Site-supplied click string issues

Campaign Manager reserves a key within placement tags so that sites can pass a click string value, also known as a site-supplied click string (SSCS). The combined key-value enables a site to track clicks along with (but independently of) Campaign Manager. Typically an SSCS takes the click= parameter along with a URL, and the full key-value is sent to the Campaign Manager servers when the tag is loaded. When a user clicks on an ad associated with this tag, the resulting URL that is executed consists of:

  1. The basic Campaign Manager click string (ad.doubleclick.net/click...)
  2. The SSCS (the value you added to the click= parameter)
  3. The landing page URL (entered within the Trafficking interface)

Because the ad’s landing page URL actually contains three separate URLs, there will be several redirects before the user arrives at the landing page. If you watch the redirects in a proxy sniffer, you should see three calls occur in the order described above. The first request will be to Campaign Manager, the second to the SSCS, and the third will be a call to the landing page.

Examples of using an SSCS

A site-supplied click string is first passed into Campaign Manager when an impression call occurs for a placement tag. When the SSCS is sent to the Campaign Manager servers, our system injects it into the landing page URL, which is passed back to the page along with the creative content. Therefore, SSCSs are only supported for placement tag types where the landing page URL is retrieved at the time of the impression. This means that SSCSs can’t be used with standard tags, since the landing page URLs for standard tags are hard-coded in HTML. You can, however, use SSCSs with the following tag types:

  • Iframe tags: Place the SSCS (in bold) within the SRC parameter in the opening Iframe tag:

    <IFRAME SRC=”http://ad.doubleclick.net/adi/N963.147698.OMGBLOG/B6314018.5;
    dcadv=3519188;sz=728x90;click=http://www.example.com/test%3fhref=;
    ord=[timestamp]?” WIDTH=728 HEIGHT=90 MARGINWIDTH=0 MARGINHEIGHT=0 HSPACE=0 VSPACE=0 FRAMEBORDER=0 SCROLLING=no BORDERCOLOR=&’#000000&’>......
  • JavaScript tags: Place the SSCS (in bold) within the SRC parameter in the opening script tag:

     

    <SCRIPT language=’JavaScript1.1’ SRC=”http://ad.doubleclick.net/adj/N963.286484.123TEST/B6186860;
    dcadv=3289486;sz=728x90;click=http://www.example.com/test.html%3fhref=;
    ord=[timestamp]?></SCRIPT>

     

SSCSs are compatible with any creative type, even custom creatives, as long as you pull in the landing page URL dynamically.

URL encoding and SSCSs

When an SSCS redirect occurs, the browser contacts the server indicated within the URL. Depending on the server configuration and the types of parameters within the SSCS, you may also need to encode the actual landing page URL so that certain reserved characters will work correctly. This is controlled when choosing to use click=, click0=, click1=, or click2= in order to input the SSCS into the placement tag.

Modifying the click parameter only affects whether or not the landing page URL is encoded, not the SSCS itself.

Learn more about URL encoding

Troubleshooting

When I insert an SSCS into the placement tag, it no longer clicks through
  • Check the live page or test page for implementation issues.

  • Verify that the landing page URL works on its own.

  • Try adding the landing page URL into the href= portion of the SSCS and entering it into your browser. If the landing page URL works on its own but doesn’t work with the SSCS, the SSCS server may be expecting to receive the landing page URL in an encoded form. Try using a URL encoding tool (there are several free web applications available for this online) to encode the landing page URL, then enter it into your browser again, along with the SSCS.

  • If this doesn’t resolve the issue, then there is a problem with the SSCS itself. The party that provided the SSCS should be responsible for resolving the issue.

I’ve added the SSCS to the tag, but it’s still clicking through to the original landing page
  • Check the live page or test page for implementation issues.

  • Check if there’s an issue with the creative, such as a hard-coded URL.

  • Try adding the landing page URL into the href= portion of the SSCS and entering it into your browser.

    • If this takes you to the proper landing page, there may be an issue with the creative.

    • If you still can’t reach the landing page, the problem is with the SSCS itself. In this case, the party that provided the SSCS should be responsible for resolving the issue.

  • Is the tag serving a custom creative? Custom creatives must use the %c%u macro to populate the landing page URL in order for SSCSs to work as intended. Verify that the macro appears within the “Edit HTML” portion of the creative’s properties page.

When I add the SSCS into Tag 1 it works, but adding it to Tag 2 breaks the landing page.
  • Check the live page or test page for implementation issues.

  • Double-check that there are no issues with the creative served through Tag 2. Even if they have the same appearance in preview, the creative served through Tag 2 may be coded differently than the one served through Tag 1 (for example, there may be different versions of the creative).

  • Compare the landing page URLs for Tags 1 and 2. Does the landing page URL for Tag 2 include special characters? It may be that the server for the SSCS cannot handle special characters. To test this, try adding a generic URL like http://www.google.com into the href= portion of the SSCS, then enter the modified SSCS into your browser.

    • If the SSCS successfully redirects to the generic URL you inserted, this indicates that the special characters are the culprit. Encoding the landing page URL may resolve the issue, depending on how the server for the landing page has been configured. Try using a URL encoding tool (there are several free web applications available for this online) to encode the landing page URL, then repeat the experiment described above using the encoded landing page URL rather than a generic URL.

    • If the SSCS does not successfully redirect when a generic URL has been added, the problem is with the SSCS itself. In this case, the party that provided the SSCS should be responsible for resolving the issue.

There was a discrepancy adding an SSCS to the tag
  • Check the live page or test page for implementation issues.

  • Does the SSCS contain a question mark? If so, this will cause discrepancies because question marks are reserved as terminating characters for the Campaign Manager ad servers. You’ll need to escape/encode the question mark using the %3f macro.

Using an SSCS introduces an additional redirect between clicking an ad and arriving on the landing page. This usually introduces an additional discrepancy of 5-10% due to latency issues and users stopping the browser mid-redirect.
Adding an SSCS makes the creative cause a pop-up on click-through.

If the pop-up doesn’t occur in the absence of the SSCS, then this is a problem with the SSCS itself. In this case, the party that provided the SSCS should be responsible for resolving the issue.

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