What Is A Third-Party Ad Tag?

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  • Post last modified:November 28, 2020

What is an Ad Tag?

A third-party ad tag or ‘ad placement tag’ is simply a snippet of Javascript code, generated from a 3rd party ad server, which is then placed into an ad inventory space on a website or app to display ad creatives that were uploaded on the ad server.

In layman terms, the ad tag is a digital container in which ad creatives will display.

The same single ad tag can be placed on multiple ad inventory space on different websites and apps. Demand-side platforms(DSP) and ad networks can also make use of ad tags in a programmatic environment for ad serving.


With it implemented, the advertiser no longer has to go to directly to each publisher to change the creative. Any creative change on the ad server will reflect on the single ad tag, placed in every publisher you run ads in.

Generally, an ad tag enables advertisers to:

  • Make creative changes and optimization from the ad server, instead of going directly to each publisher.
  • Do creative A/B & multivariate testing.
  • Track ad viewability – as trackers are placed within the ad tag.
  • Track ad engagement.

Pros and Cons of Third Party Ad Tags


Following are the advantages offered:

  1. These tags allow a choice/presence of multiple advertisers for the publisher. This is because the ads are derived from the Ad Exchange which is a third party platform with multiple advertisers. The publishers, therefore, can display diverse ads on the website or mobile app to create higher conversions.
  2. Ads are managed by Ad Networks that provide 3rd party tags. The Ad Networks optimize the campaigns for specific sites which means that each publisher receives a targeted ad to show on their sites.
  3. Third party ad tags are used to send ads to segmented users and also to retarget the existing users where the possibility of higher conversions is maximum. 


Following are some disadvantages that come with 3rd party ad tags.

  1. There is no control on data and no data transfer because the tags use techniques like cookie insertion, etc. The publishers are therefore required to keep checking the data to ensure that it is correctly targeted to the ads.
  2. Transparency is limited in third party ad tags. Ad can be initiated by unidentified advertisers and publishers may be at a loss to validate the data that they receive from a 3rd party. 
  3. Because third party tags can come with unwanted advertisers, there is a concern of showing unwanted ads to the users. These include ads that show objectionable scenes on violence, porn, etc. 

This article is a part of our comprehensive guide on “What Is An Ad Server And Why You Should Use It?

Learn more about mobile ad serving and ad tags with MobileAds.


Alvin is the Founder and CEO of MobileAds.com. He is a go-getter, and adventurous guy who believes in working smart to gain success in his business ventures and in life. He also founded RichMediaAds.com and MobileLanders.com.

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