get the zone tag in the same spot: by clicking the ‘get zone tags’ button in the top right of the zone. Here, you change the tag type by clicking it from the drop down menu. We can see that as I select each option the zone tag below is changing to reflect the new style. The zone tag, of course, is what we actually put onto the page to make the banner zone appear. I’ve already set up instances of the five zone tags on some test pages, so I’ll be heading over to those in order.
The zone we’re working with today has a few different banners in it. I’ll try and focus on both the big points as well as some of the technical aspects of each zone tag, using the banners as an examples.
I’m going to start with the show stopper. Async tags are what almost all situations call for because they have three distinct advantages over most of our other tags: They change their behaviour based on the type of banner, they don’t hold up the page load, and they collapse when nothing can serve. They are, as I’ve said, almost always the best choice.
An async tag will check the incoming banner and make allowances for how it should display. For example, if it’s an image, it’ll display it in an image tag, but if it’s an custom HTML banner, it will put it in an iframe (which is basically a webpage within a webpage). AdButler will read the incoming banner, and react to it. That’s what I meant by changing its behaviour. The other benefit to the tag is the async loading. Async means that the user’s browser will request the banner and then keep on loading the page while the banner is on its way. This is especially important for banners with large file sizes or when you’re tapping into exchanges. If some part of your chain is taking longer, or if the user has a slower internet connection, the experience won’t be held up. Finally! If for whatever reason you don’t have any banners in AdButler to serve, whether there’s a quota or there’s targeting or anything else, Async zones will collapse down into nothing. Using async tags is a very important part of keeping users happy. Basically, use Async unless you can’t.
Our second to last tags are basic image tags. They skip all the scripts and bulk and just deliver an HTML image and click tag. However, there are some downsides to this delivery method. Impressions and clicks may not track properly, especially on mobile, because image tags work off of cookies for tracking. Image tags also, due to not using scripts, can’t make use of our advanced features like unique delivery. Because of these drawbacks, we really only recommend using basic image tags if they are specifically requested by one of your partners. Basic Image tags should be seen as a last resort.
Finally we have our JSON API tags. Now, these are a bit different, and are only meant for really specific-use cases, usually requiring some custom coding on your end. If you aren’t up to it, you can skip past this part. However, if you want to do some custom implementation, or you’re just curious, I’ll quickly go over the basics.
Now that all our tags have been covered, you should be a bit more prepared for the different situations that might come up. As I said before, and I’m going to keep saying it, we do recommend async tags in almost all cases. But I do understand that, in some specific situations, you might want something else.