We are pleased to announce that the AdvertServe Q3/2017 update has been deployed!
This is a fairly small update, but we do have some exciting new things to tell you about.
Have you been struggling to improve the viewability rate of advertising on your sites? You are not alone in that struggle and the good news is we now have a solution to help you with that! It almost sounds too good to be true right? Well, actually, the truth is that it may require some effort to implement on your part if you have not yet switched to our AJAX serving tags. This new solution is dependant upon the asynchronous loading capabilities of our AJAX serving tags, so switching is required but it will no doubt be time well spent.
When generating a new AJAX zone code you will now see an Optimize Viewability option that you can check to enable. How it actually works is that it delays loading of banners until the user scrolls down to the position in the page where they are placed. By only rendering banners and counting served impressions when they have the potential to be considered viewable impressions it can definitely make a huge improvement to your viewability rate. As an added benefit it also effectively delays the start of a banners animation until they are visible, so users always see the animation sequence from the beginning. It should be noted that this solution does not guarantee 100% viewability as users could be scrolling too fast for a full second of viewability to be achieved. Where the technique really makes sense though is with below the fold placements and especially bottom of the page placements. Traditionally those placements have poor viewability and are often encouraged to be eliminated, but in doing so your available inventory can take a huge hit. That's what makes this solution so exciting because you can now reclaim those positions that you may have previously eliminated.
In addition to that new option we have also made two other big improvements to our AJAX serving tags. The first thing we did was eliminate the pre-flight request that was made when initializing our AJAX framework for every page view. This request is now cached for users that accept cookies and only happens once, which speeds up loading of the ads and as a result has the potential to improve viewability of above the fold placements. The second thing we did was make our automatic refresh option only trigger a refresh when banner zones are within the browser viewport, which finally makes this option safe to use without hurting viewability. The good news is that taking advantage of these two improvements requires no changes on your part provided that you are already using our AJAX serving tags.
Many users have enjoyed great success with our crawler, lightbox, overlay and shoutbox effects for banners. One problem with them, however, has been that they were limited to opening when a page first loads. To address this we've added a new Interactive Loading option that allows you to delay their loading until users scroll 25%, 50%, 75% or 100% of the way down a page. It's definitely an interesting way to show an advertisement when users read to the end of an article. For example, you might even run a in-house ad that prompts users to join your mailing list so they don't miss future articles from your site.
Test Page Improvements
Our automatically generated test pages were already awesome, especially for HTML5 and VPAID creatives but we made them even better! They now include options to let you simulate different geographic locations and weather conditions. This is a great way to simplify testing of creatives that have been personalized with geographic or weather macros without having to resort to using a clunky proxy or VPN solution. We've also made our test page responsive so testing on tablets and mobile phones is now a much more pleasant experience.
Video Banner Improvements
We have modified our in-banner video to improve how sound is handled on mobile devices that block auto-playing videos. In addition to that if a user watches a video to completion we now display the poster image and the play button for them to watch again. Previously it just stopped on the end frame, which is not ideal if the video ends with a blank frame!
Macros, Macros, Macros
Do you love using macros in your ads? Just when you thought we couldn't possibly add any more, well, we did and we actually added quite a few!
- Domain Name: Many third-party ad servers now require a plain domain name without the http:// or https:// protocol identifier so we added a new %%DOMAIN%% macro that does just that.
- Multiple Encoding: In some cases you might need to double-encode macros which you can now do with these new macros: %%ADVERTISER2%%, %%AGENT2%%, %%BROWSER2%%, %%CAMPAIGN2%%, %%GEO_CONTINENT2%%, %%GEO_COUNTRY2%%, %%GEO_STATE2%%, %%GEO_CITY2%%, %%GEO_POSTAL2%%, %%GEO_DMA2%%, %%GEO_TIMEZONE2%%, %%KEYWORDS2%%, %%MEDIA2%%, %%ORG2%%, %%OS2%%, %%PUBLISHER2%%, %%REFERRER2%% and %%ZONE2%%
- VAST Macros: Our VAST code wizard now has the option to output macro placeholders for most popular players. This facilitates the player passing back information to the ad server such as the player width/height, video id, file name, title, duration and description. What can you actually do with that? Well, actually, many third-party video ad networks can use them for optimization and include macro placeholders in their tags. We now replace those automatically for most ad networks! For ad networks we don't automatically recognize you can manually insert these new macros: %%VWIDTH%%, %%VHEIGHT%%, %%VID%%, %%VFILE%%, %%VTITLE%%, %%VDURATION%% and %%VINFO%%
HTML5 Export Improvements
When downloading HTML5 banners as a ZIP file we now include an events.json file that contains all of the exit event URLs, which is helpful when copying HTML5 banners between accounts so that exit events get imported when uploading the ZIP file.
HTML5 API Improvements
- Click Delegation: When loading third-party VPAID tags with our embedded HTML5 player it can sometimes be necessary to allow the third-party to handle the click redirect themselves, so we've added a new option to satisfy this requirement.
- Mouse Proximity Detection: Our HTML5 API now allows you to register a callback function to listen for mouse movements that occur outside of the HTML5 banner sandbox and also informs you of the proximity (distance in pixels) the mouse pointer is from the banner which can be used to implement effects that increase in intensity as the mouse pointer moves closer to the creative.
- Unloading: Have you ever wanted to make an HTML5 banner that is closeable in the sense that closing it actually fully removes it from the page? We've added a new function to unload HTML5 banners that does exactly that. In fact, it works with VPAID as well and simply calls the VPAID stopAd() function.
- VPAID Z-Index: When using our embedded VAST/VPAID player there may be cases where you want to overlay some content, such as a brand logo over top of a third-party VPAID creative so we've introduced a new option to let you set a z-index on the third-party VPAID creative to enable control over stacking.
You would think that after almost 20 years we'd have our UI search perfected by now? Apparently not because if you ever tried to search for a number contained within the name of a campaign or media you'd have been disappointed. That's because it would have searched for a campaign or media having that ID# only. We've fixed that now, so the search works within asset names and this can actually be quite helpful if you include external ID#'s used by an advertiser in your campaign or media names.
Are you buying traffic for your ads from ad networks or ad exchanges? Chances are there might be some sites you want to block all of your campaigns from appearing on. To solve this problem we've introduced a new global domain blacklist, which you can define on the Settings > Basic > Server page.
We'd love to hear from you. Seriously, don't hesitate to contact support if you have questions about any of the new features and improvements.