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DoubleClick has ended support for DoubleClick for Advertisers (DFA) as of 9/1/2014. DFA has been replaced by DoubleClick Campaign Manager (DCM). Please contact your account manager if you have any questions. If you're a trafficker or have product access to DCM, bookmark our client-only DCM Help Center. Publishers and other partners who need info on DCM should bookmark the new DCM Partner Help Center.


Use DFA to track impressions and clicks on HTML emails

An HTML email is essentially a microsite served via email to a user. It contains an advertiser's images and/or copy along with the web site's content. Your images may or may not be served by DFA.

To track impressions of an email, you must first verify that the email is using HTML. DFA cannot track views of a text email. The tracking method for DFA involves the use of a 1x1-pixel image, called by a DFA ad tag, that alerts the DFA ad server whenever a user opens or views the email. Each view counts as an impression. To count clicks, there are three separate methods: a 302 redirect (also known as a virtual directory), meta-refresh (also called HTML refresh), and a click tracker.

To do so:

  1. Set up impression tracking.

    Create a placement with a size of 1x1, and assign an ad containing a 1x1 image creative to that placement. The tags for the placement will be embedded into the email such that they will make a call to DFA each time the ad is served.

    Some websites may not be able to cache-bust (by adding a random number to the ad tag each time it is called). In such cases, resulting impression numbers may not reflect every ad view, but will more closely track the number of times the email is opened. Also, email clients such as Outlook or Lotus might not read JavaScript; therefore, client-side JavaScript is not a reliable option.
  2. Set up click tracking.

    There are three methods by which clicks can be tracked in a non-banner HTML email:

    • Vanity URL, also known as a 302 redirect or virtual directory. This method is fairly common. To employ it, the advertiser must set up a virtual directory on their site. DFA cannot perform 302 redirects for clients. The redirect URL of the 302 virtual directory requires a click tracker ad.

    • HTTP meta-refresh. DoubleClick cannot set up a meta-refresh page. The advertiser must set up the page and must use a click tracker ad as the redirect URL.

    • Click tracker ads. Dynamic click trackers are generally preferred because they can be deactivated from within DFA Trafficking.

  3. Deliver the 1x1 impression tracker.

    Deliver the placement tags, to be implemented within the email content, or else deliver the pre-packaged tracking ad (complete with impression and click tracker). If a 302-redirect or meta-refresh is being used to track clicks, supply the website with the necessary 302 or meta-URL, such as

Email clients

Tracking behavior may be unpredictable across email clients. For instance, HTML and JavaScript might be treated differently by Outlook, Eudora, and Lotus. An advertiser may not be able to predict whether one of those email clients will credit an impression if, for example, the Outlook preview pane is used. Generally, tracking behavior for web email clients (Gmail, Yahoo!, etc.) is more dependable and observes basic HTML rules.

Nosend attribute

Some impression tags will contain an additional parameter called nosend. Setting this attribute to 1, as in nosend="1", will keep Outlook from embedding the image file in the email message. This will ensure that the image file is forwarded if the mail client forwards the message.

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