Ad operations: Brace yourselves, the animated snow is coming



It’s the most hectic time of the year for ad operations. Here at Advalidation our servers are busy testing all ads scheduled to go live as Q4 comes to an end.

The first animated snow have started to fall in some of the ads we test and our forecasters predict that it will cause the same high CPU usage on web sites around the world as last year.

Below is a CPU graph of some heavy animated snow fall in a 728x90 submitted for testing.


As you can see the snow is causing some major problems here. Luckily for the publisher and their users it was detected before the snow fall spread to their ad server ;)

If you're not already using Advalidation to test your ads we'd love to show you how it works.

All the best,
The Advalidation team

AS3 clicktag

A common problem with flash creatives developed in ActionScript 3 is getting the clicktag right. After extensive research and rigorous testing we've come up with the following ActionScript code:
function handleClick(mouseEvent:MouseEvent):void {
    var interactiveObject:InteractiveObject = mouseEvent.target as InteractiveObject;
    var li:LoaderInfo = LoaderInfo(interactiveObject.root.loaderInfo);
    var url:String = li.parameters.clickTag;
    if (url) {
        if (ExternalInterface.available) {
            var userAgent:String = ExternalInterface.call('function(){ return navigator.userAgent; }');

            if (userAgent.indexOf("MSIE") >= 0) {
                ExternalInterface.call('window.open', url, '_blank');
            } else {
                navigateToURL(new URLRequest(url), '_blank');
            }
        } else {
            navigateToURL(new URLRequest(url), '_blank');
        }
    }
}
myButton_btn.addEventListener(MouseEvent.MOUSE_UP,handleClick);
Please change the clickTag variable name (in bold) to the formatting required by your ad server (clicktag, clickTag or clickTAG).


Requirements

For this clicktag to work in all browsers the following two requirements need to be met:

  • The html object tag needs an id or Internet Explorer will generate a javascript error of "null is null or not an object".
  • AllowScriptAccess needs to be true either by setting it to "always" or by setting it to "sameDomain" and loading the flash from the same domain as the hosting page.


HTML to load AS3 flash creative

We suggest loading your flash with something similar to the following HTML (important parts in bold):

<object id="flash_file_1" classid="clsid:D27CDB6E-AE6D-11cf-96B8-444553540000" codebase="http://fpdownload.macromedia.com/pub/shockwave/cabs/flash/swflash.cab#version=8,0,0,0" width="980" height="120">
  <param name="movie" value="yourfile.swf">
  <param name="quality" value="autohigh">
  <param name="wmode" value="opaque">
  <param name="allowScriptAccess" value="always">
  <param name="FlashVars" value="clickTag=http%3A%2F%2Fexample.com">
  <embed src="yourfile.swf?clickTag=http%3A%2F%2Fexample.com" quality="autohigh" pluginspage="http://www.macromedia.com/go/getflashplayer" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" width="980" height="120"></embed>
</object>


More technical details

  • navigateToURL() will work in IE as long as wmode is set to window. With opaque or transparent wmode the navigateToURL() function will result in the IE popup blocker blocking your click.
  • The default AllowScriptAccess setting is "sameDomain"
  • ExternalInterface will only work if AllowScriptAccess is true
  • The ExternalInterface call to window.open() is unfortunately slightly slower than calling navigateToURL()

News and changes in the latest release

As you might have noticed we have made som updates to Advalidation. If you find any bugs or have any suggestions please send an email to your Advalidation contact or support@advalidation.com

Below are the most important updates in this release.

Improved report
We have made the information that is important to you even more accessible. No more pop-ups. Simply click the toggle list/report button to when the validation is done to see how your creatives performed.


The link to share the report is located at your top right. You’ll be seeing that link on more pages in future releases.


Slide show view of creatives
You can browse through all creatives in a validation job with our new slide show view. Simply click the view creative link. Once the first creative is shown you can use the arrow keys on your keyboard to quickly browse through all creatives in that validation job.

Delete creatives
Right next to the view creative link is the new delete creative link.


Expandable ads
If an ad expands beyond it's initial dimension we'll report that under details.

Other improvements
Experimental support for tags in Excel files.
Support for Doubleclick internal redirects (inred tags).

Tools
We have added a new tab for small helpful tools. Go ahead and try the "tag viewer", a quick way to preview a third party tag without a single click. Simply paste the tag and the creative will appear.


A quick note on our third party tag support

From time to time you might hear us say that we’ve added support for new third party vendors. This is not entirely true.

Our philosophy has always been "detect everything you throw at us, no matter the format". Because of this there are really no specific requirements for pasted tags, uploaded files or forwarded e-mails.

Extensive testing with hundreds of different creatives have been performed to ensure accuracy. 

In most cases adding support for a new provider simply means that we verify that everything works as expected and figure out how to name the creatives in a good way.

Sometimes we stumble up on more advanced tags though. If that happens you can simply forward them to us and we’ll figure them out and add them to the list. 

Updates and bugs

We added support for Unicast, Interpolls and generic OpenX third party tags.

We've also made it possible to sort your validation job columns. In combination with the automatic deletion of validation jobs this should make it easy to find the creatives you have submitted if you're a large ad ops team. The default order is still date submitted, descending – like your inbox.

A couple of small bugs were squashed in the process.