Version 5.0
AdvertServe User Manual :: v5.0

Third Party Click Tracking

Specific Instructions

Click on any of the links below for instructions on how to track clicks with many popular third party ad networks and ad servers.

Please see the generic instructions below if the third party you are interested in is not listed above.

Generic Instructions

Some third party ad networks and ad servers do not provide support for other parties to track their clicks. If you are not sure about whether the third party you are interested in supports it, contact them directly and ask them to provide you with documentation. When you go through their documentation, it is likely to instruct you to insert on or more of the following items described below into their ad tags.

Click Tracking URL

Often times, the third party tags will contain a placeholder such as [ClickURL] that you need to replace with a click tracking URL before booking the media into the ad server. It is actually very simple to do this. Simply replace their placeholder with %%CLICKTAG%% and the ad server will convert it to the needed click tracking URL when serving the ad.

Sometimes the third party will request that you provide them with a click tracking URL that is not URL encoded or unescaped. Again, this is also very simple to handle. Simply replace their placeholder with %%CLICKLINK%% instead.

On rare occasions, the third party will request that you provide them with a click tracking URL that is URL encoded or escaped multiple times. By default, the %%CLICKTAG%% is converted to a click tracking URL that is escaped only one time. For a click tracking URL that is escaped multiple times, use one of the following:

If none of these options work for you there is one other option, which is to use an encrypted click tracking URL that does not require any URL encoding. This makes it impossible for the third-party to break the click tracking URL by decoding it improperly. To do this, simply replace their placeholder with %%CRYPTCLICK%% and the ad server will convert it to the needed encrypted click tracking URL when serving the ad.

Note Note

The generated click tracking URL will always use the HTTP protocol. It will not use HTTPS even when ads are served with secure code as that can cause numerous problems. One major problem is if the click tracking link were to be HTTPS and the advertisers redirect is HTTP that will cause a browser security warning because of the redirect to their site changing protocols. Another major issue is most Flash banners have clickTAG code that checks to make sure the link uses the HTTP protocol, but when they receive a HTTPS click tracking link that check inadvertently causes the click to be ignored.

Random Number

Often times, the third party tags will contain a placeholder such as [RandomNumber] that you need to replace with a random number or cache buster. Simply replace their placeholder with %%RANDOM%% and the ad server will convert it to a random 8-digit number when serving the ad. Most of the times, however, you don't need to make this change yourself because the ad server already recognizes and converts the following into %%RANDOM%% automatically:

Date & Time Stamp

Often times, the third party tags will contain a placeholder such as [TimeStamp] that you need to replace with a timestamp. Simply replace their placeholder with %%TIMESTAMP%% and the ad server will convert it to a timestamp in YYYYMMDDHHMMSS format when serving the ad. Most of the times, however, you don't need to make this change yourself because the ad server already recognizes and converts the following into %%TIMESTAMP%% automatically:

Action Tracking URL

Often times, the third party tags will contain a placeholder such as [ActionURL] that you need to replace with a action tracking URL before booking the media into the ad server. It is actually very simple to do this. Simply replace their placeholder with %%ACTIONTAG%% and the ad server will convert it to the needed action tracking URL when serving the ad.

Sometimes the third party will request that you provide them with a action tracking URL that is not URL encoded or unescaped. Again, this is also very simple to handle. Simply replace their placeholder with %%ACTIONLINK%% instead.

On rare occasions, the third party will request that you provide them with a action tracking URL that is URL encoded or escaped multiple times. By default, the %%ACTIONTAG%% is converted to a action tracking URL that is escaped only one time. For a action tracking URL that is escaped multiple times, use one of the following:

The action tracking pixel also supports piggybacking! This allows the advertiser to simply append the URL of another tracking pixel to it. Instead of displaying a pixel graphic the ad server would instead redirect to the specified tracking pixel URL, which allows both pixels to do their tracking before actually sending the pixel graphic to the client. If possible the URL should be escaped/encoded before appending it, however, this is not required as the ad server will accept and correctly interpret the URL whether it is escaped (once or multiple times) or not.

Warning Warning

The generated action tracking URL will always use the HTTPS protocol. More often than not it will end up on a secure page, such as an order confirmation page. Not using HTTPS by default, which we must do because we can't detect the protocol of the destination page in advance, would cause a browser security warning on secure pages. However, using HTTPS on a non-secure page does not have that same effect, so it's safest to always use HTTPS to avoid causing any browser security warnings. You should take care to make sure your ad serving domain actually supports HTTPS though!